J. James Woods - Lectures in the Sciences & Mathematics

2003 - 2004 Series

Dr. Tartar's talk is titled "SETI: Science Fact, Not Fiction"

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Jill Tartar, Ph.D
Physicist and Director of the SETI Institute

Jill Tartar is one of the leaders of the scientific effort to discover intelligent life in the universe beyond our planet. As director of the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, Dr. Tartar leads a team of scientists who develop and utilize observational and analytical methods to search the universe for signals indicative of intelligent life.

Dr. Tartar received her Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of California at Berkeley. She began SETI research with U.C.'s project SERENDIP as a graduate student. After a post-doctoral appointment with NASA Ames' Space Sciences Office, Dr. Tarter continued research in SETI and was named Project Scientist for NASA's High Resolution Microwave Survey. After the loss of NASA funding for SETI, Dr. Tarter was named Director of the Institute's Project Phoenix, a position which she continues to hold.

An active hands-on SETI observer, Dr. Tarter has achieved many distinctions in her career. She holds the Lifetime Achievement Award from Women in Aerospace for her contributions to the fields of Exobiology and SETI. Dr. Tarter's distinctions include election as member of the International Academy of Astronautics, Fellow of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, President (1994-1997) of International Astronomical Union Commission 51, Chair of the International Academy of Astronautics SETI Committee, and numerous appointments to senior scientific advisory panels. She was also named 1997 "Person of the Year" by Chabot Science Center and is the recipient of two Public Service Medals from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Kay Redfield Jamison
Psychiatry Professor and Mental Health Advocate

An international authority and researcher on mood disorders, and a 2001 recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, Kay Redfield Jamison has unique insight into the world of mental illness, having been there herself.

In 1995, as Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, she shocked her colleagues by going public with her own struggle with manic-depressiveness in a Washington Post article and subsequent book, An Unquiet Mind. The book became a New York Times bestseller and was cited by several major publications as one of the best of the year.

Jamison completed her undergraduate and graduate work at UCLA, where she was a National Science Foundation Research Fellow, a John F. Kennedy Scholar, and UCLA Graduate Woman of the Year. She became Director of the UCLA Affective Disorders Clinic, was selected as one of five individuals for the PBS-TV series Great Minds of Medicine and was chosen by Time as a "Hero of Medicine." Her books for general audiences include Touched with Fire (1993), a study of the connection between manic-depression and creativity, Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide (1999), and Exuberance: The Vital Emotion (2003).

Dr. Jamison has published over 100 articles in academic journals. She is co-author of the standard medical textbook on manic-depression, which was chosen in 1990 as the most outstanding book in Biomedical Sciences by the American Association of Publishers.

Professor of Anthropology at New York University

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Emily Martin is Professor of Anthropology at New York University. Her research interests include the anthropology of science and medicine, gender, money and other measures of value, the anthropology of work, and China.

Martin began her career with field work in China and Taiwan, and has published extensively on Chinese ritual and politics. However it was her 1987 book The Woman in the Body: a Cultural Analysis of Reproduction (Boston: Beacon Press), an innovative analysis of American understandings of reproduction, that brought her international recognition. Subsequent research has been into local knowledge about immune systems (published in her 1994 book "Flexible Bodies: Tracking Immunity in American Culture from the Days of Polio to the Age of Aids," Beacon Press) and, most recently, about mental illness.

Dr. Martin will present an historical and ethnographic analysis of the ways moods have been graphed and charted, from the early 20th century to the present. Changes in the techniques of recording moods will be discussed in relation to their impact on subjectivities, regimes of regulation and control, and the cultural value placed on hyper states such as mania.

PhD in zoology from Oxford University

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

After receiving a PhD in zoology from Oxford University, Matt Ridley became a journalist. From 1983 to 1992 he served as the senior editor for The Economist. From 1993 to 2000, he was a columnist for the Sunday Telegraph and Daily Telegraph. He has written articles and book reviews for major publications including The Times, Guardian, Times Literary Supplement, New Statesman, TIME, Newsweek, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Atlantic Monthly, Discover, and Natural History. His books include The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature (1993), The Origins of Virtue: Human Instincts and the Evolution of Cooperation (1996), Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters (1999), and Nature via Nurture: Genes, Experience and What Makes Us Human (2003). In Nature via Nurture he describes the dependent relationship between the genes and their environment, examines this synergistic relationship in human development, and discusses the human condition of being simultaneously free-willed and motivated by instinct and culture.

In a recent interview about the human genome project, Ridley said: "For the first time in four billion years, a species on this planet has read its own recipe, or is in the process of reading its own recipe. That seems to me to be an epochal moment, because we're going to get depths of insight into the nature of human nature that we never could have imagined, and that will dwarf anything that philosophers and indeed scientists have managed to produce in the last two millennia."

Dr. Ridley is currently chairman of the International Centre for Life, an education project and visitor center that is highly regarded for its serious research in genetics and located in Newcastle upon Tyne.