Fuel your brain at "Minds on Millennium VII" lecture series

Jan. 27, 2006

Lacey, Wash. – British mathematician and philosopher Alfred North Whitehead once said of Plato that the history of Western philosophy was just a footnote to him.

Saint Martin’s University and Panorama City begin the seventh year of their Minds on the Millennium public lecture series Thursday, Feb. 9, with an exploration of this classic Greek philosopher. Steven Dickerson, Ph.D., of the South Puget Sound Community College humanities department, will give an overview of Plato’s ideas about human beings and human knowledge, religion, morality and politics in his talk, “Plato and His Impact on Western Thought.” He also will discuss how Plato’s ideas influence contemporary views of life.

The lecture, as are all lectures in the series, will be from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at Panorama City’s Quinault Auditorium, 1835 Circle Lane, Lacey. There is no charge to attend.

Dickerson has a doctorate in philosophy, with a specialty in ancient Greek philosophy, from Michigan State University. He taught at Seattle University before joining the faculty of SPSCC, where he teaches courses in philosophy and ethics.

The Minds on the Millennium lecture series was jointly launched by Saint Martin’s and Panorama City in 2000 to promote intellectual conversation and a lively exchange of ideas based on historical, philosophical and literary topics. This year, the series will draw from the talents and expertise of six area scholars. Here is the remainder of this spring’s program:

Feb. 23
“Washington State Geology: It’s More Than Rocks” John Sladek, Saint Martin’s University faculty, civil engineering

Washington is one of the most geologically interesting and active areas on earth. Saint Martin’s faculty member John Sladek will present a brief overview of Washington State geologic features and topics. The discussion will include basic models, geologic time, an overview of continental drift and plate tectonics, formation of the state and the state’s major geologic regions. Sladek also will discuss Washington’s “recent” geological history: the last ice age and the Glacial Lake Missoula floods.

Sladek, who also works as a consulting civil and structural engineer, earned a master’s degree and completed doctoral coursework in structural engineering at the University of Texas, Austin. He graduated with high honors from Boston’s Northeastern University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.

March 9
“Views from the Top: A Forest Ecologist Explores Our Links to the Arboreal World” Nalini Nadkarni, Ph.D., The Evergreen State College faculty, environmental studies

As a forest ecologist who studies life in the treetops of forests around the world, TESC faculty member Nalini Nadkarni, Ph.D., will describe the diverse life of rainforest roofs of Costa Rica, New Guinea and Washington. Her explorations have led her to investigate the complex interactions between humans and trees – ecological, economic, aesthetic and spiritual. In particular, Nadkarni will describe the value of ancient forests and the beauty, strength, and character of old-growth trees in our region. She also will describe a new project to bring people of all ages to the forest canopy on the TESC campus. Nadkarni earned her doctorate in forest ecology from the University of Washington, where her research focused on the ecology of tropical and temperate forest canopies and the role of canopy-dwelling plants at the ecosystem level. She carries out field research in Washington and in Monteverde, Costa Rica, with the support of the National Science Foundation and National

March 23
“Fair Trade for a Free World” Heather Grob, Ph.D., Saint Martin’s University faculty, business and economics

How do we as consumers and citizens make sense of free trade and fair trade debates? Do trade liberalization policies help to improve economic conditions for trading nations? Economist and Saint Martin’s faculty member Heather Grob, Ph.D., will discuss these issues in the context of economic theory and policy at this presentation.

Grob, whose doctorate is from the University of Notre Dame, teaches economics at Saint Martin’s. She is a noted labor economist and is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and the Labor and Employment Relations Association. She also plays cello with the Olympia Symphony.

April 13
“Landing of the Space Shuttle Discovery at Dryden Flight Research Center” Amanie Abdelmessih, Ph.D., Saint Martin’s University faculty, mechanical engineering

During most of the year, Saint Martin’s faculty member and thermal engineer Amanie Abdelmessih teaches students and directs the university’s thermal engineering laboratories. Her summers, however, are devoted to research in thermal engineering. In this Minds presentation, Abdelmessih will share how she got connected with National Aeronautics and Space Administration. She’ll give a brief overview of her current work and share photos of the Space Shuttle Discovery landing and other photos of tours she took at the Jet Propulsion Lab.

Abdelmessih, whose doctorate is from Oklahoma State University, has researched at NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Marshall Space Flight Research Center, Argonne National Laboratory and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. She is the recipient of numerous professional and education awards, including the Puget Sound Engineering Council’s 2005 Academic Engineer of the Year Award and the 2001 Monks of Saint Martin’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

April 27
"The Sight of Music: The Power of Image and Sound in Milos Forman’s ‘Amadeus’” David Hlavsa, Saint Martin’s University faculty, theatre arts

Film is considered a visual medium. We are often unaware of the extent to which sound tells the story, describes the characters and gives meaning to the experience of the viewer. In this final Minds presentation of the season, Saint Martin’s faculty member David Hlavsa will explore how the interplay of Forman’s imagery and Mozart’s music serves not just to underscore but also to construct and comment on the rivalry between Mozart and Italian composer Antonio Salieri.

Hlavsa, who heads the university’s department of theatre arts, teaches acting, directing, playwriting and film courses. He is the author of a new book, “An Actor Rehearses,” which will be published by Allworth Press in November. His latest play, “Pack of Lies.” has been produced in Chicago, Seattle, Olympia and Bellingham. Hlavsa’s program articles and study guides for the Seattle Repertory Theatre have been reprinted by many theatres including the California Shakespeare Festival. He earned his master’s degree in directing from the University of Washington and his bachelor’s in English and theater from Princeton University.

For more information on Minds on the Millennium VII, please call the university at 360-491-4700.

For more information:

David Suter, Minds on the Millennium co-director
Professor of religious studies

Veronica Kessler, Minds on the Millennium co-director
Panorama City activities director

Deanna Partlow
Media relations coordinator
Office of communication
(360) 438-4541