Lecture Series: Spring '08

The Pulse Student Lecture by Matthew Newell (University Scholars ’08): Engineering Babel: Law, Mathematics and God in Newton’s Physics

University Scholar Matthew Newell ’08 presented the 2008 annual student lecture for The Pulse.

Dr. Michael Zuckert (Notre Dame University): Plato and Rawls on Justice: A Heavyweight Match

Zuckert, Michael

From Notre Dame University, Dr. Michael Zuckert is the Nancy Reeves Dreux Professor of Government and International Relations as well as chair of the Department of Political Science. He works in political philosophy, American constitutional law and theory, and American political thought.

Zuckert has published Natural Rights and the New Republicanism and The Natural Rights Republic, as well as many articles on a variety of topics, including George Orwell, Plato’s Apology, Shakespeare, and contemporary liberal theory. His most recent book is Launching Liberalism: On Lockean Political Philosophy.

Currently, Zuckert is completing a book entitled, Completing the Constitution: The Post-Civil War Amendments, and has been commissioned to write the volume on John Rawls for a new series on Twentieth Century Political Philosophy. He has taught at Carleton College, Cornell University, Claremont Men's College, Fordham University, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor before taking his current position at Notre Dame.

Professor George R. Pettit (Arizona State University): From an African Tree to Cancer and Blindness Clinical TrialsPettit, George

The W. Dial Black Family Lectures presented "From an African Tree to Cancer and Blindness Clinical Trials" by Professor George R. Pettit. The lecture focused on the discovery, preclinical, and clinical development of the anticancer drug designated combretastatin A-4 isolated from the African bush willow, Combretum caffrum.

During the lecture, applications of this remarkable cancer vascular disrupting drug were reviewed in a broad spectrum of human types of cancer. In addition, current advances in clinical development of a new approach to patient-friendly treatment of macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness, were summarized.

Prof. Pettit serves as the Regents’ Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at Arizona State University.

This lecture was sponsored by the College of Arts & Sciences and the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry.

Dr. Michael Ward (University of Cambridge): Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. LewisPlanet Narnia, Cover

Ever since they were published in the 1950s, C.S. Lewis’ seven Chronicles of Narnia have mystified readers by their apparent lack of coherence. Why do three of the books seem to be clear Biblical allegories while the other four have no obvious scriptural foundation? What is Father Christmas doing in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe?

Dr. Michael Ward, chaplain of Peterhouse at the University of Cambridge, tackled these questions and more in his latest work, Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis. Ward argues that Lewis secretly based the Chronicles of Narnia on the seven heavens of the medieval cosmos. Ward shared his thoughts with us during Academic Honors Week.

Ma XiaohuiMs. Ma Xiaohui, Chinese Erhu Virtuoso

China’s renowned Erhu virtuoso, Ma Xiaohui, graced Baylor campus with her presence and performance in April. Ma Xiaohui is most recognized in the United States for her haunting Erhu duet with renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma in the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Oscar-winning film soundtrack.

One of few traditional Chinese musicians with an international career — touring throughout Europe, Asia, and the America’s — Ma Xiaohui fervently explores western music, seeking new creative directions and cultural understanding through music’s universal language. Ma Xiaohui also pursues jazz and tango, but gospel music has long been a latent interest.

Dr. Cecil Eubanks (Louisiana State University): Albert Camus: His Thought and its Influence

Eubanks, Cecil

Dr. Cecil Eubanks is the Distinguished Alumni Professor of Political Science at Louisiana State University, where he teaches political theory. He has received numerous teaching awards and recently has published a book entitled, Eric Voegelin’s Dialogue with the Postmoderns, in addition to a number of scholarly articles on such diverse figures as Friedrich Nietzsche, G.W.F. Hegel, Albert Camus, and the Greek playwright Euripides.

Professor Eubanks currently is working on a comparative study of the theological and political thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Paul Tillich entitled, Theology in the World Coming of Age.

