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Back To On Campus Home September 2007 Volume 33, Issue 11 Home


University’s academic stars set to explore controversial topics, enlighten freshman class

Darlene Grant Darlene Grant
Ellen SpiroEllen Spiro
Bobby Inman.Bobby Inman
David Oshinsky David Oshinsky
Steven Weinberg Steven Weinberg

The university’s finest faculty have been selected to speak at the inaugural University Lecture Series, a community event designed to bring together members of the freshman class and introduce them to the intellectual riches of the university.

The lecture series, composed of four talks held Sept. 10 – Oct. 2, will give first-year students an opportunity to hear leading scholars, scientists and public figures who are well known around the world.

Each lecture will introduce a topic on which there has been some controversy. A faculty panel will then discuss each talk with the aim of demonstrating how disagreement can serve to illuminate various sides of an issue and spark new ideas.

The lecture series was designed in response to the university’s various task forces on curriculum reform, which recommended that all first-year students share a common intellectual experience.

The events are free and open to the public. Each lecture will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Frank Erwin Center.

The series starts Sept. 10 with social work scholar Darlene Grant and filmmaker Ellen Spiro presenting “Documenting Social Justice: Girl Scouts with Mothers Behind Bars.” Grant and Spiro have won awards for their work on the children of women who are in prison.

Admiral Bobby Inman discusses national security issues during “International Challenges for the United States” on Sept. 12. Inman had a distinguished career in the U.S. Navy, during which he served as director of the National Security Agency and deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Historian David Oshinsky speaks on the history of capital punishment in the U.S. during “The Death Penalty in America: A Fading Practice?” on Sept. 19. Oshinsky won the Pulitzer Prize for his book on the campaign to wipe out polio, the most feared childhood disease of the 1950s.

Physicist Steven Weinberg addresses priorities for public spending in research during “What is Science Worth?” on Oct. 2. Weinberg won the Nobel Prize in 1979 for his work on what is called the weak force in particle physics.