Oct. 29 Jorgensen Hall dedication to feature extreme ribbon cutting, Nobel laureate


The UNL community is invited to celebrate the dedication of Jorgensen Hall, the university's new physics building, where the winners of a ribbon-cutting contest will put their Rube Goldberg device to work.

Nobel laureate and alumnus Alan Heeger will kick off the dedication day events on Oct. 29 with a talk at 4 p.m. in Jorgensen Hall 136. Heeger will address the role risk-taking plays in science. He'll also discuss how the building's namesake, Ted Jorgensen, steered him into a career in physics.

Heeger and two colleagues won the 2000 Nobel Prize in chemistry for discovering that plastics can be altered to become electrical conductors.

The dedication ceremony will follow at 4:30 p.m. in Jorgensen Hall's atrium. Online voters selected Jayme and John Cox of DeWitt as the winners of a contest designed to add some physics-related fun and a little drama to the ribbon cutting. Jayme is a sophomore at Pius X High School, where her father, John, teaches physics and physical science. He also teaches a lab at UNL.

The Coxes proposed using a home-built Rube Goldberg device that uses a pendulum, an auger and an air can, among other tools, in a six-step process to cut the ribbon on the new building.

Baxter Luethje, a senior in the College of Business Administration, and Axel Enders, an assistant professor of Physics and Astronomy, will be recognized as contest runners-up. Luethje proposed using a laser to pop a line of balloons. Enders' idea demonstrated the concept of atmospheric pressure.

University officials, state leaders, Jorgensen family members, building architects and the artist who designed the steel and glass sculptures installed in Jorgensen Hall are expected to attend. A reception will follow.

The dedication ceremony is the focal point of Physics Week, which has been filled with free, fun and educational demonstrations. As part of the festivities, the department will show a video on Oct. 28 at 4 p.m. featuring a 1999 interview with a then-93-year-old Ted Jorgensen about his work on the Manhattan Project. The event will be held in Jorgensen Hall 136.

Physics Week wraps up with a tailgate party and open house on Oct. 30 beginning at noon. Food, tours and demonstrations are planned. Professor Tim Gay also will present his popular "Football Physics" show at 1 p.m. in Jorgensen Hall 136.

- Jean Ortiz Jones

More details at: http://go.unl.edu/4gu