Aug. 25, 2011

Fall 2011 lectures lineup offers something for everyone

by Paula Van Brocklin


Grant Imahara from the Discovery Channel's MythBusters team will share his insights into the show's technological antics at 7 p.m. Sept. 17 in Stephens Auditorium. Contributed photo.

An in-depth look at television's MythBusters, financial responsibility (America's and yours) and an ancient Canadian culture are some of the diverse topics covered in this fall's lineup of lectures, which are free and open to the public. Multiple offices and departments across campus work with the lectures program to help fund these events.

"The lectures program is having a terrific start to the year with Paul Farmer (Aug. 25), followed by MythBusters' Grant Imahara (Sept. 17)," said Pat Miller, director of the lectures program. "MAD magazine's senior editor Joe Raiola (Sept. 22) will certainly provide an original perspective for Constitution Day, and is a perfect fit to lead into Banned Book Week."

A complete lectures schedule is online and updated often. Following is a look at some of the highlights for fall semester.

Haiti After the Earthquake: Paul Farmer, Aug. 25 (7 p.m., Stephens)
Paul Farmer, founding director of Partners in Health, an international nonprofit organization that delivers high-quality health care to resource-poor areas, will discuss his recent book, Haiti After the Earthquake. Farmer is chair of the department of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School, chief of the division of global health equity at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and the United Nations deputy special envoy for Haiti. Farmer will sign copies of his book following the lecture at the Celebrity Café, located in the ground floor lobby on the north side of Stephens.

A Campaign Narrative: Why Iowa Matters -- or Not: Clarence Page, Sept. 14 (8 p.m., MU Sun Room)
In one of the few election-related lectures this fall, 1989 Pulitzer Prize-winner in commentary, Clarence Page, a nationally syndicated columnist with Tribune Media Services and a member of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board, will discuss the impact of the Iowa caucuses on the presidential election. He is a frequent essay contributor to The News Hour with Jim Lehrer and a regular guest on PBS' The McLaughlin Group, NBC's The Chris Matthews Show, ABC's Nightline and BET's Lead Story.

MythBusters with Grant Imahara, Sept. 17 (7 p.m., Stephens)
Grant Imahara, a member of Discovery Channel's MythBusters -- the show that uses science and technology to debunk or prove urban legends (for example, can a large number of balloons really allow a child to fly? Tested and busted) -- will show clips from the show and explain how the team accomplishes its feats. Imahara is a former animatronics engineer and model maker for George Lucas' special-effects company, where he worked on films such as The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace and Terminator 3: Rise of the Machine.

Inuit Culture of North Canada: Peter Irniq, Sept. 21 (7 p.m., MU Great Hall)
Peter Irniq, a member of the Inuit people of Canada's Northwest Territories, is deputy minister of culture, language, elders and youth with the department of education, culture and employment for the government of Northwest Territories. His charge is to protect traditional Inuit culture and language. He will bring a bit of the Inuit culture to Ames when he builds three inuksuit, or signposts of the north, in local parks between Sept. 18 and Oct. 1. Inuksuit are large, stone monuments, which the Inuit have used as guides in the Arctic to mark trails, caches of food or the caribou migration. In his talk, Irniq will discuss the inuksuit and other aspects of the Inuit people.

The Joy of Censorship: Joe Raiola, Sept. 22 (8 p.m., MU Great Hall)
As part of Banned Book Week, Joe Raiola, senior editor of MAD magazine, will take a satirical look at hotly debated First Amendment issues, including the effect of 9/11 on free speech, banned books, movie ratings, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Internet filters. He also will chronicle MAD's history.

Fiscal Solutions Tour: David Walker and Robert Bixby, Sept. 29 (7 p.m., MU Sun Room)
The Fiscal Solutions Tour is designed to help Americans learn how to build a stronger economic future by meeting the challenges of unsustainable budget policies. Leaders of the tour are David Walker, president and CEO of the Comeback America Initiative, which is focused on promoting and achieving fiscal solutions; and Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to fiscal responsibility.

Pesek Colloquium on Sustainable Agriculture: Andrew Revkin, Oct. 24 (8 p.m., MU Great Hall)
Andrew Revkin spent 15 years reporting on global environmental issues for the New York Times and he continues to write for its Dot Earth blog. He has covered such topics as Hurricane Katrina, the Asian tsunami and the troubled relationship between climate science and politics. The author of several books, Revkin also has worked for Discover, the Los Angeles Times and Science Digest.

Good Debt, Bad Debt -- How to Live Credit Smart: Maxine Sweet, Nov. 1 (8 p.m., MU Sun Room)
Maxine Sweet is vice president of Experian North America's public education organization and also leads the credit agency's consumer education, community involvement and corporate responsibility teams. And as editor of "Ask Experian," a financial education advice column, she helps consumers understand credit reporting and how to use credit wisely. Sweet also is on the board of directors for Call For Action, a national consumer help organization, and InCharge, a leading credit counseling group.