2015-16 Emeritus Academy Lecture Series

The 2015-16 Emeritus Academy Lecture Series events include a distinguished list of speakers. Meetings are held at 4 p.m. on the first Wednesday of every month during the academic year with the exception of January. See the complete schedule below.

September 2, 2015

Nancy Hardin Rogers, College of Law
"U.S. Cities Face Volatile Conflict: Can Universities Help Them?"

4-5 p.m. • Business meeting to follow
Grand Lounge, Faculty Club

October 7, 2015

Lucy Caswell, Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
"Seeing the Great War"

4-5 p.m. • Gallery viewing to follow
Eisner Room, Sullivant Hall

November 4, 2015

Leona Ayers, Pathology
"Negotiating Tribalism in Global Arenas"

4-5 p.m. • Business meeting to follow
Grand Lounge, Faculty Club

December 2, 2015

Jim Altschuld, Educational Studies
"Needs vs. Assets – What's the Big Deal and Does It Really Matter?"

4-5 p.m. • Business meeting to follow
Ohio Staters Traditions Room, Ohio Union

Needs and assets, what are they and why they are important, is about a different approach to societal improvement. In the past we focused mainly on gaps (needs) between the current situation and a more ideal one. However doing so is predicated on negatives – something is wrong or missing. A counterpoint is to start with positives and to move forward from there. More recently a hybrid framework across the two is coming to the fore and that is the substance of this presentation.

February 3, 2016

Don Hubin, Director, Center for Ethics and Human Values
"'Who's Your Daddy?' Conceptual Engineering Our Way Out of Legal Conundrums"

4-5 p.m. • Business meeting to follow
Grand Lounge, Faculty Club

Social and technological changes often force us to rethink our ordinary concepts. Here are two familiar examples. It once made little practical difference whether we defined 'death' as cessation of breathing, heartbeat, or brain function. All three came close enough together. Of course, given the ability to maintain brain functioning in the absence of heart beat and breathing, it is now quite important how we define 'death'. Second, before techniques of artificial reproduction, there was no practical need to separate the concepts of genetic mother and gestational mother. Now there is. Our concepts of death and biological motherhood have had to be re-engineered in light of technological advances in order to work in ways that are morally defensible.

The concept of father is in need of similar re-engineering. There are numerous legal cases in which courts have stumbled badly because they are relying on now obsolete conceptions or fatherhood--conceptions that once worked well enough but now lead to morally indefensible results. I'll illustrate the problems that courts have had in making judgments of paternity, diagnose the source of the problems, and make some steps toward re-engineering the concept of father so that it meets our current needs.

March 2, 2016

Ron Solomon, Mathematics
"The School of Athens, and Beyond"

4-5 p.m. • Business meeting to follow
Grand Lounge, Faculty Club

Mathematics was born in the School of Athens, among whose intriguing discoveries were the five (and only five!) Platonic solids. Thus, symmetry and classification were wed in the very cradle of mathematics. I will trace the evolution of these themes from Islamic art to crystal lattices to optimal codes, and finally to the construction and verification of the "Periodic Table of the Finite Simple Groups," in which I have been privileged to participate, emphasizing the historical themes and interesting personalities and touching lightly on the mathematics.

April 6, 2016

Steve Krakowka, Veterinary Biosciences
"Defying Koch’s Postulates: The Porcine Circovirus Story, or 'Chance Favors the Open Mind'"

4-5 p.m. • Business meeting to follow
Suzanne Sharer Room, Third Floor, Ohio Union

For a scientist fascinated by the life-and-death struggle between disease-susceptible hosts and disease-causing pathogens, the "holy grail" is to be among the first to identify, characterize and ultimately contribute to the prevention of a newly emergent, economically significant infectious disease. The porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) story is topical, interesting and contains practical lessons in seeing both the obvious and obscure. In retrospect, we now know that PCV2 infection is the most important infectious disease of swine in the modern era. Three investigators, myself, a Canadian and a Belfast Irishman, got together and solved this problem in the face of almost universal dismissal and active naysaying by all other North American "experts" in swine infectious diseases. This story is a classic example of hubris by the "academic establishment," and a vivid reminder that much of science is driven by the egotism of preconceived ideas that dictate only like-minded group thought processes and research directions. This hubris cost the US pork industry roughly $100 million dollars in lost revenues between 1998 and 2006; the vaccine developed to prevent PCV2 disease has since become the largest selling successful biological in the history of veterinary medicine.

May 4, 2016

Paul Beck, The Mershon Center
"Partisan Polarization in America, and Beyond"

4-5 p.m. • Business meeting to follow
Grand Lounge, Faculty Club

Partisan polarization is one of the most important characteristics of contemporary American politics. This talk will describe the levels of polarization among both political elites and the voting public – and show how they have changed over time and in comparison with other democracies. It will then focus on explanations for and the consequences of current levels of polarization in the US.