Texas Tech University

Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist to Deliver 2022 Bucy Lecture

Glenys Young

March 30, 2022

Eric Cornell will present “Looking for Fossils of the Big Bang in the Laboratory” on Tuesday.

Bucy Lecture

Texas Tech University's Department of Physics & Astronomy will host a Nobel Prize-winning physicist next week for its 2022 Bucy Distinguished Lecture.

Nobel Laureate Eric Allin Cornell will deliver a specialized address intended for physics students and faculty members at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday (April 5) followed by a public presentation. His lecture, “Looking for Fossils of the Big Bang in the Laboratory,” will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in room 007 of the Science building. The event is free and open to the public, and registration is not required.

“How can we learn about the first few seconds after the universe was born? We can't go way back in time and see for ourselves, but if we look hard enough, we might find tiny hints left over from that turbulent moment, perhaps still visible in the sky, or in the lab, today,” Cornell explained. “I'm going to concentrate on the lab part of that, on how we use precise measurements to look for fossils of the Big Bang.”

Cornell received the 2001 Nobel Prize in physics for creating a never-before-seen state of matter called the Bose-Einstein condensate, but he's not only a great physicist; he's also a man who has overcome the extremes of his life. In October 2004, his left arm and shoulder were amputated in an attempt to stop the spread of a rare, potentially fatal bacterial infection.

The Bucy Distinguished Lecture is an annual presentation by a highly distinguished scientist. It is named after J. Fred Bucy (1928–2021), one of Texas Tech's most distinguished physics alumni, who earned his bachelor's degree in 1951 and became president and CEO of Texas Instruments Inc. He was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a member of the Texas Tech University System's Board of Regents from 1973 to 1991, including two stints as chairman. Bucy and his wife created The Bucy Undergraduate/Graduate Scholarships and The Bucy Endowed Chair in Physics.