This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Cutting Edge lecture series to open Feb. 23

Published: February 14, 2008

Reporter Editor

Top UB scholars in the arts and sciences will give presentations aimed at increasing public awareness of rapidly advancing fields as part of the sixth annual Cutting Edge Lecture Series, five seminars presented on Saturday mornings by the Humanities Institute in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The free lectures will take place from 10:30 to noon in the Center for the Arts, North Campus. While the lectures are geared toward high school students, the general public, as well as UB faculty and staff, are encouraged to attend. Light refreshments will be served prior to the lectures.

The series is designed to “get the public to visit campus, relate with the faculty and get an idea of what cutting-edge research really means," says Michele Bewley, assistant director of the Humanities Institute who organized the series. "The series has encouraged people in the Buffalo area to take pride in UB and see it as 'their university.'"

About 1,000 students from more than 40 different Western New York high schools have participated in the series and in a Poetry Contest also sponsored by the Humanities Institute.

This year’s Cutting Edge Lecture Series will open on Feb. 23 with a presentation by Mark Frank, associate professor in the Department of Communication, entitled “Detecting Deception in the Age of Terrorism.” Frank’s scholarly work focuses on the detection of involuntary facial “microexpressions” that may indicate a person is being deceptive. His research is useful in detecting potential terrorists at security checkpoints. Frank’s work recently was featured on National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” as part of a three-part series on new developments in lie detection.

The series will continue on March 8 with a lecture, “Treasures of the Spanish Main, or the Hidden Origins of American Societies," by José Buscaglia-Salgado, associate professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, and director of the Program in Caribbean Studies. The lecture will present some of the earliest contributions made by diverse social actors in the New World, throughout the old Spanish Main and beyond, showing in the process how these contributions gave rise to some of the most important ideas and institutions of truly universal projection and transcendence.

On March 29, Peter Pfordresher, associate professor in the Department of Psychology, will discuss "Why Are So Many People Bad Singers, Yet Good Talkers (or Are They)?” While most people consider themselves inept singers—occasionally invoking the term “tone deaf”—it is uncommon to hear anyone doubt their ability to vocally communicate in their native language. Pfordresher will offer a clearer understanding of how people communicate vocally, as well as a more realistic assessment of individual differences in vocal communication.

The April 5 presentation, "IdeaJacked: Tsunami-Level Chaos and Opportunities in Technology and Trade," will be given by Patrick Kennedy, B.A. ’78, founder, CEO and chairman of Cellport Systems of Boulder, Colo., the oldest technology development lab and largest licensor in the $4 billion global telematics business. The lecture will cover the importance of inventions and intellectual property (IP) in America and the current challenges to its technology-driven wealth in the global counterfeiting and IP theft markets. It also will look ahead to technologies and a new order in "trusted-commerce" that will emerge in the future.

The series will conclude on April 12 with a talk by Stephen Henderson, associate professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance, entitled "How One Spends the 20 Years Leading to Overnight Success.” A professional actor as well as a UB faculty member, Henderson has made several appearances as a judge on the television show “Law & Order” and its various spin-offs, but will appear in his first regular series role in "New Amsterdam," premiering next month on Fox. The series is about a New York City homicide detective, John Amsterdam, who became immortal in 1642 and won't age until he finds his one true love. Henderson plays Omar, the jazz club owner who knows Amsterdam's secret and has "a few of his own." In his presentation, Henderson will discuss how fulfilling a life in the arts can be without fame or wealth—or at least until they arrive—and coming to terms with expectations of instant success.

High school students who attend at least three of the five lectures will receive souvenir gifts and an "Honorary UB College of Arts and Sciences Scholar" certificate.

For more information about the series, click here or call 645-2711.