Smile Politely

Speakers in C-U: October 5 – 11

You live near a major university and a community college. There are smart people that come here every week to talk to the general public about interesting topics. Perhaps you were not aware of this fact, or were overwhelmed by the sheer number of opportunities for possible enlightenment. If that’s the case, Smile Politely understands and is here to help. Here are several events going on in town this week. Check out one or more of them if you have time. Get your learn on, as they say, and join the cognoscenti.

If you have a community event, speaker, or film event that you’d like to see featured on Listen Up!, send the event information to joelgillespie [at] smilepolitely [dot] com by Friday the week prior to the event. Listen Up! runs on Mondays.

WHAT: Beckman Institute 20th Anniversary Symposium Keynote Lecture by Nobel Laureate Susumu Tonegawa

WHEN: Monday, October 5 @ 7 p.m.

WHERE: Beckman Institute Auditorium

How often do you get the opportunity to hear a Nobel Prize winner speak? Maybe quite often, especially if you’re married to or the child of a Nobel laureate, but many of us aren’t in the same boat. According to Wikipedia, Tonegawa “won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1987 for ‘his discovery of the genetic principle for generation of antibody diversity.’ Although he won the Nobel Prize for his work in immunology, Tonegawa is a molecular biologist by training. In his later years, he has turned his attention to the molecular and cellular basis of memory formation.”

This is the kick-off speaker of a three-day celebration of Beckman’s 20th Anniversary. Find more information about the commemoration by clicking here.


WHAT: “The Geopolitics of Oil and Gas Production and Transmission: Why the Price We Pay at the Pump is Affected by U.S. Foreign Policy,” by Ambassador Stephan Minikes

WHEN: Tuesday, October 6 @ 2 p.m.

WHERE: Illini Union, Room 404

Minikes, a former ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, is now working as a private contractor for Defense Solutions, Inc. No blood for oil? Not on his watch!

On a related note: does Minikes give this talk every month, or is this rescheduled? I ran this about three weeks ago, too, and here he is, back again. Sorry to repeat myself, but this looks like a tremendously interesting presentation.


WHAT: Emmy Award-winning creator of five prime-time series Bernard Lechowick will be presenting to the public as a part of this year’s Carr Reading Series.

WHEN: Wednesday, October 7 @ 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Authors Corner, Illini Union Bookstore

From the Carr Series website: “Television writer-producer Bernard Lechowick is the Emmy Award-winning creator of five prime-time series–including Homefront for ABC, Wild Card for Lifetime, and Live Through This, MTV’s first scripted drama. A writer-producer for six seasons on the long-running prime-time soap opera Knots Landing Lechowick, who has won the Writers Guild Award, People’s Choice Award, and Viewers for Quality Television Founder’s Award, is an adjunct faculty member in the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.”

Strange thing to see a television writer featured in a Creative Writing program’s reading series.  Refreshing even. Definitely worth checking out.


WHAT:Sustainability Seminar series – Evaluating the Importance of Aviation on Climate Change,” by Dr. Don Wuebbles, UI Department of Atmospheric Sciences

WHEN: Thursday, October 8 @ 12 noon

WHERE: Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, One E. Hazelwood Dr., Champaign

Ever feel guilty about your carbon footprint when you hop on an airplane? Well, you should. Or, maybe you shouldn’t. According to the event announcement, “The only way to ensure that policymakers fully understand trade-offs from actions resulting from implementing engine and fuel technological advances, airspace operational management practices, and policy actions imposed by national and international bodies is to provide them with metrics that correctly capture the climate impacts of aviation emissions.” So there you go.


WHAT: 2009 Homecoming Faculty Forum — “War, Statemaking and Democracy: Lessons for the US in Afghanistan

WHEN: Friday, October 9 @ 4 p.m.

WHERE: 213 Gregory Hall

Political Science faculty members John Vasquez, Jose Cheibub and Matt Winters discuss such pressing questions as “Can a military invasion create a functioning state? Can external forces catalyze internal democracy? Can military operations and humanitarian relief coexist?” Maybe those questions haven’t been answered by the U.S.’s ongoing efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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