CORVALLIS - A Polish poet who came to the U.S. after World War II, earned a Nobel prize as a chemist, and produced an internationally broadcast television course about chemistry will speak at Oregon State University on May 4.
Roald Hoffmann, a professor at Cornell University, will give a free public lecture entitled, "One Culture: The Commonalities (and the Differences) of Art and Science." His talk, which will examine the rift between humanists and those involved with science and technology, will begin at 4 p.m. in Wilkinson Hall's Gilfillan Auditorium.
In his talk, Hoffman will make a case for an underlying unity of science and the arts using examples from chemistry, poetry, painting and ceramics.
Hoffmann was born in Zloczow, Poland. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1949, studied chemistry at Columbia and Harvard universities, and began teaching at Cornell, where he is now the Frank H.T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters.
He and Kenichi Fukui shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the theoretical interpretation of chemical reactions using rules of orbital symmetry.
His television course, "The World of Chemistry," appears on PBS stations in the U.S. and is broadcast abroad.
Hoffmann's most recent book, "Old Wine, New Flasks: Reflections on Science and Jewish Tradition," written with Shira Leibowitz Schmidt, explores the intertwined voices of science and religion. His recent (1995) "The Same and Not the Same" probes the dualities that lie under the surface of chemistry. Hoffmann has also published several poetry collections.
His lecture is the last in the series, "The Arts and the Sciences: Interactions and Influences" sponsored by the Thomas Hart and Mary Jones Horning Endowment in the Humanities at OSU.