Physicists to Gather for International Workshop at UM

Scientists from around the globe coming to Feb. 27-March 2 event on gravitational research

Luca Bombelli (left) and Marco Cavaglia are members of the Ole Miss Gravitational, Astrophysical and Theoretical Physics Group. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Dozens of esteemed scientists from around the globe are headed to the University of Mississippi for a four-day workshop on the latest in gravitational-wave astronomy, hosted by the UM Gravitation, Astrophysics and Theoretical Physics Group in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The “Strong Gravity and Binary Dynamics with Gravitational Wave Observations” workshop convenes Feb. 27 to March 2 in the Yerby Conference Center. The event is supported in part by Emanuele Berti’s National Science Foundation CAREER Award and by a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange Action network, funded by the European Union’s FP7 program.

“This network supports exchanges of gravity researchers among the participating nodes,” said Berti, associate professor of physics and astronomy. “In addition to Ole Miss, there are five nodes in Europe, one in in Japan and one in Canada. A dozen researchers will visit campus for a month before and after the workshop.”

About 50 scientists representing some 30 research agencies and institutions of higher learning are scheduled to attend. Researchers will discuss several topics in the newborn field of gravitational-wave astronomy, including the astrophysics of compact binary populations, spin measurements in compact binaries, strong-field tests of Einstein’s theory of general relativity and how to look for hints of new gravitational physics beyond Einstein’s theory.

U.S. registrants include researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, California Institute of Technology, NASA, Montana State University, and the universities of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Texas at Dallas, among others.

International affiliates include Instituto Superior Técnico-Lisbon and University of Aveiro in Portugal; Sapienza University of Rome; Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris; the universities of Birmingham, Cambridge and Nottingham in England; Nagoya University in Japan; and Amsterdam University in the Netherlands.

Emanuele Berti is coordinating the international Strong Gravity Workshop at UM. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

A fellow of the American Physical Society, Berti is well-known for his theoretical work in gravitational physics. He was invited to write a “Viewpoint” piece that accompanied the paper announcing the discovery of gravitational waves in the journal Physical Review Letters. Other scientists often visit the university to collaborate with him.

“Mauricio Richartz, a professor in Brazil, won a Fulbright fellowship to visit my group for four months in 2017,” Berti said. “Caio Macedo, a postdoc in Brazil, won an American Physical Society Travel Award to work with me this spring.”

Ole Miss physicists were part of the research collaboration that first detected gravitational waves in 2015. Marco Cavaglia, UM associate professor of physics and astronomy, serves as assistant spokesperson for the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and was founding chair of its Education and Public Outreach and Diversity Committees.

The department’s standing in research circles is reflected in U.S. News’ 2017 listing of Best Global Universities, where the university is ranked No. 11 globally for overall international collaborations in physics. Also, the department’s faculty rank No. 6 in the world in terms of producing work that is cited by others in their research publications.

“Our department’s worldwide reputation and competitiveness has been increasing in recent years because of the quality of our research and our strong ties to global collaborations, and we have been able to attract high-quality faculty and graduate students with international backgrounds,” said Luca Bombelli, chair and associate professor of physics and astronomy.

These achievements continue to benefit the department as it branches out into new areas, says Josh Gladden, who joined the faculty in 2005 and is the university’s interim vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs.

“When you raise the bar like that in a department, the standard becomes nationally and internationally recognized work, and that breeds more nationally and internationally recognized work,” said Gladden, also an associate professor of physics and astronomy. “If that’s what you’re around – your colleagues are publishing papers and getting invited to present at conferences around the world and being recognized for their contributions to their fields – then that’s the bar you’re going to try to jump over. It really elevates the work that everybody does.”

For more about the workshop, visit http://www.phy.olemiss.edu/StronGBaD/. For more about the Department of Physics and Astronomy, go to http://physics.olemiss.edu/.

Chemistry of Milk Topic of UM Science Cafe for February

Chemistry professor and student team up for second presentation of spring semester

Chemistry professor Susan Pedigo will discuss the chemistry of milk and dairy products for this month’s Science Cafe. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – The chemistry of dairy products is the topic for a monthly public science forum organized by the University of Mississippi Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The spring semester’s second meeting of the Oxford Science Cafe is set for 6 p.m. Feb. 21 at Lusa Bakery Bistro and Bar, 1120 North Lamar Blvd. Susan Pedigo, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, along with Lemuel Tsang, a senior biochemistry major from D’Iberville, will discuss “The Chemistry of Milk.” Admission is free.

