Department of Chemistry hosts 50th annual Friend E. Clark Lecture with two-day event on thermodynamics and energy resource policy
The C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry at West Virginia University will host its 50th Annual Friend E. Clark Lecture series on Nov. 5 and 6. Stephen Berry, professor of chemistry at the University of Chicago, will present two talks based on his research ranging from scientific matters and ethics to topics in energy resource policy and national security.
The Friend E. Clark lectures began in 1969 with the purpose of bringing an outstanding research chemist to WVU for two days to share their research interests. During their visit, the Clark lecturer meets with students and faculty, and gives two lectures – the first aimed toward the general public and the second for the scientific community.
Each year, members of the Phi Lambda Upsilon Honorary Chemical Society select a lecturer from candidates nominated by faculty and students on the basis of their academic accomplishments. Past speakers include six Nobel Laureates and other prominent research chemists spanning the areas of analytical, inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry.
Berry’s talks will stem from his theoretical and experimental research on atomic and molecular clusters, topographies and complex surfaces, and atomic collisions. These studies led him to interweave thermodynamics with economics and resource policy, including efficient use of energy.
“Our Deepest, Broadest, Yet Still Mystifying Science of Complexity: Thermodynamics” will be presented on Thursday, Nov. 5, at 8 p.m. in Clark Hall Room 101. Refreshments will be served before the lecture and a reception will follow.
Berry will discuss the use of thermodynamics in teaching classes and designing new materials. He explains that scientists sometimes lose sight of hidden assumptions in ways that can mislead and make perfectly valid natural phenomena seem strange to the point of contradicting natural laws. He believes the fascinating resolution of these paradoxes comes with a deepened and broadened understanding of thermodynamics itself.
Berry will also present “Exploring the Domains and Behavior of Things That Exist in Many, Many Dimensions” on Friday, Nov. 6 at 3 p.m. in Clark Hall Room 312. Refreshments will be served before the lecture.
He will examine systems made up of small nanoscale particles and biomolecules taken from his research on negative ions, detection and reactions of transient molecular species, photoionization and other laser-matter interactions. Berry explains how the systems can be described in terms of internal energy as it depends on the positions of all the atoms.
Berry is currently the James Franck Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at the University of Chicago. He has also taught at Yale University and the University of Michigan, and held visiting professorships at the University of Copenhagen, the Universit� de Paris-Sud, the University of Electro-Communications, Tokyo, and Oxford University. In 2003, he worked as special advisor to the Director of Argonne National Laboratory for National Security.
He has been awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, spent a year at the Freie Universit�t Berlin as a recipient of the Humboldt Prize, and earned the Heyrovsky Medal of the Czech Academy of Sciences.
Berry is closely associated with the Aspen Center for Physics, a founder of the Telluride Science Research Center, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences acting as home secretary from 1999 to 2003. He is also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a foreign member of the Royal Danish Academy.
Berry received bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from Harvard University, and he is author of five books, including one on thermodynamic optimization and another on the social costs of coal and nuclear power.
For more information, contact Charles Jaff�, professor in the Department of Chemistry, at 304-685-0826 or Charles.Jaffe@mail.wvu.edu.
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