Nobel Prize-winning chemist to discuss the intersection of chemistry and culture

Publication Date

Nobel Prize-winning chemist, playwright and poet Roald

Roald Hoffman

Hoffmann will discuss the dynamic intersections of chemistry and culture Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 5:30 p.m. in the Nott Memorial, as part of the Common Curriculum Speaker Series.

His talk, "Indigo: A Tale of Craft, Religion, History, Science and Culture," is free and open to the public.

Born in Zloczow, Poland, Hoffmann came to the U.S. in 1949 and studied chemistry at Columbia and Harvard universities. Since 1965, he has taught at Cornell University, where he is the Frank H. T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters Emeritus.

The recipient of many honors, he shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Kenichi Fukui in 1981.

Hoffmann participated in the television course in introductory chemistry titled "The World of Chemistry," shown widely since 1990. He has written numerous essays, poetry, books and plays. They include Chemistry Imagined: Reflections on Science; a collection of poems, Memory Effects; and the play Oxygen, co-written with fellow chemist Carl Djerassi and translated into 10 languages.

The Common Curriculum Speaker Series invites individuals to campus twice a year to engage the campus community in the meaning of the liberal arts. Speakers spend the day on campus, visiting classes, particularly those in the Common Curriculum such as First-Year Preceptorial. They also lead discussions in informal settings and conclude their visit with a public talk in the Nott.

The first speaker in the series was Mark Roche, author of the award-winning Why Choose the Liberal Arts.

The Common Curriculum Speaker Series is sponsored by the General Education Board and Therese McCarty, the Stephen J. and Diane K. Ciesinski Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs.