Science Symposium To Be Held Sept. 23 In Conjunction With Friday's Sciences Building Dedication

Sept. 17, 2004

by Judy Long

A Baylor University "day of science" will culminate with a symposium featuring three prominent speakers at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23, in the Baylor Sciences Building.

The symposium will be the concluding event of the day, which will begin with the Center for Drug Discovery's Fall Symposium from 3 until 5:30 p.m. The dedication of the Baylor Sciences Building will take place at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24.

The evening symposium presenters, speaking simultaneously, will be ecologist Dr. Curtis J. Richardson, superstring theorist Dr. John H. Schwarz and biomedical researcher Dr. James T. Willerson.

Dr. Wallace Daniel, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said the topics to be presented in the symposium are at the forefront of important issues in the sciences.

"They are also significant to our national agenda. They should be of great interest to our students and to our community," Daniel said. "I am especially excited about the speakers; all are leaders in their fields and were selected and invited by members of our faculty. The topics, the speakers, the responses from our faculty, the dialogue that is certain to follow make this a don't-miss opportunity."

Willerson, president of the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, will speak on "Stem Cells for Failing Hearts," in room B110 of the Baylor Sciences Building. Moderating will be Dr. David Pennington, professor of chemistry and Master Teacher, and panelists will be Dr. Jaime Diaz-Granados, professor of psychology and neuroscience, Robert Kane, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, Dr. Kevin J. Pinney, professor in chemistry and biochemistry, and Dr. Mary Lynn Trawick, professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

Pennington said Willerson has the only FDA approved adult stem cell program in the country for treatment of heart disease.

"Dr. Willerson is a world-renowned cardiologist, administrator and scientist with more than 800 published articles and is editor or co-editor of 20 books. His symposium talk on stem cells should be of great interest," Pennington said.

Richardson, director of the Duke University Wetland Center and professor of resources ecology at Duke, will address the topic, "Wetlands of Mass Destruction: How the Hussein Regime Destroyed the Mesopotamian Marshes and their 5,000-Year-Old Ma'dan Culture." The talk will be held in D110 of the Baylor Sciences Building.

Dr. Robert Doyle, Baylor professor and interim chair of biology, will moderate, and the panel will include Dr. Bryan Brooks, assistant professor of environmental studies, Dr. Owen Lind, professor of biology, and Dr. Joe Yelderman, professor of geology.

Doyle said Richardson is an eminently well-grounded scientist and good at helping with the social dimensions of science, such as the devastation of Iraq's salt marsh ecosystem in 1991.

"Curtis was part of the international coalition group evaluating the potential for restoration after the deliberate destruction of the salt marshes. He brings a lot of good science and good ideas to difficult environmental issues," he said.

Schwarz, the Harold Brown Professor of Theoretical Physics at the California Institute of Technology, will speak on "Superstring Theory: Past, Present and Future" in room D109 of the sciences building.

Dr. Truell W. Hyde II, vice provost for research and professor of physics, will moderate, and the panel will include Dr. Gerald R. Cleaver, assistant professor of physics, Dr. Anzhong Wang, professor of physics, and Dr. Bennie F.L. Ward, professor and chair of the department of physics.

"John Schwarz is one of the founders of string theory," said Cleaver, whose thesis advisor at Cal Tech was Schwarz. "What is known as the First String Revolution in 1984 was due to John Schwarz and his colleague, Michael Green. The symposium should help bring the message of string theory as a forefront science to the larger Baylor community."

The symposium is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the College of Arts and Sciences at 710-3361.

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