May 16, 2006

Cornell hosts the Hans Bethe Centennial Symposium

Scientists from around the world will gather at Cornell June 2 and 3 for the Bethe Centennial Symposium on Astrophysics, a celebration of the life and contributions of Hans Bethe (1906-2005) and an opportunity to discuss the latest research in the field he pioneered.

The symposium participants, experts in the field and several of Bethe's former colleagues, will explore the future of those areas in physics that captivated Bethe most during the last four decades of his life. The symposium, hosted by Cornell's Departments of Physics and Astronomy, will be held in Clark Hall's Hans Bethe Auditorium (Room 700).

"Hans spent the last 25 years working on supernovae theory, neutrinos and high-energy astrophysics," said Ira Wasserman, Cornell professor of astronomy and the symposium organizer. "We're bringing together some of the leading people in these fields, all of whom knew Hans, and some of whom were Bethe lecturers here at Cornell."

A 1967 Nobel laureate in physics, Bethe, who died last year at 98, was among the last of the giants of the golden age of 20th century physics and the birth of modern atomic theory, and he was one of science's most universally admired figures. He was an emeritus professor of physics at Cornell, having joined the faculty in 1935 after fleeing Nazi Germany because his mother was Jewish. During World War II, at Los Alamos, N.M., Bethe was the head of the Theoretical Physics Division on the Manhattan Project. He was one of the most honored members of the faculty in the university's history for his work in revolutionizing our perception of the real world. But he was equally admired for his reputation for integrity, humility and concern that made him the conscience of science.

The symposium will have four sessions:

Registration and other information about the symposium is available online at http://astro.cornell.edu/~dong/bethe.htm. The registration fee before May 24 is $150, and it is $200 after that. For further information, send an e-mail to Sharon Falletta at falletta@astro.cornell.edu.