Trotter Lecture to Explore Crossroads of Faith, Science
COLLEGE STATION -- Two world-renowned Ivy League scientists and globally published and popular speakers -- one, a Cornell University applied chemist and Nobel laureate who also writes poetry and plays, and the other, a Harvard University high-energy physicist who led one of the first teams to develop antiprotons -- will visit the Texas A&M University campus this week to present their views of faith, science and society as part of the university's 12th annual Trotter Endowed Lecture Series.
Dr. Roald Hoffmann, Frank H.T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters Emeritus at Cornell and co-recipient of the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, and Dr. Gerald Gabrielse, George Vasmer Leverett Professor of Physics at Harvard, will deliver a joint public lecture Friday (April 12) at 7 p.m. at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center within the Bush Library and Museum complex. The presentation, which is free and open to the public, will be followed by a reception in the conference center foyer.
Hoffmann, who was born in Poland and survived the Nazi occupation before emigrating to the United States in 1949, characterizes his career focus as "applied theoretical chemistry" -- his unique take on the particular blend of computations stimulated by experiment and illustrated in generalized models as frameworks for understanding as his contributions to chemistry. His talk, "Indigo: A Story of Craft, Religion, History, Science, and Culture," will explore the historic and overlapping roles the desirable blue pigment indigo continues to play across intertwined worlds, including those of science and religion, even if some would prefer those worlds remain separate.
Gabrielse, a leading researcher in the fields of matter and antimatter -- the counterbalance to known particles like protons and neutrons that was likewise created during the Big Bang but somehow lost in it -- is an in-demand presenter on the topic of interactions between his science and his Christian faith, giving upwards of 25 outside lectures each year on both popular science as well as science and religion. His talk, "God of Antimatter," will describe his work in both fields and delve into what it means to be a human being working in the sciences, specifically addressing such question as "What role does faith have in a scientist‘s life?" and "Is there more to our world than science can say?"
"This is another in a strong tradition of excellent opportunities for our students, the broader Brazos Valley community and anyone who has a keen interest in science to hear from two top scientists and dynamic presenters on the complex relationship between science and religion," said Dr. H. Joseph Newton, dean of the College of Science.
Hoffmann studied chemistry at Columbia University and Harvard, where he earned his doctorate in 1962. He has been a member of the Cornell faculty since 1965 and has received many of the honors of his profession, including the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry (shared with Kenichi Fukui). At the same time, he is notable for his public outreach, which includes poetry, books and plays as well as public appearances and presentations.
Hoffmann is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He has been elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society, the Indian National Science Academy, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Nordrhein-Westfällische Academy of Sciences, and the Leopoldina. In addition to the Nobel Prize, he has received the National Science Board's Public Service Award (2009), the American Institute of Chemists Gold Medal (2006), the American Chemical Society (ACS) Priestley Medal (1990) and the National Medal of Science (1983). Beyond the ACS's aforementioned highest honor, Hoffmann is the only person in the society's history to merit awards in three different specific subfields of chemistry: the first-ever Arthur C. Cope Award in Organic Chemistry (1973); the ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry (1982); and the ACS Pimentel Award in Chemical Education (1996). He also holds more than 30 honorary degrees.
As a writer, Hoffmann has carved out a land between science, poetry and philosophy as the author of many essays and three books, Chemistry Imagined with artist Vivian Torrence, The Same and Not the Same (translated into six languages) and Old Wine, New Flasks: Reflections on Science and Jewish Tradition with Shira Leibowitz Schmidt. A collection of his essays and lectures, edited by J. Kovac and M. Weisberg, "Roald Hoffmann on the Philosophy, Art, and Science of Chemistry," has just been published, as well as a book edited by him and I. B. Whyte, "Beyond the Finite: The Sublime in Art and Science." Five collections of his poetry have been published, including book-length selections of poems translated into Spanish and Russian. He also has co-written a play with fellow chemist Carl Djerassi, Oxygen, as well as two by himself, Should've and Something that Belongs to You.
Gabrielse has been a member of the Harvard faculty since 1987 as well as a visiting scientist at both the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics and the Ludwig Maximilian University in Germany (2007-08). He earned his master's degree (1975) and doctorate (1980) at the University of Chicago before moving to the University of Washington, where he held various research and professorial positions from 1978-87 prior to coming to Harvard, where his research group engages in a variety of atomic, optical, elementary particle, plasma and low-temperature physics experiments.
A member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (2007) and a fellow of the American Physical Society (1992), Gabrielse has won Harvard's Levenson Prize for exceptional teaching and the school's Ledlie Prize for exceptional research. In addition, he has received the APS's Lilienfeld Prize and the Davisson-Germer Prize as well as Italy's Tomassoni Prize and Germany's Humboldt Research Award. He is a past chair (2012) and chair (2011) of the APS Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics as well as a distinguished alumnus of Calvin College.
Gabrielse continues to serves as leader of the CERN-based international ATRAP Collaboration, which is using antiprotons to produce cold antihydrogen atoms -- an important step towards comparing antihydrogen and hydrogen atoms via precise laser spectroscopy. The group's original observation of the phenomenon was honored as the American Institute of Physics (AIP) Physics Story of the Year for 2002. The many technological spin-offs since include a patented solenoid design being used for nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ion cyclotron resonance (ICR), along with improved cell designs for ICR.
The Trotter Prize and Endowed Lecture Series, presented by the College of Science in collaboration with the Dwight Look College of Engineering, seeks to illuminate connections between science and religion, often viewed in academia as non-overlapping if not rival world views. The series was established by Dr. Ide P. Trotter Jr. '54 and Luella H. Trotter with a matching contribution from ExxonMobil Corp. in 2001 to honor Ide P. Trotter Sr., former dean of Texas A&M University's Graduate School, and to recognize pioneering contributions to the understanding of the role of information, complexity and inference in illuminating the mechanisms and wonder of nature.
For more information on the event, contact Jennifer Holle in the College of Science Dean's Office at (979) 845-8817 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the history of the Trotter Lecture Series and past presenters, visit http://www.science.tamu.edu/trotter/.
Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or email@example.com