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Preview/Review (Feb. 8 to Feb. 22)


A review and previews of some fun and informative U events and lectures occurring through Feb. 22

Compiled by Adam Overland

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President Kaler, Karen Kaler (right), Elizabeth Giorgi, and a U student look on as President Kaler Tweets with the #umnproud hashtag during the U's 2012 Legislative Briefing. Using social media to advocate for the U was a big part of this year's message.

February 7, 2012

REVIEW

"Walk the Talk," Kaler Tells Advocates

The annual Legislative Briefing, one of the U's most important events of the year, took place Feb. 1. Participants heard about the U's 2012 legislative agenda and President Kaler's vision for the U, and about new and interactive ways to advocate, especially by using the power of social media.

"We need to tell our great stories (and) we must be maroon-and-gold advocates," President Kaler told an overflow crowd. "Let's walk the talk." To do so, he tweeted from his own account during the event.

In his remarks, Kaler listed 13 points that highlight the unique value of the University, from the 13-to-1 return on state investment to the reach of Extension into every corner and county of the state.

Kaler also laid out the 2012 Capital Bonding Request, emphasizing the need for an infusion of $90 million to preserve and repair the University's aging buildings.

The UMAA's Chris Coughlan-Smith has an interesting write-up of the event, including multimedia. For more information, read "Walk the talk."


PREVIEWS

Previews are the editor's choice, selected for variety, uniqueness, oddness, impact, and whimsy. Submit your events to brief@umn.edu. Events that feature U faculty and staff are preferred. Unless otherwise noted, all events are free. Follow us on Twitter @UFacultyStaff, where each morning we post a featured event of the day at the U.


"Physics and Cooking," with Harvard professor David Weitz. Feb. 9, 7–8:30 p.m., 150 Tate Lab of Physics. Definitely not your ordinary fare, "Physics and Cooking" may put more on your plate than you can handle. Why does the elasticity of steak matter? And why do some chefs use liquid nitrogen (at about -320 degrees F) to freeze ingredients? You'll learn the answers to these and other intriguing questions from professor Weitz.

Weitz's lecture is inspired by understanding the science of pioneering approaches to preparation and presentation of foods at several famous restaurants. His talk will introduce examples of physics and the science of cooking and will include demonstrations. The science of several innovative techniques in cooking—such as foams and the use of gelation—as well as more common processes will be explored.

Installation in Action–Freeze Frame: Capturing Nature in Winter. A photography project. Feb. 11, Areca Roe 165Areca Roenoon–5 p.m. Bell Museum. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder—and there are so many beholders. That's what the innovative "Freeze Frame" project at the Bell Museum is proving. The brainchild of U child…err, MFA grad Areca Roe (Bell artist-in-residence) features photos taken by the public which are transformed into a unique installation. At this event, Roe will be on hand to answer questions about her artistic vision for "Freeze Frame," and will talk about her experience with the Bell Museum's new artist research project. For the Bell Museum, "Freeze Frame" is part of ongoing efforts to involve the public in the state's natural history museum and use the museum as a gateway for exploring the intersection of art and science.

Roe is an artist and photographer who explores the human relationship to the natural world and to animals in her artwork. The photos, some of which you can view in an online slideshow, are fantastic, and show you just how many people experience the beauty of the natural world. You can be a part of the project by sending the Bell a photo.

Completion of the final installation will be marked by a Bell Social on April 13. Bell Social was recently named to Minnesota Monthly's "Best Of" list for "Best Geek Chic Event."

Questions Without Borders: Why Future Research and Teaching Will Be Interdisciplinary—A forum with Myron Gutmann, National Science Foundation. Feb. 13, 3:30–5 p.m., Coffman Union Theater. The U's new provost, Karen Hanson, will chair this forum focusing on why large research universities need to do more to offer interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate education. Myron Gutmann is assistant director of the National Science Foundation, and is a distinguished demographer and economic historian whose interests include interdisciplinary historical population studies, especially those relating population to agriculture, the environment, and health. The event will also feature responses and comment by David Fox, Department of Earth Sciences, College of Science and Engineering; J. B. Shank, Department of History, College of Liberal Arts; and Dominique Tobbell, Program in the History of Medicine, Medical School.

Mni Sota: Reflections of Time and Place. Feb. 14, 11 a.m.–7 p.m., Katherine E. Nash Gallery, Regis Mni Sota 165Center for Art. As a culture whose arts are generally expected to evoke the past, it is not often that innovation is at the forefront of discussion regarding Native American arts. Mni Sota: Reflections of Time and Place showcases the innovation and beauty of Native American artists whose ingenuity promotes cultural continuity. The artists of Mni Sota provide stunning examples of ways in which Native artists of the Minnesota region continue to embrace the contemporary while supporting tradition.

"Minnesota" comes from the Dakota words "mni sota" which have been translated as "clouds reflecting in water," "smoky water," or "cloudy water," all of which illustrate how Minnesotans' understanding of place has been defined by their surroundings.

Special event: On Feb. 16, 5–6 p.m., a "Curators Public Lecture" will be held with Dyani Reynolds-White Hawk, with a public reception afterward. Regis Center for Art.

