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MTSU group explores possibility of ‘5th dimension’ Nov. 23

Is the “fifth dimension” more than just a singing quintet?

The MTSU Science and Spirituality Group will explore that question in a presentation titled “Conscious, the Paranormal and Higher Dimensions” at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23, at Unity of Murfreesboro, 130 S. Cannon Ave. in Murfreesboro.

Dr. Horace "Hap" Crater

Dr. Horace “Hap” Crater

Dr. Horace W. “Hap” Crater, a physics professor at the University of Tennessee Space Institute in Tullahoma, Tennessee, will be the guest speaker.

Crater will examine the possibility that the space-time continuum is not limited to the four dimensions accepted by physicists and cosmologists — length, width, height and time.

Crater proposes that a possible “fifth dimension” in the universe “might provide a physical way of allowing our personal consciousness to extend beyond the normal four dimensions,” said Dr. Gary Wulfsberg, MTSU chemistry professor emeritus.

“The existence of consciousness outside the normal four-dimensional physical universe cannot now be rejected out of hand as absolutely unverifiable by science,” Wulfsberg added.

Crater, who teaches several physics courses at UTSI, also conducts research on theoretical physics. He earned his bachelor’s degree from The College of William and Mary and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Yale University.

The Science and Spirituality Group grew out of conversations between MTSU professors about humanity’s place in the cosmos.

Since 2008, the group has brought accomplished speakers to campus to allow students, faculty and the public an opportunity to see both science and spirituality “as a valuable lens through which to explore perennial questions of human interest,” according to the group’s website at http://library.mtsu.edu/spirituality/aboutus.php.

For more information, contact Wulfsberg at gary.wulfsberg@mtsu.edu or Unity of Murfreesboro at 615-907-6033.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU welcomes music historian for ‘Hillbilly to Rockabilly’ lecture

Music producer, historian and educator Jerry Zolten will link artists like Uncle Dave Macon and Bill Monroe to musicians like Elvis Presley and his contemporaries in a special lecture, “From Hillbilly to Rockabilly: The Country Roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Friday, Nov. 21, at MTSU’s Center for Popular Music.

Zolten poster webThe free public lecture is set from 11 a.m. to noon in the center’s reading room, located in Room 140 of MTSU’s Bragg Mass Communication Building.

A searchable campus map with parking notes is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

Zolten, producer of the Grammy-winning Fairfield Four and author of “Great God A’Mighty! The Dixie Hummingbirds: Celebrating the Rise of Soul Gospel Music,” is an associate professor of communication arts and sciences and American studies at the Pennsylvania State University at Altoona.

Jerry Zolten

Jerry Zolten

Among his specialties is American roots music, which also is a specialty of MTSU’s Center for Popular Music.

The center, established in 1985 by the Tennessee Board of Regents as one of 16 Centers of Excellence across the TBR system, is devoted to the study and scholarship of popular music in America.

Its staff maintains a unique archive of research materials that spans shaped-note songbooks to hip-hop mash-ups in a collection stretching from the early 18th century to the present.

The Center for Popular Music also develops and sponsors programs in American vernacular music and regularly presents special concerts, lectures and events for the campus community.

Zolten’s Nov. 21 MTSU talk will include historic performance clips of artists such as Jimmie Rodgers, Macon and Monroe and show how they pointed the way to supercharged rockers such as Presley, Carl Perkins and the like.

Zolten also is set to present the lecture at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in downtown Nashville. That talk will be included in the $24.95 museum admission price.

For more information on the Nov. 21 lecture at MTSU, email the Center for Popular Music at popular.music@mtsu.edu.

Retired Army officer will discuss leadership in Nov. 20 MTSU talk

As part of the MTSU College of Liberal Arts Military Lecture Series, retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Keith M. Huber will speak at MTSU this week.

Keith M. Huber

Keith M. Huber

Huber, who lives in Franklin, Tennessee, will share “Thoughts on Leadership: Lessons Learned Over a 40-year Career in the Military” at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, in the Simmons Amphitheater (Room 106) of the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building.

The event is free and open to the public. A printable campus map can be found at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

Huber served 38 years in the U.S. Army as an infantry and special forces officer.

His many and varied experiences during his service in both combat and peace provide him a unique perspective on the art of leadership and leading people and organizations, said Hilary Miller, manager of recruitment and resources in the College of Liberal Arts and a member of the MTSU Veterans Committee.

Huber spoke during the MTSU ROTC spring awards event April 29 in Keathley University Center Theater.

A reception will follow Huber’s presentation, which is co-sponsored by BRAVO or Blue Raider American Veterans Organization, the University Honors College and Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

Huber presentation

MTSU guest brings religion, science together Nov. 20

Members of the MTSU community aim to dispel the notion that religion and science are mutually exclusive at a special presentation set Thursday, Nov. 20.

