Iowa State University Alumni Association

Members-only Lectures

Spring 2017 Members-Only Lectures

Pre-registration is not required to attend these lectures. The only requirement to attend is to be a current, annual OLLI at ISU member. If you are not a current, annual member, you can attend by paying the $25 membership fee at the door.

Members-only lectures online – Don’t forget, with the permission of the presenters, the lectures will be available through the OLLI Online option. You will be able to join the lecture live from home in front of your computer or receive a link to a recorded version of the lecture to watch later.

A link to the “room” will be sent to current OLLI members the day before the lecture, and a link to a recording will be sent the next day to those OLLI members requesting it.

Politics in a Time of Disruption

Tuesday, April 18
3:00 - 4:30 p.m.
Reiman Ballroom, ISU Alumni Center

The election of 2016 was unprecedented and brutal. The aftermath promises to be rough in a deeply, dangerously divided country. The talk focuses on what is likely to happen with the new president, the House, Senate, and Supreme Court. The 2018 midterm elections could be extremely important, maybe game changing. The 2020 presidential election will be historic. One of the greatest challenges for citizens, voters, and the business community in particular is that you can’t trust what politicians say. This injects an unsettling element into long-term planning which is vital for business decision making; 2016 was already disruptive enough!  

Topics include:

  • The political climate
  • The president - regardless of who occupies the White House there will be tension and disagreements between the executive branch and Congress. The founders wanted that when they put checks and balances into the constitution. The word “impeachment” is already in the air.
  • The Congress - the Congress rarely has a “veto proof” majority by one party and the coming Congress will be divided. Democrats will block Republican votes. Is there an Elizabeth Warren/Bernie Sanders Senate? The Freedom Caucus and Tea Party members will oppose many “establishment” GOP priorities. Gridlock – is it good or bad for business?
  • The Supreme Court - an eight-member Supreme Court without the Scalia empty seat filled will make the court less significant until that ninth justice comes on board.

Steffen Schmidt is professor of political science at Iowa State and an internationally recognized expert on American elections and politics. Born in Cali, Colombia. He received his college education from Rollins College, Winter Park, Fla. and a PhD in public law and government from Columbia University. He is the recipient of numerous prestigious teaching prizes, including the Amoco Award for Lifetime Career Achievement in Teaching and Teacher of the Year award. Known as “Dr. Politics,” Schmidt has been analyzing the Iowa caucuses and US national politics since 1972 and has taught a free, short online course on the caucuses which had an enrollment of over 3,000 students. He conducts seminars and workshops on US elections and politics for international organizations. Schmidt is a public scholar who is consulted by print and electronic media from all over the world on matters of American politics and an analyst for CTV- Canadian Cable TV.

The Secret Lives of Musical Instruments: The Beautiful Physics Behind Beautiful Sounds

Tuesday, April 25
3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Reiman Ballroom, ISU Alumni Center

Lurking behind the sounds of beautiful music are some basic but elegant physical principles. The musical notes that we hear are usually composed (sorry about the pun) of many simultaneous pitches that each originate in a different mechanical vibration of the instrument. Understanding these vibrations helps us to understand why a violin and a flute sound different when playing the same note and why the underlying behaviors of a guitar and a tuba are the same. This presentation will explore these questions with the help of a variety of musical instruments and a bit of physics technology.

Bob Cadmus is professor of physics at Grinnell College and director of the Grant O. Gale Observatory. In addition to his work in physics and astronomy he pretends to play guitar and sing in the Too Many String Band.

What You Never Knew You Wanted to Know about the Bassoon: The Burping Bedpost; the Clown of the Orchestra; or Simply the Most Antiquated, Fantastic, Musical Instrument Phenomenon of All

Tuesday, May 2
3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Reiman Ballroom, ISU Alumni Center

This presentation will include performance, demonstrations, videos and pictures. In addition to the bassoon, you will also hear the renaissance predecessor of the bassoon, the dulcian.

Some of the curiosities about this instrument you will learn more about:

  • “Double” reeds are actually made from one reed.
  • Most woodwind instruments have one key for the left thumb; the flute has two; the bassoon has nine!
  • The bassoon has four keys manipulated by the right thumb; the other woodwind instruments have zero!

That’s why Dr. Schilling tells students, “The bassoon is pretty easy once you get the thumbs straight.” In fact, he considers the bassoon the easiest of the woodwinds to learn to blow. One of you in the class will demonstrate this!
Kevin Schilling taught oboe, bassoon, theory, and chamber music as well as serving as the academic advising coordinator in the Iowa State Department of Music for 41 years. He continues to teach and perform on the oboe and bassoon. He performed around Iowa and neighboring states with his colleague Lynn Zeigler in the duo Basically Baroque. He has played oboe and bassoon in the Des Moines Symphony, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, Central Iowa Symphony, and the Fort Dodge Symphony. He played bassoon in Orchestra Iowa.

Groundwater: Developing, Protecting, and Sustaining the Hidden Sea

Tuesday, May 9
3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Reiman Ballroom, ISU Alumni Center

Groundwater comprises a vast hidden sea beneath our feet. We produce water from it for many uses, including drinking water, doing laundry, irrigating cropland and lawns, watering livestock, and producing energy. We also pollute groundwater with chemicals associated with those activities. Unlike the western U.S. where groundwater is presently a scarce and diminishing resource, groundwater quantity in the Midwest is not viewed as problem, but that view is changing. Problems with insufficient groundwater supply, coupled with declining water quality, are occurring in municipal water supplies. Upcoming court decisions concerning groundwater and drainage tiles may also have a profound effect on water supplies. This lecture will provide an introduction to groundwater principles, discuss current and emerging threats to groundwater quality, and present examples of research addressing groundwater sustainability, including studies of the Ames aquifer.
Bill Simpkins is a hydrogeology professor and Smith Family Foundation Departmental Chair in Geology in the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences at ISU. He received a B.A. in geology from Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill. and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in geology and water resources management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The ISU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences awarded him Master Teacher and Outstanding Achievement in Teaching Awards in 2003 and 2008, respectively. He is also a Fellow, former Councilor, and recent recipient of a Distinguished Service Award from the Geological Society of America.

You’re Invited:  Come Communicate with Us!

ISU students majoring in communication studies will again offer another series of programs on a variety of communication topics during the spring session of OLLI. The programs are developed as part of the requirements for students who take the communication training and development class (ComSt 319) taught by Denise Vrchota and offered each spring through the communication studies program.
Prior to offering the programs for the OLLI members, the students study adult learning theories, learn to facilitate activities, and learn to organize and deliver programs to adult learners. The students choose the topics for the programs after receiving suggestions from OLLI members; however, because the students are communication majors, the topics must be related to the areas they study in their other classes. These were the topics OLLI members listened to last year: Dealing with Conflict in Small Groups • Nonverbal Communication • Interpersonal Relationships: Marriage in the Golden Years • Intercultural Communication • Technology: Learn to use eBay.
The programs are scheduled for 3:00 p.m. on:
March 21
March 28
April 11

At the time the catalog was printed, the exact topics were not available. The schedule of topics will be distributed in February, and descriptions will be available in the OLLI newsletter. We hope you will join us for one or all of the programs.  
Just like the members-only lectures, these presentations will be live online or you can request a link to a recording. This will also be a very valuable opportunity for the students to be able to see a recording of their presentations.

All student presentations will be in the Reiman Ballroom at the ISU Alumni Center. There is no cost or registration required to attend.

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