Choreographer Jin Xing in Conversation with U professor Ananya Chatterjea. Feb. 16, 4–5:30 p.m., 125 Nolte. China's most celebrated dancer, Jin Xing, and her company, Jin Xing Dance Theatre Shanghai, will perform at the Orpheum Theatre as part of Northrop Dance on Feb. 18. Two days before the performance, Ananya Chatterjea, professor and director of the U's Dance Program, and Ben Johnson, Northrop's director of concerts and lectures, will discuss with Xing the courage, fighting spirit, and beautiful artistry that have contributed to her great success as a dancer and owner of China's only independent dance company. Jin Xing is also an accomplished film actress and known for her support of human rights, artistic freedom, and community activism in China.

A reading of A Stone Thrown at the Guilty. Feb. 18–19, 7:30–9:30 p.m., Rarig Center. Famed Somali novelist Nuruddin Farah, who is serving as 2010–12 Winton Chair in the U's College of Liberal Arts, will give a staged reading of A Stone Thrown at the Guilty, a work inspired by two historical uprisings in Somalia under British rule, during 1922 and 1939–40. In the second uprising, a protester was sentenced to death. In Farah's play, the Somali firing squad that is assigned by the British governor to kill that man commits an act of resistance. However, what happens next veers sharply from the usual narratives of heroic resistance, with the players exhibiting multifaceted and conflicting impulses and desires, and the reactions to the rebellion taking unexpected, fatal turns. What is clear in the confusion is the difficulty of creating deliberate change, even if the cause seems unequivocal.

Born in 1945 in Baidoa, Somalia, Farah is the author of 11 novels, a nonfiction book about the Somali diaspora, and numerous plays. He was awarded the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 1998 after the completion of his second trilogy. Farah was pushed into exile by the dictator Siyad Barre long before the collapse of Somalia's government.

From Hurricanes to Fresh Water Furies: Severe Storms and Their Consequences. Feb. 21, 7–9 p.m., Continuing Education and Conference Center. Cost: $125 (three sessions). Blizzards, tornados, cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons: these are just a few of the storms that Minnesotans have witnessed in the last year, either on television or in person. While the human impact is often clear, what causes such severe weather and what does it mean for our future? Join popular meteorologist Mark Seeley to learn about current trends in storminess. (And just what are derechos anyway?) Seeley is the University of Minnesota's Extension climatologist/meteorologist. He is well known for his Friday morning commentaries on Minnesota Public Radio's Morning Edition.

Classes on Feb. 21 and Feb. 28 meet at the Continuing Education and Conference Center on the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus; class on Mar. 6 meets at the National Weather Service Forecast Office, 1733 Lake Drive West, Chanhassen.

Cosmic Catastrophes: Apocalypse When? Feb. 21, 7 p.m., Bryant Lake Bowl. Cost: $5-12, Tickets available at the door and online. Well, the world didn't end with the dawn of 2012. But professor Lawrence Rudnick will describe a variety of ways our world could end—from asteroid impacts to rogue black holes—and whether the universe itself might have prevented us from ever existing. You may lose some sleep after this event—not from fear, but from the amazing perspectives we gain on humanity when we think BIG. Rudnick is a U observational astrophysicist, studying both supernova remnants and large-scale structures in the universe. He was a founding member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society, which has now transferred its assets to the Bell Museum to provide astronomy and space education across Minnesota.

Words at WAM, a literary open mic. Feb. 22, 6 p.m. Weisman Art Museum. The local online literary Words at WAM 165community, Hazel & Wren, and WAM Collective, the student voice of the museum, will present Words at WAM, a literary open mic. The event is open to all interested wordsmiths of any genre: fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and spoken word—all literary mischief welcome. Featured authors Lightsey Darst and Miles Walser will close the evening.
 

ONGOING

Jim Brandenburg's Chased By The Light photo exhibit. Through May 13, Bell Museum. Chased By the Light: Jim Brandenburg's 90-Day Photo Journey came back to the U's Bell Museum of Natural History for a new showing that opened Dec. 10. It's the first time in 13 years the popular exhibit will be available to area residents.

Brandenburg began his photo journey with a simple plan: "In autumn I set out to make one photograph—one single exposure—each day for 90 days. I hoped with patience and endurance to renew my vision of the natural world." After 90 days, what emerged from the deep woods in and around the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was a changed photographer with three rolls of film. Each roll was filled with images—such as a raven feather in the rain, a tree marked by a bear, or a vibrant view of an aurora borealis—that represented Brandenburg's feelings about the essence of wild places.

In today's era of quick communication, mind-boggling amounts of media, and digital cameras providing a nearly endless supply of photos to alter, Chased By the Light is more relevant than ever.


Find more Twin Cities events using the U's events calendar.

University events and lectures preview/review is a periodic column (about every two weeks) highlighting events and lectures recently past and soon-to-come on or near the UMTC campus. Faculty and staff are invited to contribute. Reviews should be no more than 500 words, previews 200 or fewer. Both are subject to review by the Brief editor.