Nobel laureate in chemistry to speak at Iowa State March 31

AMES, Iowa -- Dudley Herschbach, the Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science at Harvard University and recipient of the Nobel Prize in chemistry, will present the 2009 President's Lecture in Chemistry at Iowa State University. His presentation, "The Impossible Takes a Little Longer: Reflections on Teaching Science as a Liberal Art," will be at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, in the Memorial Union Sun Room. It is free and open to the public.

Herschbach won the Nobel Prize in 1986 with Yuan T. Lee and John C. Polanyi. His research on the crossed molecular beam technique is one of the most important advances within the field of reaction dynamics, allowing scientists to better understand how chemical reactions take place.

Herschbach's teaching includes graduate courses in quantum mechanics, chemical kinetics, molecular spectroscopy and collision theory, as well as undergraduate courses in physical chemistry and freshmen general chemistry, which he considers to be his most challenging assignment.

He is engaged in several efforts to improve K-12 science education and public understanding of science. Herschbach serves as chair of the Board of Trustees of Science Service, which publishes "Science News" and conducts the Intel Science Talent Search and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

Herschbach joined the faculty at Harvard in 1963. He has served as chairman of the chemical physics program (1964-77) and of the chemistry department (1977-1980). He was named Baird Professor of Science in 1976. The author of more than 400 scientific papers, he is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the Royal Chemical Society of Great Britain.

Herschbach's awards include the Pure Chemistry Prize of the American Chemical Society (1965), the Linus Pauling Medal (1978), the Irving Langmuir Prize of the Americal Physical Society (1983), the National Medal of Science (1991), the Jaroslav Heyrovsky Medal (1992) and the William Walker Prize (1994).

He received his bachelor's degree in mathematics (1954) and master's in chemistry (1955) at Stanford University, and a master's degree in physics (1956) and doctoral degree in chemical physics (1958) at Harvard.

The lecture is cosponsored by the Office of the President, the Department of Chemistry and the Committee on Lectures, which is funded by the Government of the Student Body.