Nobel Prize series honours Einstein

March 10, 2005, vol. 32, no. 5
By Diane Luckow

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This year's annual Nobel Prize public lecture series marks the centennial of Albert Einstein's 1905 annus mirabilis in which he published four papers that transformed the world's conceptions of space and time, confirmed the existence of atoms and molecules and revealed a strange quantum quality that rules the microscopic world.

The free lecture series, established four years ago to recognize and celebrate excellence, features presentations from SFU professors who explain the work of distinguished 2004 Nobel and other prize winners.

It is sponsored by the faculty of science and the faculty of arts and social sciences.

A lecture March 10 by SFU physics professor Howard Trottier offers a glimpse into the meaning of some of Einstein's miraculous theories and how they continue to shape research.

The March 17 talk honours Richard Axel and Linda Buck, Nobel Prize winners in medicine/physiology for their ground-breaking research into olfaction, or the sense of smell. SFU chemistry professor Erika Plettner will follow an odourant as it travels through the air stream to the nose, into the brain for processing and beyond to its deactivation.

March 31 is a lecture by biology professor Arne Mooers about the work of professor Carl Woese of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, who discovered that life actually is divided into three rather than five domains as previously believed. He won the Crawfoord Prize in biology 2003.

On April 7, SFU economics professor Richard Harris will make a presentation about business cycles and credibility dilemmas as he discusses the work of Finn Kydland and Edward Prescott who won the Nobel Prize in economics.

At the April 14 lecture, SFU English professor Paul Matthew St. Pierre will explore the work of Elfriede Jelinek, who won the Nobel Prize in literature for her musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that, with extraordinary linguistic zeal, reveal the absurdity of society's clichés and their subjugating power.

The April 21 lecture honours the work of Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maatha, of Kenya - the first woman among seven African winners to receive it. SFU political science professor Sandra Martin will talk about why Maathai was an inspired choice.

The lectures all take place at 6 p.m. in the Segal centre room at SFU Vancouver. To reserve a seat call 604-291-5100.

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