10/19/2010 07:00:00

Local Students Celebrate Science with Nobel Laureate Robert Grubbs

Local students at Pasadena High School had a rare opportunity to speak with Caltech chemist and Nobel laureate Robert Grubbs as part of the "Lunch with a Laureate" program, which is sponsored by the USA Science and Engineering Festival, one of the largest national science festivals for youth.  Grubbs engaged the students in an informal conversation, including a question and answer period about his research and scientific discoveries. It was an opportunity for the students to learn firsthand about the trials and tribulations of conducting transformational research, what it's like to be a Nobel laureate, and what makes a Nobel laureate tick.

Grubbs, an organic chemist and the Victor and Elizabeth Atkins Professor of Chemistry, won the Nobel Prize in 2005 for his groundbreaking work in chemical catalysis, which led to a wide variety of advanced applications in medicine and industry.  His work resulted in the development of pharmaceutical and industrial methods that are more efficient, less wasteful, and more environmentally friendly–advancing green chemistry.

The USA Science and Engineering Festival, taking place in Washington, D.C., from October 10 to 24, includes exhibits, workshops, presentations, and many other activities for youth.  The festival will culminate on October 23 and 24 with a two-day expo on the National Mall that will feature over 1,500 hands-on science activities, interactive demonstrations, and contests, as well as 75 stage shows and performances. Over 500 of the nation's leading science and engineering organizations will participate, and more than 50 satellite events will occur throughout the nation.

Caltech's Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory Science Education Center, along with the Thirty Meter Telescope project, will also participate in the event, hosting interactive science exhibits during the expo.

Written by Deborah Williams-Hedges