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Stories this week at Wake Forest University


September 10, 2008

COULD LARGE HADRON COLLIDER DESTROY EARTH? The start-up of the world’s largest “atom smasher,” the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, has been eagerly awaited by scientists during its 14-year construction.  Opponents, however, have captured headlines by predicting the 17-mile circular, underground tunnel, designed to accelerate subatomic particles to incredible speeds and crash them into one another, might create a black hole that would swallow the planet.  Eric Carlson, associate professor of physics at Wake Forest, dismisses such talk.  “The Large Hadron Collider does not now, and never will, pose a threat to the general public,” he says.  “The disaster scenarios described by opponents represent unrealistic assumptions and wild extrapolations that have no basis in reality. The LHC represents our best chance to gain substantial knowledge about the fundamental nature of matter, the origins of the universe, and the secret of mass.”  While the firing of the first stream of protons around the facility was deemed a success, Carlson notes that experiments to observe the actual collision of particles remain months away.

Contact: Eric Frazier, frazieef@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

CAMPUS REMEMBERS 9/11, SEVEN YEARS LATER Several remembrances of the 9/11 terrorist attacks will take place at Wake Forest Sept. 11.  At 8:45 a.m., the bells of Wait Chapel will toll in memory of the victims.  At 11 a.m., Chaplain Tim Auman will give a short reflection in Davis Chapel.  Throughout the day, Davis Chapel and both the Interfaith and Meditation Rooms in Benson University Center will be open for individuals to use for personal reflection.  At these locations, individuals can also pick up memorial ribbons to wear and write notes of reflection in remembrance books.  At 6:30 p.m., those present for the Student Life Forum in Brendle Recital Hall will honor victims and their families with a moment of silence.

Contact: Pam Barrett, barretpm@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

“WHAT WE SEE: THE TEXTURE OF CONSCIOUS EXPERIENCE” Fred Dretske, senior research scholar at Duke University, is challenging the claim that we are unable to truly experience the overwhelming details of the world—for example, all the leaves on a tree or all the people in a crowded room. Theclaim asserts that our ability to see by moving our eyes creates an illusion that we consciously experience, at one given moment, all this detail, but in fact we only experience as much of this detail as we choose to look at. Dretske disagrees that there is very little of the detail in the world that makes its way into our conscious experience. “I will argue that our experience is, indeed, much richer and more textured than this view recognizes,” Dretske says. He will make those arguments at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 11 in the Wake Forest Philosophy Library, Tribble Hall, Room B316.  The event is free and open to the public.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, fannin@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

 

DOES THE CONSTITUTION DESERVE FIDELITY? Wake Forest will address this question at its Constitution Day observance at 3 p.m. Sept. 17 in Tribble Hall’s DeTamble Auditorium. Shannon Gilreath, professor of interdisciplinary study at the Wake Forest School of Law, will discuss how many people—women, people of color and gays—had no voice in the creation of the Constitution, and he will raise questions about what the continuing invisibility of traditionally marginalized people says about the Constitution and free speech. The title of Gilreath’s lecture is “The Sexual Politics of the First Amendment.”

Contact: Pam Barrett, barretpm@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

 

SUPPORTING YOUNG PEOPLE IN MINISTRY Trace Haythorn, president of the Fund for Theological Education, will discuss “The Acoustical Effect of God’s Call” at the Opening Convocation for the School of Divinity at 11 a.m. Sept. 16 in Wait Chapel. The Fund for Theological Education seeks to “notice, name and nurture” young people interested in the ministry or teaching through its national fellowship program. In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Haythorn said that young people are needed more than ever in theology, noting in some denominations fewer than seven percent of the clergy are under the age of 35.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, fannin@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

 

NEW CENTER HELPS BUSINESS MAJORS SHARPEN IMAGE The Ernst & Young Professional Development Center has opened in Kirby Hall to help all business majors in the Calloway School of Business and Accountancy sharpen job-readiness skills in such areas as business etiquette, professional presence, time management, team-building and networking.  The center was established this summer through the generosity of the Ernst & Young Foundation, as well as that of the partners and employees of Ernst & Young.  Sam Leonard Beck, who received her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Wake Forest, has been appointed as the first director of the new center and brings to the task more than 20 years of experience in career development in higher education.

