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2016-2017 LBC Speaker Series
Sam Albertini

Spring 2017

Darwin and Museums

Sam Alberti

Tuesday, February 7th, 7:30pm (Pre-lecture meal at 5:45 in C-212)
C-106 Holmes Hall
Michigan State University

Before he was the Father of Evolution®, Charles Darwin was a collector. He voraciously gathered stories and objects: from Galapagos Finches to pigeon fanciers' tales, his reputation was built on a mass of data. It was this credibility that lead other scientists to take him seriously; his was a theory built upon a wealth of material. The first part of this talk addresses the Victorian museum collections, the great temples of science, that he both contributed to and used. We then consider Darwin's posthumous relationship with their successor institutions—the ways museums in the 21st-century commemorate Darwin with programs, displays and collections. How have we collected the collector?


Sam Albertini

Containment: Film Screening and Conversation with Peter Galison

Peter Galison

Thursday, February 23rd, 7:00pm followed by a Skype Q&A with Peter Galison from 8:20-9:20pm
C-106 Holmes Hall
Michigan State University

Can we contain some of the deadliest, most long-lasting substances ever produced? How should we protect yet-to-come generations of humans on earth—people who will not share our language, our nations, even our civilization?

Containment, a film by Peter Galison and Robb Moss, explores these probing questions and more. Left over from the Cold War are a hundred million gallons of radioactive sludge, covering vast radioactive lands. Governments around the world have begun imagining society 10,000 years from now in order to create monuments that will speak across the time. Part observational essay filmed in weapons plants, Fukushima and deep underground—and part graphic novel! Containment weaves between an uneasy present and an imaginative, troubled far future, exploring the idea that over millennia, nothing stays put.

The film screening will be followed by Q&As with Peter Galison, who will spend an hour with us via Skype.


Medical Team Operates

Solving Medical Problems Without an MD: Working in Medical Management, Metrics, and Technologies

Mark Anway, Liz Ezzo, Jay Meeth and Craig Snyder

Wednesday, March 1st, 7:30pm
C-106 Holmes Hall
Michigan State University

When we think of medical professionals, we often think of physicians and nurses. However, there are many challenging and rewarding medical career opportunities in areas that don't require an MD or RN. Come hear from alums from Lyman Briggs and other MSU colleges in medical careers in data analytics, sales, and management. They will discuss the ethical decisions (and tensions) in their jobs, the skills learned at MSU that have made them successful, and the complex challenges of moving advances in technology into clinical practice. These former Spartans may work alongside physicians on a daily basis, even teaching them how to use the latest technologies with patients. Or they may have to ensure that physicians' interests in those technologies do not put their hospital out of business! They will describe and answer questions about their jobs, and you will have the opportunity to develop network connections over a (free) dinner and in a panel of experts. This is an invaluable chance for a first-hand look at work in areas from medical supply chain management to medical device sales, and to learn about the puzzles and opportunities posed in medical workplaces from large corporation, to the private practice, to the university hospital.


Kelly Moore

Not Just Surviving, Thriving: Mickey D's and Other Social and Food Practices of the Urban Poor

Kelly Moore
Loyola University Chicago

Thursday, April 6th, 7:30pm
C-106 Holmes Hall
Michigan State University

The food lives of the urban poor are often described in terms of ignorance, disease, and deprivations of supply. These analyses often map on to disciplinary concerns, and emphasize “slow death” that requires expert intervention as a solution. Sitting alongside these frameworks are another set of studies of self-help, often conceptualized as gardening projects, which leave the poor less “dependent” on the rest of society, but which also carry with them the language of “survival.” Yet these relatively homogeneous stories of deprivations, ignorance, failures, and attempts at self-help are only a partial image of the foodways of the urban poor in Chicago. Using ethnographic observation, mapping, and in-depth interviews with low-income Black and White Chicago residents, I illuminate their joyful and nourishing food practices that create deep social bonds, carved out of both the racisms and mistrusts that are endemic to life in Chicago, and the embeddedness of food in complex social lives. These practices include food and knowledge sharing, slow meals at fast food restaurants where they feel welcomed and comfortable, cookouts and other activities. I thus examine foodways that already exist as means of living and thriving, counterbalancing the politics of slow death that is usually used to understand the food lives of the urban poor.


Laura Y. Cabrera

Fall 2016

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation, Cognitive Enhancement
and Public (Mis)understanding

Laura Y. Cabrera

Tuesday, October 4th, 7:30pm
C-106 Holmes Hall
Michigan State University

One of the more intensively discussed human enhancement research areas has been cognition, from “smart drugs” to genetic intervention to brain implants. Some of those interventions remain futuristic, while others already in use have not lived up to their promise of enhancing to a significant degree human traits in healthy individuals. Recently a minimally invasive brain stimulation technique, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), has emerged bringing cognitive enhancement potential to a new stage. The technique involves applying a weak direct current to the scalp via two saline-soaked sponge electrodes, and is relatively safe, effective, portable, and inexpensive.


Notably, perspectives of the general public are largely lacking in the ongoing debate of emerging technologies and cognitive enhancement. In this talk I will introduce the relatively new field of neuroethics and use the case of tDCS as a cognitive enhancer to exemplify certain key issues that this new field addresses. I will then discuss relevant insights drawn from a study investigating the attitudes and perceptions of the public regarding the use of tDCS for enhancement purposes.


I make the case that in order to promote a well-grounded debate regarding any future governance of tDCS, we need a better grasp of the public's concerns and hopes regarding such cognitive enhancement technologies.


Rebecca Williams

What's Under a Rock is Interesting, But Why Do We Care?

Rebecca Williams

Thursday, November 3rd, 7:30pm
C-106 Holmes Hall
Michigan State University

When you’re excited about science, it’s easy to get frustrated when others don’t share your understanding or enthusiasm. So how can you reach people who might not share your passion? In radio, we only have a few seconds to capture a listener’s attention and try to hook them into a story. We’ll talk about ways to communicate science that won’t put people to sleep.


Kirkman Roe and Gerald Urquhart

Saving the Rainforests of Nicaragua

Kirkman Roe and Gerald Urquhart

Wednesday, November 16th, 7:30pm
C-102 Holmes Hall
Michigan State University

We have all heard about "Saving the Rainforests," but Kirkman Roe is someone who is actually doing it. Nicaragua is home to the largest rainforest reserves in Central America where the government faces hurdles in trying to protect this invaluable resource. Learn about the efforts of Kirkman and Dr. Urquhart in protecting Nicaragua's remaining rainforests.

This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and James Madison College.


Ian C. Gilby

Pan the hunter: Chimpanzee predation, cooperation, and human evolution

Ian C. Gilby

Tuesday, November 29th, 7:30pm
C-106 Holmes Hall
Michigan State University

In order to understand the causes and consequences of the significant increase in meat consumption in hominins, we must first make inferences about the behavior of the last common ancestor (LCA) of apes and humans. Chimpanzees, which regularly hunt vertebrates, are a valuable point of reference for understanding the possible range of behavior exhibited by the LCA. I use long-term data from three communities in Tanzania and Uganda to determine why and how chimpanzees hunt. While chimpanzees exhibit a wide range of cooperative abilities, I will argue that in the context of hunting, cognitively complex mechanisms involving delayed, social benefits and/or shared intentions explain only a small proportion of the cooperation observed in the wild. Therefore, reliance upon such mechanisms in humans evolved after our lineage split from the great apes. Additionally, I will discuss the constraints on hunting faced by female chimpanzees, and will argue that similar factors provided a foundation for the evolution of the sexual division of labor in hominins.


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