Physics Department - UNL Archives and Special Collections

Dan Claes, professor and chair of physics and astronomy, will host a talk titled “Physics at Nebraska: DeWitt Bristol Brace and Einstein” at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 10, at the Wick Alumni Center. 

Claes’ talk will focus on Brace, who served on UNL’s faculty from 1887 to 1905, and how his research helped contribute toward Einstein’s theory of relativity and helped build Nebraska’s reputation, according to Nebraska Today.

Additionally, Claes will talk about Brace’s student who earned the university’s first doctoral degree and how Brace’s work guided the construction that would later become Brace Hall.

“Few people are aware of the legacy that Brace left on the university and in the field of physics,” Claes told Nebraska Today. “He had a reputation for building precision instruments and executing flawless experiments — all of which he did while here at the University of Nebraska.”

According to Nebraska Today, Brace established the Department of Physics and also oversaw the construction of a new physics building in 1905. He died from septicemia before the building could be completed. After it was finished, it was named the Brace Laboratory of Physics. 

The Brace Laboratory of Physics recently underwent construction and is now dedicated to furthering undergraduate education through innovative teaching methods, according to Nebraska Today.

Claes’ talk is part of the 2019 Nebraska Lectures: Chancellor’s Distinguished Speakers series. The series features university faculty members speaking on creativity and research and usually includes two talks each year. However, in celebration of the university’s 150th anniversary, the 2019 series will feature 12 talks.

All of the talks will be free and available to the public. They will also be available for streaming as podcasts. The 2019 series is backed by a $15,000 grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities through Humanities Nebraska, according to Nebraska Today.

More updates and information about the talks can be found on the Nebraska Lectures’ website.   

news@dailynebraskan.com