“Through the millennia, human cultures have exploited one biomolecule or another to create a wide range of foods from milk,” Pedigo said. “We will cover a diverse range of topics, including the incredible origin of milk, butter and its close cousin, margarine, and the art of cheese-making.”

Pedigo and Tsang’s 30-minute presentation will tour the chemistry of the proteins, lipids and carbohydrates in milk. They were motivated to discuss this topic to encourage recognition of the beauty and complexity in the ordinary.

“We tend to take milk for granted, but there are a surprising number and a diverse range of edible products made from milk,” she said. “Since it can support the growth and maturation of a new mammalian creature, it has water and all the required nutrients for life: proteins, lipids and carbohydrates.”

Pedigo said that food is really an interest for her.

“Why is some cheese stringy and other cheese crumbly?” she said. “We have been discussing the chemistry of food since Lemuel took biochemistry last year.”

The presentation should be captivating for all, said Marco Cavaglia, associate professor of physics and astronomy and organizer of the Science Cafe series.

“Dr. Pedigo shares knowledge in a fascinating and yet understandable manner,” Cavaglia said. “Her discussion on milk and its by-products should be most enlightening.”

Pedigo earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Colorado, a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota and her doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Iowa. Before coming to Ole Miss, she was a postdoctoral scientist at Vanderbilt University

For more information about Oxford Science Cafe programs, go to http://www.phy.olemiss.edu/oxfordsciencecafe. For more information about the Department of Physics and Astronomy, visit http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/physics_and_astronomy or call 662-915-7046.

Former UM Director Receives Arts Commission Lifetime Achievement Award

Bill Ferris to be honored at 2017 Governor's Arts Awards

Bill Ferris (left) looks over a copy of Living Blues magazine with blues great B.B. King during a visit by King to the University of Mississippi in the 1980s, when Ferris was director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – William R. Ferris, the preeminent scholar and documenter of Mississippi’s rich culture, music and folklore, has been documenting the lives of Mississippians for more than 50 years. On Feb. 16, the Mississippi Arts Commission will honor him with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2017 Governor’s Arts Awards.

Ferris is a scholar, author, documentary filmmaker and founding director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. For him, the award is linked to the center in a deep and wonderful way, as well as to the Oxford community.

“It’s a tremendous honor, and I know it would never have happened without the work I was blessed to do at the University of Mississippi and at the center,” Ferris said. “It was a special period in my life that connected me to Mississippi in ways that were very special and very moving, and I know full well that the friendships I was able to share there are a big part of why I was selected for this honor.”

The award is an opportunity to look back and appreciate more deeply what one’s life’s work represents, since in the moment, totally engaged and working, it can be difficult to see where things will land, said Ferris, who was on the Ole Miss faculty from 1979 to 1998.

Southern studies students are leading various areas in new and exciting ways, said Ferris, who keeps up with the program’s students and alumni.

“I look around the state, the region and the nation and know there are powerful voices that were shaped at the center and by the Southern studies program,” he said.

Ferris grew up on a farm south of Vicksburg and developed an early love of storytelling, books, art and music. In 1997, he became chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities under President Bill Clinton.

Since 2002, he has served as Joel Williamson Eminent Professor of History and senior associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina.

The 2017 recipients will be recognized at the 29th annual Governor’s Arts Awards ceremony at the Old Capitol Museum in downtown Jackson at 6 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 16). A public reception at 4:30 precedes the awards.

“When I first found myself out in the cultural landscape of Mississippi’s vast richness, Bill was already there, established and knee-deep in the exploration of art and culture,” said Malcolm White, executive director of MAC. “Bill is a pathfinder and an icon of this work, and I am proud to be at the helm of MAC on this occasion of his recognition.”

Other award recipients include Sammy Britt (MFA art ’66), Excellence in Visual Art; Vasti Jackson, Arts Ambassador; Lucy Richardson Janoush, Arts Patron; Jaimoe Johnie Johnson, Excellence in Music; and the Mississippi Opera, Artistic Excellence.

