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News Details | 16-Jul-2009

Science meets art -  Nobel Laureate Richard Ernst’s perspective on Tibetan painting and science


Art and science may often be seen as two topics which are poles apart but Nobel Laureate Professor Richard Ernst’s upcoming talk at Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) School of Art, Design and Media (ADM) aims to show how they complement each other.

Titled "Arts and Sciences - A personal perspective of Tibetan painting", the talk held on 16 July 2009 at the ADM Auditorium, will reveal the close links which bridge art and science, technology and culture.

Reflecting on his longstanding interest in Tibetan Thangka paintings, Professor Ernst will share his insights and his personal fascination with these scroll paintings during the talk. The tradition of Thangka painting reflects more than 1,000 years of Tibetan culture and Buddhist philosophy. The painting art was a central part of the religious and daily life in ancient Tibet and provides unique insights into the traditional Tibetan way of life. The talk will also cover the numerous scientific aspects that are involved in the study, conservation and restoration of the delicate Thangka paintings.

Professor Ernst is a Swiss physical chemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1991 for his contributions towards the development of Fourier Transform Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy and the subsequent development of multi-dimensional NMR techniques. He studied at and served on the faculty of the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (Federal Institute of Technology) in Zürich, Switzerland from which he is now retired. He is Honorary Doctor of the Technical University of Munich and University of Zurich.

In addition, Professor Ernst, who is a Lee Kong Chian Distinguished Visiting Professor, will be delivering two other lectures.

The first lecture, “Academic Responsibility and Our Future” emphasises the responsibility that academic teachers and scientists carry in shaping a beneficial future for all. It will be held on 17 July 2009 at the School of Biological Sciences, NTU.

The second, titled “Fascinating Insights in Chemistry, Biology and Medicine by NMR and MRI”, will be held on 20 July 2009 at the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (SPMS), NTU.  The lecture is part of three-day conference, which starts on 20 July 2009, held in conjunction with the opening of SPMS.

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