Press Release 03/22/01 :: Smithsonian Lemelson Center
Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Smithsonian Beanie Illustration
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Press Release


Media Only:
Amy Kehs(703) 920-5918
Claudine Klose(202) 786-2591

Smithsonian celebrates 100th Anniversary of Nobel Prize with exhibit and programs

The Smithsonian's Lemelson Center and more than six Nobel laureates celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize with "Spirit of Innovation," a series of exhibits, public programs and educational activities taking place between April 2001 and December 2002. To kick off the program, the Lemelson Center presents Nobel Week, April 21-27, a week filled with programs and the opening of the exhibit "Nobel Voices: Celebrating 100 Years of the Nobel Prize." The exhibit opens Thursday, April 26, at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History and closes Oct. 31. It is a salute to the spirit of innovative thought and action rewarded yearly by the Nobel Prizes.

This exhibit, which the Lemelson Center developed in collaboration with the Deutsches Museum Bonn, in Germany, and the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery (currently closed for renovation), explores the motivation and vision of Nobel laureates, often in their own words. It features numerous intimate video interviews of laureates, photographic portraits and original artifacts including Albert Einstein's pipe and William Faulkner's typewriter. A "treasure hunt" will lead visitors to other Nobel artifacts in the museum. The exhibit also features Nobel-related art and poetry by students from the Duke Ellington Youth Project, emphasizing the connections among creative minds of any age and the continuing inspiration of "Nobel Voices."

The Future of Innovation
On Wednesday, April 25, four prize-winning investigators and humanitarians consider the impact of social and scientific breakthroughs in the new century at "Inventing the 21st Century: A Forum on the Future of Innovation." This forum will ask questions of Nobel laureates Phillip Sharp (Physiology/Medicine, 1993) and Roald Hoffmann (Chemistry, 1981), and Lemelson-MIT prize winners Carver Mead (1999) and Robert Langer (1998). It will explore their thoughts on moral, ethical and technological issues that frame the future of innovation, from bioethics and artificial intelligence to the global digital divide. The forum is closed to the public but open for media coverage.

Nobel Week Programs at the National Museum of American History

"The Virtual Human: Exploring the Boundaries of 21st Century Science"
On Saturday, April 21, in the museum's Carmichael Auditorium, co-sponsored with The Smithsonian Associates, this daylong seminar includes some of the world's leading research scientists as they illustrate and debate the potential applications of advances in robotics, human genome research and revolutionary medical technologies. Open to the public, tickets required; call (202) 357-3030.

"Super Cool Science!"
On Monday, April 23, at 9:30 a.m. in the museum's Hands On Science Center, 12 students from Woodrow Wilson High School will talk to Nobel laureate Douglas Osheroff (Physics, 1996) about what it is like to be a physicist and will also conduct an experiment with him. Not open to the public, but open for media coverage.

"The Nobel Prize and Its Impact on Science: Einstein's Prize in Perspective"
On Monday, April 23, at 2:30 p.m. in the museum's Information Age Theater, Robert Kargon, historian of science at Johns Hopkins University, and Robert Friedman, a Nobel historian, will lead a seminar on issues surrounding why the Nobel committee refused to grant Albert Einstein a Nobel Prize for his theory of relativity. This event is free and open to the public.

"Poetry Workshop with Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann (Chemistry, 1981)"
On Tuesday, April 24, at 12:30 p.m. Ellington Youth Project students discuss with Roald Hoffmann the art of poetry. This event is not open to the public but is open for media coverage.

"Nobel Peace Prize 100th Anniversary Celebration with Elie Wiesel"
On Thursday, April 26, at 7 p.m. The Smithsonian Associates and the Royal Norwegian Embassy present a special evening with 1986 Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel. In an inspiring interview with Martin Goldsmith, senior commentator for National Public Radio, Wiesel shares the story of his remarkable life as Holocaust survivor, historian, author, professor and humanitarian. This event is open to the public, tickets are required; call (202) 357-3030.

"Innovative Lives: Super Cool Gases"
On Friday, April 27, in the Information Age Theater at 10 a.m. Nobel laureate William Phillips (Physics, 1997) discusses with students the process of using laser light to cool gases to the lowest temperatures ever achieved. These super cool temperatures make it possible to trap chilled atoms and study them. This program is closed to the public but open to media coverage.

"Curator Talks
On Thursday, April 26 and Friday, April 27 at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., curators from the Lemelson Center, the National Museum of American History, and the Deutsches Museum Bonn share their insights during informal tours of "Nobel Voices." Visitors should meet the curator at the first floor information desk at the National Museum of American History.



The Smithsonian's Lemelson Center is dedicated to exploring invention in history and encouraging inventive creativity in young people. The Center is supported by The Lemelson Foundation, a private philanthropy established by one of the country's most prolific inventors, Jerome Lemelson, and his family. The Lemelson Center is located in the National Museum of American History, 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W. The nearest Metro stations are Federal Triangle and Smithsonian on the Orange/Blue lines. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except on Dec. 25. Admission is free.
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