Contact: Eric Frazier, frazieef@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

 

NEW WEBSITE PROMOTES RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE — “Fighting Religious Intolerance: Portraits of Hate, Lessons of Hope” (http://fightingreligiousintolerance.org/) aims to promote religious tolerance by raising awareness of intolerance in the United States, not just in the past but as it exists today. The Web site uses visual media such as cartoons, photographs and leaflets to illustrate the vilification and persecution of religious groups in America. The site is the result of a challenge posed by Lynn Neal, assistant professor of religion at Wake Forest, to the students in her spring course, “Religious Intolerance in the United States,” to create a Web site incorporating what they learned in the class. The Web site includes links to resources for promoting religious tolerance and for understanding a variety of religious traditions, as well as a moderated discussion area. “I think this will be a great tool for high school and college classes exploring this issue,” says Neal.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, fannin@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

MAKING SENSE OF POLITICAL CHANGES IN PAKISTAN — Charles Kennedy, professor of political science at Wake Forest, can put Pakistan’s ongoing political upheaval into perspective.  He can explain the events leading up to former President Pervez Musharraf’s recent resignation and what this will mean for Pakistan’s relationship with the United States and the ongoing war on terror. Kennedy is a former director of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies, and remains on the board of directors of that organization as well as the Kashmir Study Group. He is author of several books and articles on Pakistan including his most recent book, “Government and Politics in South Asia,” published last month. Other books include “Pakistan: 2005,” “Pakistan at the Millennium,” “The Kashmir Dispute at Fifty: Charting Paths to Peace,” and “Islamization of Laws and Economy: Case Studies on Pakistan” among many others. He published a chapter titled “Pakistan’s Anti-Terrorism Regime” in “New Perspectives on Pakistan: Contexts, Realities and Visions for the Future.” Kennedy travels frequently to the region and is available to discuss the current state of affairs in Pakistan.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, fannin@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

OUTSIDE THE BOX: WHY SOME LIVE WITHOUT TV Shielding children from sex and violence, avoiding commercials and finding extra time for other activities are among the key reasons some Americans live without television, according to a new book by Marina Krcmar, associate professor of communication at Wake Forest. “Living without the Screen” is an in-depth study of American families and individuals who choose not to watch television. Krcmar (pronounced “Krutch-mar”) wanted to find out why some people permanently turn off the TV, while the average American watches three hours of television each day. “Non-viewers perceive television to have power,” Krcmar said. “They believe it can steal time, can affect consumer behavior and can influence how autonomous children are.” She interviewed 120 adults and children from 62 different households who do not watch television.

Contact: Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

 

FATHERS AND DAUGHTERS:  STRENGTHENING THE BONDS — Fathers and daughters often do not have the close ties mothers and daughters have, says Linda Nielsen, professor of education at Wake Forest.  In her new book, “Between Fathers & Daughters:  Enriching and Rebuilding your Adult Relationship” (Cumberland House Publishing, September 2008), Nielsen offers practical advice for strengthening the father-daughter bond.  “Sadly, too many of us continue to downplay the importance of the father-daughter relationship in comparison to the mother-daughter relationship,” Nielsen said.  “We still too often treat dads, especially divorced dads, like the mom’s ‘sidekick’ or her ‘apprentice’ in parenting.  The research is so overwhelming and so consistent in regard to the lifelong impact that a dad has on his daughter, and also the tremendous impact that daughters have on their fathers.”  In the book, Nielsen explores the family dynamics that prevent fathers and daughters of all ages from having a more relaxed, more meaningful relationship.  She looks at some of the barriers to good relationships including issues related to money and work, negative beliefs about fathers, communication, divorce and remarriage.

Contact:  Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

 

CAN A WOMAN BE ELECTED VICE PRESIDENT? – Peter Siavelis, associate professor of political science at Wake Forest and expert on South American politics, returned recently from a think tank meeting in Chile. Siavelis can compare the presidential electoral success in 2006 of Chile’s MichelleBachelet to the steep political challenges faced by seasoned female politicians in the United States.  Bachelet took office despite being a single mother, an avowed agnostic and a relative outsider to Chile’s machismo political process. Siavelis co-edited a new book, “Pathways to Power: Political Recruitment and Candidate Selection in Latin America,” published this month by the Pennsylvania State University Press.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, fannin@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237