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The Rev. Michael Dowd

The MTSU Science and Spirituality Group will present a discussion, “The Future is Calling Us to Greatness: Coming Home to Reality,” with the Rev. Michael Dowd at 7 p.m. Nov. 20 at Unity of Murfreesboro, located at 130 S. Cannon Ave.

“This presentation will focus on six points of agreement held in common by tens of millions of religious and nonreligious people across the globe and how to stay inspired in the face of changing climate and other large-scale challenges,” said Dr. Gary Wulfsberg, MTSU emeritus professor of chemistry.

 Dowd, who refers to himself as an “evolutionary theologian,” earned his bachelor’s degree in biblical studies and philosophy from Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, and his master’s degree in divinity from Palmer Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

His book, “Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World,” has been endorsed by six Nobel Prize winners in the fields of physics, economics and physiology/medicine.

The Science and Spirituality Group grew out of conversations between MTSU professors about humanity’s place in the cosmos.

Since 2008, the group has brought accomplished speakers to campus to allow students, faculty and the public an opportunity to see both science and spirituality “as a valuable lens through which to explore perennial questions of human interest,” according to the group’s website at http://library.mtsu.edu/spirituality/aboutus.php.

For more information, contact Wulfsberg at gary.wulfsberg@mtsu.edu or Unity of Murfreesboro at 615-907-6033.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Guest offers preview of WWI centennial lecture on ‘MTSU On the Record’

The conversation will focus on the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I and the conflict’s continuing impact on 21st century geopolitics on the next edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Dr. Michael S. Neiberg

Neiberg book cover webHost Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Michael S. Neiberg will air from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 9, on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ).

Neiberg will present this year’s Strickland Lecture in history, “Demolishing the Myths and Half-Truths of 1914: Why We Must Do Better in 2014,” at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 10, in the State Farm Lecture Hall of the Business and Aerospace Building.

The event is free and open to the public.

The author of “Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I,” Neiberg is a professor of history in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

“Some of the problems they were dealing with in 1914 are the same problems we’re dealing with in 2014 – increased globalization, increased international trade, non-state actors, terrorist groups,” Neiberg said.

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com/ontherecord/.

For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

Scholar brings Poe expertise to Nov. 3 MTSU Honors lecture

An Edgar Allan Poe scholar will share his wealth of knowledge about the famous 19th-century author and poet during a Nov. 3 public lecture.

Dr. Scott Peeples

Dr. Scott Peeples

Scott Peeples, College of Charleston English department chair, will discuss “Poe Places” as part of the fall MTSU Honors Lecture Series on “The Power of Place.”

The 55-minute lecture, set for 3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3, is free and open to the public. A printable campus map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

As a professor at the Charleston, South Carolina, university, Peeples teaches courses in 18th- and 19th-century American literature, as well as freshman writing. He has published two books on Poe and many essays on 19th-century American literature and is a past president of the Poe Studies Association.

Peeples is in the very early stage of writing “Poe Places,” the subject of his MTSU lecture and a book project on which he is collaborating with photographer Michelle VanParys.

Peeples’ second book on Poe, “The Afterlife of Edgar Allan Poe,” received the Patrick F. Quinn Award from the Poe Studies Association in 2004. “Edgar Allan Poe Revisited” was published in 1998. He is a past editor of the journal “Poe Studies.”

A Poe-themed reception will follow the lecture.

For more information about the lecture or fall Honors Lecture Series, call Honors College events coordinator Susan Lyons at 615-898-5645 or email Susan.Lyons@mtsu.edu.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

Political science expert speaks Oct. 30 at MTSU Honors College

Dr. Peter Augustine Lawler

Dr. Peter Augustine Lawler

A noted political science author, editor and Dana Professor of Government at Berry College in Berry, Georgia, will be an upcoming guest lecturer at the MTSU Honors College.

Peter Augustine Lawler will provide a free public lecture titled “The Future of Our Liberty is Confusing” at 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, in the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building’s Simmons Amphitheatre (Room 106). To find parking and the building location, a printable campus map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

In addition to his role at Berry College that includes teaching courses in political philosophy and American politics, Lawler serves as executive editor of “Perspectives on Political Science,” he is past chair of the politics and literature section of the American Political Science Association and was a member of President Bush’s Council on Bioethics.

Lawler’s most recent book, “Allergic to Crazy,” is a compilation of some of his essays.

His other books include “Modern and American Dignity,” “Postmodernism Rightly Understood” and “Aliens in America.” He has become a popular and influential blogger and spoken at more than 100 colleges and universities.

