Science and Arts Cafe

The Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts’ Science and Arts Café lecture series lineup has been set for the 2016-17 academic year.

This year’s series will feature members of ASMSA’s faculty leading discussions on a wide range of topics. The lectures will be held at 7 p.m. the second Thursday of each month in October through December and February through April. The lectures are free and open to the public. Kollective Coffee + Tea at 110 Central Ave. in downtown will serve as the series’ host for the second year in a row.

Featured lectures in this year’s series are:

• "The Hours of Catherine Cleves Illuminated," Liz Miller, Oct. 13. "The Hours of Cahterine Cleves" is an exceptional and engaging illuminated manuscript commissioned in the mid-15th century. Miller, ASMSA's head librarian, will discuss the manuscript filled with 157 full-page illuminations wrapped in delightful, thematic borders and how the book presents an intriguing tale of 15th century life that goes beyond the biblical narrative.

• “Country Talk,” Bryan Adams and Brian Isbell, Nov. 10. Adams, a French instructor at ASMSA, and Isbell, a humanities instructor, will explore antiquated speech patterns and idiomatic expressions in Appalachian English that persist to this day.

• “How Did Amazon Know That I Want Those Boots, and Why Did They Start Following Me Around on the Internet,” Daniel Moix, Dec. 8. Moix, ASMSA’s computer science education specialist, will discuss interesting ways businesses collect, store and use information to target advertising to individuals.

• “How We Know What We Know – Quantum Mechanics,” Dr. Jack Waddell, Feb. 9. The quantum world is full of paradoxical and counterintuitive realities. How do we know these outlandish things are true? Waddell, an ASMSA physics instructor, will discuss the results of a century of brain-bending experiments that led us to where we are today.

• “From ‘Sherlock Holmes’ to ‘Bones’: How a Nineteenth-Century Detective Inspires New Genres,” Dr. Mary Leigh, March 9. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle likely never would have imagined that Sherlock Holmes would completely transform the crime fiction genre to come. Yet, Holmesian characters abound in popular culture which leads to the question why. Leigh, an ASMSA humanities instructor, will lead a discussion to attempt to discover what we find culturally satisfying about Holmes by examining crime fiction at it merges with the medical drama in “Quincy, M.E.,” delves into the criminal psychology in “Criminal Minds,” searches for justice through scientific analysis in “Bones,” and returns full circle in the BBC’s “Sherlock.”

• “The Way of Thinking: West vs East,” Tingting Tian, April 13. The government, business leaders and probably your parents will tell you it’s good to learn Mandarin Chinese, but the language’s reputation as impossible may make you balk at the challenge. So when we say Chinese is one of the most difficult languages for English speakers, what exactly are we talking about? By comparing the two different language systems, especially the differences between hieroglyphic (pictograph, Chinese characters/Kanji) and alphabetic script, we are trying to explain how different we are when trying to perceive and interpret the world at the beginning. Tian, an ASMSA Mandarin Chinese instructor and Chinese native, will give participants a better understanding about the differences between Eastern and Western ways of thinking.

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