Mark your calendars! This spring, departments across Arts & Sciences are bringing in big speakers for their named lecture series. These memorial and distinguished lectureships allow us to broaden the conversation and research at the University by interjecting new ideas into our halls and classrooms. However, it can sometimes be hard to keep them all straight. Here’s a brief overview of some of the distinguished and memorial lecture series in Arts & Sciences coming this spring.
The Paul and Silvia Rava Memorial Lecture in Italian Studies
February 22: Ellen Nerenberg "Circus Maximus: Crime Time and Prime Time In Contemporary Italian Society and Media"
Founded in 1997, the series was made possible through a generous endowment from Silvia Rava in the memory of her husband Paul. Paul Rava was born in Venice in 1911 and graduated in 1933 from the law school of the University of Padua. In 1940, he fled Mussolini’s racial laws and landed in the United States. Within a few years, he graduated from WashU’s law school, having received one year of transfer credit for his Italian degree and teaching experience.
Past Speakers: Alexander Stille, 2016; Jacob Soll, 2015; William Robins, 2013; Catherine Sama, 2012
William Catron Jones Lecture
February 22: H.E. Judge Liu Daqun
This series is hosted by East Asian Studies and co-sponsored with the Washington University Law School's Harris Institute for Global Legal Studies. The lecture honors the late Professor Jones for his contributions to Chinese legal studies.
Past Speakers: Wen-Chen Chang, 2016; Curtis Milhaupt, 2015; Madeleine Zelin, 2014; Tae-Ung Baik, 2013
February 25: Caroline T. Schroeder “The Digital Future of Early Christian Studies: Utopian, Apocalyptic, and Apocryphal”
Professor E. G. Weltin retired from full-time teaching after a long, distinguished career as professor of Greek and Roman history and director of the program in religious studies. Upon his retirement, this lectureship in early Christian history was established in his honor by gifts from his students in 2000.
Past Speakers: Elizabeth Digeser, 2016; J. Albert Harrill, 2015; Elizabeth Clark, 2014; David Brakke, 2013
Carol B. and Jerome T. Loeb Colloquium
March 22: Erica Flapan
Hosted by the mathematics department, this series was established by Carol B. and Jerome T. Loeb as a general interest lecture for mathematicians in 2001. Carol, a mathematician and advocate of math and science in the St. Louis community, serves on the School of Medicine’s National Council and is a Life Member of the Washington University Danforth Circle Dean’s Level. Jerome Loeb, former chairman of the May Department Stores Co., died in 2004. The series includes two lectures, The Undergraduate Loeb Lecture in Mathematics and The Loeb Research Lecture in Mathematics.
Past Speakers: Robert DeVaney, 2016; Francis Su, 2015; Melanie Matchett Wood, 2014; Richard De Veaux, 2013
McDonnell Distinguished Lecture Series
March 29: Bill McKinnon—Public lecture "Pluto Explored! NASA's Epic Voyage to the Edge of the Solar System"
March 30: Bill McKinnon—Colloquium "Geology Never Sleeps: Lessons from the Geological Exploration of the Pluto System"
The McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences sponsors the lecture series in 2002 in memory of James Smith McDonnell, whose generous endowment led to the creation of the center in 1974.
Past Speakers: John P. Grotzinger, 2016; Roger J. Phillips, 2015; Alex Halliday, 2014; Thomas Bernatowicz, 2013
Stanley Spector Memorial Lecture on East Asian History and Civilization
April 7: Akiko Takenaka
This series was founded in 1994 to honor Dr. Stanley Spector for his tremendous contributions to the creation and development of Asian Studies at WashU. Born in New York City in 1924, Spector earned a doctorate in East Asian history in 1954 from the University of Washington in Seattle. In 1955, he came to WashU, and he served as chair of the Department of Chinese and Japanese (now East Asian Languages and Cultures) from its inception in 1963 until 1973. He also served as chair of the Committee on Asian Studies and as director of International Studies from 1971 to 1989. He was granted emeritus status in 1989.
Past Speakers: Charles Armstrong, 2016; Valerie Hansen, 2015; Jennifer Robertson, 2014; Kai-wing Chow, 2013
John and Penelope Biggs Residency in the Classics
April 17: Robert W. Wallace “Sophocles: Interpreting Tragedy”
April 19: Robert W. Wallace “Thucydides and the causes of the Peloponnesian War”
April 20: Robert W. Wallace “Democracies Ancient and Modern”
Each spring, a prominent classics scholar visits campus for a week as the John and Penelope Biggs Resident. The Resident offers lectures and interacts with students and faculty over the course of the week. Established in 1990, the Biggs Residency in the Classics is the gift of John and Penelope Biggs, alumni of Washington University.
Past Speakers: Daniel Mendelsohn, 2016; David Sedley, 2015; John Camp, 2014; Kathleen Coleman, 2013
Viktor Hamburger Lecture in Biology
April 24: Olivier Pourquié
Born in Germany, Viktor Hamburger attended the Universities of Breslau, Heidelberg, Munich, and Freiburg. He earned his doctorate in zoology (experimental embryology) in 1925 from the University of Freiburg, where he studied with the renowned biologist and Nobel Laureate, Hans Spemann. As the recipient of a Rockefeller Fellowship in 1932, Dr. Hamburger came to the US, and in 1935 he joined Washington University. Known for his pioneering work in experimental embryology, neuroembryology, and the study of programmed cell death, as well as his work on NGF with Rita Levi-Montalcine and Stanley Cohen, Dr. Hamburger served as chairman of the Department of Zoology at WashU from 1941-1966. Though he retired in 1969, he continued his research until the mid-1980s. He passed away in 2001, just short of his 101st birthday.
Past Speakers: Martyn Goulding, 2016; Barbara Meyer, 2015; Chris Q. Doe, 2014; Ben Barres, 2012
The Leopold Marcus Lecture
May 2: Jennifer Lewis—General Talk
May 3: Jennifer Lewis—Technical Talk
Established in 1989, the lectureship in chemistry was established by Jack and Gertrude Marcus in honor of Jack’s father, Leopold Marcus. Understanding the need for student involvement, he requested that the graduate students in the department be involved in the selection of the speaker and the organization of the lecture.
Past Speakers: Richard Eisenberg, 2016; Stephen Buchwald, 2015; Roger Tsien, 2014; Ad Bax, 2013
May 8: June Nasrallah
Joseph Varner joined the biology department of Washington University in 1973. He started with a small research group, and soon after arriving, he convinced then-chancellor William Danforth that he could build a first-rate plant biology program if the department were given additional faculty positions. Varner clearly saw that plant biology was nearing a new takeoff point, and he wanted WashU to be part of it. He attracted a number of first-rate junior plant biologists to the department, including Roger Beachy, Mary Dell Chilton, William Outlaw, and Virginia Walbot. The lecture series was established to honor and thank Varner.
Past Speakers: Elliot Meyerowitz, 2016; John Ralph, 2015; Natasha Raikhel, 2014; Olivier Hamant, 2013
William H. Roever Lectures in Geometry
August 29: Alexander Barvinok
August 31: Imre Barany
Established in 1982 by his sons William A. and Frederick H. Roever and members of their families, the series memorializes their father. After graduating from WashU in 1897, William H. Roever studied mathematics at Harvard University, where he received his doctorate. He returned to WashU in 1908, where he spent his prodigious career, serving as chairman of the Department of Mathematics and Astronomy from 1932 until his retirement in 1945.
Past Speakers: Ron Douglas, 2016; Xiaojun Huang, 2015; Fraydoun Rezakhanlou, 2013; Tobias Colding, 2012