Tuesday, May 1, 2012

MAY 2012

* The information below is drawn from the websites of various institutions. The web addresses are supplied. Check the websites to confirm details.

Apart from the talks and seminars listed below, Canberra will be playing host to its annual music festival this month (http://www.cicmf.org/). Billed as “marvellous music in amazing spaces”, the ticket prices seem to rising every year. Oh well ...

Wednesday 2 May
Title: How chiefs came to power: political economy in Pacific pre-history
Time: 7:30 – 8:30pm
Venue: Theatre 3, Manning Clark Centre, ANU
Cost: Free

Professor Timothy Earle of Northwestern University has researched the development of complex political structures in Polynesia, South America and Europe. He has asked the fundamental question: why did diverse societies create leadership structures at some point in prehistory? Why were they needed? What was the contribution of economic factors – eg, control of trade bottlenecks or technology, as opposed to physical might and religious ideology.

Prof Earle’s books include ‘Organizing Bronze Age Societies’ (2010) and ‘The Evolution of Human Societies’ (2010).

Friday 4 May
Title: Japanese whaling and the Law of the Sea
Time: 1:00 – 2:00 pm
Venue: Staff Library, College of Law, ANU
Cost: Free

Recent incidents in connection with the Japanese whaling program – boarding of whaling vessels by activists, pursuit of NGO vessels by whaling ships, and entry into territorial waters by whaling ships - have brought to light complex issues of international law. Professor Don Rothwell of the ANU will step you through these incidents and their wider implications.

Tuesday 8 May 2012
Title: The Big Bang
Time: 6:00pm
Venue: CSIRO Discovery Centre, Clunies Ross Street
Cost: Free

CSIRO Astronomer (and ultra long distance runner) Dr. Lisa Harvey-Smith will tell you all you need to know about our expanding universe and its origins in a “big bang”. Dr Harvey-Smith is also CSIRO's Project Scientist for the planned global mega-science project - the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) – and she will be able to discuss what the next generation of telescopes will tell us about the eventual fate of the universe.

Sunday 13 May
Title: The acquisition of ‘Our Great Frozen Neighbour’
Time: 2:00pm
Venue: National Archives
Cost: Free, bookings required

How is it that Australia and a select group of other countries claim possession of territory in Antarctica? Drawing on archival material, Dr Marie Kawaja of the Australian National University is writing a history of the foundation of the Australian Antarctic Territory, including the politics, diplomacy and Australia's role in the 1959 Antarctic Treaty negotiations.

Friday 18 May 2012
Title: The eerie silence: are we alone in the Universe?
Time: 11:00am - 12:00 noon
Venue: Crawford Building, Lennox Crossing, ANU
Cost: Free, registration required


Are there other inhabited worlds? What might aliens be like? How might we react if we came into contact with them? Professor Paul Davies is one of the most significant communicators on the big questions of science. He is the Director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science. Check out the Center's really cool website at: http://beyond.asu.edu/drupal/

This should be a fascinating lecture!


Tuesday May 22
Title: Eugene von Guérard – the Director’s view
Time: 12:45pm
Venue: Project Gallery, National Gallery
Cost: Free

Director of the National Gallery of Australia, Ron Radford, will present some of the works in the exhibition of artist Eugene von Guérard’s and discuss his place in the history of Australian art.

Tuesday 22 May
Title: Jeffrey Eugenides in conversation
Time: 2:00 – 4:00pm
Venue: Foyer, National Library
Cost: $10, booking required

Jeffrey Eugenides, author of The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex will discuss his most recent book The Marriage Plot. Here’s what James Lasdun – writing in the Guardian – thinks of The Marriage Plot: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/oct/12/marriage-plot-jeffrey-eugenides-review

Wednesday 23 May 2012
Title: His Girl Friday
Time: 6:00pm
Venue: Theatre, National Library
Cost: Free, but you must be a member of the Friends of the National Library or the Reel McCoy Film Society

Movie magic featuring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell as wise-cracking newspaper reporter and editor. Directed by Howard Hawks.

Friday 25 May 2012
Title: Forecasting Presidential elections: Obama, Romney or what?
Time: 12:15 - 1:15pm
Venue: Theatre, Parliament House
Cost: Free

What are the factors that determine the outcome of U.S. Presidential elections? Is it all about the state of the economy or do personalities, performance in debates and occasional gaffes really have the impact that the media coverage seems to imply?

In this Senate occasional lecture, Professor Kenneth R. Mayer, Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will look at the models used to forecast elections, their assumptions about the influence of different variables and their record in predicting results. The following article is a good primer on the issue: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2012/may/10/how-follow-our-weird-politics/?pagination=false

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