A&S plans host of activities for Reunion 2017

By: Kathy Hovis,  A&S Communications
May 22, 2017

Arts & Sciences faculty and alumni will share their latest research on topics ranging from neuroscience to detective fiction to music composition to global financial policy during this year’s reunion weekend, June 9-11.

The weekend will also feature the traditional breakfast with the dean, open houses to showcase the work and collections of various departments and plenty of opportunities for alumni to socialize and reminisce.

A highlight event of the weekend will be "Unlocking the Brain: Cornell’s Search for the Key," a panel of faculty talking about the exciting news coming from Cornell Neurotech, a joint initiative launched by the College of Engineering and the College of Arts & Sciences. The initiative aims to build powerful new tools that can be used to map the individual cells and complex neural networks within the brain — tools that can help us understand and treat disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, epilepsy, schizophrenia and depression.

Featured panelists include Lance Collins, Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering; Gretchen Ritter, Harold Tanner Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences; Chris Xu MS ’93, PhD ’96, The Mong Family Foundation Director, Cornell Neurotech and professor and director of undergraduate studies for Applied and Engineering Physics; and Joseph Fetcho, co-director, Cornell Neurotech, associate chair and professor, Department of Neurobiology and Behavior. The event will take place from 1:30-2:45 p.m. Friday, June 9, in the Alice Statler Auditorium of Statler Hall.

Another highlight will be this year’s Olin Lecture, set for 3 p.m. Friday, offered by Arts & Sciences alum and avant-garde composer Steve Reich ’57. The lecture will begin with a performance by Ensemble Signal of two of Steve Reich's original compositions, followed by a conversation about Reich's performing and composing career. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The Olin Lecture was established at Cornell in 1987 through a generous gift from the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Foundation.

On Saturday morning, all are also invited to start the day at the College of Arts & Sciences Breakfast with the Dean from 8:30-9:30 a.m. in the Groos Family Atrium of Klarman Hall.  Gretchen Ritter '83, the Harold Tanner Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, will provide a college update and brief remarks.

Later that day, join us for two faculty presentations:

  • “The Challenge of Policymaking in a Globalized World: A Retrospective from a World Bank Chief Economist;” 1-2 p.m., Rhodes- Rawlings Auditorium, Klarman Hall; Kaushik Basu, the C. Marks Professor of International Studies, professor of economics and former chief economist for the World Bank, will cover some of the challenges that straddle both the world of economic theory and policy. The topics range over a large domain—corruption control, policy coordination in a globalized world, the role of economics and psychology in development policy, and more.
  • “Trashy Fun or Secret Treasure? The Hidden Value of Detective Fiction,” 2:30-3:30 p.m., Rhodes- Rawlings Auditorium, Klarman Hall; featuring Caroline Levine, the David and Kathleen Ryan Professor of the Humanities in the Department of English. Imagine that you come upon a dead body. What if there are no eye-witnesses? What if the evidence has been tainted or planted? Maybe someone is acting oddly, or has a strong motive. Do you leap to conclude that that person is the killer? Detective fiction might seem just like fun entertainment, but since the beginning it’s been concerned with the question of how we know things. This talk will show how detective fiction actually provides ways to think about most serious questions we ever face: what is knowledge, and how do we discover it? What counts as good evidence? How do we know what motivates people to act as they do? How do we know when we’ve got enough to be sure that we’re right—if ever?

Other A&S highlights of Reunion weekend include:

  • Anthropology Collections Open House, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Friday, 150 McGraw Hall; See objects from around the world and throughout the history of humanity in the original University Museum. Highlights include ceremonial masks of the Ndembu, from Zambia; Mississippian pottery from North America, c. 900–1400 AD; Pre-Columbian Andean pottery and textiles; Paleolithic stone tools; and pieces from aboriginal Australia and Amazonia, as well as from the Classical Greek, Egyptian, and Roman worlds.
  • Space Sciences Open House, 1-4 p.m., Friday, 105 Space Sciences Building; Space Sciences research associates and graduate students will be on hand to answer questions about an array of magnificent projects. Posters and images will cover topics ranging from the exciting exploration of nearby planets to glimpses of distant galaxies in the deepest regions of the universe.
  • Chemistry and Chemical Biology Open House. 1:30-3 p.m., Friday Baker Lab lobby; Cornell chemists and friends are invited to enjoy refreshments, view memorabilia, and mingle with faculty and staff members.
  • Favorite Physics Demonstrations, Friday 2-2:30 p.m., Schwartz Auditorium, Rockefeller Hall; Watch senior lecturer Phil Krasicky perform his amazing physics demonstrations. Explanations are designed for all ages, and hands-on demonstrations will be available.
  • Talk and Screening: Human Again, 3:15 p.m., Saturday, Film Forum, Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts. This joint session with the Cornell Prison Education Program (CPEP) and The Phoenix Players Theatre Group (PPTG) at Auburn Correctional Facility will explore Cornell's involvement with prison education and feature a screening of a documentary about the PPTG, produced by Bruce Levitt, professor of performing & media arts.

 Have questions? Contact Marcie Lanham at mll284@cornell.edu or 607-255-8379.

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