You want Art and Science? Well, it’s right at our doorstep next week. Roald Hoffman in the house.

Not sure if this has been getting enough attention, but next Tuesday, UBC is lucky enough to host a visit by Nobel Laureate, Roald Hoffman.


This seems like exactly the sort of thing that I could get into. Here is the write up at UBC Theatre:


by Roald Hoffman, Directed by Theatre at UBC Faculty Stephen Heatley
March 4-8, 2008
Theatre at UBC and UBC Department of Chemistry FREDERIC WOOD THEATRE
7:30 p.m.

Theatre at UBC and the UBC Department of Chemistry present, Should’ve by Roald Hoffman, Directed by Theatre at UBC Faculty Stephen Heatley at the FREDERIC WOOD THEATRE.

Dates: March 4-8 Curtain: 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20/$14/$10 Boxoffice: 604.822.2678
Running Time: 75 Min.
* Talkbacks with the company nightly, playwright will participate Tues. March 4.

SHOULD’VE by Roald Hoffmann

Nobel Laureate in Chemistry Roald Hoffmann explores themes of responsibility in creative work in his latest play Should’ve. The play unfolds as a mystery, in which a diverse group of people from different generations and backgrounds, confront ethical issues of the past and the present, in science, art, and life. The chemistry of Hoffman’s production is certain to catalyze discussion among those in attendance.

This Vancouver premiere of Hoffmann’s intriguing new play, directed by Theatre program Chair Stephen Heatley stars an all professional cast and opens on the heels of this same production’s European debut at the 41st annual IUPAC Chemistry Congress in Turin, Italy. The opening kicks off Celebrate Research Week at UBC marks the reopening of Chemistry’s newly restored historic Centre Block, the first building constructed on our Point Grey Campus – and is presented as part of UBC’s Centenary year programming.

UBC Centenary
and Celebrate Research Week
season posterDr. Roald Hoffmann

A Holocaust survivor, Roald Hoffmann understands all too well the toll taken by the period whose shadow looms over Should¹ve; he lost three grandparents and his father in concentration camps and pogroms, and only 200 of the 12,000 Jews in his home town of Zloczow, Poland survived the war.

After several years of post-war wanderings in Europe, Hoffmann immigrated with his family to the United States in 1949, at age 11. He studied chemistry at Columbia and Harvard universities, earning a PhD in 1962, and joined the faculty at Cornell University in 1965. His many honours include the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, shared with Kenichi Fukui. He now serves as the university¹s Frank H.T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters, where his work involves applied theoretical chemistry. He excels not only at constructing frameworks for understanding based on experiment-stimulated computations, but also at communicating those and other scientific ideas to widespread audiences. Among his many projects is a 26-segment television course in introductory chemistry that has shown widely on PBS and abroad since 1990. He also hosts Entertaining Science, a monthly cabaret at the Cornelia Street Café in Greenwich Village that has become the hot cheap ticket in NYC.

A lover of the hidden, associative ways of English, the sixth language he learned, Hoffmann the writer carves out a land between science, poetry and philosophy. Besides more than 500 scientific publications and many essays, his work includes three books: Chemistry Imagined with artist Vivian Torrence; The Same and Not the Same, which has been translated into six languages; and Old Wine, New Flasks: Reflections on Science and Jewish Tradition, with Shira Leibowitz Schmidt. An accomplished poet, he has appeared in various literary magazines and published several collections since 1987. He also co-wrote the play Oxygen with fellow chemist Carl Djerassi; translated into 10 languages, it has been performed around the world.

Chemist, poet, philosopher, playwright, Dr. Hoffmann testifies to the value of bridging science and art within an ethical framework.

Note that the hot ticket is opening night since that is the only night Dr. Hoffman will be present. Anyway, if you missed picking up Mohammad Yunus tickets (what was up with releasing them during midterm break?), then this would be a good one to check out in its stead.

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David (@ng_dave) is Faculty at the Michael Smith Labs. His writing has appeared in places such as McSweeney's, The Walrus, and He plans on using Terry as another place to highlight the mostly science-y links he appreciates. In fact, if you liked this one, you might also like his main site generally - this can be found at