DOES EVERY VOTE COUNT? — Voting and its quagmires have heavily influenced politics in the 21st century.  In his timely fall course for freshmen, “The Mathematics of Voting,” Jason Parsley, assistant professor of mathematics, introduces students to such mathematical principles as “Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem,” which indicates that if three or more candidates are running, there is no “fair” system for deciding a winner.  The course will examine the strengths and weaknesses of various voting systems in use, including plurality rule, instant runoff voting, approval voting and the Electoral College.  Students will also discuss current election topics such as the debates over electronic voting machines and felon disenfranchisement.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, fannin@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES ‘HUGELY IMPORTANT’ TO ELECTION Allan Louden, associate professor of communication, is looking toward the upcoming presidential debates as pivotal in this election. The first one will be held Sept. 26. “Debates are hugely important in this election,” Louden said.  “This time, they could be the game, the whole game.”  He said they are more “high-risk” for Obama, partly because Obama declined earlier debates that could have diluted the importance of the ones sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates. Louden is an expert on presidential debates and political campaigns.  He regularly analyzes political ads and provides commentary on political debates for national media outlets. He posts debate analysis on DebateScoop.org, a Web site devoted to encouraging lively analysis of political debates.

Contact:  Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

HEALTH REFORMS AND THE ELECTIONS Health policy experts will gather at Wake Forest Sept. 25 for a panel discussion on health reform and the 2008 elections.  Free and open to the public, the event will take place from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Carswell Halls’ Annenberg Forum, Room 111.  Health policy scholar Jonathan B. Oberlander of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will make a presentation at the panel discussion.  Panelists from Wake Forest include:  Mark Hall, Fred D. and Elizabeth L. Turnage Professor of Law at Wake Forest School of Law and professor of social sciences and health policy at Wake Forest School of Medicine; Michael S. Lawlor, professor of economics and director of the undergraduate minor in health policy and administration; and Alison Snow Jones, associate professor of social sciences and health policy at Wake Forest School of Medicine.  The discussion is sponsored by the Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Program in Bioethics, Health and Society and the Wake Forest Department of Communication

Contact:  Kevin Cox, coxkp@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

 

FRESHMEN SEEK SUSTAINABLE ENERGY As high gas prices and national energy policies continue to dominate the news and the presidential campaigns, a first-year seminar called “Seeking Sustainable Energy” encourages freshmen to decide for themselves which energy options the nation should pursue.  “History has many examples of civilizations that rose and thrived using unsustainable resources and then collapsed when the resources were exhausted,” says Dilip Kondepudi, Thurman D. Kitchin Professor of Chemistry, who is teaching the course for the first time.  “When resources become insufficient, political conflicts and wars ensue.  Therefore, it is imperative that we base our global economy on resources that are sustainable.”  Students will review the historical relationship between economic growth and energy consumption and consider current energy resources, environmental impacts, and the role of technology, innovation and public policy in forming their conclusions.

Contact: Eric Frazier, frazieef@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

 

OPENING CONVOCATION HIGHLIGHTS THE ARTS AT WFU David Lubin, Charlotte C. Weber Professor of Art at Wake Forest, will deliver Wake Forest’s Opening Convocation address at 4 p.m. Sept. 18 in Wait Chapel. Lubin will explore how the arts spark our curiosity and engage our imagination in a talk titled “Disturbing the Peace: Wake Forest and the Arts.” Lubin teaches the history of art, cinema and popular culture. He is the author of four books, the most recent, “Shooting Kennedy,” examines the photographic portrayal of John and Jackie Kennedy from 1953 to 1963. Another of his books, “Titanic,” is an in-depth critical analysis of the blockbuster movie. During the convocation, the award-winning Wake Forest Debate Team will be recognized and the Waddill Excellence in Teaching Award, the Reinhardt Award for Distinguished Teaching and the Schoonmaker Faculty Award for Community Service will be conferred.  The event is free and open to the public.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, fannin@wfu.edu or (336) 758-5237.

HEINZ CEO TO KICK OFF BABCOCK LEADERSHIP SERIES — David Moran, executive vice president, president and chief executive officer of Heinz North America, will kick off the 2008-09 Babcock Leadership Series at Wake Forest’s Babcock Graduate School of Management.  Moran is scheduled to speak at 5 p.m. Sept. 24 in the Worrell Professional Center, Room 1312.  Moran will address his career path at Heinz and how the business has evolved and grown under a new leadership model.The event is free and open to the public.

Contact: Lisa Snedeker, lisa.snedeker@mba.wfu.edu or (336) 441-0027.


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