July 27, 2023

Fall semester Presidential Lecture Series features Internet founders, University of Chicago president, Intel CEO and pioneer female astronaut on Purdue campus

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Guest speakers and thought leaders taking part in Purdue University’s Presidential Lecture Series this fall include the founders of the Internet, a leader and nanomaterials researcher in academia, the chief executive of a microprocessor industry giant, and a pioneering female astronaut and Purdue alumna.

Scheduled to join Purdue President Mung Chiang for Presidential Lecture Series conversations beginning in September are Internet founders Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn, University of Chicago President Paul Alivisatos, Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger, and Virgin Galactic’s No. 2 astronaut and Chief Astronaut Instructor Beth Moses.

All events in the Purdue lecture series are free and open to the public. Ticket information will be available closer to the date of the events.

  • Sept. 7: Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn, the duo credited with the seminal work 50 years ago in inventing the TCP/IP that led to the Internet’s success, will join Chiang at 6 p.m. in Stewart Center’s Fowler Hall. The event is titled “Origins of the Internet and its Subsequent Evolution.”
  • Sept. 12: Paul Alivisatos, the University of Chicago’s 14th president, will share the stage with Chiang to discuss the state of higher education in America.
  • Oct. 17: Intel CEO Patrick Gelsinger comes to Purdue for his lecture on revitalization of semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S.
  • In November, Beth Moses, chief astronaut instructor for Virgin Galactic, returns to Purdue as one of the many Boilermakers who have ventured into space.

“As the most consequential public university in the country, Purdue continues to be a convening spot for national leaders, each having made a difference to the world with excellence at scale,” said Purdue President Mung Chiang. “This fall semester brings an impressive lineup of Presidential Lecturers to our community of scholars and students and to our neighborhood of many curious minds.”

Additional Information

Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn

Cerf and Kahn, who are commonly called the “Fathers of the Internet,” led the design and implementation of what formed the basis of the Internet, beginning with their seminal research paper in the early 1970s.

Titled A Protocol for Packet Network Intercommunication,” the paper was subsequently published in the IEEE Transactions on Communications in May 1974 and outlined the resulting Internet architecture for the technological innovation that’s ubiquitous today.

Their Presidential Lecture Series event comes a half-century since the pivotal period of Cerf and Kahn’s groundbreaking work. Their visit also coincides with the 60th anniversary celebration of Purdue’s historic launch of the nation’s first academic computer science department and the 50th anniversary of the Internet’s launch in January 1983. 

Kahn earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the City College of New York in 1960, and master’s and PhD degrees from Princeton University in 1962 and 1964, respectively. Cerf earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics at Stanford in 1965 and master’s and PhD degrees in computer science at UCLA in 1970 and 1972, respectively.

Paul Alivisatos

Alivisatos was named the 14th president of the University of Chicago in 2021. He also is the John D. MacArthur Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Chemistry and the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering. 

A preeminent scientist and entrepreneur, Alivisatos has made pioneering research breakthroughs in nanomaterials. Contributions to the fundamental physical chemistry of nanocrystals are the hallmarks of his scientific career. His research accomplishments include studies of the scaling laws governing the optical, electrical, structural and thermodynamic properties of nanocrystals.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1981 from the University of Chicago and PhD in chemistry from University of California, Berkeley, in 1986. He began his academic career with UC Berkeley in 1988 and with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1991.

Patrick Gelsinger

Gelsinger has been Intel’s CEO since joining the microprocessor leader in February 2021 and also serves on the company’s board of directors. Gelsinger has more than four decades of technology leadership and experience driving innovation, with 30 of those years serving in Intel engineering and executive roles. 

Before rejoining Intel, he was CEO of VMware, where he transformed the company into a recognized global leader in cloud infrastructure, enterprise mobility and cybersecurity – almost tripling its annual revenue.

He began his career in 1979 at Intel, becoming its first chief technology officer and serving as senior vice president and general manager of the Digital Enterprise Group. He managed the creation of key industry technologies like USB and Wi-Fi. Gelsinger also was architect of the original 80486 processor, led 14 microprocessor programs and played key roles in the Intel Core and Intel Xeon processor families, leading to Intel becoming the world’s preeminent microprocessor supplier.

Gelsinger earned degrees in electrical engineering: an associate degree from Lincoln Technical Institute, a bachelor’s degree from Santa Clara University and a master’s degree from Stanford University.

Beth Moses

A Purdue alum, Moses made history in 2019 with Virgin Galactic by becoming the first female commercial astronaut. Her space career began at NASA’s Johnson Space Center as extravehicular activity system manager. She transitioned to Virgin Galactic as chief astronaut instructor and cabin test lead, responsible for making Virgin's commercial spaceflight program a safe and enjoyable experience.

During her test flight on SpaceShipTwo, she became the first human to unbuckle and float around during a suborbital spaceflight. She made history again in 2021, joining fellow Purdue alum Sirisha Bandla on the first ever fully crewed commercial spaceflight. Moses flew again in 2023 as part of Virgin's first test flight after a two-year hiatus.

Few knew in advance of that 2019 flight that Moses was on the crew. She made it a priority to honor her alma mater’s space history on that flight, flying two Purdue pennants to space. She gifted one to Purdue’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics. That second test flight in 2019 climbed to a height of nearly 56 miles, which qualified Moses and the two pilots for Commercial Space Astronaut Wings from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Moses received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from Purdue in 1992 and 1994, respectively.

About the Presidential Lecture Series

Launched in 2014 by then-Purdue President Mitch Daniels and continued by President Mung Chiang, the Presidential Lecture Series exposes Purdue students and the broader community to inspiring ideas, courageous leadership and models of civic engagement and civil discourse. The Presidential Lecture Series has had over 40 guests of many viewpoints and perspectives and hosted some of the great intellectual, business and civic leaders of our time. As one of the world’s premier centers of scholarly leadership, Purdue is — appropriately and necessarily — a regular venue for great thinkers across a wide variety of disciplines.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a public research institution with excellence at scale. Ranked among top 10 public universities (Times Higher Education/Wall Street Journal and QS), with two colleges in the top 4 in the United States (U.S. News & World Report), Purdue discovers and disseminates knowledge with a quality and at a scale second to none. More than 105,000 students study at Purdue across modalities and locations, with 50,000 in person on the West Lafayette campus. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue’s main campus has frozen tuition 12 years in a row. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap, including its first comprehensive urban campus in Indianapolis, the new Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, and Purdue Innovates, at https://stories.purdue.edu

Writer and media contact: Phillip Fiorini, pfiorini@purdue.edu, 765-430-6189

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