Dudley Herschbach Teacher/Scientist Lecture

The Herschbach teacher/scientist lecture series recognizes scholars who excel both as scientists and as educators.  The lecture series honors emeritus professor Dudley Herschbach, a Nobel-prize winning chemist and a devoted educator.  

herschbachHerschbach received his B.S. in math (1954) and M.S. in chemistry (1955) from Stanford, and an A.M. in physics (1956) and Ph.D. in Chemical Physics (1958) from Harvard.  He joined the faculty at Harvard as Professor of Chemistry in 1963.  He has received numerous national and international awards for his research, including the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1986 for his work on crossed beam molecular experiments.  

At Harvard, Herschbach taught classes ranging from graduate courses on chemical kinetics and quantum mechanics, to freshman chemistry.  In the introductory chemistry course, he engaged students through parables and poetry, encouraged collaboration over competition, and implemented grading policies that rewarded improvement.  Herschbach has also been engaged with efforts to improve K-12 science education and science literacy for the general public.

Each Herschbach teacher/scientist lecturer gives two talks - a seminar on their scientific research, hosted by a relevant department, and a seminar on their work in science education, hosted by the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning.


Herschbach teacher/scientist lecturers

2022 - Neil Garg, UCLA, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
2019 - Mohamed Noor, Duke, Department of Biology
2018 - Cathy Drennan, MIT, Department of Biology and Chemistry
2017 - Keivan Stassun, Vanderbilt, Department of Physics and Astronomy
2016 - Richard Muller, UC Berkeley, Department of Physics
2014 - Ron Vale, UCSF, Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology
2013 - Eric Mazur, Harvard University, Department of Physics
2012 - Shirley Tilghman, Princeton, President
2011 - Carl Wieman, University of British Columbia, Director of the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative
2010 - Bruce Alberts, Editor-in-Chief of Science Magazine and UCSF, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
2009 - Jo Handelsman, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Department of Bacteriology
2008 - Mike Summers, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry


Engaging Our Students in Science via Flipped Classes, Science Fiction, and MOOCs
Mohamed Noor, Dean of Natural Sciences and Professor of Biology at Duke University


Is the classroom lecture becoming extinct or simply evolving?
Cathy Drennan, Professor of Biology and Chemistry and MacVicar Fellow at MIT, Professor and Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute


The Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program: A Model for Dramatically Increasing Diversity at the PhD Level in Science and Engineering
Keivan Stassun, Professor of Physics & Astronomy, Vanderbilt University

Assessment: The Silent Killer of Learning
Eric Mazur, Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics


Inverting The Pyramid: Science Education in the 21st Century
Princeton University President Shirley Tilghman spoke on the need to engage students at all levels in the process of doing actual science concurrently or even before subjecting them to standard introductory coursework, so that they learn not just the basic results of prior science but also what it means to do science and to ask scientific questions.

Introduction by President Drew Faust, and followed by a panel discussion led by University Professor Marc Kirschner. November 13, 2012, Science Center B, Harvard University


Science Education in the 21st Century: Using Methods of Science to Teach Science
Carl Wieman, Nobel Laureate in Physics, U. of British Columbia


Why Harvard Needs to Lead a Redefinition of Science Education
Bruce Alberts, Editor-in-Chief of Science, former President of the National Academies of Sciences, and Professor Emeritus, UCSF


Scientific Teaching: What Happens when Faculty act like Scientists?
Jo Handelsman, HHMI Professor, Yale University, and Chair, Dept. of Bacteriology, U. Wisconsin-Madison