Haas, Cohen Will Give Faculty Research Lectures

The decline of American national identity and predicting new materials through "alchemy" with computers are the topics of this year's Faculty Research Lectures.

Ernst Haas, Robson Professor of Government, will speak Monday, Feb. 24, on national identity. Marvin Cohen, University Professor of Physics, will lecture on new materials Wednesday, Feb. 26.

Both lectures are at 5 p.m. in Booth Auditorium of Boalt Hall.

The Senate's Berkeley Division yearly selects two members on the basis of their distinguished research following a tradition that began in 1912 when the Academic Council recommended that the senate establish a way to present research results. Lecturers are selected on all campuses. Ernst Haasemigrated to the United States in 1938 to escape Nazi persecution and his early experiences had an important impact on his eventual intellectual commitment. Early exposure to a particularly virulent form of nationalism and national aggressiveness led him to question whether things could be different. Must nationalism be wholly negative? Is aggressive behavior toward other nations inevitable? Can we conceive of international arrangements in which cooperation flourishes along with occasional conflict?

Haas completed his education at Columbia under the G.I. Bill and joined the Berkeley faculty in 1951 as an instructor, becoming a full professor in 1962.

He was appointed Robson Professor in 1973.

In his book "The Uniting of Europe," Haas addresses how nations who had been archenemies could bury their conflicts during the European integration in the '50s.

Later, in "Scientists and World Order," he devised a theory of international cooperation based on ways of developing and sharing technical knowledge.

He is now at work on a two-volume theory of nationalism, "Nationalism, Liberalism and Progress," in which nationalism is conceived as a possibly benign community-building force as well as a destructive atavism.

Haas's research has been inseparable from his teaching. Thirty-three published PhD dissertations have resulted from his collaborative relationships with graduate students. An additional 23 did not see publication, but were central in the later careers of the writers.

Much of Haas's work has depended crucially on contributions of graduate research assistants who served their scholarly apprenticeships with his projects.

Haas considers teaching one of the most satisfying achievements of his career.

Marvin Cohen began teaching himself physics and mathematics and constructing theoretical models of atomic nuclei in grade school in Montreal. This activity temporarily ceased when his family moved to San Francisco and he became interested in performing jazz on the clarinet and saxophone. He graduated from Berkeley in 1957 and completed graduate studies at Chicago, where in his thesis he predicted that semiconductors could be superconductors -- a prediction later verified.

Cohen then joined the theoretical group at Bell Telephone Laboratories. He returned to Berkeley as an assistant professor in 1964 and has taught and done research work here ever since, except for visiting professorships abroad. Because most of his work is done with pencil and paper, he has accomplished come of his most satisfying research on Hawaiian beaches and sidewalk cafÈs in Paris.

Cohen is best known for pioneering research on the theory of real materials. He is the central figure in the invention of concepts and methods to calculate the properties of real materials.

He and his group use quantum theory to predict and explain the existence and behavior of novel crystalline solids not previously realized in nature or in the laboratory.

His work has had a major impact on technology. His electronic band structures of semiconductors are used worldwide for band gap engineering and device physics. His prediction of a super hard material, carbon nitride, to rival diamond, has spawned new companies and industrial research.

Among his successful predictions are six new superconductors, a "random computer" based on nanostructures, vibrational and mechanical properties of materials, and properties of high temperature superconductors.


Copyright 1997, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
Comments? E-mail berkeleyan@pa.urel.berkeley.edu.