Understanding science’s highest award: The Nobel Prizes

While the Nobel Prizes in science attract public attention in a way that no other scientific award does, what do they mean and what role do the Nobel-winning discoveries play in shaping our world? During a special evening of inspiration, scientists at Oregon State University will explore the 2017 Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry and Physiology/Medicine and the exciting scientific advances they represent.

The College of Science at OSU invites you to a trio of public lectures held in partnership with the Corvallis Library on Monday, April 30, 2018, from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. The public discussion on these extraordinary discoveries and their benefits for mankind will take place at the Corvallis Benton County Library. The event is free and open to all.

College of Science Dean Roy Haggerty will present introductory remarks on the power and importance of science and the awards.

Nobel Prize in Physics, presented by Davide Lazzati

The 2017 Physics Nobel went to Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish, and Kip S. Thorne for “decisive contributions to the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) detector and the observation of gravitational waves.” Associate physics professor Davide Lazzati will explore the significance of this discovery and how it has changed our understanding of space and the universe.

Lazzati is a theoretical astrophysicist with research interests in gamma-ray bursts and cosmic dust, who had predicted the discovery of a gamma-ray burst from a binary neutron star coalescence a month before the historic event was actually detected by LIGO astronomers in 2017.

Nobel Prize in Chemistry, presented by Elisar Barbar

Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson received the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry “for developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution.”¬†Elisar Barbar, professor of biochemistry and biophysics, will explain how this discovery moved biochemistry to a new era.

Barbar is an internationally renowned expert on structural and biophysical studies of molecular assemblies of intrinsically disordered proteins, who utilizes high-resolution NMR spectroscopy and electron microscopy to generate images of the structural minutiae of molecular motor proteins.

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, presented by David Hendrix

The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine went to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young “for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm.” Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics David Hendrix will explore how their discoveries shed light on the internal biological clocks of living organisms, including humans. Hendrix specializes in computational biology, uncovering new biology by combining molecular mechanisms of genome regulation and state of the art computational techniques.

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