“Because these six recipients have made a significant and lasting impact on our state’s arts culture, it is fitting to recognize them during Mississippi’s bicentennial celebration,” White said.

Ferris is the author of 10 books, including “Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues” (University of North Carolina Press, 2009), “You Live and Learn. Then You Die and Forget it All: Ray Lum’s Tales of Horses, Mules, and Men” (Anchor Books, 1992) and his latest, “The South in Color: A Visual Journey” (University of North Carolina Press, 2016).

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Charles Frankel Prize in the Humanities and France’s Chevalier and Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters. The Blues Hall of Fame recognized his book “Blues from the Delta” (Anchor Press, 1978) as one of the classics of blues literature.

Established in 1988, Governor’s Arts Awards are given to individuals and organizations for the excellence of their work in a wide variety of art forms including visual, literary and performing arts, and community development through the arts in Mississippi.

History Professor Awarded Prestigious NEH Fellowship

Jarod Roll among nation's top scholars chosen for distinction

History professor Jarod Roll has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Jarod Roll, associate professor of history at the University of Mississippi, has been awarded a coveted fellowship by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The yearlong fellowship allows scholars in the humanities to focus solely on their research or writing. Of the 1,298 scholars who applied for the 2017 fellowship, only 86 – less than 7 percent – were chosen for the award. Roll, a highly regarded historian of modern America with a focus on labor in U.S. history, joined the faculty in the Arch Dalrymple III Department of History in 2014.

He plans to use his fellowship, which begins in August, to complete a book project, tentatively titled “American Metal Miners and the Lure of Capitalism 1850-1950.” Roll is exploring the history of the white working-class anti-unionism and conservatism movements in the Tri-State Mining District of Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, a region that was national leader in the production of zinc and lead.

“Unlike miners elsewhere in the United States, the Tri-State miners resisted unionization and government reforms for over a century,” he said. “I am particularly interested in how their ideas about capitalism, as well as ethnicity and gender, influenced these views.

“Scholars in my field of labor history have not given much attention to workers who opposed unions, particularly over an extended period. My research fills that gap. It’s important, I think, to understand that white working-class conservatism is not a recent development, as some commentators would have it, but rather a subject with a deep history that we can trace back into the middle of the 19th century.”

“We are very proud of Dr. Roll’s achievement and what it represents for the university’s legacy of academic excellence,” Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter said. “This fellowship is one of the most coveted and competitive awards in the humanities, and Dr. Roll’s selection by the NEH is further evidence of his standing as one of the top humanities researchers in the country.”

The honor also is important because of the role humanities play in understanding and applying arts and sciences in today’s world, said Lee Cohen, dean of the UM College of Liberal Arts

“Research in the humanities helps us not only to contextualize development in the sciences, innovations in technology and advances in medicine, it offers us an opportunity to recognize that the work being done on campus by our faculty has a broad reach, beyond the laboratory, beyond the studies and beyond the classroom,” Cohen said.

“This work influences how we understand ourselves in very real, very tangible ways that impact our everyday lives. Dr. Roll being chosen for this well-regarded NEH fellowship indicates that his work is being recognized at the highest level, which is consistent with an R1 institution.”

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities by funding selected peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation.

“NEH provides support for projects across America that preserve our heritage, promote scholarly discoveries and make the best of America’s humanities ideas available to all Americans,” said William D. Adams, NEH chairman. “We are proud to announce this latest group of grantees who, through their projects and research, will bring valuable lessons of history and culture to Americans.”

Roll has previously authored two books “Spirit of Rebellion: Labor and Religion in the New Cotton South” (University of Illinois Press, 2010) and “The Gospel of the Working Class: Labor’s Southern Prophets in New Deal America” (University of Illinois Press, 2011).

UM Professor to Receive Mississippi Humanities Council Honor

Jodi Skipper to be given Humanities Scholar Award Feb. 10 in Jackson

Jodi Skipper

OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi anthropology and Southern studies professor is among five people being honored this month by the Mississippi Humanities Council.

Jodi Skipper will receive the Humanities Scholar Award on Feb. 10 during the council’s 2017 Public Humanities Awards program in Jackson. The agency recognizes outstanding contributions by Mississippians to the study and understanding of the humanities.

