Nobel Conference 50Where Does Science Go from Here?
Oct. 7 & 8, 2014

Celebrating 50 years of the Nobel Conference

For nearly 50 years, the Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College has hosted preeminent scientists, theologians, and ethicists to discuss deep questions at the intersection of science and society. From the newest results in physics, chemistry, and biology to the newest fields of multidisciplinary study, scientists at the Nobel Conference have examined the universe at its largest and smallest scales, explored the oceans, and described new materials. Conference speakers have debated the mechanisms of aging as well as the science and economics of food. Often, speakers have given us a glimpse of the next big questions and how they might be answered. Throughout all of the conversations, ethicists and theologians have grounded the science in a human dimension.

The 50th Nobel Conference at Gustavus will celebrate a half century of bringing breakthrough science to lay audiences in the upper Midwest, across the country, and more recently around the world. Nobel Conference 50 will assemble previous Nobel Conference participants to look at recent advances and future directions in the physical sciences, evolutionary biology and ecology, medicine and physiology, and the intersection of science and society. We will also set aside time to reflect on the rich history of the conference itself. Join us on October 7 & 8, 2014.


Evolutionary developmental biologist Sean B. Carroll, PhD – professor of molecular biology, genetics, and medical genetics, University of Wisconsin at Madison; investigator and vice president for science education, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Physicist Steven Chu, PhD – 1997 Nobel laureate in physics for the development of methods using lasers to cool and trap atoms; William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Humanities and Sciences and professor of physics and molecular and cellular physiology at Stanford University; former director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; served as the 12th U.S. Secretary of Energy under President Barack Obama from January 2009 until April 2013, the first scientist to hold a cabinet position

Neurophilosopher Patricia Smith Churchland – UC President’s Professor of Philosophy Emerita, University of California, San Diego; adjunct professor, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, San Diego

Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, MD, PhD – University Professor and David Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience and director of the Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California, Los Angeles; adjunct professor, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, San Diego

Theoretical physicist and mathematician Freeman Dyson, FRS – Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, N.J.; president and later board member of the Space Studies Institute, Mojave, Calif.

Petrologist and geochemist W. Gary Ernst, PhD – Benjamin M. Page Professor Emeritus, Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University, Calif.

Electron transfer (ET) chemist Harry B. Gray, PhD – Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry and founding director of the Beckman Institute, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena

Chemist Sir Harold W. Kroto, PhD – 1996 Nobel laureate in chemistry; Francis Eppes Professor of Chemistry, Florida State University, Tallahassee; professor emeritus, University of Sussex, Brighton, U.K.

Paleogeneticist Svante Pääbo, PhD – director, Department of Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany

Theoretical physicist Steven Weinberg, PhD – 1979 Nobel laureate in physics; Jack S. Josey-Welch Foundation Regents Chair in Science and professor, Departments of Physics and Astronomy, University of Texas at Austin

Biomedical engineer Jennifer L. West, PhD – Fitzpatrick Family University Professor of Engineering and professor, Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Biomedical Engineering, Cell Biology, and Chemistry, Duke University, Durham, N.C.; member of the Pratt School of Engineering’s Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics.