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Nobel Prize-winning chemist visits campus

Oct. 28, 2009

KALAMAZOO--A chemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize will speak Tuesday, Nov. 3, at Western Michigan University.

Dr. Roald Hoffmann, a professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Cornell University, will speak at 5 p.m. in Room 1720 of the Chemistry Building. His presentation, titled "The Many Ways of Diversity in Science," is free and open to the pubic.

Hoffmann was born in Zloczow, Poland, in 1937. Having survived the Nazi occupation, he arrived in the United States in 1949, earning degrees at Columbia and Harvard universities. Since 1965, he has been at Cornell, where he is now the Frank H.T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters Emeritus.

Hoffmann has received numerous awards during his career, including the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which he shared with Dr. Kenichi Fukui in 1981. In more than 500 scientific articles and several books, he has taught the chemical community new and useful ways to look at the geometry and reactivity of molecules.

In addition to his duties at Cornell, Hoffmann participated in a television course about chemistry. "The World of Chemistry" is a series of 26 half-hour programs developed at the University of Maryland and produced by Richard Thomas. Hoffmann is the presenter for the series, which aired on PBS beginning in 1990. His poetry has appeared in various literary magazines and he has written a half-dozen collections of poetry.

In 1993, the Smithsonian Institution Press published "Chemistry Imagined," a unique art, science and literature collaboration between Hoffmann and artist Vivian Torrence. His subsequent books include "The Same and Not the Same" in 1995 and "Old Wine, New Flasks; Reflections on Science and Jewish Tradition," by Hoffmann and Shira Leibowitz Schmidt in 1997.

Hoffmann's visit to is sponsored by the WMU Graduate College, Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, and the Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate.

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Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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