Sunday, November 18, 2018 9:30 am - 1:15 pm
Sara Mednick / University of California Irvine
Sleep is critical for our brains and bodies, from decreasing risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease to bolstering our memory and emotional well-being. Sleep changes across the lifespan, from childhood to adolescence, adulthood to older adulthood. How can we maintain our top level of performance and health through all these fluctuations in our sleep? Dr. Mednick is an expert in sleep and cognition and will explain the moving target of sleep across the ages and its impact on mental and physical health and well-being. She will help people understand how to best combat these changes and work with them to benefit our lives. She will give tips on how to sleep better, including how to engineer the perfect nap! Along with learning how to use sleep to heighten creativity, productivity, memory and emotional well-being, older adults concerned with cognitive decline can learn about the role of sleep in this process and how to best regain control of sleep in order to bolster their brains and memory processes.
Sara Mednick is Associate Professor in the Department of Cognitive Sciences at the University of California, Irvine and author of the book, “Take a Nap! Change your Life.” Her research investigates how sleep supports cognition and discovers ways of boosting cognition via napping, brain stimulation, and pharmacology. Her work has been continuously federally funded, and she was awarded the Office Naval Research Young Investigator Award in 2015. Her research findings have been published in such leading scientific journals as Nature Neuroscience and The Proceedings from the National Academy of Science, and covered by all major media outlets.
David Helfand / Columbia University
All the colors of the rainbow are but a tiny fraction of the "colors" of light the Universe sends us. Over the past 75 years, astronomers have been busy opening new windows on the cosmos by building telescopes and cameras that allow us to see all of these colors, revealing new phenomena previously unimagined. Very recently, we have opened entirely new channels of information by detecting gravity waves and by seeing the unseeable: directly imaging black holes. All of these messengers from the cosmos travel at the velocity of light, but even at this enormous speed, they take millions, or even billions of years to reach us. As a consequence, we are always seeing the past. Far from being a disadvantage, however, this allows us to read our history directly by looking out to objects at different distances.
We can watch stars being born, living out their lives, and then dying in spectacular explosions that produce the elements from which we are made as well as neutron stars and black holes. We can watch how galaxies form and grow by gobbling up their neighbors. And we can map the nearest million galaxies and trace them back to the tiny fluctuations in the early Universe from which they emerged. Replete with colliding galaxies and a fly-through of the Universe set to the Blue Danube waltz, this lecture provides one-stop shopping for a comprehensive tour of all of space and time — or at least of the whole 4% we actually understand.
David Helfand has been a Professor of Astronomy at Columbia University for 42 years where he served as chair of the Department for nearly half that time. He is also the former President of the American Astronomical Society and of Quest University Canada, and currently serves as Chair of the American Institute of Physics. He has received the Columbia Presidential Teaching Award and the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates. He is the author of the new book, “A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age.”
Seth Lerer / University of California at San Diego
Literature has always shaped societies, built cultures, and helped readers grow. This course explores four great novels that have helped to change our modern, western world – the world of personal feeling, social experience, family belonging, and moral imagination. Charles Dickens's Great Expectations stands as the defining novel of the individual in society, struggling to become a person and a writer in the heart of a new empire. George Orwell's 1984 remains the classic of dystopia – a satire on a totalitarian past, but also a lesson for a democratic future. Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man makes us all aware of how race and region bear on our culture, while Viet Nguyen's brilliant new book, The Sympathizer, reveals just how much our world has changed, now, in response to different communities in contact and in conflict.
All of these books are stories not just of politics and people, but of writers. All of these books show the power of the literary imagination to make and remake our world. They dramatize how our modern ideas of the hero have adapted to new pressures. They make us laugh, cry, ponder, and pause. They teach that the art of reading is essential to negotiating unfamiliar landscapes in our cities and our classrooms. These books have changed, and will continue to change, the ways we think and feel. Whatever happens, books will survive. These are four of them that will live on, both to instruct and to delight us in the future.
Seth Lerer is Distinguished Professor of Literature and former Dean of Arts and Humanities at the University of California at San Diego. He has published widely on literature and language, most recently on Children’s Literature, Jewish culture, and the life of the theater. He has been awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Truman Capote Prize in Criticism. His book, “Tradition: A Feeling for the Literary Past,” appeared in 2016, and his most recent book, “Shakespeare’s Lyric Stage,” was published in 2018.