The Soul of Genius: How the 1911 Solvay Conference Changed the Course of Science

Lunchtime Lectures
Friday, March 4, 2022
12:00 p.m. EST (UTC -5)

In 1911, some of the greatest minds in science convened in Brussels at the First Solvay Conference on Physics. Held at the invitation of Belgian chemist and industrialist Ernest Solvay, this historic conference brought together 18 of the world’s leading physicists including Albert Einstein, Ernest Rutherford, Walther Nernst, and Marie Curie, the only woman in attendance.

The First Solvay Conference is considered a turning point in science, when classical physics was about to give way to quantum theory, forever changing the field.

Join author Jeffrey Orens, a retired chemical engineer and former Solvay Chemical executive, as he discusses his book, The Soul of Genius: Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, and the Meeting that Changed the Course of Science, the research behind it, and how it reveals the human side of these brilliant scientists.

About the Speaker


Jeffrey Orens headshot

Courtesy of Jeffrey Orens

Jeffrey Orens is a retired 40-year veteran of the chemical industry, having worked at Union Carbide, Dow, Air Products & Chemicals, Cytec Industries, and Solvay, cofounded by Ernest Solvay in 1863. He is a former chemical engineer with an MBA who spent time in sales, marketing, financial analysis, and international business management before moving on to P&L management of a variety of specialty chemicals businesses. Orens is now a freelance writer of history, business, politics, and sports for several historical journals and published his first book, The Soul of Genius: Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, and the Meeting that Changed the Course of Science, in July 2021. He lives in Fairfield, New Jersey.

About the Series

Our virtual Lunchtime Lecture Series takes a rigorous and entertaining approach to exploring topics for scholars and anyone interested in stories about the history of science, technology, and medicine. The talks help expand perceptions of the nature of science and how it’s done.