News from NKU

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Wednesday – Jan. 30, 2013

NKU Six@Six Lecture Examines Physics of Matter

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – The word “atom” comes to us via a linguistic handoff from Greek to Latin to Old French, and means “something that cannot be cut into parts” – a perfectly good definition for what was once thought of the fundamental particle of all matter. Then came the 20th century and the discovery of fission. The atom could be split.

Our knowledge of atoms and subatomic particles continues to grow, and Northern Kentucky University’s Matthew Zacate is just the person to guide you through the fascinating, submicroscopic world of electrons, protons and neutrons. Dr. Zacate is an associate professor of physics at NKU.

As part of NKU’s popular Six@Six Lecture Series, Dr. Zacate will speak on Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. at the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center in Covington (1028 Scott Boulevard). His topic is “Wobbly Atoms,” so titled because Dr. Zacate will challenge your assumptions about solid objects. Look at a potted plant. Or the table where it sits. Or the floor beneath the table. Are they moving or perfectly still? Don't trust your eyes. Trust physics. They are moving. Even the most rigid of solid objects are comprised of atoms that are in constant motion.

Accompanied by animations, Dr. Zacate will guide you through the effects and properties of the ever-wobbling atom and the influences of atomic vibrations on innovative technology.

This is the fourth lecture in this season’s Six@Six series. The season will close out on April 25, with “New Insights into the Life and Times of Niccolò Machiavelli,” a lecture by Dr. William Landon, interim chair and associate professor of history at NKU.

The Six@Six series is designed to bring the passion and expertise of the NKU faculty to the community. NKU’s partners are the Carnegie, the Berhinger-Crawford Museum in Covington and the Mercantile Library in downtown Cincinnati. Each venue is hosting at least one of the lectures. The series is coordinated by NKU’s Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement.

Tickets are $6 (children and students are free). Tickets are available in advance at or at the door.

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