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2014 Lectures

Designed to create a campus-wide conversation, the University Lecture Series gives first-year students an opportunity to interact with leading members of our faculty—scholars, scientists, and civic leaders who are nationally and internationally renowned. All students, faculty, alumni, staff and community guests are invited, but the events will be aimed at entering first-year students. The University Lecture Series is generously brought to UT Austin by the Audre and Bernard Rapoport Excellence Fund for Undergraduate Studies.

Spring 2014

Free Speech in Relation to Privacy
Thursday Feb. 6th at 7 p.m.


Marc Rotenberg is Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) in Washington, DC. He also teaches information privacy law at Georgetown University Law Center.

Fred Cate is a Distinguished Professor Law at Indiana University, where he also directs the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research and the Center for Law, Ethics and Applied Research in Health Information.

Jim Harper is Director of Information Policy Studies at the CATO Institute, where he works to adapt law and policy to unique problems of the information age in areas such as privacy, telecommunications, intellectual property, and security.

Learn more about the Free Speech Dialogues series.

The Hidden Universe Revealed
Wednesday Feb. 19, 2014 at 4 p.m. in CPE 2.208

Half of the starlight in the Universe is hidden from visible telescopes, having been quenched by fine clouds of dust particles
in interstellar space. This missing energy reappears in the infrared and terahertz regions of the spectrum, and can only
be studied fully from space-borne observatories. Now, thanks to a series of international space observatories, this hidden
Universe has been fully revealed. The observations reveal new classes of objects and phenomena, including the
discovery of the most luminous and active star-forming galaxies in the Universe. These objects provide glimpses into the early
history of galaxies like our own, and new insights into the star and galaxy formation processes that shaped the Hubble sequence.

Health Education 2.0: Educating Children of the 21st Century
Tuesday Feb. 25, 2014 at 7 p.m. in BEL 901


Steven H. Kelder is a professor in the Division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, where he is also the Beth Toby Grossman Distinguished Professor in Spirituality and Healing and the Co-Director of Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living.

The Humanities Research Award Symposium
Friday, Feb. 28, 2014 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the CLA Julius Glickman Conference Center.

Established in 2009, the annual award was created by Dean Randy Diehl in response to a shortage of external grants for humanities research. It provides recipients with $15,000 for research-related expenses such as travel, archival costs, supplies and materials. This funding ultimately allows professors to produce a book or a set of articles and make their work known to the academic community. View the schedule and learn more about the award winners and symposium speakers.

Hot Science – Cool Talks
Jan. 24, March 1, and April 4

The Hot Science – Cool Talks Outreach Series brings leading scientists and their research to you. They feature engaging activities for multiple age groups and satellite-based professional development opportunities for teachers.

Topics this semester include: Extreme Weather and Uncertainty in Forecasting; Space Travel-Science Fiction vs. Science Fact; and Primate Social Behavior.

Learn more about the Hot Science – Cool Talks series.

Julia Alvarez – Harry Ransom Lecture
Monday March 31, 2014 at 7 p.m. in Jessen Auditorium at Homer Rainey Hall.

Acclaimed novelist, poet, and essayist Julia Alvarez speaks about her life and work with University of Texas at Austin professor, Dr. Jennifer M. Wilks on Monday, March 31, at 7 p.m. A book signing and reception to follow at the Harry Ransom Center.

Alvarez was born in New York City but raised in the Dominican Republic until she was 10. In 1960 her family was forced to flee the Dominican Republic when it was discovered that her father was involved in a plot to overthrow dictator Rafael Trujillo. Much of Alvarez’s work is considered semi-autobiographical, drawing on her experiences as an immigrant and her bicultural identity. Alvarez’s unique experiences have shaped and infused her writing—from such award-winning novels as How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of the Butterflies to her poetry. Alvarez’s archive resides at the Ransom Center.

Though members of the community are invited, Signature Course students are required to attend one of the lectures. Faculty teaching during the summer sessions are encouraged to have their students attend another appropriate event to fulfill this requirement.

Fall 2014

Monday, Sept. 29
7–8:00 p.m.
Bass Concert Hall

In The Creative Mind featuring:

Prof. Ann C. Johns: Obama, Art History, And Me (or why you should study the arts)
Why should UT students take classes in the arts? This issue came into unexpected focus this past February, when President Obama, in a speech touting the value of manufacturing jobs, suggested that a major in art history might be less than practical. After weeks of debate, UT-Austin was briefly in the national spotlight when President Obama responded in a hand-written letter to UT art historian Dr. Ann Johns’s defense of a career in the arts. So just what are the benefits of studying the arts?

Prof. Guy P. Raffa: Dantemania: Looking Back Today for a Better Tomorrow
Dante Alighieri is known today for his poetic journey through the afterlife, even by those who haven’t read a single word that he wrote 700 years ago in Italy. Forget about the proliferation of translations, studies, and college courses touting Dante and his work: when a video game inspired by your Inferno is launched during half time of the Super Bowl, when Don Draper reads your lines on a Hawaiian beach to open a season of Mad Men, and when Dan Brown bases his latest blockbuster on your poem and its enduring influence, you know you’ve become a word-wide celebrity. What do these and other reinventions of Dante’s own creation tell us about the medieval poet and his world? What do they tell us about our world and ourselves? Dantemania will show how studying the past can shape a better future through a clearer understanding of the present.

Prof. Michael P. Starbird: Elements of Effective Thinking
A wondrously romantic belief is that brilliant thinkers magically produce brilliant ideas: Einstein jostles his hair and relativity falls out. We can enjoy these fanciful visions of leaps of genius, but we should not be fooled into believing that they’re reality. Brilliant innovators are brilliant because they practice habits of thinking that inevitably carry them step by step to works of genius. No magic and no leaps are involved. Habits of effective thinking and creativity can be learned. Anyone who practices them will inevitably create new insights, new ideas, and new solutions.

Watch the In the Creative Mind lecture.

Tuesday, Sept. 30
7-8:00 p.m.
Bass Concert Hall

Innovations and Ethics in Healthcare featuring:

Prof. James W. McGinity: Pharmaceutical Inventions Developed by Students and Faculty in the College of Pharmacy
Hear about two issued patents and a patent application on innovations developed by students and faculty in the College of Pharmacy. One of these, the ‘963 patent, protects the abuse-deterrent sustained release opioid tablet, “OxyContin®.” This patent has generated more revenue for UT than any other patent in the history of the university. In addition, this abuse-deterrent technology saves the lives of many who are unable to extract the opioid from these tablets.

Prof. Lauren Ancel Meyers: Tracking and Curbing the Next Deadly Pandemic
A discussion of global pandemics, the current threats of ebola and influenza, and how big data and modern computing are helping to fight contagion.

Prof. William J. Winslade: Creative Interventions and Ethical Implications
Innovations in medical treatment can result from new technologies or new uses of old technologies. But innovative treatment always raises ethical questions about appropriate and inappropriate uses. New treatments for nerve damage, eye diseases, and mental illness will be used to illustrate.

Watch the Innovations and Ethics in Healthcare lecture.