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Watt Webb 80th birthday symposium to explore future research June 16

Cornell will celebrate the achievements and 80th birthday of physicist Watt W. Webb, the S.B. Eckert Professor in Engineering at Cornell, June 16, in the Carrier Grand Ballroom of the Statler Hotel.

A symposium honoring the co-inventor of such breakthrough imaging technologies as multiphoton microscopy and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy will be held in conjunction with the 2008 Kavli Lecture and Henri Sack Memorial Lecture.

The theme of the daylong event, "Tentanda Via Est," is Webb's research motto, which he translates from Virgil's Latin as, "To experiment is the true way."

In addition to celebrating Webb's 47 years of collaboration with faculty throughout the university, the symposium will explore future opportunities for solving the "impossible problems" that continue to drive his research.

Guest speakers will include Douglas S. Scherr, the Ronald Stanton Clinical Scholar in Urology at Weill Cornell Medical College, whose talk is titled "Multiphoton Endoscopy Development: The Holy Grail of the Optical Biopsy." Also slated to speak is Bradley T. Hyman, a professor of neurology at Harvard University, whose talk is titled "Multiphoton Imaging: A Window on Alzheimer's Disease."

Roderick MacKinnon, 2003 Nobel laureate in chemistry, will present the Kavli Lecture, and Winfried Denk, co-inventor with Webb of multiphoton microscopy, will give the Sack lecture.

Director of the Developmental Resource for Biophysical Imaging Opto-Electronics from 1997 to 2007, Webb joined the Cornell faculty in 1961, served as director of the School of Applied and Engineering Physics from 1983 to 1989 and is a member of the graduate faculties of eight fields.

Webb's awards include the National Lectureship of the Biophysical Society (2002), the Rank Prize in Opto-electronics (with Denk, 2000), the Jablonski Prize of the Biophysical Society (2000), the Michelson-Morley Award of Case-Western Reserve University (1999) and the Biological Physics Prize of the American Physical Society (1991). He is an elected fellow of the American Physical Society, the Biophysical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a founding fellow of the American Institute of Biological and Medical Engineers. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Registration is free. E-mail Mark Williams at for more information.

Media Contact

Blaine Friedlander