December 10, 2018
Driverless cars, hurricane prediction and more
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — After a dazzling opening to Purdue’s 150th celebration and charge to address the world’s greatest challenges, the sesquicentennial momentum continues in 2019 with a lineup of world-renowned experts, innovators and change makers.
The Giant Leaps Sesquicentennial Campaign celebration launched in September with a kickoff during Homecoming and was followed by a sold-out evening with Bill Nye the Science Guy as well as full venues for former First Lady Laura W. Bush and her daughters, Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager; psychologist and author Steven Pinker; and political commentators Ezra Klein and Ben Domenech. Check out this highlight reel. The spring semester includes another round of high-profile speakers before leading into July’s 50th anniversary of Purdue alumnus Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon and later concluding with an astronaut reunion in the fall.
“We’re just a couple months into a forward-looking celebration that is creating a spark to address the world’s greatest challenges. From ‘What IF we find intelligent life beyond Earth’ to ‘What IF the world’s actually getting better’ we’re keeping Purdue on course to act on these challenges,” said Dan Hasler, executive vice president for communication and leader of the 150th anniversary celebration.
“150 Years of Giant Leaps” is a yearlong exploration of some of the world’s most pressing problems and Purdue’s mandate to be a part of the solutions. The emphasis is on a series of Ideas Festival (IF), addressing four areas that can answer questions like what it will take to grow enough food to feed the world? What will it take to send people to Mars? Will we control tomorrow’s machines or will they control us? What will it take to live to 150 and do we want to? Learn more about other What IF themes and speakers by watching this Ideas Festival video.
In addition to the various events, Purdue is celebrating its alumni with a weekly Footprints video series that highlights leaders such as Armstrong, C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb and ambassador-in-residence for the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center Capricia Marshall. Look for a new video each Friday. And if you missed it, take a look at the original Take Giant Leaps videos from alums including astronaut Drew Feustel (when he was in space) and NFL quarterback Drew Brees (when he was on Earth).And speaking of alumni, Purdue was recently acknowledged by CNBC Make It as one of the top universities with the most alumni serving as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Purdue is tied for sixth with six CEOs as determined by Kittleman & Associates.
Events continue to be added – check the calendar regularly – but some of the upcoming highlights include a Giant Leaps Series event featuring Wil Haygood, historian, journalist and author whose work served as the basis for the 2013 movie “The Butler” on Jan. 22, 7 p.m., Loeb Playhouse. Organized by the Black Cultural Center.
The list of Ideas Festivals events begins with:
* Miles O’Brien, international known science journalist, will lead a discussion with Dr. Ali Rezai (Jan. 31, 6:30 p.m. in Stewart Center’s Fowler Hall), a leading neurosurgeon who’s innovated the use of brain implants for treating Parkinson’s disease, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Alzheimer’s and traumatic brain injuries.
* A Driverless Future: A Workshop on Ethics in Algorithms. What IF self-driving cars were ethical? (Jan. 23. East & West Faculty Lounge, Purdue Memorial Union)
* Jorge Haddock Acevedo (Feb. 6, 10 a.m., Fowler Hall), University of Puerto Rico president, presents “What IF we could predict hurricanes?” Organized by the College of Engineering.
* Miles O’Brien, international known science journalist, will return to lead a discussion with Caleb Harper (Feb. 26, 6:30 p.m. at Fowler Hall), principal investigator and director of the Open Agriculture Initiative at the MIT Media Lab.
* Scott Kelly (March 5, 6:30 p.m., Fowler Hall), a former military pilot, engineer, retired U.S. Navy captain and retired astronaut presents “What IF the sky is not the limit?”
Also taking place is the Purdue International Ideas Festival, Purdue’s largest global Ideas Festival event, which also is the only global 150th event focusing all four Giant Leaps themes. Purdue alumnus and NASA astronaut Jerry Ross will be the keynote speaker, as part of the fifth annual India-Purdue Collaborative Lecture Series in honor of alumnus Bharat Ratna Professor CNR Rao. Registration for the Jan. 18 event in Mumbai is now open. More information is available online.
The Ideas Festival programming is co-chaired by Christine Ladisch, dean emeritus of the College of Health and Human Sciences, and Mark Lundstrom, the Don and Carol Scifres Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. These topics and events are based on proposals reviewed by faculty committees representing each theme.
Source: Purdue Today