“I was first surprised, and then pleased, by the news,” said Skipper, an assistant professor. “The MHC Humanities Scholar Award uniquely recognizes my work with local communities.

“As academicians, our value is largely associated with research and teaching, with community engagement and service often undervalued. The MHC recognizes the significance of public humanities work to academic scholarship.”

A public anthropologist who thinks through how to represent difficult pasts in the present, Skipper specifically addresses the underrepresentation of enslaved communities at historic sites in the South. Her research prioritizes collaboration with communities seeking to address these issues at local levels.

“I was selected to receive this award in recognition of my involvement with the ‘Behind the Big House’ program, a slave dwelling interpretation program started by Jenifer Eggleston and Chelius Carter in Holly Springs,” she said. “I have been privileged enough to help with their project, which interprets the lives of enslaved persons through the homes in which they once lived.”

The program is the only one in the country established with that specific purpose.

“My future goal is to help develop this program as a model for other sites in the state and beyond,” Skipper said.

UM administrators congratulated Skipper on her honor.

UM anthropology and Southern studies professor Jodi Skipper (center) works with the ‘Behind the Big House’ program in Holly Springs. Submitted photo

“Jodi Skipper is a multitalented scholar who brings the skills of an archaeologist, ethnographer and public historian to her work,” said Kirsten Dellinger, chair and associate professor of sociology and anthropology. “Her focus on developing programming and research projects that keep community members’ interests ‘front and center’ represents the kind of rigorous publicly engaged scholarship our department is eager to support.

“She is a leader in this field and we are thrilled that the MHC has recognized her with this prestigious award.”

Ted Ownby, director of UM’s Center for the Study of Southern Culture and professor of history, concurred with Dellinger.

“She designed a Southern studies class about the politics of cultural tourism in the South, and students in that class both read theoretical and descriptive work about tourism and its meanings, and then they go out and talk to people involved in thinking about history and how to present it to the public,” Ownby said. “It’s that kind of innovation that helped earn her the humanities award, and I’m very excited for her.”

Skipper joined the UM faculty in 2011. Besides teaching introductory courses in anthropology and Southern studies, she also leads courses on historical archaeology, African diaspora studies, Southern heritage and tourism.

A native of Lafayette, Louisiana, Skipper earned her bachelor’s degree in history from Grambling State University, a master’s in anthropology from Florida State University and a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Texas. Before coming to UM, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of South Carolina Institute for Southern Studies.

Other MHC honorees and their awards are Peggy Prenshaw of Jackson, the Cora Norman Award; Richard Grant of Jackson, Preserver of Mississippi Culture Award; Museum of the Mississippi Delta in Greenwood, Humanities Partner Award; and David Morgan of Bay St. Louis, Humanities Educator Award.

Twenty-nine recipients of the 2016 Humanities Teacher Awards, including UM modern languages professor John Gutierrez, also will be honored at the event. A ceremony and reception begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson.

Tickets for the MHC Public Humanities Awards ceremony are $50 each and may be purchased by sending a check to the Mississippi Humanities Council, 3825 Ridgewood Road, Room 317, Jackson, MS 39211, or online at http://www.mshumanities.org/index.php/programs/awards.

For more information about the UM Department of Sociology and Anthropology, visit http://socanth.olemiss.edu. For more about the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, go to http://southernstudies.olemiss.edu.

Giant Traveling Map of Europe Coming to Mississippi Schools

Geographic Alliance at UM sponsoring National Geographic tour

Middle school students spend some time interacting with the National Geographic Giant Map of Europe. The map is touring selected cities across Mississippi. Photo courtesy of Mississippi Geographical Association

OXFORD, Miss. – Students in 10 cities around the state soon will be able to explore a giant map of Europe, thanks to the Mississippi Geographic Alliance at the University of Mississippi.

The statewide tour, which stretches from Long Beach to Oxford, began Jan. 23 and ends Feb. 24. Measuring 26-by-26-feet, the National Geographic Traveling Map of Europe enables viewers to interact with the world’s second-smallest continent while learning about its rich history and diverse geography.

