Two Nobel Laureate Physicists to Deliver Talks at UNC-Chapel Hill, Nov. 13 and 14

November 1, 2018

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will host two Nobel laureates in Physics in November.  Wolfgang Ketterle, John D. MacArthur Professor of Physics at MIT, will give a talk on Tuesday, November 13, and Rainer Weiss, professor emeritus at MIT, will give a talk on Wednesday, November 14.

“This is a remarkable opportunity for UNC to host two of the world’s leading scholars in physics,” said Raymond Farrow, associate provost for global affairs and interim chief global officer. “We are honored to welcome both Dr. Ketterle and Dr. Weiss at Carolina during the same week.”

Wolfgang Ketterle will present the Heidelberg Lecture, sponsored by the Heidelberg University Association and the American Council on Germany, and hosted by the Center for European Studies at UNC-Chapel Hill. The Heidelberg lecture is part of the Year of German-American Friendship 2018/19, also known as Deutschlandjahr. Born in Heidelberg, Germany, Ketterle was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2001, along with Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman of the University of Colorado, for his work on Bose-Einstein condensation. Ketterle’s lecture on “New Forms of Matter with Super Cold Atoms: Superfluids and Supersolids” will be held on November 13 at 5:30 pm in the Nelson Mandela Auditorium in the FedEx Global Education Center followed by a reception in the Florence and James Peacock Atrium.  For more information and to RSVP for the event, visit the Center for European Studies’ website.

Rainer Weiss is a Professor Emeritus at MIT. Born in Berlin, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2017, along with Kip Thorne and Barry Barish of the California Institute of Technology, for work on gravitational wave observation. His research focuses on the cosmic microwave background radiation, and at 6:00 pm on November 14, he will present a lecture on “Probing the Universe with Gravitational Waves” in the Nelson Mandela Auditorium in the FedEx Global Education Center. This event is sponsored by the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Honors Carolina at UNC-Chapel Hill and the CoSMS Institute. For more information, visit the CoSMS Institute’s website.

UNC-Chapel Hill is itself home two Nobel Prize recipients. Aziz Sancar, who is the Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Sancar won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his groundbreaking work in mapping DNA repair. Sancar is currently working to develop the Sancar Turkish Cultural and Community Center, which will serve Chapel Hill’s Turkish community.

Oliver Smithies, who passed away in 2017 at age 91, was the Weatherspoon Eminent Distinguished Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Smithies was Carolina’s first Nobel Laureate, winning the 2007 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for his pioneering work on gene targeting and knockout mice.

These events are free and open to the public. Parking is available in the McCauley Deck underneath the FedEx Global Education Center starting at 5 p.m.

Media Contact: Katie Bowler Young, director of global relations,

Event Contact: Ingrid Smith, manager of global events and exhibitions,