Power of ideas to be examined at Jan. 22 Scientia

Four speakers from across campus will each present five-minute talks on the ideas that have most powerfully influenced and engaged them in their careers and intellectual life at the next Scientia colloquium at 4 p.m. Jan. 22.

ScientiaThe talks will be in Duncan Hall’s McMurtry Auditorium and are free and open to the public. If weather permits, the colloquium will be held outside in Ray Courtyard, Rice Student Center. A reception will be held after the talks.

The speakers will be:

Jane Grande-Allen, associate professor of bioengineering. She will discuss “Mechanobiology.” In her abstract, she wrote, “Leonardo da Vinci first described the complicated mechanics of heart valves, perhaps the most mechanically active part of the body. Only recently, however, have scientists begun to examine how mechanical forces like tension or bending regulate the health of these small but essential tissues.”

James Pomerantz, professor of psychology. In his talk, “Mind, Brain & Reality,” he’ll examine such questions as these: Why does activity in one brain area lead people to experience color rather than sound, touch or smell? Why does brain activity lead to consciousness at all?

Marcia Brennan, associate professor of religious studies and art history. She will present “The Love of Wisdom and the Wisdom of Love.” In her abstract, she wrote, “Working as a professor of the humanities and as an artist in residence at the MD Anderson Cancer Center has taught me the value of thinking beyond familiar boundaries and of finding language to describe states of being for which there is no language — particularly when the love of wisdom becomes reflected in the wisdom of love.”

Yousif Shamoo, professor of biochemistry and cell biology. Of his talk, “Saying Goodbye to Rube Goldberg,” he wrote, “Rube Goldberg was famous for his funny renderings of complicated machines designed to do simple tasks. Does technology drive how we view the world — or is it the other way around? When line factories made famous by Henry Ford ruled the world, all science thought about was the ‘assembly’ of cellular structures and ‘factories’ of molecules. Now in the Internet age all we can talk about is ‘systems biology’ and biological networks.”

Scientia is an institute of Rice University faculty founded in 1981 by the mathematician and historian of science Salomon Bochner. The lecture series provides an opportunity for scholarly discussion across disciplinary boundaries; its members and fellows come from a wide range of academic disciplines. For more information on Scientia, visit http://scientia.rice.edu.



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