UT students will have the opportunity to hear from a scholar on par with Albert Einstein and Marie Curie.

The annual Knoxville Economics Forum, a nonprofit event established in 2010, will host Peter Diamond – a Nobel Prize laureate – on Friday to discuss and explore various economic concerns impacting today's younger generations.

The first of two seminars will commence at 7:30 a.m. inside the First Tennessee Plaza downtown, while the second will begin at noon in the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy.

Peter Diamond has been researching and analyzing separate facets of the economic system since he began his education at Yale in 1958. But it was not always easy to develop a sense of passion for something that had never crossed his mind.

Diamond, a respected scholar, has presented lectures for many years in an attempt to enlighten the public about problems they may face in today's economy.

"Teaching a younger generation is an important part of what drives me to forums," Diamond said. "My focus is as much on showing how to approach analyzing problems as my particular answers to dealing with the particular problems."

During his own university years, Diamond found it difficult to choose an area of study that suited his desire for a fulfilling profession. Under the guidance of mentors like Charles Berry or Shizuo Kakutani, two prolific economists, Diamond began to develop a sense of purpose.

Kasey Fleenor, an undecided freshman, said she relates to Diamond's struggle to find and develop a passion for any one subject.

"Forums like this one help students like me in search of a major," Fleenor said. "It's a great opportunity to explore new fields."

Boasting tenure as an economics instructor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1966 to 2011, Diamond elevates the caliber of visiting lecturers for the forum.

"He brings a new level of expertise to the forum and the UT campus," said Marianne Wanamaker, assistant professor of economics. "He is an academic like all persons on campus and can relate much better than those speakers of the past."

An expert on unemployment, Wanamaker said she believes this year's forum is especially relevant for students.

Wanamaker added: "Students who graduate college today will encounter a sour job market and a national debt that will fall onto the shoulders of the younger generations like UT students."