“The giant traveling map tour is one of our signature programs,” said Carley Lovorn, the alliance’s assistant director. “It’s a fun way to get students, teachers and the public excited about the world around them.”

The vibrant vinyl map will guide students through lessons and fun activities related to Europe’s climate, natural resources, famous landmarks, demographics and more. Activities include a geography-themed version of “Simon Says,” “The Landmark Carousel” and “The Grid Game.”

“The floor maps are an innovative teaching tool to help students learn the content at a deeper level,” Lovorn said. “Physically interacting with the map gives them a unique learning experience that will keep them engaged.”

The map started its tour of Mississippi Jan. 23-25 at Harper McCaughan Elementary School in Long Beach. Other host sites and dates are: Pass Road Elementary in Gulfport, Jan. 26-27; Longleaf Elementary in Hattiesburg, Feb. 1-2; the University of Southern Mississippi, Feb. 3; Cleveland School District, Feb. 8-9; Mississippi Museum of Natural Science in Jackson, Feb. 10-11 and 17-18; Starkville/Oktibbeha Consolidated Schools/Mississippi State University, Feb. 13-16; Isable Elementary in Jackson, Feb. 20-22; and Oxford Elementary School, Feb. 23-24.

National Geographic’s Giant Traveling Maps program was introduced in 2006 with a map of Africa. It has grown to include maps of North America, Asia, South America, Europe and the Pacific Ocean.

“The map of Europe is an important and exciting addition to our ever-expanding roster of giant traveling maps,” said Dan Beaupre, vice president of National Geographic’s Education and Children’s Media group. “We believe this giant map will be an effective tool in enlivening the study of Europe’s geography and history for both students and teachers.”

A member of the nationwide network of state alliances supported by the National Geographic Society, the MGA works to strengthen geographic literacy in the state of Mississippi. The alliance uses workshops, online resources and other programs to help educators prepare students to embrace a diverse world, succeed in the global economy and steward the planet’s resources.

In the 2016-17 academic year, hundreds of thousands of students will interact with these maps. Besides school venues, the maps appear at museums, festivals, fairs and corporate and educational conferences.

The maps reinforce National Geographic’s commitment to increasing geography education through teacher professional development, K-12 curriculum, live events and academic competitions such as the National Geographic Bee.

For more information about the Mississippi Geographical Alliance, visit http://www.mga.olemiss.edu or contact Lovorn at mclovorn@olemiss.edu or at 662-915-3776. To learn more about the Giant Traveling Maps project, visit http://www.nationalgeographic.com/giantmaps.

Don Dyer Delivers Lecture at Ohio State Symposium

Associate liberal arts dean met with other past Naylor Lecturers

Former Naylor lecturers present at Ohio State University. Donald Dyer, fourth from right in the back row.

OXFORD, Miss. – Donald L. Dyer, associate dean for faculty and academic affairs, professor of Russian and linguistics, and co-director of the University of Mississippi’s Chinese Language Flagship Program, recently attended a special event featuring past Naylor Lecturers at Ohio State University.

Dyer’s was among 16 papers delivered by former Naylor lecturers, all of whom had returned to OSU for a three-day gathering on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Kenneth Naylor Lecture Series in South Slavic Linguistics. The theme of the three-day symposium was “The Current State of Balkan Linguistics – Where Do We Stand?”

Dyer presented “Indeterminedly Definite after All These Years: A Tribute to Naylor 1983.” His paper traced an idea originally presented by Naylor in an article he published in 1983 and which Dyer expounded upon in a 1988 publication of his own.

After the two wrote about this in the 1980s, other scholars picked up on the idea and referred to it as an important finding over the next 20 years.

“The symposium was a gathering of the preeminent Balkan Slavists in the world, bringing together the most productive 21st-century scholars in this field,” said Dyer, who delivered the 17th Naylor Lecture in 2014. “It was quite a treat to be to be brought back for an encore presentation and honored in this way, but to also have the opportunity in one place and at one time to associate with such a group of scholars, to hear each others’ papers and to support each other in our work.”

In 1997, Brian Joseph became the first appointed Kenneth E. Naylor Professor. He established an annual lecture on South Slavic linguistics in Naylor’s memory that brings leading scholars in the field to OSU each spring for a public lecture. They also speak in Joseph’s South Slavic and Balkan classes. Each lecture is subsequently published as a monograph article in the Naylor Lecture Series.