A reception will follow his scheduled one-hour talk.

To listen to a recent MTSU “On the Record” interview with Lawler, go to http://www.mtsunews.com/ontherecord/.

For more information, call 615-898-2152.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

Click on this lecture poster to see a larger version.

Click on this lecture poster to see a larger version.

Porter’s ‘call to men’ at MTSU: Change attitudes, stop domestic violence

A leading anti-domestic violence activist donned a wireless microphone and took his message directly to men in an appearance at MTSU.

Stepping out from behind the podium and walking in the audience, Tony Porter issued “A Call to Men: The Next Generation of Manhood” Oct. 21 in the Tennessee Room of the James Union Building.

Porter, whose presentation bore the name of the national violence prevention organization he co-founded, is a life skills trainer and consultant for the National Football League. His other clients include the U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Naval Academy and the National Basketball Association.

Porter said he wanted to deconstruct the nature of violence by men against women, nonjudgmentally dissecting the behavior of even well-meaning men to reveal disregard for the women in their lives.

The event, which was sponsored by the Distinguished Lecture Fund and the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students, was part of MTSU’s ongoing efforts to raise awareness about domestic and sexual violence and create a safer environment for all members of the campus and surrounding communities.

Anti-domestic violence activist Tony Porter makes his points during “A Call to Men: The Next Generation of Manhood” in an Oct. 21 presentation at MTSU. (Photo by MTSU News and Media Relations)

But rather than holding an event with the traditional focus on women, who are usually the victims of such violence, the June Anderson Center brought in Porter to specifically address the role that men play in creating this problem and offer ways to combat it.

Open to the public, the event drew a sizable number of men that included students, MTSU staff and community members from whom Porter solicited feedback throughout his remarks.

Referring to peer pressure to adhere to traditional notions of masculinity, he explained, “When we as men begin to develop an interest in the experiences of women outside of sexual conquest, our manhood is called into question.”

Porter used video sketches, PowerPoint slides and audience interaction to drive home his points. He described in detail what he called “the man box,” a collection of destructive behaviors men are socialized to treasure as manly. They include suppressing emotions, making decisions without asking for help and viewing women as property.

“These rigid notions of manhood are killing us as men,” said Porter.

He also noted that even men who never would hurt women physically “help create a fertile ground” for men who are violent by devaluing women, regarding them as property and objectifying them.

In pointing out men’s lack of awareness of women’s safety issues, Porter asked how many men check the back seat for intruders when they get into their cars. Only four men raised their hands, but numerous women raised their hands.

“They’re thinking about how to survive while we’re simply thinking about what’s next,” Porter explained.

Dr. Newtona “Tina” Johnson, director of the MTSU Women’s and Gender Studies Program, suggested during the question-and-answer period that men who wish to explore the subject more deeply should take the program’s classes.

Kim Reynolds, a counselor for the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program in Murfreesboro, said that nearly 500 orders of protection for domestic violence victims have been issued so far this year.

The event was part of MTSU’s observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. For more information, contact the June Anderson Center at 615-898-5812 or jacwns@mtsu.edu.

“A Call to Men” is a “national violence prevention organization” with the goal of shifting “social norms that negatively impact our culture and promote a more healthy and respectful definition of manhood,” according to the organization’s website, www.acalltomen.org.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Noted ‘green’ chemist to speak at MTSU Science Building Oct. 24

An expert in green and renewable chemistry will appear at MTSU Friday, Oct. 24, to talk about how science can help reduce waste and create more environmentally friendly processes and products.

Dr. William B. Tolman, chair of chemistry at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, will conduct a seminar on “Plastic from Plants: The Chemistry of Sustainable Polymers.”

Dr. William B. Tolman

The seminar, a continuation of the grand opening celebration for the new Science Building, will begin at 3:15 p.m. in amphitheater Room 1003 on the first floor of the facility, located at 440 Friendship St. on the south side of campus.

The public is invited. To find parking and the Science Building, a printable campus map can be found at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

MTSU assistant professor Keying Ding said Tolman, who leads the Tolman Group Laboratory at his university, was invited so he can “share his great knowledge on sustainable and green chemistry development.”

“Dr. Tolman has led the whole department with faculty members, researchers and students toward a successful story on addressing sustainability issues with the focus on chemistry research, education and public outreach initiatives,” Ding said.

“As one of the investigators at the Center for Sustainable Polymers at the University of Minnesota, Tolman concentrates his research efforts on harnessing the renewable, functional, degradable and non-toxic polymers provided by nature for tomorrow’s advanced plastics.”.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said green or sustainable chemistry is a philosophy of chemical research and engineering that encourages the design of products and processes that minimize the use and generation of hazardous substances.

