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Science Lecture Series

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The Science Lecture Series at Otterbein University was established in 1987 under the leadership of Dr. Philip Barnhart, Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Dr. Jerry Jenkins, Chair of the Department of Chemistry. The George W. and Mildred K. White Science Seminar Fund sponsors the annual scientific seminars. Through these seminars, national leaders in science and technology share their insights about the future of scientific endeavor. 

The Science Lecture Series is coordinated by a committee, chaired by the Office of Academic Affairs and comprised of the Science Outreach Coordinator and representatives from the Science Division, including the departments of Chemistry, Equine Science, Psychology, Nursing, Physics and Astronomy, Life and Earth Sciences, and Mathematical and Computer Sciences.

2016 Science Lecture Series: 
Time, Einstein and the coolest stuff in the universe.

The George W. and Mildred K. White Science Lecture Series at Otterbein University will present a free public lecture by Nobel Prize winner Dr. William D. Phillips.

7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016
Battelle Fine Arts Center

At the beginning of the 20th century, Einstein changed the way we think about time. Near the end of the 20th century, scientists learned how to cool a gas of atoms to temperatures billions of times lower than anything else in the universe. Now, in the 21st century, Einstein’s thinking and ultracold atoms are shaping one of the key scientific and technological wonders of contemporary life: atomic clocks, the best timekeepers ever made. Such super-accurate clocks are essential to industry, commerce, and science; they are the heart of the Global Positioning System (GPS), which guides cars, airplanes, and hikers to their destinations. Today, the best primary atomic clocks use ultracold atoms, achieve accuracies better than a second in 300 million years and are getting better all the time. Super-cold atoms, with temperatures that can be below a billionth of a degree above absolute zero, use, and allow tests of, some of Einstein’s strangest predictions. 

Dr. William D. Phillips (Photo Copyright: Robert Rathe)Phillips earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Juniata College and doctorate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). After two years as a Chaim Weizmann postdoctoral fellow at MIT, he joined the staff of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 1978. He is currently a NIST fellow, the leader of the Laser Cooling and Trapping Group     (Photo courtesty of Robert Rathe)
in the Quantum Measurement Division
of NIST’s Physical Measurement Laboratory and a distinguished university professor at the University of Maryland. He is a fellow of the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), a cooperative research organization of NIST and the University of Maryland that is devoted to the study of quantum coherent phenomena. At the JQI he is the co-director of a National Science Foundation-funded Physics Frontier Center focusing on quantum phenomena that span different subfields of physics. Phillips’s research group studies the physics of ultracold atomic gases.  In 1997, Phillips shared the Nobel Prize in Physics “for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light.”

Science Lecture Series Past Lectures

  • 1987 – The Information Revolution

  • 1988 – The Three-Pound Universe

  • 1989 – Longevity: The Myths and Realities of Aging

  • 1990 – The Origins of Life

  • 1991 – Genetic Medicine: Accomplishments, Prospects, and Bioethics

  • 1993 – Backyard Biosphere: Environmental Technology and Ethics in Everyday Life

  • 1994 – Health Care 2000: American Through the Looking Glass

  • 1995 – Cosmology: the Universe Around Us

  • 1996 – Nature’s Mind and the Human Body: Darwin in Contemporary Psychology

  • 1997 – Educating for Community: Science and the Community

  • 1998 – Animals in Society: Exploring the Human-Animal Bond

  • 1999 – DNA Microchips: A Revolution in Nucleic Acid Diagnostics

  • 2000 – Women in Science: Lessons in Leadership

  • 2001 – NASA: Experimentation and Exploration in Space

  • 2002 – Nature and Nurture in Child Development

  • 2003 – G3: Gratifying the Globe Through Green Chemistry

  • 2004 – Got Nano? The Next Big Thing is Small

  • 2005 – Big Bang Boom: Einstein’s Universe

  • 2008 – Through the Looking Glass: The Meaning of Quantum Mechanics

  • 2009 – Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species

  • 2011- The Galactic Center - Uncovering the Pulse of our Galaxy

  • 2012 - A History of Violence

  • 2013 - Flipping the switch: how cells use RNA to regulate gene expression

  • 2014 - Green Chemistry: Lessons from catalysis

  • 2015 - Do Animals Lie?

/ Science Lecture Series

Bonnie Ward
Assistant Director of Sponsored Programs
p/ 614.823.1847
e/ bward@otterbein.edu