Imaginary Gardens and Real Toads

Dudley Herschbach, 1986 Nobel prizewinner for
chemistry, got hooked on science when he was
nine and he has been going full steam ever since.
Professor Herschbach loves the many surprises that
chemistry has to offer. Consider the world of biochemistry: "We are basically made up of compounds of
just four principal kinds of atoms (hydrogen, carbon,
nitrogen, and oxygen). But you hook those atoms
together in various ways and you can make this
incredible variety of living things.... It's awesome."
Professor Herschbach described doing science as
"having conversations with nature."

Several times in his scientific life Herschbach has
found that he has been looking at results that were so
thrilling he could not sleep. One example is the time he
invented a technique known as the "cross molecular
beam," which allowed him to measure, for the first
time, the amount of energy needed to bring molecules
together in a chemical reaction.

Professor Herschbach has moved on now to new,
very theoretical work, which he thinks could revolutionize our thinking about the electronic structure of
molecules and atoms.

The Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum is excited to
welcome Professor Herschbach who will give us his
insight into the scientific world. The reception begins at
5:30, dinner at 6:00, and lecture at 7:00.