For more information on the lecture and lecturers, visit https://slavic.osu.edu/kenneth-e.-naylor-memorial-lecture.

UM Astrophysicist Joins Editorial Board of Physical Review Letters

APS fellow Emanuele Berti rises from featured writer to divisional associate editor

A fellow in the American Physical Society, Emanuele Berti has been named a divisional associate editor for Physical Review Letters. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

OXFORD, Miss. – Emanuele Berti has had several research articles accepted for Physical Review Letters, the respected journal published by the American Physical Society. Like many of his colleagues, he also has anonymously reviewed articles submitted by other researchers and made recommendations for their acceptance or rejection.

Soon, however, the University of Mississippi astrophysicist will help make decisions about who gets published in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal. Berti has accepted an offer to be divisional associate editor, or DAE, in astrophysics for the journal, and his three-year term begins Feb. 1.

“This request was a great honor for me, but it is also a significant responsibility, because reviews are not anonymous,” said Berti, associate professor of physics and astronomy. “As a friend of mine put it, quoting from a famous movie: ‘This was an offer I could not refuse.'”

The main responsibility of a DAE is to hear appeals from authors of rejected papers. DAEs get a copy of the full file for the paper, with referee identities revealed in confidence, and are asked to write a “signed” opinion, supported by an assessment, about whether publication in PRL is warranted. The authors – and, sometimes, referees – are shown these reports.

DAEs are also sometimes approached to give informal guidance during the review of a paper. More generally, editors-in-chief seek feedback from the DAEs on scientific and publishing-related matters and use their input to better serve readers, referees and authors.

Berti, who won the society’s “Outstanding Referee Award” in 2011, takes over for Eric Poisson, whose term as DAE expires at the end of January. Following suggestions and strong encouragement from the APS Division of Gravitational Physics, journal editors extended the invitation.

UM administrators commended Berti for his latest achievement.

“The editorial staff play a crucial role in any scientific journal in that they are responsible for ensuring the significance and quality of manuscripts submitted for publication,” said Josh Gladden, interim vice chancellor for the research and sponsored programs. “The university is proud Dr. Berti has been asked to serve in this role, as we are of all of our faculty who serve in editorial positions. It is further evidence of national and international leadership at the university.”

“Physical Review Letters is considered by many physicists to be the most prestigious research journal in the field,” said Luca Bombelli, chair and professor of physics and astronomy. “This news attests to the quality of the work done in our gravitational physics group and, in particular, Dr. Berti’s status as a leader in the area of relativistic astrophysics, and will increase the visibility of our department and university.”

A fellow of the American Physical Society, Berti is so well-respected for his theoretical work in gravitational physics he was invited by the editors of PRL to write a Viewpoint article that accompanied the 2016 paper announcing the discovery of gravitational waves.

For more about the Department of Physics and Astronomy, visit http://physics.olemiss.edu/.

Tickets Available for Jan. 28 TED Talk at UM

Second set of lectures features diverse collection of 'ideas worth spreading'

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi is gearing up to host its second-ever TEDxUniversityofMississippi, an event that features brief lectures from Ole Miss alumni, faculty members and others to showcase “ideas worth spreading.”

The event is slated for 1 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

Audience members will be engaged by a diverse group of speakers and onstage acts will entertain between talks, making for a lively afternoon, organizers said. The talks will be recorded and later posted on the TEDxUM Youtube channel. Tickets are $30 each and can be purchased online or in person at the UM Box Office. 

Each of the talks are inspirational in their own way and “help us envision what could be and what we are capable of,” said Georgia Norfleet, a senior marketing major from Chicago who is helping organize the event.

“Each of our speakers are bringing so much of themselves to their talks and making connections that our audience won’t expect,” Norfleet said. “It’s so important to seek out understandings outside of our own, and this event will give the UM community the chance to do just that.”

The event uses the TED Talks conference format, which brings together lecturers and other participants in a globally popular set of conferences run by the Sapling Foundation under the slogan “Ideas worth spreading.” At the university’s first TEDxUM in 2015, the crowd size was limited, but organizers were allowed to host a much larger event this year under the rules set by the Sapling Foundation. 

