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09-05-2008

Clarkson University Shipley Lectures to Present Violence, Sex, and Drugs in the World of Insects

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/meinwald.jpg ]

Renowned organic chemist Jerrold Meinwald will deliver the two lectures of Clarkson University’s 14th Annual Shipley Distinguished Lectureship, September 18 and 19. Meinwald is the Clarkson University Shipley Lectures to Present Violence, Sex, and Drugs in the World of InsectsGoldwin Smith Professor Emeritus at Cornell University.

Meinwald will speak about "Violence, Sex, and Drugs in the World of Insects" on Thursday, September 18, at 4:15 p.m. in Science Center Room 360.

Thursday’s presentation will be preceded by a 3:30 p.m. reception.

The event is sponsored by Clarkson’s Center for Advanced Materials Processing (CAMP), with support from the Shipley Family Foundation. The public is welcome to attend.

In his first lecture, Meinwald will present examples of insect chemical defense and communication mechanisms, taken from his group’s research at Cornell University on various beetles, walking sticks, and butterflies, to demonstrate the remarkable chemical adaptations that these diverse animals have evolved.

"From the viewpoint of number and diversity of species, insects are by far the most successful group of living organisms on earth," says Meinwald. "This success stems in no small part from their expertise as chemists."

"These studies enhance our understanding of life at the molecular level, and in some cases may have the potential of practical application in agriculture and medicine," says Meinwald.

Series organizer Egon Matijevic, Victor K. LaMer Professor of Colloid and Surface Science, says that he tries to find Shipley lecturers who are not only noted for their scientific contributions, but who also have interesting hobbies or extracurricular activities, like the history of science, art or music.

"Prof. Meinwald is an organic chemist, but he also is a musician," says Matijevic. "He plays the flute and recorder." Meinwald, who grew up in New York City, has been interested in both chemistry and music ever since he was about 10 years old.

The Shipley Distinguished Lecture Series was initiated in 1994 through a generous gift from Lucia and the late Charles Shipley through the Shipley Family Foundation. Over that period distinguished speakers from around the world, including six Nobel Laureates, have presented talks.

"This is a chance that students should not pass up," says Matijevic. "Where else can you get an opportunity for a discussion like this?"

Meinwald received his Ph.D. degree from Harvard University, and his B.S. and Ph.B. from the University of Chicago. He also holds an honorary Ph.D. from the University of Gothenborg in Sweden. He joined the faculty of Cornell’s Chemistry Department in 1952.

He is the recipient of multiple awards and honors, including the American Chemical Society Ernest Guenther Award, the International Society of Chemical Ecology Silver Medal, the Czech Academy of Sciences Heyrovsky Medal, the American Chemical Society Roger Adams Award in Organic Chemistry, and the Grand Prix, la Maison de la Chimie (with Thomas Eisner).

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, sciences, business, arts, and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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