Brain, Mind, & Free Will

Thursday, February 18, 2016
7:30 p.m.
Bauman Auditorium

Presented by:

T. T. and W. F. Chao Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Computer Science, Professor of Materials Science and NanoEngineering.
Rice University Smalley Institue or Nanoscience and Technology


Dr. Tour will share a brief overview of nanotechnology and his coming to faith in Jesus Christ and how this decision impacted his life.  He will also share his thoughts regarding evolution and his hope for science and the young.

There will be a dessert reception and Student Research Poster session after the lecture.

About the Speaker

James Tour

James M. Tour has more than 550 research publications and more than 75 patents, with citations totaling more than 55,000. He was named among “The 50 Most Influential Scientists in the World Today” by The- in 2014; listed in “The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” by Thomson Reuters in 2014; and recipient of the Trotter Prize in “Information, Complexity and Inference” in 2014. He was also named “Scientist of the Year” by R&D Magazine in 2013.

In addition, he was awarded the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching at Rice University (2012); won the ACS Nano Lectureship Award (2012) and the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award from the American Chemical Society (2007); and was ranked one of the top 10 chemists in the world over the past decade by a Thomson Reuters citations-per-publication index survey. Tour has won several other national awards, including the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award in Polymer Chemistry and the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award in Polymer Chemistry.

Tour’s scientific research areas include nanoelectronics; graphene electronics; silicon oxide electronics; carbon nanovectors for medical applications; green carbon research for enhanced oil recovery and environmentally friendly oil and gas extraction; graphene photovoltaics; carbon supercapacitors; lithium ion batteries; CO2 capture; carbon nanotube and graphene synthetic modifications; graphene oxide; and synthesis of single-molecule nanomachines which includes molecular motors and nanocars. He has also developed strategies for retarding chemical terrorist attacks.

Additional lecture

Dr. Tour will also give a scientific talk at 3 p.m. in Wood-Mar Auditorium entitled Nanomachines.

The public is invited and admission is free to both presentations.

Dalton Lecture Series
John Dalton

The Dalton Lecture Series is sponsored by the George Fox University Department of Biology and Chemistry. These annual lectures feature eminent scientists who are Christian. The Dalton Lecture Series was born out of a desire to not only present world-renowned scientists to George Fox students and the local community, but to show how these scientists integrate their Christianity. Contrary to all-too-common thought, it is possible for a scientist to be intellectually engaged and be a Christian!

John Dalton (1766-1844) was a Quaker scientist best known for his pioneering work in the development of modern atomic theory. He remained a faithful Quaker and educator his entire life.

The Dalton Lecture is open to the public and free of charge. The Dalton Lecture is followed by a reception and a George Fox University research student poster session.


From I-5:
From the south, take the Donald/Aurora exit (278) north of Salem. Follow the signs to Newberg. When you reach 99W, turn left.
Just past the highway split near the center of town, turn right on Meridian Street. After one block, you will see the campus on the right.

From the north, take the Tigard/Newberg exit (294) shortly after leaving Portland city limits. Stay on 99W until you reach Newberg.
At Meridian Street (just past the highway split near the center of town), turn right. Campus is on the right.

Northbound 99W (coming from McMinnville and Dundee)
From 99W, turn left on Meridian. Follow Meridian Street across southbound 99W (Hancock Street) for one block; campus is on the right.

Driving directions to Newberg campus via Google Maps

Prior Lectures


The Big Band, Stephen Hawking and God


Speaker: Dr. William Phillips, 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics
Fellow and group leader of the Joint Quantum Institute of the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology

Title: Ordinary Faith, Ordinary Science

Topic: Many conventional scientists are also people with conventional religious faith. As a physicist, Phillips will discuss the ways in which scientific and religious thinking differ and what they have in common, from a perspective affirming that one can be serious about religious faith and about science. He will also consider some questions that are particularly troublesome to a Christian: Why is there suffering if God is good? What about all the terrible things done in the name of religion? What about all the good people who are on a different path of faith than Christianity?

Bio: Phillips is a fellow and group leader of the Joint Quantum Institute of the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. In 1997, he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for development of methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light, along with Steven Chu and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji. One result of the development of laser-cooling techniques was the first observation, in 1995, of the Bose-Einstein condensate, a new state of matter originally predicted 70 years earlier by Albert Einstein and the Indian physicist Satyendra Nath Bose. In this state atoms are so chilled and so slow that they, in effect, merge and behave as one single quantum entity that is much larger than any individual atom.

Among his many awards, Phillips has received the 1996 Albert A. Michelson Medal (Franklin Institute), the Presidential Rank Award and the Arthur L. Schawlaw Prize in Laser Science. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Acadeemy of Arts and Sciences. He is a member of the prestigious U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Phillips is a Methodist laity and one of many accomplished scientists who speak on the interaction between science and Christianity.

The Big Band, Stephen Hawking and God


Speaker: Dr. Bill Newsome, Harman Family Provostial Professor, Director of Bio-X NeuroVentures and Professor of Neurobiology at Stanford University.

Title: Brain, Mind and Free Will: Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?

