Roald Hoffmann came to the US in 1949 after surviving the war in Poland. He studied at Stuyvesant H.S. , Columbia and Harvard (Ph.D. 1962); since 1965 he is at Cornell University. A theoretical chemist and a teacher, he has received many of the honors of his profession. Dr. Hoffmann is also a writer, of poems, essays, nonfiction, and plays, in which he has carved out his own land, between science, poetry, and philosophy.
Chemistry is very much on the human scale, and from that derives its great interest and its problems. In this generously illustrated lecture several views of chemistry will be presented, stressing its psychological dimension and its tie to the arts: First of all, chemistry is, as it has always been, the art, craft, business of substances and their transformations. It is now also the science of microscopic molecules, both simple and complex. And then there are people’s perceptions of chemistry - alternating between seeing the healing and the hurting aspects of this anthropic science. The underlying psychological tensions will be explored, as will the strong element of creation or synthesis in chemistry, which brings chemistry close to the arts.
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