Sunday, February 15, 2009

Figures of Speech, or "I wish I didn't have class so I could go to these sweet lectures."

Diversity is the name of the game as this week’s lecturers talk high-tech sensors, racy movies, and immigration politics.

“The World in Infra-Red: Optical Sensing for Health and the Environment” on Wednesday February 18, noon in Frist Multipurpose Room B – For the engineers (and the simply science curious) among us, Claire Gmachl and Jim Smith will discuss the research conducted at the Engineering Research Center based in Princeton, including last summer’s atmospheric field campaign in Beijing to monitor air quality, cloud cover, and precipitation during the Olympics, where researchers analyzed the impact of pollution reduction measures imposed during the Games. Go because we all remember the alarming news stories about athletes wearing surgical face masks to reduce inhalation of pollutants, and stay because those new stories never did say if the masks actually worked.

“Are You Who We Think You Are?” on Thursday February 19, 5:30 in McCosh 50 (simulcast in McCosh 28 and 46) – This is probably the main attraction for the week, starring the multitalented Glenn Close. Close, famous for her portrayal of Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction, will discuss her constantly evolving relationship with her audience and the importance of the dramatic arts. If you didn’t get tickets for this lecture already and watching it on a TV in another room during the simulcast doesn’t quite do it for you, prepare yourself for some quality standing-in-line time, because this lecture might just be worth the wait. Go because everyone else wants to go to awesome ticketed lectures like this; stay because some people just have really interesting lives that are worth hearing about, including Ms. Close.

“Seeing an Obscured Apartheid: Immigration, Civil Rights, and the Reconstruction” on Friday February 20, noon in the Carl A. Fields Center – For the lucky few who don’t have Friday classes, the Fields Center and the Davis International Center are co-sponsoring a lecture by Dr. William Westerman. A lecturer in the Writing Program whose latest project investigates the role of culture in refugee camps, Westerman will discuss the complex challenges facing President Barack Obama with an emphasis on issues inherited from the Clinton and Bush administrations. Go for a nice lunch; stay for a rare opportunity to talk to experts on global issues in an informal roundtable setting.