Guest speaker and Nobel Prize-winning chemist John C. Polanyi will lecture on “Technology, Tolerance and Terror” at the Phyllis P. Marshall Center Ballroom tonight.
“This talk will link the various issues regarding technology and terrorism, which makes this event important for all students, not just chemistry students,” said Department of Chemistry chair and event moderator Mike Zaworotko.
Polanyi, along with three other scientists, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1986 for discovering the method to interpret how molecules are reborn in a chemical reaction, according to an article from Edge magazine. This allowed for an entire new field of research in chemistry, known as reaction dynamics.
He has also received many other awards, including 30 honorary degrees from six countries.
Aside from his scientific awards and advances in the field of chemistry, Polanyi’s other interests concern the present status of the nuclear arms race, which he will explain tonight.
According to Maria Stranges, his assistant, Polanyi has also been credited with founding the Canadian Pugwash Group. The group is responsible for organizing influential scholars and public figures from around the world and is concerned with reducing and finding solutions to the dangers of armed conflict, according to www.pugwash.org .
“When you get a bunch of scientists coming out against nuclear disarmament, I think what they have to say makes a lot of sense,” Zaworotko said. “They represent a very unbiased view of society because they aren’t persuaded by money or politics.”
Zaworotko also noted Polanyi’s involvement in editing the 1979 book The Dangers of Nuclear War. In addition, he has published many essays on scientific policy, the control of armaments and peacekeeping.
Polanyi also takes an active role in the United Nations, which he believes to be an incredibly important organization because it includes every country, he said in an online interview for www.nobelprize.org .
Concerning the interest of the government to possess more strategic and powerful weapons, Polanyi said, “The world can change, and we should not rely on winning the arms race with every other country because that will inevitably result in disaster.”
The lecture will begin at 7 tonight in the Marshall Center Ballroom.