Saturday, April 06, 2019 9:30 am - 1:15 pm
Jessica Payne / University of Notre Dame
What's going on in your head while you sleep? The research of Notre Dame Professor Jessica Payne shows that the non-waking hours are incredibly valuable for your day-to-day life, especially for helping to commit information to memory and for problem solving. If you ever thought sleep was just downtime between one task and the next, think again. The fact is, your brain pulls an all-nighter when you hit the hay. Many regions of the brain – especially those involved in learning, processing information, and emotion – are actually more active during sleep than when you're awake. These regions are working together while you sleep, helping you process and sort information you've taken in during the course of the day. Professor Payne's research has focused on what types of information are submitted to memory, and has been instrumental in better understanding how the brain stores the information.
Sound interesting? It is. And useful too, as Professor Payne will outline all sorts of practical information on how to control your sleep habits to insure maximum productivity.
Jessica Payne is the Nancy O’Neill Collegiate Chair and Professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame, where she directs the Sleep, Stress, and Memory Lab. Her course, The Sleeping Brain, routinely sports a waitlist because of its immense popularity among Notre Dame students. In 2012, Professor Payne received the Frank O’Malley Undergraduate Teaching Award. She is also a two-time recipient of the Distinction in Teaching Award, and won the Award for Teaching Excellence at Harvard University’s Derek Bok Center.
Kenneth Miller / Brown University
Modern science has its roots in western religious thought, was nurtured in universities established for religious reasons, and owes some of its greatest discoveries to scientists who themselves were people of faith. Nonetheless, on one issue after another, from evolution to the “big bang” to the age of the Earth itself, religion is often on a collision course with scientific thought. On one side, religious believers have constructed pseudosciences to justify narrow interpretations of scripture or to support specific religious claims. On the other, non-believers have used scientific authority to label faith a “delusion” to be set aside.
Can science and religion truly coexist or are they forever locked in conflict? This one-time-only presentation will approach this question by focusing specifically on a few of today’s most contentious issues. Can science today be understood in a religious context, or have we finally reached the end of faith? Public opinion continues to demonstrate a surprising unwillingness to embrace the scientific consensus on issues affecting the well-being and prosperity of the world. While it might seem logical to attribute anti-science attitudes to dogma or factual unawareness, the roots of this problem go far deeper.
This class will approach this question by focusing specifically on the contentious issue of biological evolution. Is it, as critics of evolution state, time to abandon Darwin? Is the evidence for evolution as solid as scientists claim? Does the human genome show that we are unique creations, or the products of evolution? Finally, can science today be understood in a religious context, or have we finally reached the end of faith?
Watch Science vs. Faith: Addressing History’s Oldest Debate
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Kenneth Miller is a professor of biology at Brown University. He has received 6 major teaching awards at Brown, the Presidential Citation of the American Institute for Biological Science, and the Public Service Award of the American Society for Cell Biology. In 2009 he was honored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science for Advancing the Public Understanding of Science, and also received the Gregor Mendel Medal from Villanova University. In 2011 he was presented with the Stephen Jay Gould Prize by the Society for the Study of Evolution.
Jeremi Suri / University of Texas
The American presidency is the most powerful political office in the world. Surprisingly, most contemporary presidents have found themselves severely constrained in their ability to pursue their chosen agendas for domestic and foreign policy change. This lecture will explain why, focusing on the nature of government bureaucracy, the range of American challenges and commitments, and the development of the modern media.
We will begin with the founding vision of the U.S. presidency and the actions of its first occupant, George Washington. Then, we’ll examine the presidencies of Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and the most recent office-holders. We will focus on how the power of the presidency has changed over time and what that has meant for American society. The lecture will close with reflections for how we can improve presidential leadership in future years.
Jeremi Suri holds the Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a professor in the University’s Department of History and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. Professor Suri is the author and editor of nine books on contemporary politics and foreign policy, most recently: “The Impossible Presidency: The Rise and Fall of America’s Office.” His research and teaching have received numerous prizes. In 2007 Smithsonian Magazine named him one of America’s “Top Young Innovators” in the Arts and Sciences. In 2018 Suri received the President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award from the University of Texas, and the Pro Bene Meritis Award for Public Contributions to the Liberal Arts.