Throughout the year, noteworthy speakers flock to WashU to appear in our many memorial and distinguished lecture series, addressing topics across Arts & Sciences. These lectures allow us to broaden the conversation at the University by interjecting new ideas and research into our halls and classrooms. However, it can sometimes be hard to keep them all straight! Below is an overview of some of our memorial lecture series taking place this fall.
September 18: NPR’s Ira Flatow in Conversation with Climatologists Bronwen Konecky and Gavin Schmidt
September 28: “The Climate Crisis, Political Pessimism, and Realistic Solutions” with Christian Parenti
This new series has a longstanding history at WashU. It is supported by the Compton-Ferguson endowment and aims to bring in experts and speakers who can explore scientific topics for a general audience. The Arthur Holly Compton Lectures began in 1963 with a gift from James S. McDonnell in honor of Dr. Compton, WashU’s ninth chancellor and one of America’s great scientists. Mr. McDonnell was a member of the university’s Board of Trustees and president of McDonnell-Douglas Aircraft Corporation. The William C. Ferguson Lectures were established in 1961 through a bequest from Mr. Ferguson, a friend of Dr. Compton, to bring distinguished scientists to the university. Though originally separate series, both the Compton and Ferguson Lectures are now supported by the Ferguson endowment. In 2017, the lecture series was given the overarching name of “Science Matters.”
This chemistry department hosted lecture honors Professor Samuel I. Weissman, who was a Washington University faculty member from 1946 until his death in 2007. In his time at WashU, he researched a number of areas including optical spectroscopy, which became the new field of magnetic resonance. In this area, he was a renowned pioneer and world-class expert. His groundbreaking studies were initially carried out using home-built spectrometers. A scientist to the core, Weissman did creative research until virtually his last days at the age of 95.
Past Speakers: Michael Turner, 2016; W.E. Moerner, 2015; Chung-Yuan Mou, 2014
Robert Morrell Memorial Lecture in Asian Religions
The department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and the Religious Studies program announce the Inaugural Robert Morrell Memorial Lecture in Asian Religions. Named after the late Professor Emeritus Robert E. Morrell, this annual series commemorates his life work by bringing distinguished scholars of Asian religions to campus. Dr. Robert Morrell taught Japanese literature and Buddhism, and was the first to teach courses on Buddhism at Washington University.
Founded by the Center for the Humanities in honor of the esteemed vice chancellor of students who passed away in 2011, the series focuses on the role of the liberal arts in higher education, a subject especially meaningful to Dean McLeod. Speakers include academics and journalists who have written about the liberal arts and higher education, both positively and critically, as well as noted people who talk about how the liberal arts affected their lives and their career choices.
Past Speakers: Christopher Newfield, 2016; Rebecca Ginsburg, 2015; Roderick A. Ferguson, 2014
Thomas S. Hall Lecture in Biology
The Hall Lecture Series was inaugurated in 1978 to honor Thomas Steele Hall, a member of the biology department from 1945 until his retirement in 1978; and Distinguished University Professor until his death in 1990. From 1949 to 1961 he served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Although trained as an experimental embryologist at Yale in the late 1930s, Hall devoted most of his academic career to the history and philosophy of science. In keeping with the broad range of interests and leadership provided by Tom Hall during his academic career, this lecture series offers a forum for exchange of ideas on the broad historical and cultural relationships between science (including medicine), philosophy, the arts and society.
Past Speakers: Gregory Radick, 2016; Elisabeth Lloyd, 2015; Brian Hall, 2013
The McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences sponsors the lecture series in memory of Robert M. Walker, the center’s inaugural director from 1975-1999. Walker was a pioneering physicist who played a decisive role in shaping research in the space sciences, not only at the university but also worldwide.
Past Speakers: Gabriela Gonzalez, 2016; Edward C. Stone, 2015; Ramesh Narayan, 2014
Holocaust Memorial Lecture
The Holocaust Memorial Lecture is an annual event that is administered by the University’s Assembly Series since its founding in 1989. Held on or near November 9, the anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogroms in Nazi Germany, the lecture aims not only to commemorate the Holocaust, but also to address its broader implications for other instances of systematic persecution, mass murder, and genocide.
Past Speakers: Doris Bergen, 2016; Jay Winter, 2015; David Shneer, 2014
Nelson Wu was an internationally known scholar and advocate of Asian art and architecture who taught at WashU for nearly 20 years. He is also known by his pen name, Lu Chiao, for his magical short stories and fiction. Co-sponsored by East Asian languages and cultures and the Saint Louis Art Museum, this series offers a talk each fall by an internationally renowned specialist in the field, as well as related events and activities at both the museum and the University. All events are free and open to the public.
Past Speakers: Gennifer Weisenfeld, 2016; Alfreda Murck, 2015; Matthew McKelway, 2014
Read about more events on the Arts & Sciences events calendar.
Know of a lecture we missed? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.