When Nobel Conference 50 takes place at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., this fall, students at HWS will be able to take part without ever leaving Geneva. For the second consecutive year, the HWS Physics Department will host a livestream of the conference to enable students to watch the presentations, as well as participate by submitting questions online. The topic will be “Where Does Science Go from Here?” and the conference is designed for the general public.
The Physics Department first presented the Nobel Conference via livestream in the Physics Library in October. Charles Niederriter, professor of physics at Gustavus Adolphus and director of the Noble Conference, then visited campus and held a question and answer session later in the academic year.
The topic of the 2013 conference was “The Universe at its Limits,” with lectures on dark matter, space and time, radiation and more. Nobel laureates as well as established or promising scholars presented, after which a panel of experts took questions from the audience at Gustavus Adolphus, as well as from individuals such as the HWS students who submitted online.
“It sparked the interest of the students,” says Assistant Professor of Physics Ileana Dumitriu. “They had really good questions.”
The conference triggered discussions among students afterward, including in various physics courses and Dumitriu’s First-year Seminar “The Biophysics of Human Movement.”
“These discussions were incorporated into the classes,” Dumitriu adds.
“I found the excitement about science and scientific discovery contagious,” says Christopher Demas ’17. “The significance of the conference resonated throughout the Physics Department and I found many of the talks truly inspirational.” Both the conference screening and the campus visit by Niederriter influenced Demas to become a physics minor.
Demas enjoyed Niederriter’s presentation. “It was great to get an insider’s perspective of the conference, to understand the magnitude of the event and to learn more about the Nobel laureates from his personal experience,” he says.
According to its website, Nobel Conference 50 will include previous conference participants to look at recent advances and future directions in the physical sciences, evolutionary biology and ecology, medicine and physiology, and the intersection of science and public policy.
The photo above features Assistant Professor of Physics Ileana Dumitriu working with a student during lab.