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Texas A&M’s Trotter Lecture to Explore Crossroads Of Faith And Science

April 17, 2018 @ 7:00 pm
Rudder Theatre
Rudder Complex
401 Joe Routt Blvd, College Station, TX 77843

By Shana K. Hutchins, Texas A&M University College of Science

COLLEGE STATION, April 13, 2018 – Two prominent scientists – one, known as the father of the analysis of algorithms and the creator of the popular TeX computer typesetting system, and the other, a pioneering supergravity theorist known for coining the term “p-brane” to describe one facet of dimensional volume in spacetime – will visit the Texas A&M University campus later this month to present their views on faith, science and society as part of the university’s 16th annual Trotter Endowed Lecture Series.

Donald Knuth, professor emeritus of computer science at Stanford University, and Michael Duff, emeritus professor of theoretical physics at Imperial College London, will deliver a joint public lecture Tuesday, April 17, at 7 p.m. in Rudder Theater. No tickets or RSVPs are required for the presentation, which is free and open to the public and will be followed by a reception in Rudder’s first-floor exhibit hall.

Knuth’s talk, “Translating the Bible into Music,” will explore his recent composition Fantasia Apocalyptica translating the Greek text of the Revelation of Saint John the Divine into organ music. As part of his presentation, Knuth will play excerpts from the piece, which he contends offers valuable spiritual insights for the 21st century.

Duff’s talk, “The Best of All Possible Worlds,” will draw from his more than four decades of research on supergravity, string theory and electromagnetic fields governed by the rules of quantum mechanics to explain why he believes the universe seems tailored for creatures like us.

A Fellow of the Royal Society of London, the American Physical Society, the Institute of Physics and the Royal Society of Arts, Duff’s research interests lie in unified theories of the elementary particles, quantum gravity, supergravity, Kaluza-Klein theory, superstrings, supermembranes, M-theory and quantum information theory. He is the editor of The World in Eleven Dimensions: Supergravity, Supermembranes and M-theory, a collection of notable scientific articles on string theory. Duff’s work has been recognized with the Institute of Physics’ 2017 Paul Dirac Gold Medal and Prize as well as the 2004 Meeting Gold Medal, El Colegio Nacional, Mexico.

The Trotter Prize and Endowed Lecture Series, presented by the College of Science in collaboration with the College of Engineering, seeks to illuminate connections between science and religion, often viewed in academia as non-overlapping if not rival world views. The series was established by Dr. Ide P. Trotter Jr. ’54 and Luella H. Trotter with a matching contribution from ExxonMobil Corp. in 2001 to honor Ide P. Trotter Sr., former dean of Texas A&M University’s Graduate School, and to recognize pioneering contributions to the understanding of the role of information, complexity and inference in illuminating the mechanisms and wonder of nature.

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Posted by on Apr 16 2018. Filed under .
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