News Release
University Affairs Office
1801 E. Cotati Avenue
Rohnert Park, CA 94928-3609
(707) 664-2057
    August 27, 2003      File #
    Contact: Joe Tenn, Department of Physics and Astronomy, (707) 664-2119


From Flying Magnets to the Mars Exploration Technology, the "What Physicists Do" Lecture Series Begins

Four recent prize winners are among the speakers in the fall “What Physicists Do” public lecture series this fall. Lectures will be at 4 p.m. on Mondays from Sept. 8 through Dec. 1 in Darwin 108.

Chris G. Van de Walle of the Palo Alto Research Center was honored with the American Physical Society’s 2002 David Adler Lectureship Award for his work on the behavior of hydrogen in semiconductors. He will describe this work on Sept. 15.

Daniel E. Reichart will come from the University of North Carolina Oct. 13 to tell about his discovery of the connection between gamma ray bursters and supernovae. Reichart is being honored with the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s 2003 Robert J. Trumpler Award for doctoral research considered unusually important to astronomy.

Alessandra Lanzara of the University of California at Berkeley is this year’s winner of the William L. McMillan Award for outstanding contributions in condensed matter physics. The young Italian physicist was honored for her discovery about high-temperature superconductors. She will speak Oct. 20.

Paul Doherty of the Exploratorium is the recipient of the National Science Teachers Association’s 2003 Faraday Award for excellence in science communication. He will describe an exhibit of flying magnets Oct. 27.

The series will open Sept. 8 with David G. Stork, chief scientist at Ricoh Innovations as well as consulting associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Stanford University, who will speak on the controversy over whether Renaissance artists employed optical devices such as concave mirrors to project images onto their canvases, which they then traced or painted over.

It will end Dec. 1 with SSU physics graduate Stephanie Snedden describing her work on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, a survey of more than 100 million celestial objects being made by a large team working at a dedicated observatory in New Mexico.

Other speakers will discuss such topics as extra spacetime dimensions, technology for Mars exploration, SSU’s new W.M. Keck microanalysis lab, computer simulations, ultrafast observations of atoms in materials, and the history of neutrinos and the discoveries about them which have produced half a dozen Nobel prizes.

SSU professor Joe Tenn, who is directing the series, expresses his gratitude to the donors who have made it possible to bring such distinguished speakers to SSU for the privately-funded lectures.

For a free poster describing all thirteen lectures, see, send e-mail to, or call (707) 664-2119.

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Last Modified: 08/27/2003