The event will allow students to discover “beyond the classrooms” and uncover growing communities and cultures that exist around the state and all over the world, said Shikha Shrestha, a sophomore integrated marketing communication major from Madison who is among the organizers.

“The diversity of our lineup is so interesting to me because we have speakers from our very own UM professors to Ole Miss alumni, each coming in with a different, unique perspectives and discussions but also interconnected in a way that will give the UM community a platform to start a conversation on these ideas worth spreading,” Shrestha said. 

Matthew R. Wilson, who spoke at UM’s first ever TEDx, will emcee this year’s event. The speakers for Jan. 28 include: 

  • Josh Mabus, a UM alumnus from Tupelo, who will discuss the difference between failing and quitting and how the difference affects how we judge ourselves. 
  • Patrick Woodyard, a UM alumnus and co-founder of the shoe and accessory company Nisolo, will discuss how consumers can get business to adopt measures consistent with their own values. 
  • Dr. Joe Campbell, a UM alumnus and Hattiesburg-based anesthesiologist, will discuss innovative techniques to reduce suicide ideation. 
  • Shannon Cohn, an Oxford-based filmmaker, will discuss endometriosis, a rarely discussed disease that affects millions of women. 
  • Sue Grayzel, UM professor of history, will discuss how the government convinces us to “Keep Calm and Carry On,” in effect becoming extra eyes and ears for the state. 
  • Anne Quinney, UM professor of modern languages, will discuss publisher- and editor-induced censorship that has changed the meaning of many of our favorite pieces of literature. 
  • Katherine Dooley, UM assistant professor of physics and astronomy, will discuss the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and how scientific discoveries are truly a team effort. 
  • Rory Ledbetter, UM associate professor of theatre arts, will discuss our inner monologue and how we can control our breathing to actually create better conversations and relationships.

 For more information, visit the TEDxUniversityofMississippi website

UM Museum Opens Photography Exhibit of Buddhist Caves

Images from China illustrate artistic and architectural achievements

The exhibit “Dunhuang through the Lens of James and Lucy Lo” is now open at the UM Museum. Submitted Photo

OXFORD, Miss. – Photographs of the intricately painted Mogao and Yulin Caves in Dunhuang, China are on exhibit at the University of Mississippi Museum.

“Dunhuang Through the Lens of James and Lucy Lo” features photographs taken of the caves by the Los in the 1940s. The nearly 500 caves containing artwork are in the northwestern area of China along the ancient Silk Road and are a major Buddhist pilgrimage site. The caves, which served as spaces for meditation and worship, were painted between the fourth and 14th centuries.

The exhibit opened Jan. 10 in conjunction with the Southeast Conference of the Association for Asian Studies, held on the UM campus Jan. 13-15. The free exhibit runs through April 29, and an opening reception is set for 6-8 p.m. Jan. 31.

Joshua Howard, Croft associate professor of history and international studies and a Chinese historian, proposed this exhibit to the University Museum.

“These photographs have high artistic value,” Howard said. “James and Lucy Lo used natural light and often placed mirrors in the caves to create special lighting effects and create a sense of the caves’ spirituality.

“James Lo also experimented with his photo angles; for instance, shooting a 50-foot reclining Buddha from the vantage point of the head of the statue rather than from the feet looking toward the head. The result is a more intimate and serene shot of the Buddha. Other landscape photos they took give a sense of the harsh but beautiful desert terrain the caves inhabit.”

The collection of 31 black-and-white photographs is from the Lo Archive and the P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Center for East Asian Art at Princeton University. The Mogao and Yulin caves illustrate artistic and architectural achievements, as well as provide an intimate look at the history of Buddhism and other religions of the region.

Museum officials were excited about the opportunity to open the exhibit to conference attendees, said Robert Saarnio, museum director. The conference included workshops, panel discussions, lectures and film screenings of Asian poetry and literature, history, language, art, philosophy and politics.

“These are exactly the kinds of multidisciplinary and cross-campus partnerships that the museum seeks to foster and welcome, wherein great art and artifact content can be exhibited in such close correspondence to curricular, research and teaching endeavors,” Saarnio said.

The museum, at the corner of University Avenue and Fifth Street, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.