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Speaker Series with Scholars

Speaker Series

2016-2017 THEME: NAVIGATION

The Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program (CUSP) provides named scholars with enhanced academic and cultural opportunities. Each year, the CUSP Distinguished Speaker Series is united by a common thread that is the foundation of our yearlong inquiry. Students and alumni are enriched by hearing from distinguished speakers, which include alumni, professors and professionals from various fields. This year's talks explore the theme of “Navigation.”

Navigation in its most straightforward sense describes the process of guidance from place to place. One thinks of navigation in terms of nautical and aeronautical activities, or of zoological migration. Human exploration has involved the development of technical tools — from maps to sextants to compasses to Global Positioning Systems — that guide travelers from place to place and facilitate our understanding of our planet. Insects, birds, mammals and other animals use various environmental cues to navigate between key biotic and abiotic resources, at both fine and coarse spatial and temporal scales. Psychologists link these two through the study of mechanisms underlying the innate capacities for navigation that we humans share with other species, and the study of how these affect our brains, our memory and our sense of self.

Geographical journeys are also intellectual, emotional and spiritual ones. While literature, rich in descriptions of inner discovery tied to the external, draws the connection between navigation and the development of profound aspirations, philosophers consider navigation in terms of understanding alternative ways of structuring reality. Computer scientists grapple with the technological tools, data challenges and ethics of navigating and accessing online information. Historians, sociologists, economists and political scientists study how navigation has affected and affects the development and functioning of human societies and systems.
This year’s CUSP Distinguished Speaker Series will consider navigation from the perspective of the natural and environmental sciences, engineering, literature, philosophy, art, history, politics and journalism.

Upcoming Presentations:

Allison Cuneo: “Cool Jobs”
Monday, March 6, 2017; 6:00–8:00 p.m.; Alfred Lerner Hall, Room 401

Lincoln Paine: A Map and a Sense of Time: A Guide to Navigating the Global Past
Tuesday, March 21, 2017; 6:00–8:00 p.m.; Davis Auditorium on the 4th floor of the Schapiro Center for Engineering and Physical Science Research, 530 West 120th Street

Kathy Nagel: Olfactory Navigation in Fruit Flies
Tuesday, April 4, 2017; 6:00–8:00 p.m.; Davis Auditorium on the 4th floor of the Schapiro Center for Engineering and Physical Science Research, 530 West 120th Street

Beau Shaw: Navigation, Education, and Democracy in Plato's Republic
Tuesday, April 11, 2017; 6:00–8:00 p.m.; Davis Auditorium on the 4th floor of the Schapiro Center for Engineering and Physical Science Research, 530 West 120th Street

Past Presentations:

Robert O’Meally: 'This Music Demanded Action': The Challenge of the Core
Monday, August 29, 2016

George Michelsen Foy: Finding North: How Navigation Makes us Human
Thursday, September 22, 2016

Gareth Williams: Navigating Life: The Odyssey
Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Dimitris Christopoulos: Is it Really a Crisis or Just Another EU Failure? Contradictions and Dangers of the Dominant European Discourse on Migration.
Monday, October 10, 2016

David Helfand: Navigating the Misinformation Age
Thursday, October 20, 2016

Kaitlyn Parkins: “Cool Jobs” Nocturnal Navigators: Understanding Migration Patterns of New York City's Birds and Bats
Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Jeff Kluger and Alan Stern: Cosmic Navigation
Monday, November 14, 2016

Greg Milner: Time To Go
Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Steve Bellovin: Software and the Problem of Complexity
Tuesday, February 14, 2017

To learn more and/or register for these events, contact us at ccalumni@columbia.edu