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University Relations

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Sept. 4, 2008
Contact: Kristi Henderson, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, (785) 864-3663.

Interactive presentations connect KU faculty and Lawrence community

LAWRENCE — The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Kansas is blasting off into a new frontier: a monthly series of free performance-based lectures called CLAS ACTS. They are open to the public and designed to educate while they entertain.

The journey will begin with Steve Hawley, the only KU professor who has visited outer space. His presentation, “My Life with the Hubble Space Telescope,” will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 14, at Spooner Hall.

The presentations will touch on a wide range of subjects, reflecting the diversity of programs and faculty within the College.

“Because of the enormous breadth of our faculty, the College is able to host a series that will discuss topics from space travel to immigration policies and from man’s obsession with monsters to childhood obesity,” said Dean Joseph E. Steinmetz. “CLAS ACTS has something for everyone.”

The new program also helps to fulfill KU’s mission to serve Kansas.

“This series is a unique outlet for our faculty to share their wealth of knowledge with the community in an engaging atmosphere,” Steinmetz said. “I am pleased that the College is able to offer such a valuable program to the community.”

Hawley, professor of physics and astronomy and former NASA astronaut, has an abundance of behind-the-scenes experiences he will share from his long history with one of NASA’s most visible endeavors, the Hubble Space Telescope. He has been involved in all the missions during the Hubble’s 18 years in orbit. He was part of the flight crew for two of those missions, including the mission during which the Hubble was deployed.

In his presentation, Hawley’s mission is two-fold. First, he wants to show that science can be fun, through his stories detailing what he saw during the 32 days he spent in space over the course of five NASA flights.

“The spectacular results from the Hubble can be a catalyst for engaging the public in a discussion of what we’re able to learn about the universe and that science can be interesting and even cool,” Hawley said.

Hawley, a Kansas native, also hopes that his experiences will be an inspiration for fellow Kansans, especially younger attendees.

“Maybe some will decide that they’d like to learn more about science and maybe even consider becoming a scientist,” Hawley said.

Hawley will also display some of his collection of space memorabilia.

Seating will be limited and available only to ticket-holders. Tickets, which are free, will be available to pick up at the public library in downtown Lawrence beginning Sept. 5. For more information on obtaining tickets, contact Jessica Beeson at 864-1767 or

Hawley’s event is the first of eight presentations. The upcoming programs are listed below. Each event is free and open to the public. Parents are encouraged to bring their children.

All presentations take place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sundays at Spooner Hall, except the May 3 presentation, which will take place at the Hall Center for the Humanities.

Oct. 12: Robert Rowland, professor and chair of communication studies, “The Audacity of Hope or a Maverick You Can Trust: The Role of Rhetoric in the 2008 Presidential Campaign.”

Nov. 9: Bill Tsutsui, professor of history, and Randi Hacker, Center for East Asian Studies, “What Makes a Monster? From Godzilla to Spore.”

Dec. 7: The Department of Geography presents Globe-O-Mania: A Public Trivia Challenge.

Feb. 8: Tanya Golash-Boza, assistant professor of sociology, “Putting a Human Face on U.S. Immigration Policies: How Our Laws Affect Citizens and Families.”

March 8: Robert Rowland, professor and chair of communication studies, “The Symbolic DNA of Terrorism: How the Key to Defeating Terrorism Lies in Understanding the Terrorist Message.”

April 19: Ric Steele, associate professor of applied behavioral science, “The Price is Too High: Balancing Children’s Nutrition and Activity to Maintain Optimal Health.”

May 3: Maryemma Graham, professor of English, “Lineage: A Song Cycle: A Musical Adaptation of Margaret Walker Poetry.”


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