Distinguished Lecture Series | NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Distinguished Lecture Series

in honor of Herbert Morawetz


Celebrating a Love of Learning, a Passion for Teaching, and a Commitment to Scientific Inquiry

The distinguished lecture series in honor of Professor Herbert Morawetz was inaugurated in 2003. Initially funded by two of his grateful former students, the series commemorates his intellectual curiosity and wide-ranging interests by covering all areas of scientific endeavor, from Anthropology to Zoology. Given by top names in their respective fields, including Nobel Laureates, the lectures are nonetheless presented at a level accessible to a general audience, so that all who are interested may benefit.

Morawetz was an influential polymer chemist who spent his professional career at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, now the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Born in 1915 in Prague, he had trained to work in the family textile business, but those plans were disrupted by the 1938 Nazi occupation of what was then Czechoslovakia. In 1939 he fled with his family to Canada, where he studied chemical engineering at the University of Toronto. In 1950 he earned his Ph.D. in chemistry at "Brooklyn Poly" and joined our faculty the following year.

Morawetz became Director of the Polymer Research Institute (PRI) in 1971.  He used fluorescence spectroscopy to study local conformational transitions and polymer compatibility and wrote two seminal books: Macromolecules in Solution and Polymers, The Origins and Growth of a Science.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) published a tribute to Morawetz on the occasion of his 70th birthday in 1985, and he received the ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry in 1986 (the same year he was granted the title of professor emeritus here).  Following his retirement from academia, he served as associate editor for the ACS journal Macromolecules for 15 years.

Morawetz passed away on October 29, 2017, at the age of 102. He will long be remembered here for his contributions to polymer science and for inspiring countless students and colleagues.

The most recent Morawetz lecture was:

Intra-operative Brain Tumor Margins and Assessment by Mass Spectrometry
Professor R. Graham Cooks
Purdue University
Friday, March 9, 2018, 10:45-11:45am
Room LC 400, 5 MetroTech Center

The next Morawetz lecture is:

The Monster at the Center of our Galaxy
Professor Andrea Ghez
University of California Los Angeles
Friday, May 10, 2019, 10:45-11:45am
Seminar Room 1201, 370 Jay Street

View a complete list of the lectures


Contributions in his memory can be made to the Herbert Morawetz Lecture Series

Send a check made out to the "NYU Tandon School of Engineering" to: 

NYU Tandon School of Engineering
Attn: Development and Alumni Relations
15 MetroTech Center, 6th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201.

Please be sure to indicate that the gift is for the HMorawetz Lecture Series so it can be properly directed. 

Alternatively, you may make a donation online:

1. Donate online.

2. Where it says "I would like to make my gift to" click the drop-down menu and select "Other"

3. Where it says "Please specify your fund," type "HMorawetz Lecture Series (22-63260-R4108)"

4. Follow the prompts for donor and billing information.