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MIT physics Nobel winner will sing in 'Atomic' love opera

Frank Wilczek
Frank Wilczek
Photo / Donna Coveney

Frank Wilczek is already a Nobel laureate - he won the 2004 Nobel Prize in physics -- but on August 25 he will be honored on an even higher level -- topographically higher, that is. In the Austrian mountain village of Alpbach, elevation 3,280 feet above sea level, Wilczek will sing the lead role in the opera "Atom & Eve."

The Herman Feshbach Professor of Physics, Wilczek was awarded the Nobel for work on subatomic particles indicating that distance makes the quarks grow fonder (or at least increases their attraction).

This will be Wilczek's operatic singing debut, as well as the first time "Atom & Eve" has been performed in Austria. The opera recounts the romance between a humble oxygen atom and the beautiful female chemist who spies him one day in her microscope.

In the great tradition of operatic lovers from Tristan and Isolde to Tony and Maria, Atom and Eve have some obvious difficulties to overcome. Diane Shooman of Vienna will co-star in the role of Eve; Shooman teaches at at the FH Technikum-Wien in Vienna and at the University of Art in Linz. Pianist Paul Luggar of the Innsbruck Conservatory will accompany the singers.

"Atom & Eve" is a featured part of the 2006 Alpbach Technology Conference. The conference brings business, government, science and other leaders from around the world; attendees debate the significance of technological developments for the business world and society, as well as living standards, quality of life, and competitiveness.

"Atom & Eve" debuted in 2003 at the Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony at Harvard University. Marc Abrahams, organizer of the Ig Nobel Prizes, wrote the opera's libretto.

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