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Heilborn Lectures

The Department of Physics and Astronomy thanks George Heilborn (1935-2015), a graduate of Northwestern's physics program, for his generous support of the Heilborn Lectures at Northwestern University. We have benefited greatly from this program over the years. George Heilborn created this endowment in the memory of his parents, Walter and Christine Heilborn, in 2000 in order to strengthen the the Physics & Astronomy program at Northwestern for the benefit of faculty, students, and other departments in the Chicago area.

Past lectures 

Rainer Weiss, Professor of Physics (Emeritus) Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Nobel Prize for Physics, 2017.

Gravitational waves: astrophysics, technical challenges and prospects for the future

The Gamble taken by the NSF with LIGO

Exploring the Universe with Gravitational Waves



Sir Michael Berry, Melville Wills Professor of Physics (Emeritus).  HH Wills Physics Laboratory, University of Bristol, UK.

Nature’s optics and our understanding of light

Variations on a theme of Aharonov and Bohm

Faster than Fourier: superoscillations, weak measurement, vorticulture...

Chasing the dragon: tidal bores in the UK and elsewhere; quantum and Hawking radiation analogies

How quantum physics democratized music: a meditation on physics and technology

October 2016
Andrea Ghez, Professor of Physics & Astronomy and Laruen B. Leichtman & Arthur E. Levine Chair in Astrophysics.  University of California, Los Angeles.

Unveiling the Supermassive Black Hole at the Center of Our Galaxy

Our Galatic Center: A Laboratory for Exploring the Physics & Astrophysics of Black Holes

The Monster at the Heart of our Galaxy

April 2016

David Wineland. National Institute of Standards and Technology and The University of Colorado.
Nobel Prize for Physics, 2012.

Single-Atom Optical Clocks

Atomic Phase Measurements Beyond the Standard Quantum Limit

Quantum Computers and Schrodinger's Cat


Kostya Novoselov, Langworthy Professor of Physics. University of Manchester, UK.
Nobel Prize for Physics, 2010.

Twist-controlled electronic properties of van der Waals Heterostructures.

Materials in the Flatland


Adam Riess, Thomas J. Barber Professor of Astronomy and Physics. Johns Hopkins University.
Nobel Prize for Physics, 2011.

The Hubble Constant and Dark Energy

Dark Energy and the Accelerating Universe


Carlo Rubbia, Professor, Harvard University, 1970-1988. Director General, CERN, 1989-1994.
Nobel Prize for Physics, 1984.

Neutrinos: A Golden Field for Astroparticle Physics

Non-Liouvillian cooling in particle accelerators: from proton-antiproton colliders to a Higgs factory

The Future of Energy


Kimitoshi Kono, Chief Scientist. Low Temperature Physics Laboratory, RIKEN, Japan.

History and Single Electron Transport on Liquid Helium

Strong Microwave Excitation and Negative Resistance States

Experiments on Superfluid 3He


John EllisCERN, Division Leader 1988-94, Clerke Maxwell Professor of Theoretical Physics. Kings College, London.

Yannis SemertzidisPhysicist, Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Laurence LittenbergPhysicist, Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Paris SphicasSenior Staff Physicist, CERN. University of Athens.



Murray Gell-MannProfessor Emeritus, Caltech. Distinguished Fellow, Santa Fe Institute.
Nobel Prize for Physics, 1969.

Jacques LaskerDirector of Research CNRS. Paris Observatory.

James YorkeProfessor of Mathematics and Physics, University of Maryland.

Yoram LithwickAssistant Professor, Northwestern University.

James SaulsProfessor, Northwestern University.

Michael SyphersAssistant Accelerator Division Head, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.


Leon LedermanDirector Emeritus, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Pritzker Professor of Physics, Illinois Institute of Technology.
Nobel Prize for Physics, 1988.

Galilleo and the LHC

How to Violate Symmetry in 39 Hours

Science Education and the Education of Scientists


Steven ChuProfessor of Physics and Molecular & Cell Biology, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Humanities & Sciences, Stanford University. United States Secretary of Energy, 2009-2013. Director, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboatory, 2004-2009.
Nobel Prize for Physics, 1997.

The World's Energy Problem and What We Can Do About It

Coherent Control of Ultra-Cold Matter


Alan GuthVictor F. Weisskopf Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Cosmic Inflation and the Accelerating Universe

The Basic Physics of Inflationary Cosmology

Eternal Inflation and the String Theory Landscape


David GrossFrederic W. Gluck Professor of Theoretical Physics. Director, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara. 
Nobel Prize for Physics, 2004.

The Theory of Elmentary Particles

Questions and Speculations

The Coming Revolutions


Barry BarishRonald and Maxine Linde Professor of Physics, Caltech. Director, LIGO Laboratory.

Probing Einstein's Universe

The Next Great Particle Accelerator: The International Linear Collider

Detecting Gravitational Waves with LIGO


Frank WilczekHermann Feshbach Professor of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Origin of Mass and the Feebleness of Gravity

Exotic Superfluidities

/diquarks and Pentaquarks


Philip AndersonProfessor, Princeton University. 
Nobel Prize in Physics, 1977.

RVB, Plain Vanilla

More is Different



Theodore HaenschDirector, Max-Planck-Institut fur Quantenoptik, Garching. Professor of Physics, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitat, Munchen, Germany.
Nobel Prize in Physics, 2005.


James BjorkenProfessor of Physics, Stanford University. Director, Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC).

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