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Event: Montgomery Fellow Roald Hoffmann

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Poet, playwright, and Nobel Prize-winning chemist Roald Hoffmann joins the Dartmouth community as a Montgomery Fellow in October. In addition to meeting with students informally and in classes, Hoffmann will deliver two public lectures and a stage reading.

Roald HoffmannRoald Hoffmann (Photo by Gary Hodges)

Hoffmann discussed his work with Vox of Dartmouth:

Identity: Chemistry’s many tensions, Hoffmann says, “combine to make chemistry interesting.” He offers a good dozen such tensions, among them synthesis vs. analysis, creation vs. discovery, harm vs. benefit, pure vs. impure, the same vs. not the same. “Perhaps the last one, concerning identity, is the essential one,” he suggests.

Art, science, and ethics: His play, Should’ve, considers “the social responsibility of scientists and artists,” he says. “One of the characters, Katie, has a vision of that responsibility, diametrically opposed to that of her father. I hope the audience will be left thinking about their choices.”

Mood indigo: It was a biologist who tipped Hoffmann off to the cultural importance of indigo dye, the subject of one of Hoffmann’s lectures. Protochemistries—dyes, metals, cosmetics, glass, soaps—“are chemistries developed by people before there were chemists. As such they form a natural bridge between science and people. I love these protochemistries,” Hoffmann says. “I look for them.”

Stage Reading of Should’ve: Wednesday, October 7, 7:30 p.m. • Hopkins Center, Bentley Theater • 646-4062

Lecture: “Indigo: A Tale of Craft, Religion, History, Science, and Culture,” sponsored by the religion department: Thursday, October 8, 4:30 p.m. • Haldeman 041 • 646-4062

Montgomery Fellow Lecture: “Chemistry’s Essential Tension,” Tuesday, October 13, 4:30 p.m. • Moore Hall, Filene Auditorium • 646-4062

By KELLY SEAMAN

Last Updated: 1/7/10