by Alexandro Luna
Nobel Laureate Roy Glauber honored on campus
University President Cynthia Teniente-Matson and Vice Chair of the Texas A&M System Board Elaine Mendoza presented Nobel Prize winner Roy Glauber with an award Monday.
The Chancellor Sharp Distinguished Lecture award honors Glauber’s lifetime achievements in the sciences.
Glauber, the physicist who calculated the critical mass of the atomic bomb, spoke to a crowded audience in the Vista Room.
Jen Haft, Chief of Staff at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, said, “This is the second time Dr. Glauber spoke at an A&M institution, the first at Texas A&M University-Texarkana back in April 2016.”
Glauber spoke as the distinguished keynote speaker in collaboration with the Distinguished Lecture Series and A&M-San Antonio University President Cynthia Teniente-Matson’s Lecture Series.
Mendoza, in front of the crowded audience, said the lecture series is to “help ensure that students receive opportunities to meet and learn from world-class lecturers…like Dr. Roy Glauber.”
“Glauber has an incredibly distinguished career,” Mendoza said. “That is an understatement.”
Amongst other awards, Glauber won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics “for his contribution to the quantum theory of optical coherence,” and currently serves as a professor at Texas A&M University-College Station.
Glauber recalls past experiences surrounding Atomic Age
Glauber began his account by describing his rise through the Depression years.
From his desire to be an artist to the short-lived aspirations to pursue astronomy, Glauber enjoyed learning calculus and soon became one of the youngest scientists at Harvard.
“Colleagues of mine went into business or became lawyers,” Glauber said. “I was a part of a handful of people that became scientists.”
As a freshman attending Harvard, Glauber was only 16 years old. At 18, he was swayed to join the Los Alamos Project, more commonly known as the Manhattan Project.
Los Alamos, named after the city in New Mexico, was the site of the world’s first atomic bomb.
“There were a great many experiments done there. But it required such equipment, it was one of the most least sensible places for a laboratory,” Glauber recalled.
Glauber spoke of Los Alamos and the daily ruts of working on it but never elaborated on the specifics in detail.
Karina Lopez, an alumni of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, shared her concern and curiosity.
“Knowing that there is a lot about what the government does that we do not know, It makes me want to find out more. What is going on now that they haven’t told us?” Lopez said.
Glauber spoke of his interactions with other scientists, the overall obscurity of their work and the post-Nuclear Era.
At the end of his presentation, the audience had a chance to ask the Nobel Laureate questions.
Jonathan Fletcher, a junior at Our Lady of the Lake University, asked Dr. Glauber what thoughts he had concerning the German spy Klaus Fuchs who divulged American secrets.
“I wanted to ask the Nobel Laureate what his thoughts and recollections were like during this time,” Fletcher said. “He experienced these extraordinary circumstances. Part of it was his hard work but another was just chance.”
Glauber accepted two other questions from the audience before calling it a night.
Upon a short interview with The Mesquite, Glauber was asked to comment about the new President and his compulsion to make quick decisions.
“He worries me a great deal. Trump has the virtue of spontaneity, but that is not something you look for in someone who is deciding, on a day-to-day basis, the history of the world,” Glauber said.
Glauber is on the National Advisory Board for The Center For Arms Control And Non-Proliferation. The organization boasts “expertise on reducing the threats of war and nuclear weapons.”
For information on the President’s Speaker Series, refer to A&M-San Antonio’s event calendar.