Nobel Laureate to Speak at Commencement
COLLEGE STATION —
Nobel Laureate Dr. Dudley R. Herschbach, professor of both physics and chemistry at Texas A&M University, has been selected as the university’s commencement convocation speaker Dec. 17 as a prelude to three graduation ceremonies conducted over the following two days, announced Interim President R. Bowen Loftin.
Commencement convocation is a new Texas A&M tradition in which all members of a graduating class have the opportunity to assemble together, along with family members and friends, in an informal setting. It launches events in which the degree candidates formally receive their degrees in subsequent ceremonies aligned by the academic colleges representing their major fields of study.
Commencement convocation and the graduation ceremonies are open to the public.
The commencement convocation will be held at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17, in Rudder Theatre. Graduation exercises will be held the following day at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Reed Arena and conclude with a 9 a.m. ceremony there Saturday (Dec. 19). The closing graduation exercise will include commissioning ceremonies for graduating Corps of Cadets members who will be entering one of the four branches of the armed forces as officers.
Herschbach, co-recipient of the 1986 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, joined the Texas A&M faculty in 2005. He had previously served on the faculty at Harvard University — where he continues to hold a joint appointment as the Frank B. Baird Jr. Professor of Science — for more than four decades.
“We are doubly fortunate to have Dr. Herschbach on our faculty,” Loftin observed. “Not only is he a world-renowned scientist, but he is also a gifted speaker.”
Dr. H. Joseph Newton, dean of the College of Science, applauded the decision to invite Herschbach to be the convocation speaker. “I have heard Dr. Herschbach speak on several occasions, and I know the students will be in for a treat. I’m confident this is one commencement address students will remember.”
Dr. Edward S. Fry, professor and head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, said he readily agrees. “Not only is Dudley Herschbach a superb speaker, he is also an extraordinary scientist and a wonderful human being. In his mind, one of his proudest accomplishments was as a voice on The Simpsons — this from a Nobel laureate! Texas A&M’s graduates should feel very special to have him as their commencement speaker.”
Nearly two decades after receiving his Nobel Prize, Herschbach continues to advance the field of chemical physics. To date, he has published more than 400 papers on related research topics ranging from collision stereodynamics and molecular slowing to catalytic supersonic expansions and strongly correlated many-particle interactions. In addition to his university teaching and research, he is engaged in several efforts to improve K-12 science education and public understanding of science.
Herschbach 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. In addition to the Nobel Prize, his many international awards include the American Chemical Society’s Pure Chemistry Prize and Kosolapoff Award, the Linus Pauling Medal, the Michael Polanyi Medal, the American Physical Society’s Irving Langmuir Prize, the National Medal of Science, the Jaroslav Heyrovsky Medal, the Sierra Nevada Distinguished Chemist Award, the William Walker Prize and the Council of Scientific Society’s President’s Award for Support of Science.
A native of San Jose, Calif., he earned an A.M. degree in physics and Ph.D. in chemical physics at Harvard after receiving a bachelor’s of science in mathematics and a master’s of science in chemistry from Stanford University.
Contact: Lane Stephenson at 979-845-4662 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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