Science Hall Colloquium

Tag: Science Hall Colloquium

Astronomical Society President Discusses Solar System Origins in Lawrence Science Hall Colloquium

Catherine Pilachowski, president of the American Astronomical Society (ASA), discusses the latest research on the origins of our solar system and the Milky Way in a Lawrence University Science Hall Colloquium.

Pilachowski, the Daniel Kirkwood Professor of Astronomy at Indiana University, presents “Giant Telescopes, Heavy Metal and Ancient Superstars” Thursday, May 13 at 8 p.m. in Youngchild Hall, Room 121. The event is free and open to the public.

With the aid of giant telescopes and high-resolution spectroscopy, Pilachowski studies changes in the chemical composition of stars and star clusters. Those changes provide scientists with a glimpse to the evolution of the first stars that formed from primordial hydrogen and helium at the birth of the universe some 10 billion years ago. Pilachowski will discuss the chemical elements present in the Milky Way galaxy today and the clues they provide on the origins of our own solar system, which was created from the debris of both ancient and modern supernovas.

A member of the scientific staff of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Tucson, Ariz., for more than 20 years, Pilachowski joined the faculty of Indiana University in 2001 as the first recipient of the Kirkwood chair in astronomy. A specialist in the chemical composition of stars, she also conducts research on light pollution, astronomical instrumentation and large telescope design. She earned her Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Hawaii.

Pilachowski’s appearance is supported by the ASA’s Harlow Shapley Visiting Lectureships in Astronomy, which provides scholars and professional astronomers to colleges and universities for public lectures and classroom instruction.

Noted UW Psychiatrist Discusses Mysteries of Savant Syndrome in Lawrence University Science Lecture

The rare, but spectacular, condition known as savant syndrome, in which persons with severe developmental disabilities, including autism, display remarkable islands of genius, will be the focus of a Lawrence University Science Hall Colloquium.

Dr. Darold Treffert, one of the world’s leading authorities on the condition, presents “Extraordinary People: Understanding Savant Syndrome,” Tuesday, April 8 at 4:15 p.m. in Youngchild Hall, Room 121. The event is free and open to the public.

Treffert’s address will profile several remarkable musical, artistic and mathematical savants, describe the hallmarks of this condition that reveal prodigious skills and remarkable memory, discuss the latest scientific findings that provide clues to the essential question “how do they do it?” and provide insights, based on recent discoveries, about the hidden potential that resides within everyone.

A consultant on the award-winning movie, “Rain Man,” which made “autistic savant” household words, Treffert has been studying savant syndrome for more than 40 years. He met his first savant his first day as a psychiatrist at the Winnebago Mental Health Institute in Oshkosh, where he was charged to develop a child-adolescent unit.

Treffert is the author of the 1989 book “Extraordinary People,” which has been translated and published in five countries and was reissued in 2000, and has discussed savant syndrome on an array of documentary and television programs, including “60 Minutes,” “Oprah,” “McNeil/Lehrer News Hour” and “The Today Show,” among others.

Treffert is a clinical professor in the department of psychiatry at the UW-Madison Medical School and also serves on the medical staff of St. Agnes Hospital in Fond du Lac.