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Serendipity: Does Science Evolve by Blind Chance or through Intelligent Design?
Prof Sheldon Lee Glashow, University Professor and Arthur GB Metcalf Professor of Mathematics and the Sciences, Boston University; 1979 Nobel Laureate in Physics
Date : 15 Jan 2018 (Monday)
Time : 3:00 - 4:30 pm
Venue : IAS Lecture Theater, Lo Ka Chung Building, Lee Shau Kee Campus, HKUST
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In this lecture, the speaker will discuss two approaches to science: curiosity-driven or carefully-directed research. In both cases, scientists must keep their eyes wide open and be prepared for surprises. They may find something important they were not looking for. Many great discoveries in both pure and applied science happen by accident.


About the speaker

Prof Sheldon Lee Glashow received his BA from Cornell University in 1954 and his PhD in Physics from Harvard University in 1958. He furthered his career in Stanford University and University of California at Berkeley, and then became a Professor at Harvard in 1966. He was named Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics in 1979 at Harvard and became an emeritus professor in 2000. He then joined the Boston University and is currently the University Professor and Arthur GB Metcalf Professor of Mathematics and the Sciences.

Prof Glashow’s research focuses on electroweak symmetry breaking and the Big Bang, dark matter and cosmology. His contributions to the theory of the unified weak and electromagnetic interaction between elementary particles, including, inter alia, the prediction of the weak neutral current, was awarded the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics, jointly with Prof Abdus Salam of the Imperial College and Prof Steven Weinberg of Harvard University. Prof Glashow’s theory predicted, for example, that weak interaction manifests itself in “neutral weak currents” when certain elementary particles interact. The theory was later confirmed to be valid.

Besides the Nobel Prize in Physics, Prof Glashow was also awarded the High Energy and Particle Physics Prize by the European Physical Society (2011), the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Award (1999), the Ettore Majorana Prize – Erice – Science for Peace by the Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture (1991) and the George Ledlie Prize by Harvard University (1978). He was also elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow of the American Physical Society, Member of the US National Academy of Sciences, Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

For attendees’ attention


  The lecture is free and open to all. Seating is on a first come, first served basis.
  Light refreshments will be served from 4:30 to 5:00 pm.



HKUST Jockey Club Institute for Advanced Study
Enquiries: ias@ust.hk / 2358 5912