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Free Saturday Lectures Targeted to High School Students

By Sue Wuetcher

Release Date: February 17, 2006

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Cutting Edge Lecture Series, a free series of Saturday-morning seminars in which top University at Buffalo scholars and alumni give presentations aimed at increasing public awareness of the rapid advancements being made in a number of academic and professional fields, will open its 2006 edition on Feb. 25 with a lecture on the future of theater and film by a prominent UB faculty member.

In "The Future of Theater and Film," Robert Knopf, professor and chair of the Department of Theater and Dance, College of Arts and Sciences, will examine the complex relationship between theater and film through the influence of technical advances, economic competition and aesthetic innovation. Knopf, who has directed on Broadway, also will discuss the impact that HDTV, NetFlix and pay-per-view have on the future of theater.

Knopf's lecture, like all others in the series, will be held at 10:30 a.m. in the Center for the Arts, UB North (Amherst) Campus. Registration will take place at 10 a.m.; light refreshments will be served. All lectures will be free of charge and open to the public.

Uday Sukhatme, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) -- the series sponsor -- introduced the series to UB as a way of interesting prospective students in the CAS, and in UB, by showcasing professors' knowledge and alumni success.

"Targeting high school students is particularly beneficial from a recruiting viewpoint," said Sukhatme. "This is a group trying to decide where to pursue higher education, and they have a bewildering choice of opportunities to choose from."

Lecture topics include theater, poetry, cutting-edge science and a look at issues facing children and teens from a sociological standpoint, as well as an inside look at the television news field.

"The Cutting Edge series covers many diverse subjects, and students have indicated their appreciation for hearing about topics they would not have encountered otherwise," Sukhatme said.

The series last year attracted about 500 students from 31 different Western New York high schools.

The remainder of the 2006 schedule:

• March 11 -- Jamie Ostrov, assistant professor of psychology, will discuss "Gender and Aggression: A Developmental View." Ostrov observes that recent movies and popular books have drawn attention to the study of relational aggression -- the use of a relationship as a means of harm. His lecture will examine the development of such practices as malicious gossip, rumor spreading and social exclusion during early and middle childhood, and urges clinicians, educators and parents to refocus on the threat relational aggression poses to young children and adolescents.

• March 18 -- William Kinney, assistant professor of physics, whose topic will be "The Soul of a New Universe." Kinney's areas of interest include cosmology and particle astrophysics. His lecture will touch on some of the radical new theories developed by astronomers in reaction to the baffling "dark" components of the universe uncovered in recent years, including the idea that our universe is but one among a multitude -- a "multiverse" -- in which even laws of physics are not fixed.

• March 25 -- Ellen Fleysher, B.A. '66, a producer at Fox News Channel, will discuss "From Buffalo to Beijing and Back: My Life in Network News." In this lecture, Fleysher will trace her journey from a local newspaper reporter to television station correspondent and anchor to network producer. She will explore the differences between domestic and foreign reporting, and share stories from the front lines. She also will discuss the opportunities available to those heading into the television news field.

• April 1: Stacy Hubbard, associate professor of English, whose topic will be "American Poetry and Modern Realities." Hubbard will explore the response of modernist poets to turn-of-the-20th-century criticisms over the relevancy of poetry in the modern era. She will explore how these poets drew upon scientific techniques of observation and description, as well as the photographic and visual arts, in an attempt to put poetry in touch with the "real" world. Her lecture will feature some of the artwork and photography that influenced modern poets in this period of tremendous artistic innovation.

Students who attend at least three of the five lectures will receive souvenir gifts and an "honorary scholar" certificate.

There will also be a drawing at each lecture for a 256 MB jump drive.

Free parking will be available near the Center for the Arts, and free shuttle service will be provided from the South Campus Metro Station.

In addition to the College of Arts and Sciences, lecture sponsors are the UB Center for the Arts; the UB Humanities Institute; WBFO 88.7 FM, UB's National Public Radio affiliate; and ThinkBright.

For more information, call 645-2711 or email mrbewley@buffalo.edu or go to http://www.cas.buffalo.edu/outreach/cutting-edge.