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.