Dordt College News

Harvard physics professor to lecture at Dordt

October 3, 2005

Dr. Gerald Gabrielse, Professor of Physics at Harvard University, will speak at Dordt College Thursday, Oct. 13, at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The lectures are free and open to the public. Gabrielse

“Einstein, Antimatter and a Trap” will be the topic of Gabrielse’s 3 p.m. lecture, which will be presented in the Science and Technology Center, classroom 108. Antimatter and its storage are the subject of this popular science lecture that Professor Gabrielse promises all college students and professors will be able to understand, addressing such questions as: What is antimatter? Is it dangerous? Why study antimatter? How do Einstein’s E=mc2 and relativistic mass relate? How accurate is the science in popular works based on this research, like “Angels and Demons” and “Hapgood”?

An evening lecture on science and religion titled “Random at Its Core” will be presented by Gabrielse at 7:30 p.m. in Dordt’s Science and Technology Center, lecture hall 101. This lecture will address questions including: Who is the God of antimatter? What about the intelligent design movement and court cases? As both a laboratory scientist and a person of faith, Dr. Gabrielse will reflect on the interplay of science and religion in 2005.

Dr. Gabrielse has given nearly 330 invited talks at scientific conferences and university colloquia, and is the author of more than 125 scientific publications. He was awarded the Levenson Teaching Award for a senior faculty member at Harvard for his “Reality Physics” course for non-science students, and was awarded the 2002 Davisson-Germer Prize by the American Physical Society for pioneering work in trapping, cooling, and precision measurements of the properties of matter and antimatter in ion traps. Professor Gabrielse was named the George Vasmer Leverett Professor of Physics at Harvard University in 2003. In 2004, Professor Gabrielse was awarded the George Ledlie Prize by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for his stunning scientific accomplishment of creating and observing antimatter.

As the Leverett Professor of Physics at Harvard University, Gabrielse’s research efforts include a variety of atomic, optical, elementary particle, plasma and low temperature physics experiments. Very recently he and his students made the most accurate measurements of the electron magnetic moment and the fine structure constant. He leads the international ATRAP Collaboration (at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland) that made cold antihydrogen atoms with a view to probing these antimatter atoms with accurate laser spectroscopy.

Gabrielse graduated with honors from Calvin College in 1973, and has since served six years on the board of trustees, chaired Calvin’s education committee and served on the Northeast regional council of Calvin College. After being awarded a Danforth Graduate Fellowship to pursue graduate studies at a university of his choice, he earned his M.S. and his Ph.D. at The University of Chicago. The experimental portion of his thesis focused upon the production of hydrogen as fast protons traversed thin targets. The theoretical portion of his thesis focused upon the use of time reversal symmetry to classify hydrogenic observables, coauthoring many experimental and theoretical publications.

Gabrielse was a professor of physics at the University of Washington before moving to his current position at Harvard University in 1987.

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