Nobel Prize winner to address chemistry students

Courtesy Photo /

Ada Yonath

Courtesy photo

Courtesy Photo / Ada Yonath

Kara Haight

Grand Valley State University will host an award-winning researcher in the field of chemistry during an Ott Lectureship in Chemistry lecture. Ada Yonath, who was chosen specifically by the chemistry department due to her work in new ribosome research, is the 2009 Nobel Laureate recipient in her field.

“(Nobel Laureate) is like the Nobel Peace Prize except this is for a research discipline,” said Felix Ngassa, a chemistry professor and chair of the Lecture Planning Committee.

Ngassa said attendees of the lecture have the opportunity to hear a presentation on cutting-edge science.

“It is not common for a college student to listen to a Nobel Laureate give lectures of her research that is so novel that wins a Nobel Prize in chemistry,” Ngassa said. “(It’s) a unique opportunity for all GV students not to miss.”

The Ott Lectureship series is a program designed to give participants a look into innovative aspects of science.

As part of the series, two lectures are scheduled for each academic year with one in the fall semester and the other during the winter semester. One lecture focuses on a chemistry topic, while the other has a general theme. Ngassa said that when the department chooses a speaker for the lectures, the process begins with the Ott Lecture Committee gathering possibilities for the event.

“The list of potential lecturers suggested by faculty is then reviewed by the Communications and Ott Lecture Committees,” he said, adding that another short list is generated and official letters of invitation are sent.

Because of the range of topics covered in the two events, Ngassa said all students can attend the public lecture no matter their discipline, but the second lecture, hosted by the chemistry department, is focused on topics for majors like biomedical science, biology, physics, geology, and other similar scientific disciplines.

The lecture, hosted by the chemistry department, will take place April 3 from 1-7 p.m., at the Loosemore auditorium in the DeVos center on GVSU’s Pew Grand Rapids Campus. The program is also LIB 100 approved.
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