Southern Oregon University seminar series kicks off Jan. 16

From Charles Darwin to Billie Holiday, from an Irish national park to exploring peculiar galaxies, Southern Oregon University's Friday Seminar series delves into a wide range of topics winter term.

Offered by the College of Arts and Sciences, the seminars are held from 3 to 4 p.m. in Room 118 of the Science Building, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland. The only exceptions are the Jan. 30 and the March 13 seminars, which will be held in the Meese Auditorium of the Art Building.

The sessions are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Claire Cross at, 552-6334.

Here is the schedule:

  • Jan. 16 — "The Unique Natural Farm of Masanobu Fukuoka," by Larry Korn. Masanobu Fukuoka is a farmer/philosopher who has lived and farmed for more than 70 years on the southwestern Japanese island of Shikoku. His farming technique requires no machines, no chemicals and very little weeding, yet the condition of the soil in his orchard and grain fields improves each year.
  • Jan. 23 — "New Magnets for Your Future," by Dr. Joel Miller. Although magnets are typically metals or their oxides, new magnets have been discovered that are organic-based. This talk will review the history and importance of magnetic materials to society, discuss current problems and limitations, and present examples of organic-based magnets that might find a technological niche in the future.
  • Jan. 30 — "Arp's Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies," by Jeff Kanipe and Dennis Webb. Kanipe and Webb are coauthors of "The Arp Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, A Chronicle and Observer's Guide" (Willmann-Bell, Inc., Richmond, Va., 2006), which was the inspiration for the winter exhibit in SOU's Schneider Museum of Art. They will examine Halton Arp's life work, his relationship to Edwin Hubble, the discovery of quasars, the discordant redshift controversy and more.
  • Feb. 6 — "Chemistry and Winemaking — A Comprehensive Sabbatical Experience," by Dr. Steven Petrovic. While on sabbatical leave, Petrovic combined a local winery apprenticeship with basic research at Oregon State University. This combination provided insight into the practical and fundamental aspects of winemaking and wine quality.
  • Feb. 13 — "Philosophy After Darwin: Examining a 'Dangerous Idea,'" by Prakash Chenjeri. Chenjeri will examine the metaphysical presuppositions of evolutionary theory; explore the relationship between naturalism and Darwinism; and consider and evaluate some of the social, moral and religious consequences of the theory.
  • Feb. 20 — "An American Ecologist in Ireland: Reflections on Nature and Culture in the Burren National Park, County Clare," by Dr. Daniel Sarr. Over the past two decades, the Republic of Ireland has been transformed from one of the poorest countries in Europe to one of the wealthiest and most literate in the world. This has radically changed its culture and environmental ethic. Sarr will discuss the controversies surrounding the establishment of Burren National Park in County Clare.
  • Feb. 27 — "A Tribute to Lady Day," by Dr. Vicki Purslow. This multimedia presentation on the life of jazz singer Billie Holiday will include a performance of a piece written for alto saxophone and recording. The recording includes samples of Holiday's voice taken from interviews during her lifetime.
  • March 6 — "Waging War, Making Peace, Repairing Community: Studies in Central America," by Dr. James Phillips. This presentation offers reflection on 20 years of ethnographic study and analysis in several Central American countries covering a period of repressive dictatorships, social revolution, civil wars, external interventions and globalization, with a focus on Nicaragua and Honduras.
  • March 13 — "400 Years of the Telescope: A Journey of Science, Technology and Thought," by Kris Koenig. Galileo Galilei, an Italian mathematician, philosopher and astronomer from Florence, made the first recorded astronomical observations with a telescope in 1609. No other scientific instrument has had such a profound impact on humans' view of the universe and their place in it. This seminar is a screening of the public television documentary program about the telescope.

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