350th Celebration Offers Symposia, Glitz
Seminars to Run Educational Gamut
If you're looking for a four-year Harvard education but only have four days, come to the University's 350th celebration.
In between gourmet lunches, concerts and high-brow convocations September 4-7, alumni will pick and choose from a virtual course catalogue of educational seminars designed to reflect current scholarship in most academic fields.
The 104 symposia, intended to "introduce people to state of the art thinking at Harvard and in general," will teach poets about dentistry and dentists about poetry, as well as anything else they might want to learn about, from Odysseus to OPEC, from biology to Beethoven, 350th organizers said.
The symposia are held at five time periods over three days, approximately 20 at a time. Alumni and students can receive one free ticket for each time period.
A schedule for an avid self-educator might be something like this: "The Universe: The Beginning Now and Henceforth," run by George B. Field, Willson Professor of Astronomy, followed by "Women and Work: The Interactive Relationship," with a variety of Radcliffe administrators on Thursday; Friday's tidbits might include "The French Revolution: The Language of Violence," monitored by Franklin L. Ford, McLean Professor of Ancient and Modern History and then "Nuclear Promises and Problems," with Nicholaas Bloembergen, Gerhard Gade University Professor; and finally on Saturday one could finish up with "Biomolecular Processes," with Walter Gilbert, professor of biology and "Challenges to Legal Education," with Albert M. Sacks, professor of law.
Unfortunately, no degrees will be awarded.
Tickets are going fast, said Liz Collins in the 350th Office. Since alumni requests for tickets are honored first, it is unlikely that very many students will get the chance to attend, she said. The only symposium that has sold out completely so far, said a spokesman at the ticket office, was one entitled "The Future of the City," perhaps because Charles, Prince of Wales, is expected to attend, she said.
All of Harvard's 10 faculties have helped organize the symposia over the past two or three years, said Assistant Dean Marlyn M. Lewis, but at least half of them involve the Faculty ofArts and Sciences (FAS).
A faculty committee consisting of Dean of theFaculty A. Michael Spence and professors from avariety of departments met last summer to chooseco-ordinators for the symposia in various areas,said Lewis. The co-ordinators discussed thepossibilities for symposia with their colleaguesand decided who would monitor or participate ineach of the panels.
"The purpose of the symposia is to givevisitors a sense of the range of things that arelive issues in this faculty, and give people aliving sense of state of the art thinking," saidLewis.
The symposia are aimed at informed laypeoplewho are aware of developments in a certain area,organizers said. "They're for the proverbialScientific American reader," said Paul C. Martin'52, Vleck Professor of Pure and Applied Physics,who co-ordinated the science section of thesymposia. "We have tried to choose topics ofcurrent or future general interest to give a tasteof the type of science done at Harvard," he said.
"The discussions will offer a variety ofviewpoints, different present day criticalperspectives," said Lewis H. Lockwood, Peabodyprofessor of music, who organized the arts-relatedsymposia. "In every instance, the things that comeout go well beyond surface impressions people formdealing with artistic experience."
For example, Lockwood said, a seminar entitled"The Art of Others" will advise people accustomedto Western art that they need to "work harder andadopt a different perspective with art of othercultures."
"It will be a rich smorgasbord with an all-starcast, the intellectual meat of the celebrationthat will maintain the balance of the serious andthe entertaining," said Thomas W. Stephenson '37,350th coordinator. "Someone said to me that if youcould attend all the symposia, it would beequivalent to a Harvard education."