Leading physicist to offer inaugural Hamister LectureN. David Mermin, one of the nation's leading theoretical physicists, will speak at Kenyon on Thursday, September 9, at 7:30 p.m. in the Brandi Recital Hall of Storer Hall. Appearing as the first Hamister Distinguished Lecturer, Mermin will give a lecture entitled "The Physicist as Neologist, or How I Made the Word 'Boojum' an Internationally Accepted Scientific Term."
Mermin, the Horace White Professor of Physics at Cornell University, is known for his efforts to distill the non-intuitive concepts of relativity and quantum mechanics and present them in an accessible way. He is the winner of many awards, including the Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize of the American Physical Society in 1989.
In his talk, Mermin will recount the history of his efforts more than two decades ago to introduce the word "Boojum" (from Lewis Carroll's "The Hunting of the Snark") into the lexicon of physics. The tale "will offer instructive glimpses into the sociology and psychology of scientists," Mermin has written, while exploring "an arcane corner" of low-temperature physics and showing that "silly behavior is not limited to the political arena."
The lecture is the first in a series made possible by a gift from Donald Hamister '44, retired CEO of the Joslyn Corporation, and his wife, Margaret. Every year, the Hamister Distinguished Lecture in Physics will feature a presentation on campus by an eminent physicist.