From left to right: Joseph d’Entremont, Alex Dudelzak, Greg Solyar, John Mather, and Reza Sarhangi
Earlier this month, on October 4, we had Dr John C Mather speak at our 2nd International Light Seminar. He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2006 for his part in the COBE mission regarding the Big Bang theory and the expansion of the universe.
On that very day, the Nobel Prize in Physics was given to another group of scientists also doing work on dark matter and the expansion of the universe, showing that it was in fact rapidly expanding, not slowing down as previously thought. You can read more about this year’s Nobel prize in their press releasehere. Dr Mather alluded to the recent prize and their work in his talk since it related specifically to the things he has studied. For Dr Mather’s talk, visit ourwebsiteand click on “Light Seminar”, orclick here.
Yesterday was our 2nd International Light Seminar, and it went very well! Everyone enjoyed themselves and learned something new. The keynote speaker, Dr John C Mather, arrived just before lunch and graciously spent the rest of the afternoon with us. We are in the process of downloading the pictures, video, and other material and will be posting them on here and our Flickr site as soon as we can.
Reza Sarhangi, one of our guest speakers at our 2nd International Light Seminar, is a promoter of art in mathematics. The above image is a sample of his artwork and the type of mathematical art his Bridges organization promotes.
His topic at our seminar is “The Art and Mathematics of Star Polygons.” We can’t wait to listen!
Dr John C Mather is our guest and speaker of honor at our 2nd International Light Seminar here at Lenox Laser. For a more complete biography and list of accomplishments, you can see John Mather’s NASA profile.
We are very happy to have him and continue to have Nobel Prize winners speak at our seminars. His chosen topic is: “The Universe in a Nutshell.” I don’t think he’ll have to worry about finishing early with that topic!
Ever wonder what people’s “wow factor” is? I mean what does it take to get one to marvel or to gasp in thoughtful appreciation of a singularly riveting moment? For me, it is when so riveted, my breath halts, time seems to slow down and my eyes widen, and a “Wow” moment has just arrested me. I know “wow” sounds trite, but I’ve had a few of my own such “WOW” moments lately. There was that high altitude rainbow in Maine in late August when a double (nearly triple) rainbow hung in there for nearly a half hour or more. That was a definite “Wow!” Then there was a Raven’s game lately I attended where they pulled some of their eye-popping, big-boys assertiveness over the visiting team and I uttered in low tones “wow” almost reflexively. Nice, but really, a once-in-a-life-time “Wow” is bigger, and I had one recently.
October 4th, I was invited a few hours before it started to sit in on a very unique science conference. I had no idea what it was to be like as was evidenced by how I showed up bearded and scruffy-looking. Quickly, my attention and respect was won. I found the conference to be unique and nearly breath-taking to say the least. I caught myself thinking at first the perfunctory thought, “How unusual to have been invited,” but I quickly left off self-consciousness, for being caught up in the substance. It was the First Annual Light Seminar, sponsored by Lenox Laser labs of Glen Arm, MD, by Joe D’Entrement, its founder and owner. Sure, I had hurried there pensive about my invitation, how the countryside being so beautiful was an unlikely context and location for the lab. Plus, the lab’s technogy itself did have its own uniqueness, reason enough to evoke a small “wow,” because coupled with the Lenox Laser cutting-edge science in small hole technology, was the fact that their lab layout is definite “Wow-level” eye candy for a “techy” guy like me. So, awed a little before the conference even started, the reflection came: “Who ever heard of a Light Seminar – Light shows maybe, but not light as a subject, and what’s more, there is an intention to establish a museum about it. Really? Hum-m-m! Fascinating!”
The momentousness then really mounted as I sat highly tuned in to the lecturer’s words. He had my attention. It was the venerable Dr. Charles Townes, now quite elderly, developer of the science behind the maser and laser. The spark of what little I knew of his story was quickly blown into a full flame as he recounted enjoying years of successful research despite many of his peers. He described working through the maser and laser problems into a real science in all its possibility. Then he digressed with humor over how the pathway was so full of scorn, derision, and disassociation by some of the world’s top scientists, like Washington’s best, university research fellows, top Bell Labs men, and even when in Europe, the father son duo of Aage and Neils Bohr, who he respects to this day, yet who also echoed the mantra “it can’t be done.” Gary Boas a contributor to Photronics Magazine sat with me during the conference and saw in the Townes story a picture of scientific persistence (Gary Boas’ Blog), and as Townes put it, a picture of the open-mindedness necessary to allow inspiration to mingle into our hard work and catch us by surprise, allowing for some divine graciousness in areas where we just do not have necessary knowledge (his words!). Pinch me! Did I just hear a famous scientist who was deservedly proud, humbly admit to needing God. “Oh yeah,” I said, and I caught myself uttering a heart-felt big “WOW” to that.
The moment was continued with the second guest speaker Dr. John Wood of NASA who had been part of the small team most responsible for several of the NASA triumphs in waning golden age of NASA. And we heard the host, Joe D’Entrement, Lenox Laser’s founder himself who was a “wow” type guy with his infectious creativity and positive-mindedness. He had me fooled for decades while he hid the fact that the first measurements of the moon’s distance from the earth by bounced laser light in the late 1980s were actually HIS SHOT! Well, whether it was me, or the Russians I sat with, or the entourage of the Uzbekistani Vice President of the Academy of Science behind me. Between us, a few “wows” arose, and I am already booked for being at the 2nd annual Light Seminar next year at about the same time. More real “Wow’s,” please.