Saturday Science focuses on Nobel laureates in physics

WUSTL physics professors will explore “Nobel Laureates Whom We Have Known: Scientists and Citizens” during the 2011 Saturday Science seminar series.

The 2011 Saturday Science seminar series — sponsored by the Department of Physics and University College, both in Arts & Sciences — begins Saturday, April 16. The lectures are free and tailored for the general public. No registration is required.

Through 2010, the Nobel Prize in physics had been awarded 104 times to 189 Nobel laureates. Many faculty members in WUSTL’s Department of Physics have had close professional associations with several Nobel laureates.

Led by the WUSTL professors who knew the laureates, this year’s Saturday Science lectures describe the laureates’ scientific backgrounds and significance of laureates’ work in physics. Lecturers also will discuss laureates’ personalities, interests and activities outside of physics.

Presentations begin at 10 a.m. and will take place in Crow Hall, Room 201, Hughes Lecture Room. The schedule:

  • April 16. John Rigden, PhD, adjunct professor of physics, will talk about Isidor Rabi (1944 winner) and Edward Purcell (1952 winner). Rigden is the author of the official biography of Rabi, Rabi: Scientist & Citizen, and also knew Purcell.
  • April 30. Patrick Gibbons, PhD, professor of physics, will talk about Norman Ramsey (1989). Gibbons was one of Ramsey’s students at Harvard University.
  • May 7. Carl Bender, PhD, the Konneker Distinguished Professor of Physics, will talk about T.D. Lee (1957). Bender was one of Lee’s graduate students at Columbia University.
  • May 14. Ramanath Cowsik, PhD, director of WUSTL’s McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, will talk about C.V. Raman (1930) and Subramanyan Chandrasekhar (1983). As a student, Cowsik had periodic contacts with Raman at the University of Calcutta, and, in later years, Cowsik had extensive discussions with Chandrasekhar at the University of Chicago.
  • May 21. Michael Friedlander, PhD, professor emeritus of physics, will talk about C.F. Powell (1950) and P.M.S. Blackett (1948). Friedlander was a student and postdoctoral research associate in Powell’s group at the University of Bristol and a visiting professor in Blackett’s group at Imperial College, London.

For more information on the Saturday Science seminar series, call Sarah Hedley at (314) 935-6276 or visit