A Scientist's and Sculptor's Reflections on Creativity


Robert B. Marcus
Bell Laboratories, Bellcore, NJIT

James C. Phillips
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rutgers University

NJIT Campus Center Ballroom
September 21, 2011, 2:30 – 4:00 pm

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The creative confluence of science and art will be the focus of the first in the fall 2011 Technology and Society Forum presentations when Robert B. Marcus and James C. Phillips jointly share their views on September 21. Each has had a long and notable career in the sciences, with Marcus wearing the additional hat of a sculptor.

A pioneer in nanotechnology research at Bell Laboratories and Bellcore, Marcus was a research professor at NJIT from 1992-1997 and president of two nanotechnology start-ups in the late 1990s. Now retired, he continues to create sculptures, mostly in bronze, as he has done for 30 years. At 12:30 in Eberhardt Hall, preceding the Forum presentation, there will be a dedication of Marcus’ bronze interpretation of a Klein bottle, a sculpture he has donated to NJIT. Such work embodies the convergent influences that have shaped his approach to both science and art.

Phillips is a distinguished condensed matter physicist and materials scientist whose work has taken him to Bell Labs and a number of universities, including the University of California, Cambridge University and the University of Chicago. He has been a visiting professor at Rutgers University since 2001. In his estimation, the computer revolution has put massive amounts of data at the disposal of researchers, ushering in an era of “big data” that offers opportunities for creatively solving problems that would have been “impossible” for theorists to envision just two decades ago. In discussing “six impossible things,” he will touch on research challenges that span physics, biochemistry, economics and other fields.