Denison Hosts Phi Beta Kappa Physicist To Discuss 'Who Killed the Dinosaurs'
Posted: October 9, 2003
The Denison University Physics Department will host Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar James T. Trefil to discuss "Who Killed the Dinosaurs: A Scientific Detective Story." This event, set for 7:30 p.m. on Monday (Oct. 13) in Olin Lecture Hall, is free and open to the public and sponsored by the Ronnenberg Fund. Trefil, the Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Physics at George Mason University, will discuss how the extinction of the dinosaurs could have happened and how scientists can learn about an event that took place 65 million years ago.
Trefil has written extensively about science for the general public and his recent publications includeScience Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy, Other Worlds: The Solar System and Beyond, The Sciences: An Integrated Approach, Laws of NatureandNew Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. He is the Contributing Editor for Science for USA TODAY Weekend, is a regular contributor and science consultant for Smithsonian and Astronomy Magazines and editor for theEncyclopedia of Science and Technology. Trefil has served as a science commentator and member of the Science Advisory Board for National Public Radio and has done research on elementary particle physics, fluid mechanics, medical physics and the earth sciences.
Trefil earned a bachelor's degree (1960) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, both bachelor's (1962) and master's (1962) degrees from Oxford University and both master's (1964) and doctoral (1966) degrees from Stanford University. He held postdoctoral, visiting and junior faculty appointments at many places including the Stanford Linear Accelerator, European Center for Nuclear Research, Laboratory for Nuclear Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.
Trefil joined the faculty at George Mason University in 1987 and is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the World Economic Forum. He was the recipient of the AAAS-Westinghouse Science Journalism Award and the American Institute of Physics' 2000 Gemant Award for linking physics to the arts and humanities.
The Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program makes available each year 12 or more distinguished scholars who visit 100 colleges and universities with chapters of Phi Beta Kappa. The scholars spend two days on each campus, meeting informally with students and faculty members, taking part in classroom discussions and giving a public lecture open to the entire academic community. The purpose of this program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the institution by making possible an exchange of ideas between the visiting scholars and the resident faculty and students. Founded in 1776, Phi Beta Kappa is the nation's oldest academic honor society. It has chapters at 270 colleges and universities and more than 500,000 members. The Denison chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was established in 1910.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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