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Della Pietra Lecture Series

The Della Pietra Lecture Series was started in the fall of 2011 with a generous donation from brothers, Stephen and Vincent Della Pietra, and their families. The series aims to bring world-renowned scientists to the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics to enhance the intellectual activity of the Center and also bring greater awareness of recent and impactful discoveries in Physics and Mathematics to the Long Island community, in particular to high school, undergraduate and graduate students with an interest in the sciences. Each Della Pietra Lecturer gives a series of talks, including public talks aimed towards the general community and local high school students, as well as a technical seminar to advanced graduate students and faculty.

Upcoming Lectures:

Dr. Charles Kane, May 6 – 10, 2019: Theoretical condensed matter physicist best known for theoretically predicting the quantum spin Hall effect and what would later be known as topological insulators.

Technical Talk for Faculty: Tuesday May 7 at 1:00pm
Special Presentation for High School Students: Wednesday May 8 at 11:00am
Public Lecture: Wednesday May 8 at 5:45pm (Reception at 5pm)


Dr. Ian Stewart, September 23 – 27, 2019. Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Warwick, England, and popular-science and science-fiction writer. 


Past Lectures:

Dr. Carl Safina, March 19 and 23, 2018

Dr. Kip Thorne, April 19 and 20, 2018

Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith, May 31 – June 2, 2017

Dr. Tadashi Tokieda, February 8-10, 2016

Dr. Bonnie Bassler, October 1-2 2015

Dr. David Gross, March 31, 2015

Dr. Etienne Ghys, January 20 – 22, 2015

Dr. Eric J Heller, December 4-5 2014

Dr. Frank Wilczek, March 4 – 5, 2014

Dr. John H. Schwarz, March 25, 2014

Dr. Martinus Veltman, January 9, 2014

Dr. Stephen Quake, October 17-18, 2013

Dr. Jon Kleinberg, February 26-27, 2013

Dr. Andrei Linde, March 11-12, 2013

Dr. Robert Kirshner, October 2-3 2012

Dr. Jeffrey Weeks, May 3-4, 2012

Dr. William Bialek, April 19-20, 2012

Dr. Brian Greene, October 4, 2011


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Della Pietra Lecture Series Presents Dr. Charles Kane, May 7 and 8, 2019.

Image courtesy Charles Kane The Della Pietra Lecture Series is pleased to present Dr. Charles Kane, theoretical condensed matter physicist and Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Physics at the University of Pennsylvania.  Title: The Emergence of Topological Quantum Matter General Public Lecture, Wednesday May 8, 2019 at 5:45 pm, Simons Center Della Pietra Family Auditorium (Reception at 5:00pm) Special Presentation for Students, Wednesday May […]

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Della Pietra Lecture Series Presents Dr. Kip Thorne, April 19 and 20, 2018

Date: Thursday April 19, 2018 Lecture: 12:00 pm, Simons Center Della Pietra Family Auditorium Title: Exploring the Universe with Gravitational Waves: From the Big Bang to Black Holes Abstract: There are only two types of waves that can propagate across the universe: Electromagnetic waves and gravitational waves. Galileo initiated electromagnetic astronomy 400 years ago, by pointing a telescope […]

Conservationist and writer Carl Safina visiting a walrus colony on Amsterdamøya, Albert I Land, northwest coast of Svalbard. Dr. Safina was invited to sail with Greenpeace to bear witness to the changing climate in the Arctic and the impacts of industrial fishing on the marine environment.

Della Pietra Lecture Series Presents Dr. Carl Safina, March 19 and 23, 2018

The Della Pietra Lecture Series is pleased to present Dr. Carl Safina, Author, Conservationist and Endowed Professor Title: Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel General Public Lecture, Monday, March 19, 2018: 5:30 pm, Simons Center Della Pietra Family Auditorium (Reception at 5:00pm) Special Presentation for High School Students, Friday, March 23, 2018: 11:00 am, Simons Center Della […]

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Della Pietra Lecture Series Presents Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith FRS (Oxford University) May 31 – June 2, 2017

Date: Wednesday, May 31, 2017 Lecture: 11:00 am, Simons Center Della Pietra Family Auditorium Title: “Where will our energy come from in the future?” Abstract: Global demand for energy is rising. Today, 80% is met by burning fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas). Will demand go on rising? Will fossil fuels continue to dominate? Will […]

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Della Pietra Lecture Series Presents Professor Tadashi Tokieda (Cambridge University) February 8-10, 2016

General Public Lecture  Date: NOTE: Due to inclement weather, this event has been rescheduled for Tuesday, February 9, 2016 Wine and Cheese Reception: 5:00 pm, Simons Center Lobby and Art Gallery Lecture: 6:00 pm, Simons Center Auditorium, Room 103 Title: “Science from a sheet of paper” Abstract: Starting from just a sheet of paper, by folding, […]

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Della Pietra Lecture Series Presents Dr. Bonnie Bassler (Princeton University) October 1-2 2015

General Public Lecture Thursday, October 1, 2015 Wine and Cheese Reception: 5:00 pm, Simons Center Lobby and Art Gallery Lecture: 5:45 pm, Simons Center Auditorium, Room 103 Title: “How Bacteria Talk To Each Other” Abstract: Bacteria communicate with one another using small chemical molecules that they release into the environment. These molecules travel from cell […]

Della Pietra Lecture Series Presents Dr. David Gross (KITP), March 31, 2015

General Public Lecture Tuesday March 31, 2015 Wine and Cheese Reception: 5:00pm, Simons Center Lobby and Art Gallery Lecture: 5:30pm, Simons Center Auditorium, Room 103 Title:The Frontiers of Fundamental Physics Abstract: At the frontiers of physics we search for the principles that might unify all the forces of nature and we strive to understand the […]

Della Pietra Lecture Series Presents Dr. Etienne Ghys (ENS Lyon), January 20 – 22, 2015

General Public Lecture Tuesday January 20 Wine and Cheese Reception: 5:00pm, Simons Center Lobby and Art Gallery Lecture: 5:45pm, Simons Center Auditorium, Room 103 Title: “The story of flat surfaces” Abstract: Most surfaces are not flat. Nevertheless we usually try to cover them with flat pieces. Cartographers picture our round Earth in planar maps. Soccer balls […]

Della Pietra Lecture Series Presents Dr. Eric J Heller (Harvard University), December 4-5 2014

General Public Lecture Thursday December 4 Wine and Cheese Reception: 5:00pm, Simons Center Lobby and Art Gallery Lecture: 5:45pm, Simons Center Auditorium, Room 103 Title: “The Art of Listening. Carefully.” This event is in collaboration with the opening of the ‘Art and the Quantum Moment’ exhibition. For more information please visit:  scgp.stonybrook.edu/archives/12754 ABSTRACT Waves permeate […]

Della Pietra Lecture Series Presents Dr. Frank Wilczek, March 4 – 5, 2014

Public Talk Tuesday March 4 at 5:30pm, Simons Center Auditorium, room 103: Title: “Expanding the Doors of Perception” Abstract: Modern physics has taught us that our unaided senses perceive only an infinitesimal portion of physical reality. Within that theme, Frank Wilczek, PhD, a Nobel Laureate and professor of physics at MIT, will especially emphasize color […]