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Clarkson University Celebrates Egon's Day With Four Distinguished Speakers

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This Thursday, October 18, is "Egon's Day" at Clarkson University, a celebration of science and culture, commemorating 50 years as a faculty member for Egon Matijevic, Victor K. LaMer Professor of Colloid and Surface Science and Distinguished University Professor. matijevic

The four speakers of Egon's Day, who include two Nobel Laureates, will celebrate Matijevic's five decades in Potsdam with presentations on science and humanity, science and history, science and art, and science and technology. The public is invited to attend free of charge.

Renowned among alumni as a maestro in the lecture hall and among his peers world-wide for his scientific virtuosity, Matijevic's contributions to Clarkson are legendary, and Egon's Day will truly be a celebration. Matijevic has inspired excellence in the laboratory, the classroom and in life. As a world-renowned researcher with numerous patents and innovations to his name, he has defied convention among his higher education peers and led the Clarkson faculty to always place students first.

Poet Virginia Clark Clarkson, Hon. '89, will read her poetry on the theme of science and humanity in Bertrand H. Snell Hall Room 213 at 10:15 a.m.

Sir John Meurig Thomas, professor emeritus of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, will speak on "The Sons of Genius: Benjamin Franklin, Michael Faraday and Humphrey Davy" in Bertrand H. Snell Hall Room 213 at 10:30 a.m.

Nobel Laureate Richard Ernst, professor emeritus of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, will speak on "Fascinating Tibetan Painting: Art Seen Through The Eyes of A Western Scientist" in Bayard & Cora Clarkson Science Center Room 360 at 1:30 p.m.

And Nobel Laureate Ivar Giaever, professor emeritus of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, will speak on science and technology in Bayard & Cora Clarkson Science Center Room 360 at 3 p.m.

Virginia Clark Clarkson

Virginia Clark Clarkson is a long-standing supporter of education. She is a strong proponent of Clarkson's excellence and has given unselfishly of her time and insight toward the betterment of the University. In 1989, she was recognized by the University with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree for "for her dedicated service and support of Clarkson University, and the good humor, patience, and unflagging optimism that characterized her participation in the life of the institution that bears her name."

A graduate of Long Island University, where she received a B.A. and a master's degree in English, she has taught at the secondary school level, working with developmentally disabled children. At the college level, she has taught English and creative writing at C.W. Post College and Long Island University (LIU). She has served as a trustee of St. John's College and LIU, and as an advisor to Clarkson's Campus Life Committee. The author of three books of poetry, Edges; Without Rhyme, With Reason; and Nevertheless, she celebrates "the habit of being curious" and lauds learning for its own sake, tenets that may be one source of the joy and satisfaction communicated in her writing.

Sir John Meurig Thomas

Thomas has made tremendous contributions to catalysis, solid-state chemistry and surface science, and has been recognized with honors that include the International Precious Metal Institute Distinguished Achievement Award, the Sir George Stokes Gold Medal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Davy Medal of the Royal Society, the Messel Gold Medal of the Society of Chemical Industry, the Willard Gibbs Gold Medal of the American Chemistry Society, and the Medal of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, among many others.

Thomas holds more than 40 honorary fellowships in universities and colleges in around the world, has given over 100 named lectureships worldwide, including Clarkson's Shipley Lectureship in 1996, and is the recipient of 18 honorary doctoral degrees, including one from Clarkson in 2005. He is the author of over 900 research papers on the materials and surface chemistry of solids, and over 100 review articles on science, education and cultural issues. He is the co-author of 25 patents, two University texts on Heterogeneous Catalysis and a biographical-philosophical study of Michael Faraday.

Richard R. Ernst

Richard R. Ernst's work toward the development of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) was recognized with the 1991 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Born in Switzerland, Ernst earned his Ph.D. from Eidgenossische Technische Hochshule (ETH) in Zurich.

In addition to the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, Ernst has received numerous honors, including the Wolf Prize for Chemistry, the Horwitz Prize, and the Marcel Benoist Prize. He has received honorary doctoral degrees from nine universities, and is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Academy of Sciences, London, the Deutsche Akademie Leopoldina, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Korean Academy of Science and Technology, and an honorary member of many other societies. He delivered Clarkson University's Shipley Lectureship in 2001.

Ivar Giaever

Born in Norway, Nobel Laureate Ivar Giaever received his mechanical engineering degree from the Norwegian Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Joining General Electric's Research and Development Center in 1958, Giaever worked in the fields of thin films, tunneling, and superconductivity. In 1970, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and spent a year in Cambridge studying biophysics. Upon his return, Giaever began his current efforts studying the behavior of organic molecules at solid surfaces, and the interaction of cells with surfaces. During a sabbatical he served as an adjunct professor of the University of California at San Diego and a visiting professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies at La Jolla. He was an institute professor of science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute from 1988 until he was named professor emeritus upon his retirement in 2004. He is currently professor-at-large at the University of Oslo and President of Applied BioPhysics, Inc., a company he cofounded in 1991.

In October 1973, Giaever shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with L. Esaki and B. D. Josephson. Giaever received the Oliver E. Buckley Prize from the American Physical Society, the Vladimir K. Zworykin Award from the National Academy of Engineering, and the Onsager Medal from NTNU, Norway. He is also a recipient of numerous honorary degrees.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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