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ACS 125 years

April 30, 2001
Volume 79, Number 18
CENEAR 79 18 pp. 12
ISSN 0009-2347
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Smithsonian celebrates 100th anniversary of award in style


Christening a new exhibition honoring the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prizes, three Nobel Laureates participated last week in a discussion about the future of innovation at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

MINGLING Hoffmann (left) chats with Neal Amin, winner of the 2000 Discovery Young Scientists Challenge.
The laureates--Roald Hoffmann (Chemistry, 1981), Phillip A. Sharp (Physiology or Medicine, 1993), and Nicolas de Torrente, representing Doctors Without Borders (Peace, 1999)--were joined by two Lemelson-MIT Prize winners--Robert S. Langer, professor of chemical and biomedical engineering at MIT, and Carver Mead, electronics pioneer and professor emeritus at Caltech. The Smithsonian forum touched on numerous topics related to science and society.

The 20th century has seen tremendous scientific and technical progress, Hoffmann said at the forum. "But there has not been [the same degree of] ethical and moral progress.

"People have fears and desires" about technological progress, Hoffmann continued. "We need to recognize both." As much as possible, he said, scientists have a moral responsibility to try to determine the consequences of their work at the moment of discovery.

The exhibition--mostly a collection of videotaped interviews and photographic portraits of Nobel Laureates--was developed in collaboration with the Deutsches Museum of Bonn, Germany, and the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. It will be at the American History Museum until Oct. 31.

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