Topic: Dr Newsome discussed the the recent neuroscience research and the links between neural mechanisms within the brain and human actions, behavior and thought.  He confronted quetions about what it means to be human and also the nature of religious belief.  Are we just the sum of our neurons? Does my brain shape me, or do I shape my brain? Is freedom of choice an illusion?

Bio: Dr. Bill Newsome is an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Professor of Neurobiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Stetson University and a PhD in biology from the California Institute of Technology.

Dr. Newsome is a leading investigator in systems and cognitive neuroscience. He has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying visual perception and simple forms of decision making. Among his honors are the Rank Prize in Optoelectronics, the Spencer Award, the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association, the Dan David Prize of Tel Aviv University, the Karl Spencer Lashley Award of the American Philosophical Society, and the Champalimaud Vision Award.

His distinguished lectureships include the 13th Annual Marr Lecture at the University of Cambridge, the Ninth Annual Brenda Milner Lecture at McGill University, and most recently, the Distinguished Visiting Scholar lectures at the Kavli Institute of Brain and Mind, University California at San Diego. He was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 2000 and to the American Philosophical Society in 2011.

The Big Band, Stephen Hawking and God


Speaker: Dr. Henry F. Schaefer III, Graham Perdue Professor of ChemistryDirector, Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry at University of Georgia
Title: The Big Bang, Stephen Hawking and God

Topic: Dr. Schaefer confronted some questions cosmology seeks to answer, such as “Is the universe eternal or does it have a beginning?” and “Is there knowable existence beyond the known dimensions of the universe?” 

Bio: Dr. Henry F. Schaefer III received a BS in chemical physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a PhD in chemical physics from Stanford University, and has since received 22 honorary degrees in addition to numerous national and international awards. He has published more than 1,400 scientific articles, presented plenary lectures at more than 240 scientific conferences, and spoken at more than 50 universities.

From 1981 to 1997, he was the sixth-most highly cited chemist in the world. His research seeks to develop theoretical and computational methods to understand the movement and function of electrons in molecules and to use those theoretical methods to solve important problems in molecular quantum mechanics.

The Journal of Physical Chemistry published a special issue in honor of Dr. Schaefer on April 15, 2004. In 2009, the journal Molecular Physics published five consecutive issues in honor of Professor Schaefer. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004. On March 29, 2012, Professor Schaefer received the SURA Distinguished Scientist Award.

God of Antimatter


Speaker: Dr. Gerald Gabrielse, Leverett Professor of Physics, Harvard University
Title: God of Antimatter

Topic: Dr. Gabrielse introduced his research on antimatter. He addressed questions such as "What role does faith have in a scientist's life?" and "Is there more to our world than science can say?"

Bio: Dr. Gabrielse has won both Harvard's Levenson Prize for exceptional teaching and Ledlie Prize for exceptional research. He is also the recipient of the Lilienfeld Prize and the Davisson-Germer Prize of the American Physical Society, Italy's Tomassoni Prize, and Germany's Humboldt Research Award. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and is currently the chair of the Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics of the American Physical Society.

Dr. Gabrielse has more than 165 scientific publications. The Gabrielse research group conducts a variety of atomic, optical, elementary particle, plasma and low temperature physics experiments. Professor Gabrielse led the international TRAP team that developed the techniques to accumulate antiprotons at energies more than 1010 times lower than previously realized. The international ATRAP Collaboration, also led by Gabrielse, now uses these antiprotons to produce cold antihydrogen atoms, an important step towards comparing antihydrogen and hydrogen atoms via precise laser spectroscopy. Technological spin-offs include a patented solenoid design being used for nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ion cyclotron resonance (ICR), along with improved cell designs for ICR.

The Roots of Human Disease


Speaker: Dr. Kent Thornburg, M. Lowell Edwards Chair, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, and Director of the Heart Research Center, Oregon Health & Sciences University
Title: New Science Wrestles An Old Problem: The Roots of Human Disease

Topic: New discoveries in science and technology have opened new windows of opportunity to explore the foundational causes of human disease. Over the past decade, our understanding of the differing roles of the human genetic code and the regulation of gene expression have shown how vulnerabilities for disease arise and are passed from one generation to the next. The emerging picture will ultimately change the practice of medicine in a dramatic way.

Bio: Dr. Thornburg has served on numerous study sections and advisory boards at the National Institutes of Health. He serves on committees and boards for the American Heart Association, the National Children's Heart Foundation and other international bodies.

Dr. Thornburg leads a team of scientists who are studying how mechanical forces alter gene expression in the developing embryo heart. His models are designed to study the roles of shear and wall stresses as signals to developing cardiac structures. His laboratory team also studies fetal heart development and the roles of growth factors and signaling molecules in programming the immature heart and coronary arteries for lifelong vulnerability for disease.

He is the principal investigator on an NIH Program Project Grant entitled "Maternofetal Signaling and Lifelong Consequences;" a training grant for translational research in heart physiology; an RO1 for investigating the role of thyroid hormone on heart development; and an R24 to study placental function in monkeys on a high-fat diet. Dr. Thornburg has published well over 125 papers on pregnancy and fetal development.