2014 Foster Hewett Lectures

The Origin of Life - Program

Wednesday, September 17th

Evening - 6:00 to 8:30 (Whitaker Auditorium)

cover of book by hazen
6:00 - Reception with BASD high-school students and teachers
6:30 - General reception
7:00 - Keynote lecture by Robert Hazen, Carnegie Institution - Geophysical Laboratory
"Genesis: the scientific quest for life’s origin"

Thursday, September 18th

Afternoon - 12:00 to 5:30 (STEPS 101)

12:00 - Kenneth Williford, California Institute of Technology - Jet Propulsion Laboratory
"Looking for life on Mars (on Earth)"
1:30 - Panel discussion with speakers (Robert Hazen, Kenneth Williford, Irene Chen, Lisa Kaltenegger)
4:00 - Robert Hazen, Carnegie Institution - Geophysical Laboratory
"Mineral surfaces and the origins of life"
6:00/7:00 - Cocktails and DFH banquet (Mountaintop Tower) (by invitation)

Friday, September 19th

Afternoon - 12:00 and 1:20 (STEPS 101)

12:00 - Irene Chen, University of California Santa Barbara
"Emergence and evolution in the RNA world"
1:20 - Lisa Kaltenegger, Cornell University
"Searching for a second Earth: a fascinating interdisciplinary puzzle"

Contact Prof. Don Morris (610-758-5175), Prof. Bruce Hargeaves (610-758-3683), or Prof. Frank Pazzaglia (610-758-3667) for additional details or answers to questions.

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The Annual Donnel Foster Hewett Lecture Series is sponsored by the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and is supported by a bequest which was made to the department by one of its most distinguished alumni, Donnel Foster Hewett (more info).

Hewett matriculated at Lehigh University in September 1898. Following graduation in 1902, he spent another year at Lehigh as an assistant in metallurgy and mineralogy under the direction of Joseph Barrell. After Joseph Barrell moved to the Department of Geology at Yale in 1907, Hewett went there in 1909 to study geology and received his Ph.D.

In 1911, he joined the U.S. Geological Survey and his career with the organization spanned 60 years until his death in 1971. When in 1951, Donnel Foster Hewett reached the mandatory retirement age of 70, his full-time employment by the Survey was continued indefinitely by Presidential order. To a great host of geologists, he became a legend in his own time and was affectionately referred to as "Mr. Geological Survey" or "Mr. Manganese", the latter because of his devotion to and advancement of our understanding of the mineralogy and genesis of manganese ores.

During his career he received many honors:

  • Vice President, Geological Society of America in 1935 and 1945
  • President of the Society of Economic Geologists in 1936
  • Elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1937 and the Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1949
  • Distinguished Medal of the Department of the Interior in 1951
  • Penrose Medal in 1964
  • Honorary Ph.D. from Lehigh in 1942