Dr. D. Michael Lindsay (Rice University): Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American EliteLindsay, Cover

Evangelicals, once at the periphery of American life, now wield power in the White House and on Wall Street, at Harvard and in Hollywood. How have they reached the pinnacles of power in such a short time? And what does this mean for evangelicals—and for America?

Drawing on personal interviews with an astonishing array of prominent Americans — including two former Presidents, dozens of political and government leaders, more than 100 top business executives, plus Hollywood moguls, intellectuals, athletes, and other powerful figures — D. Michael Lindsay shows first-hand how they are bringing their vision of moral leadership into the public square.

Lindsay discussed the topics of his latest publication in April. This lecture was sponsored by the Honors Program and co-sponsored by the Institute for Studies of Religion.

Thesis Panel for Science Students

Science majors searching for thesis topics learned that possibilities are endless at the Thesis Panel for Science Students. The panelists were Dr. Lisa Baker (Biology), Dr. Jim Marcum (Philosophy), and Dr. Jonathan Tran (Religion).

Dr. Peter Lawler (Berry College): The Political Thought of John Locke and Walker Percy on Stoicism and Christianity in America

Dr. Peter Lawler is the Dana Professor of Government and International Studies at Berry College, where he teaches courses in political philosophy and American politics and has won several teaching awards.

He has written or edited a dozen books and has published more than 175 scholarly articles, chapters, and book reviews. Some of his recent books include Postmodernism Rightly Understood, Aliens in America: The Strong Truth About Our Souls, and Stuck with Virtue: The American Individual and Our Biotechnological Future. Lawler also is a member of President Bush’s Council on Bioethics.

Dr. Ray Corrin (World Health Organization – Geneva, Switzerland): Notes From the Plague Ground: Is the HIV Virus Trying To Tell Us Something?

In January, Dr. Ray Corrin shared what he’d learned about science and the human condition from 25 years of dealing firsthand with the HIV epidemic as it has evolved -- from participating in mission medicine in Haiti, to seeing needlestick injuries in emergency, to treating HIV patients in a Western hospital, to regulating the drug industry. The lecture also included a brief history of HIV and its relation to Yersinia pestis and other historical plagues.

Corrin currently serves at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, in the Prequalification Program for Medicines for HIV, malaria, and TB. He is an HIV clinician and former emergency physician and mission hospital physician in Haiti.

Feng Wei (Peking University, China): Traditional Peking Operas and its Adaptations of Shakespeare

Everyone in attendance gained a better understanding of China and Chinese culture during Feng Wei’s lecture on Peking Opera, which, as a very comprehensive art form, includes many traditional Chinese cultural elements such as music, dance, painting, as well as Chinese poetry. Wei also discussed several Beijing Opera versions of William Shakespeare's plays, including the internationally acclaimed Beijing opera director and performer Wu Hsing-kuo’s adaptations of The Tempest, King Lear, and many others.

Wei is a professor at the Peking University but was given the opportunity to complete doctoral research begun at Peking University here at Baylor. His research has been on biographical treatments and critical reception of the Renaissance poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe.

Dr. Steven Nolt (Chair of Department of History & Political Science, Goshen College)

Nolt, Steven

Dr. Steven Nolt serves as associate professor of history and chair of the Department of History & Political Science at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana. Nolt has published numerous books on Amish and Mennonite history, tradition, and theology. One of his more recent publications, Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy, co-authored with Donald B. Kraybill and David L. Weaver-Zercher, examines the response to the widely publicized shooting at an Amish school on October 2, 2006.

In January, Nolt spoke on forgiveness and reconciliation as part of Baylor University’s Campus Programs Spring Lecture Series.

Mr. Matthieu Boyd (Department of Celtic Languages and Literatures, Harvard University): Celtic Atlantis: Adventures in the Breton Legend of Ker-Is

Kicking off the spring semester’s lecture series, Mr. Matthieu Boyd explored the fusion of Celtic and Christian aspects of the legend of the sunken city off the coast of Brittany.