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Nobel Laureate to Speak at Casper College


Put a Nobel Prize winner and Simpsons’ character on stage at the same time and what do you get? A fascinating evening at Casper College. Nobel laureate and pop culture icon, Dudley R. Herschbach, Ph.D., will give a free presentation on Wednesday, July 27 beginning at 7 p.m. in the Wheeler Concert Hall.


Herschbach, distinguished professor of physics and chemistry at Texas A&M and research professor emeritus at Harvard University, was a joint winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking work in chemistry. He may also be the only world-class scientist to play himself in the animated sitcom, “The Simpsons.” Making a cameo appearance in the 2003 Halloween episode “Treehouse of Horror XIV,” Herschbach joked at the time that his participation in the show might break new ground in the appreciation of his brilliant colleagues. “For a lot of people, scientists seem to be a breed apart,” he told the Harvard Crimson after the original airing of the episode. “But scientists enjoy having fun as much as anyone else,” he added.


Herschbach will be in Casper July 25-29 to attend the 2016 Texas A&M – Casper College Summer School on Quantum Science and Engineering. The annual event is organized by CC alum Marlan Scully, Ph.D., distinguished professor of applied physics and quantum optics at Texas A&M and distinguished research academician at Baylor University. In addition to his A.S. degree in engineering physics, Scully earned a B.S. in engineering physics from the University of Wyoming and an M.S. and Ph.D. in physics from Yale University.


“The state of Wyoming has consistently produced a cadre of professionals from all walks of life who have gone on to change their professions, our country, and in many cases the very world around us. Dr. Marlan Scully is just such a person. Casper College is proud that one of our alums has once again brought his summer meeting back to Casper, attracting world-renowned scientists and graduate students to our campus, and our city,” said Darren Divine, Ph.D. and president of Casper College.


Herschbach, who won the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry jointly with Yuan T. Lee and John C. Polanyi “for their contributions concerning the dynamics of chemical elementary processes,” received his B.S. degree in mathematics and M.S. in chemistry from Stanford University, followed by an A.M. degree in physics and a Ph.D. in chemical physics from Harvard. While passionate about catalytic supersonic expansions, Herschbach is also fascinated with legendary scientists whose contributions go well beyond the lab. During his talk in Casper, he will share his research on Einstein’s legacy in modern culture.


“Having Dr. Herschbach talk at Casper College is an amazing opportunity for our college students, faculty, staff, and the overall Casper Community,” said Shawn Powell, Ph.D., vice president of academic services at the college. “Attendees will hear from a world-class scientist whose unique place in the history books stretches beyond his Nobel Prize,” he added.


Herschbach’s presentation is free and open to the public. It will be on Wednesday, July 27 beginning at 7 p.m. at the Wheeler Concert Hall, which is located in the Music Building on the Casper College campus.