Nobel Laureate in Physics
The presentation, sponsored by the Cal State L.A. Department of Physics and Astronomy, is free to the public and will be held on Friday, May 5, 2000, beginning at 2 p.m. in Physical Sciences, room 158, on the Cal State L.A. campus.
Physicist Walter Kohn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry on October 13, 1998 for his development of the density-functional theory. Kohn is a condensed matter theorist who has made seminal contributions to the understanding of the electronic structure of materials. He played the leading role in the development of the density-functional theory, which has revolutionized scientists' approach to the electronic structure of atoms, molecules and solid materials in physics, chemistry and materials science. With the advent of supercomputers, density-functional theory has become an essential tool for electronic materials science. Professor Kohn has also made major contributions to the physics of semiconductors, superconductivity, surface physics and catalysis. Professor Kohn was the founding director of the National Science Foundation's Institute for Theoretical Physics www.itp.ucsb.edu at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The Institute brings together leading scientists from throughout the world to work on major problems in theoretical physics and related fields. Under Professor Kohn's leadership it quickly developed into one of the leading research centers in physics, and has been widely copied.
Kohn, the first director of the Institute for Theoretical Physics, at UC Santa Barbara, and currently at the Department of Physics, UCSB www.physics.ucsb.edu, has received the 1998 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. He was awarded the prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for the development of density-functional theory. He shares the award with John Pople, Department of Chemistry, Northwestern University. Pople was awarded the prize for his development of computational methods in quantum chemistry. Kohn, born in 1923, is a faculty member of the department of physics at UC Santa Barbara.
Quantum chemistry now is used in practically all branches of chemistry with the aim of increasing knowledge of the inner structure of matter, and Kohn's and Pople's work has been crucial for this new field of research, the academy said.
The research has many applications, for instance in pharmaceuticals to study how proteins interact with other molecules, to study the makeup of interstellar matter, or to study chemical reactions in the ozone layer to make the atmosphere cleaner.
The lecture series, honoring the late Leon Pape, a member of the Cal State L.A. Physics Department faculty from 1961 to 1971, brings Nobel Prize winners and distinguished experts in the science field to the campus. Past speakers have included Nobel Laureates Rosalyn S. Yalow, William A. Fowler, Linus Pauling, Hans A. Bethe, Leon M. Lederman, Francis H.C. Crick, and F. Sherwood Rowland.
For more information, call the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Cal State L.A., (323) 343-2100.
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