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Oct. 7,  2009

"Life of the Mind" Looks at Love

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From Emory Report

The Life of the Mind lecture series enters its third year with a new twist.

Sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the Faculty Council, the Life of the Mind series celebrates Emory's outstanding faculty and the dynamic intellectual community of the University. The series is designed for faculty to be able to share their research with a wide audience across the campus.

"This year, we're trying something new," a more informal conversational format, says Tom Jenkins, executive director of academic partnerships in the Office of the Provost.

The faculty member, whose research is the central subject, selects another faculty member with an interest in the topic, to present the research in a conversation between the two, with the audience listening in.

The choice for the conversation "can be inside or outside their discipline," Jenkins says. The first lecture of this series pairs Larry Young, the William P. Timmie Professor of Psychiatry and Bobbi Patterson, senior lecturer in the Department of Religion.

For "The Science of Love: Implications from Autism to Compassion," Young will discuss his work from the biomedical point of view in a conversation with Patterson who is interested in the same emotions from a religious and practice of rituals standpoint, Jenkins says.

What is "very, very enlightening," Jenkins notes, is not just the "what" of the "enormous range of research going on here and the way it is going, but the why and the how." Revealed are "all these links all over the University, these networks the faculty have."

Jenkins also says the lectures show others, including students, "how faculty learn, how they teach themselves, what are the methods brilliant minds use" to solve problems and move ideas.

Selecting faculty to be featured in the series is a wide-ranging process, he says, in order to keep it as open as possible. Faculty are encouraged to nominate themselves or a colleague, he says.

Three lectures are booked for fall and "we're already looking for [another three] for spring," he says.

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