‘Most Clever Man in the World' to Talk at Scranton

09-17-09

        Nobel Prize-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann, Ph.D., who earned the prestigious award in 1969 for his work on the theory of elementary particles, will deliver the annual Harry Mullin, M.D., Lecture at The University of Scranton on Oct. 15, at 8 p.m., in the Houlihan-McLean Center.

        Gell-Mann, regarded by some as "the most clever man in the world," is currently Distinguished Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute and the Robert Andrews Millikan Professor Emeritus at the California Institute of Technology (CIT), where he joined the faculty in 1955.

        Gell-Mann has made profound contributions to science. He is perhaps best know for his "Eightfold Way," a theory of organizing dozens of subatomic particles in collisions that involve atomic nuclei. Key to this research was Gell-Mann's discovery that these particles are made up of quarks. Later, he collaborated with colleagues to build the quantum field theory of quarks and gluons known as quantum chromodynamics.

        In addition to his work in the lab, Gell-Mann authored The Quark and the Jaguar, which was published in 1994 and explains the ties between elementary nature and several complex adaptive systems.

        These systems are the focus of his current work, which incorporates a wide range of topics, including archeology, natural history, linguistics and more. Gell-Mann is leading the Evolution of Human Languages Program at the Santa Fe Institute.

       His service extends to a wide arena. For more than two decades, Gell-Mann was director of the J.D. and C.T. MacArthur Foundation (1979 to 2002); he also served as a board member of the Wildlife Conservation Society (1994 to 2006) and a Citizen Regent of the Smithsonian Institution (1974 to 1988).

        He belongs to several academies and societies, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a Foreign Member of the Royal Society of London, and was on the U.S. President's Science Advisory Committee (1969 to 1972) and the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (1994 to 2001).

        In addition to the Nobel Prize, Gell-Mann has received numerous honors and awards throughout his distinguished career. In 1988, Gell-Mann made the United Nations Environmental Program's Roll of Honor for Environmental Achievement. A year later, he was co-winner of the 1989 Ettore Majorana "Science for Peace" prize. His other awards include the Ernest O. Lawrence Memorial Award of the Atomic Energy Commission, the Franklin Medal of the Franklin Institute, the Research Corporation Award, the John J. Carty Medal of the National Academy of Sciences and the Albert Einstein Medal.

        Gell-Mann also has received honorary degrees from many colleges and universities, including Yale, Columbia, Cambridge, and Oxford.

        The Mullin Lecture series, which has brought to campus some of the world's most distinguished scholars and scientists, including more than a dozen Nobel laureates, honors the late Dr. Harry Mullin, who earned his bachelor's degree from the University, then St. Thomas College, in 1931. He dedicated a lifetime of service to his profession and the Scranton community. The series is sponsored by his wife, Ethel Mullin, his son, Brian Mullin, M.D., '66, and Robbin Mullin.

        For additional information about the lecture, which is free and open to the public, call 941-5873.

 

 

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