Nobel Laureate to Help Demystify Dark Matter

Record Attendance Expected for 2010 Anson L. Clark Memorial Lecture

Apr. 14, 2010

Some 24 years after giving his first Anson L. Clark Memorial Lecture, Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg will return to UT Dallas to speak to high school students about the mysteries of dark matter — the dense, unseen portion of the universe that accounts for most of its mass. 

The attendance by up to 1,700 area high school students should top last year’s record crowd of 1,300.

The April 16 event, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 11:25 a.m. in the UT Dallas Activity Center.

About the Anson L. Clark Memorial Lecture

The Anson L. Clark Memorial Lecture began in 1970 and has drawn distinguished speakers to the UT Dallas campus every year since.

The oldest endowed lecture series on campus honors the memory of a remarkable individual who amassed a sizable fortune throughout a highly unusual and successful career — first, as an engineer, then as a physician at the Mayo Clinic and finally as a businessman in the oil and banking industries.

Clark’s philanthropic activities have for many decades supported scholarly endeavors at a number of Texas colleges and universities, including the Clark Summer Research Program and the Clark Presidential Scholarship at UT Dallas.

Hearing the Lecture

For more information about attending the lecture, visit the Clark Lecture Web site or contact Diana Wilson-Willis by e-mail or at 972-883-4153.

A live Internet feed will be available.

Weinberg is the Jack S. Josey-Welch Foundation Chair in Science and Regental Professor at UT Austin.  He is considered one of the world’s leading theoretical physicists and is known for prolific writings about high-energy physics, relativity, cosmology, science and religion.

“Dr. Weinberg joins an elite group of invitees who have spoken throughout 40 years at the University’s oldest endowed lecture series,” said Dr. Myron Salamon, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.  “Popular interest in dark matter, coinciding with Dr. Weinberg’s recent book on cosmology, motivated us to invite him to UT Dallas once again.”

Events surrounding the lecture will include campus tours for nearly 1,000 students and teachers from public and private schools in Richardson, Dallas, Garland and other communities.  Students will tour 21 laboratory and education centers around campus, including the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute, the Sickle Cell Disease Research Center and the Science and Engineering Education Center.

Faculty members are planning interactive research presentations about learning and memory, minerals, space research, motion sensing and other topics.  The tours serve as an introduction to the science conducted at UT Dallas and as a prelude to Weinberg’s lecture.

Weinberg and physicists Abdus Salam and Sheldon Glashow won the 1979 Nobel Prize in physics for discoveries that unified two of the four fundamental forces of nature.

“Steven Weinberg has made several seminal contributions to the field of theoretical physics,” said Dr. Mustapha Ishak-Boushaki, principal investigator of the UT Dallas Astrophysics, Cosmology and Relativity Group.  Ishak-Boushaki is Weinberg’s faculty host and an expert in cosmology, the branch of astrophysics concerned with the origin, evolution and structure of the universe. 

“At the top of Dr. Weinberg’s contribution is his model of the unification of the electromagnetic and weak nuclear forces,” Ishak-Boushaki said.  “Weinberg’s scientific paper in which he proposed this theory is one of the most highly cited papers in high energy physics.” 

Ishak-Boushaki cites Weinberg’s contributions to physics as a source of inspiration for anyone interested in the universe and how it works.

“The visit of Weinberg to UT Dallas is especially welcomed by our cosmology group,” Ishak-Boushaki said.  “Our graduate students are involved in cutting-edge research projects in the field and are aiming toward great careers in cosmology. Weinberg’s visit is certainly stimulating.”

Weinberg spoke about “Newtonianism and Modern Physics” at his Clark lecture in 1986.


Media Contact: Brandon V. Webb, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, Brandon.webb@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu
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Dr. Steven Weinberg is considered one of the world’s leading theoretical physicists.

Steve Weinberg

Astronomical evidence of dark matter

This NASA image shows galaxy cluster 1E 0657-56, also known as the “bullet cluster.” Most of the matter and mass in the clusters (blue) is  separate from the normal matter (pink), which experts cite as evidence that nearly all of the matter in the clusters is dark.


Dr. Steven Weinberg

Jack S. Josey-Welch Foundation Chair in Science and Regental Professor

Director of the Theory Research Group, UT Austin

Education:

Served on the faculty at:

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  • Nobel Prize in physics (1979)
  • National Medal of Science (1991)
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1968)
  • National Academy of Sciences, elected (1972)
  • J. R. Oppenheimer Prize (1973)

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