April 13, 1995
Vol. 14, No. 15

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    Compton talks: Science for non-scientists

    The history of how science has been seen through the ages is being explored in a series of free, public lectures at 11 a.m. on Saturday mornings through June 3 in Kersten 115.

    "From the Past Through Tomorrow: The Changing World as Seen by Scientists," a series of lectures geared toward the non-scientist, continues Saturday, April 15, with "The Middle Ages and Renaissance." The series, which began April 1, is being presented by University physicist Clifford Lopate.

    The lectures examine the history of science through the discussion of specific experiments and theories that changed the way science was conducted. For example, Lopate said, when Copernicus determined that the solar system was sun-centered and not Earth-centered, it changed humankind's entire view of astronomy and of the place of human beings in the universe. And the new understanding of electricity in the late 19th century precipitated changes in technology that revolutionized the practice of science.

    Lopate received his Ph.D. in 1988 from Chicago and is now Research Scientist in the University's Enrico Fermi Institute. He is a solar-system astrophysicist who studies cosmic rays, and he is a member of a research team with a key experiment on board the spaceprobe Ulysses, which is due to cross over the sun's northern pole in July.

    The talks are part of the Arthur Holly Compton Lectures, a series that is now in its 20th year and is sponsored each fall and spring by the Enrico Fermi Institute.

    The lectures are intended to make science accessible to a general audience and to convey the excitement of new discoveries in the physical sciences.

    For more information, call 702-7823.