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Astronaut, Nobel Prize winners are in town to inspire young innovators

They'll speak to thousands of students and researchers.

Some of the world's foremost minds are in Minnesota this week to inspire the next generation of thinkers.

An event sponsored by 3M and Nobel Media will see a trio of Nobel Prize-winning scientists and a celebrated astronaut speak before students and researchers at several events on Wednesday and Thursday.

Part of the Nobel Prize Inspiration Series, the scientists will host lectures, discussion panels and Q&A sessions at the University of Minnesota, the Science Museum of Minnesota and 3M's offices in Maplewood.


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Those listed on the schedule include NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who will speak at 3M on Thursday about: "Science Skeptic or Supporter? Why It Matters."

Kelly, you might recall, returned last year after spending a year aboard the International Space Station as part of an experiment testing the long-term effects of zero-gravity on the human body.

The following Nobel Price winners will also be speaking this week:

  • Mario J. Molina, a Mexico-born chemist, who was the co-winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize for proving there was a hole in the ozone layer.
  • Elizabeth Blackburn, an Australian-American molecular biologist, who was the co-winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine discovering an enzyme that replenishes the telomere (the cap at the end of a DNA strand).
  • David Gross, an American theoretical physicist, who was co-recipient of the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics for his role in the discovery of asymptotic freedom in the theory of the strong interaction (um...we're not explaining here).

"This unique and prestigious event is all about collaborating to solve current problems and the challenges we will face in the future,” said John Banovetz, 3M Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer.

"We are privileged to welcome three Nobel Laureates to Minnesota to inspire the problem solvers of today and tomorrow."

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