2016 Robert Scott Lecture

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The noted polymer physicist, Professor Alexander (Shura) Grosberg, presented the 10th annual Robert Scott lecture on October 17, 2016.  

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Grosberg, a professor of physics and mathematics at New York University, gave a talk titled “Polymer Physics and Chromatin”. His talk examined how simple universal concepts of polymer physics can be used to understand how our long DNA genome can be packed into a cell nucleus. The topic was particularly appropriate because among Bob Scott’s most cited research is his early work on the properties of polymers. This lecture was an especially important one because Scott (pictured right), for whom the lecture is named, passed away on May 1, 2016 at the age of 94.

A memorial program honoring Scott’s life and work was held at the Faculty Center prior to the lecture. It was attended by his daughter Janet Scott and those who spoke included Peter Van Konynenburg, a Scott Ph.D. student; Jefferson Creek, a post doc; Margaret Kivelson, Professor Emeritus of Space Physics and the widow of Dan Kivelson; and Professor Jeff Zink. 

A distinguished physical chemist, Scott joined the UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in 1948. After his retirement in 1993 Scott continued to be very active in the department. Read more about Scott’s life and work here.

Grosberg joins a group of distinguished scientists who have been Robert L. Scott Lecturers: Benjamin Widom (Cornell), David Chandler (UC Berkeley), Hans Andersen (Stanford), John Weeks (Maryland), Eric Dickinson (Leeds), Andrea Liu (Penn), Stuart Rice (Chicago), Daan Frenkel (Cambridge), Zhen-Gang Wang (Caltech).

Prof. Bill Gelbart  speaks to the standing room only audience about Prof. Robert Scott, for whom the lecture is named.

Prof. Alexander Grosberg (NYU) presenting his Robert Scott Lecture titled “Polymer Physics and Chromatin”.

At the reception following the lecture (from left) Prof. Robijn Bruinsma, Prof. Bill Gelbart, Prof. Alexander Grosberg, Dr. Janet Scott (Prof. Scott’s daughter) and Prof. Chuck Knobler.

(From left) Dr. Janet Scott, Dr. Eleanor Siebert (Knobler’s first graduate student), Jane Creek and Prof. Chuck Knobler.

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(From left) Prof. Thomas Mason, Dr. Jeff Creek (former Scott & Knobler postdoc), Mary Beth Van Konynenberg and Dr. Peter Van Konynenberg (former Scott Ph.D. student).

(From left) Prof. Robijn Bruinsma, Prof. Alexander Grosberg and Prof. Shenshen Wang (UCLA Physics).