“Green chemistry represents the fundamental building blocks of sustainability,” Ding said. “The scientific and technological breakthroughs in green chemistry will be not only crucial to the global economy, but also have a great impact on the environment, such as consuming less energy for chemical production, limiting pollutants emissions and reducing waste disposal.”

Tolman is the Distinguished McKnight University Professor at Minnesota and has earned many honors in his career.

He is the second public speaker to appear at the MTSU Science Building this week.

Nobel laureate in chemistry Harry Kroto provided the first public lecture in the $147 million facility Oct. 20. Kroto shared the 1996 Nobel Prize with Robert F. Curl Jr. and Richard E. Smalley for their discovery of fullerenes, a series of carbon molecules, also known as “Buckminsterfullerenes.”

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

Nobel recipient drives creativity, science education in MTSU talk

As the first featured guest lecturer in MTSU’s new Science Building, Nobel laureate Harry Kroto mentioned the 1996 international award he received during his one hour-plus public lecture.

Harry Kroto utilizes a PowerPoint presentation to bring his message to the audience attending the first public lecture in the new Science Building Oct. 20. Kroto earned the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, sharing the award with two other men for their discovery of fullerenes, a series of carbon molecules, also known as “Buckminsterfullerenes.” (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

But at MTSU and virtually anywhere he goes nowadays, the dialogue is more about science in general, science education for young people and creativity rather than the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

At the invitation of MTSU chemistry professor Preston MacDougall, Kroto spoke at both the MTSU event to a near-capacity crowd Oct. 20 in the Science Building amphitheater and an overflow crowd attending the Oct. 16-19 American Chemical Society Southeastern Regional Meeting in Nashville.

“I want to tell students what science actually is,” said Kroto, 75, an English-born chemist who has been part of the Florida State University faculty since 2004.

“Science is not well understood. It’s a way of thinking, as much as anything else, about the world and what is actually true and correct. It’s the way the universe is.”

“What I like about science is the internationality of it,” Kroto told his captivated audience during his humorous and entertaining talk titled “Carbon and Nano in Outer Space.” International citizens are a part of his present and past research teams.

The crowd — MTSU students, faculty, staff and administrators including President Sidney A. McPhee, and people from the community — enjoyed his lecture and PowerPoint presentation.

“It was absolutely inspiring as a young chemist to see someone who is so passionate about everything they do,” said MTSU senior biochemistry major Robbie Mahaffey of Shelbyville, Tennessee.

“He was amazing. My professor asked me if I was going to be here. I had planned to study because I have an exam Wednesday, but this seemed like an opportunity not to miss, to hear someone speak who had won a Nobel Prize and has years of experience and wisdom to give out for free.”

Henry Bradley, a senior biochemistry major and MTSU Chemistry Club president from Newport, Tennessee, had the honor of introducing Kroto and spending time with him earlier in the day.

MTSU chemistry professor Preston MacDougall, left, 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry recipient Harry Kroto and MTSU Chemistry Club Preston Henry Bradley listen as university President Sidney A. McPhee provides introductory remarks.

“I think it is such a privilege to represent the student body and introduce Sir Harry Kroto,” Bradley said.

“It’s not every day when someone who wins the Nobel Prize comes to your school. They obviously did something to advance human knowledge.”

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded annually by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to scientists in various fields of chemistry.

Kroto shared the 1996 Nobel Prize with Robert F. Curl Jr. and Richard E. Smalley for their discovery of fullerenes, a series of carbon molecules, also known as “Buckminsterfullerenes.”

The creative side of Kroto indulges in highly effective graphics and logos.

“To be creative, you need freedom,” he said during his talk. “For me, creativity is not just pulling a new rabbit out of the hat. It’s bringing things from various areas together in a new way, sort of a synthesis.”

Pushing his personal project GEOSET, or Global Educational Outreach for Science Engineering and Technology, Kroto takes science education worldwide — and GEOSET helps students find jobs by inserting a Uniform Resource Locator, or URL, in a resume.

“At least 50 percent of my time now is trying to get universities such as MTSU to consider how modern communication techniques can be helpful to not only the university in teaching but also to the students, to the propagating of their careers,” he said.

“It turns out that students are very good at contributing to GEOSET,” Kroto added. “”We’re recording short presentations on projects by students on things that fascinate them. And they’re getting jobs and scholarships and awards because we’ve essentially revolutionized the resume by including a recording (through the URL link) in the resume.”

Earlier Oct. 20, Kroto toured the Science Building and visited the Discovery Center at Murfree Spring, where CEO Tara MacDougall, wife of MTSU faculty member Preston MacDougall, presented Kroto with aDiscovery Center T-shirt that he wore the rest of the day.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)