Dr. Joseph B. Lambert, the Clare Hamilton Hall Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University, will present this year's Sigma Xi lecture, entitled "Unraveling the Past: The Application of Science to Archaeology." His talk, which is free and open to the MIT community, will take place on Monday, May 11 at 8:30pm in the Edgerton lecture theater (Rm 34-101).
Professor Lambert's lecture will highlight the contribution that analytical chemistry and materials science have made to our knowledge of mankind's technological and biological past, with examples that include the crack in the Liberty Bell, the Vinland Map, Egyptian plaster, the stones used in Stonehenge and the biochemical analysis of prehistoric human skeletal remains.
A noted organic physical chemist with a long-time interest in archaeology, Professor Lambert is author of Traces of the Past: Unraveling the Secrets of Archaeology through Chemistry (Addison-Wesley, 1997), a featured selection of the Natural Science Book Club last year. He is editor of the Journal of Physical Organic Chemistry as well as past president of the Society of Archaeological Science, and he has received several awards from the Society for American Archaeology for his contributions to archaeological science. His principal research interests are in organosilicon and organotin chemistries, and he received the Frederick Stanley Kipping Award in Silicon Chemistry from the American Chemical Society this year.
Professor Lambert's lecture will be preceded by the annual initiation dinner in the Sala de Puerto Rico for newly-elected members of the MIT chapter of Sigma Xi. Anyone wishing to join Dr. Lambert and the new members for the dinner beforehand should contact Professor Linn Hobbs, MIT chapter president, at x3-6835 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Sherry and dinner begin at 6:15pm, and the cost is $15.
Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, was founded in 1886 as a scientific-research counterpart to honor societies such as Phi Beta Kappa. The Society publishes the journal American Scientist and has more than 100,000 members in North America. MIT is the Society's largest chapter. Election to Sigma Xi is based on demonstrated contributions to scientific research and, for student member elections, academic performance and UROP or independent research experience.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 6, 1998.