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CCNY Symposium April 23 to Explore Future of Physics

March 29, 2010

CCNY Symposium April 23 to Explore Future of Physics

High-energy physicist David Gross, left, and astrophysicist Alan Guth will bookend the program at the "Frontiers in Physics" symposium April 23 presented by The City College of New York Physics Department.

Honorary Degree to be Conferred Upon Sy Sternberg, ’65 EE

Five prominent physicists from leading U.S. and European universities will explore the future of their discipline at “Frontiers in Physics,” a daylong symposium presented by thePhysics Department at The City College of New York (CCNY).  The event, Friday, April 23, at The Harmonie Club in New York, will serve as the occasion for the conferral of an honorary doctorate on Sy Sternberg, ’65 EE, former chairman and chief executive officer of New York Life Insurance Co.

The principal speakers, representing high-energy physics, condensed matter physics, quantum computing/quantum information, biophysics and astrophysics, will assess the state of their fields and near-term and mid-range prospects.  “A seminar of this nature has never been done on the East Coast before,” said Dr. V. Parameswaran Nair, professor and chair of physics at CCNY.  The five featured speakers and their topics are:

•    Dr. David Gross, Nobel Laureate (Physics 2004), Frederick W. Gluck Professor of Theoretical Physics and Director, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of California – Santa Barbara, “Frontiers of Particle Physics.”

•    Dr. Andre Geim, Langworthy Professor of Physics and Director, Manchester Centre for Mesoscience and Nanotechnology, University of Manchester (United Kingdom), “Graphene: Magic of Flat Carbon.”

•    Dr. Anton Zeilinger, Professor of Physics, University of Austria, and Scientific Director, Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, “Quantum Information and the Foundation of Quantum Mechanics.”

•    Dr. P. Leslie Dutton, Eldridge Reeves Johnson Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Pennsylvania, and Director, Johnson Foundation for Molecular Biophysics, “Electron Tunneling in Biology.”

•    Dr. Alan Guth, Victor F. Weisskopf Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Inflationary Cosmology: Is Our Universe Part of a Multiverse?”

“Physics had a fantastic twentieth century, and many people feel there is much to look forward to in physics,” said Professor Nair.   “This is a good time to take a big-picture look at where physics is headed.”

The five fields covered by the speakers – high-energy physics, condensed matter physics, quantum computing / quantum information, biophysics and astrophysics – are the focus of most current research within the discipline, he noted.  CCNY’s Physics Department has ongoing research in each of these areas, and several professors have received international recognition for their work, Professor Nair added.

Mr. Sternberg will receive the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of his distinguished service to The City College, The City University, New York City and the United States.  CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, ’63, and CCNY Interim President Robert E. Paaswell will confer the degree upon him.   The ceremony honoring Mr. Sternberg will take place at 4:30 p.m., and precedes Dr. Guth’s lecture at 5 p.m., which is open to the general public.

A complete schedule for the event follows:

Morning Program
9 a.m.        Continental Breakfast
9:30 a.m.    Welcome, CCNY Interim President Robert E. Paaswell
9:50 a.m.    Symposium Introduction, Professor V. Parameswaran Nair
10 a.m.        Professor David Gross: High-Energy Physics
11 a.m.        Professor Andre Geim: Condensed Matter Physics
12 noon    Lunch

Afternoon Program

1:30 p.m.    Professor Anton Zeilinger: Quantum Computing/Quantum Information
2:30 p.m.    Professor Leslie Dutton: Biophysics
3:30 p.m.    Reception
4:30 p.m.    Presentation of Honorary Doctorate to Sy Sternberg
4:45 p.m.    Speaker Introduction, Professor Michio Kaku
5 p.m.        Public Lecture, Professor Alan Guth: Astrophysics

Evening Program

6:30 p.m.    Dinner.  Speakers: Jonathan Maltz, CCNY ’08, and Alisa Agafanova, CCNY ’10