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Stanford Report, February 23, 2000

Hofstadter 2000 Lecture features Pulitzer Prize-winning scientist

The Department of Physics will hold its eighth annual Robert Hofstadter Memorial Lectures on Feb. 28 and 29.

The lectures were established to honor Nobel Prize-winning physicist Robert Hofstadter, who served on the physics faculty from 1950 until his death in 1990.

This year's speaker will be Hofstadter's son, Douglas, a professor of computer and cognitive science at Indiana University.

In addition to his academic research on artificial intelligence, Douglas Hofstadter has achieved widespread acclaim as a popular writer of nonfiction.

His book, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, earned both the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award in 1980.

He also has written books on creativity, the philosophy of mind, Russian literature and a wide range of other topics.

Hofstadter received a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Stanford in 1965 and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Oregon 10 years later. In 1988, he joined the computer science faculty at Indiana University, where he also holds adjunct professorships in philosophy, psychology and comparative literature.

Hofstadter will discuss his arduous journey from mathematics to physics to cognitive science in a public lecture titled "Musings and Reminiscences of an Ex-Quasi-Physicist," to be held at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 28, in Room 201 of the Regional Teaching Facility, 370 Serra Mall, Science and Engineering Quad.

At 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 29, he will conduct a colloquium at the same location titled "The Ubiquity and Power of Analogies in Physics" ­ how a familiar idea in one area of physics can be transported into another area and yield important new insights.

The lecture and colloquium are free of charge and open to the public. SR