Eric Feuerborn

Symposium Panel to Discuss Promises and Challenges of Science

Monday, March 9, 2009

Panelists representing a wide range of backgrounds and academic training will join together March 26 on the campus of the University of Science and Arts to discuss The Promise of Science and Challenges of Science Education during the third annual Emerson-Wier Liberal Arts Symposium.

A panel discussion is scheduled from 4-6 p.m. in the Davis Hall Amphitheater at USAO. A presentation is also scheduled at 7:30 p.m. featuring legendary biologist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Edward O. Wilson in the Te Ata Memorial Auditorium.

Wilson will be speaking on The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth. Both events are free and open to the public.

A Harvard professor for 40 years, Wilson has written 20 books and discovered hundreds of new species of ants. He is considered by many to be the father of the modern environmental movement. He is a pioneer of sociobiology and a major figure in evolution.

Wilson is the Pellegrino University Research Professor Emeritus at Harvard University and continues research at the Museum of Comparative Zoology. He earned his doctoral degree from Harvard, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Alabama.

Dr. Robert Frodeman, chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies at the University of North Texas and the founding director of the UNT Center for the Study of Interdisciplinarity (CSID), will discuss What Does an Interdisciplinary Science Look Like. He is the editor of the Oxford Handbook of Interdisciplinarity – to be published sometime this year – and co-editor of Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy.

Throughout his work, Frodeman emphasizes the role that philosophy can play in addressing ongoing controversies such as acid mine drainage, global climate change, and Hurricane Katrina. His most recent work focuses on the theory and practice of interdisciplinary approaches to knowledge.

Frodeman received degrees in history and philosophy from St. Louis University. He received a master’s degree in geology from the University of Colorado and his doctoral degree in philosophy from Pennsylvania State University.

Why Science Matters is the discussion topic of Dr. Kenneth R. Hobson, assistant professor of entomology at the University of Oklahoma. Hobson works to understand the causes and ecological consequences of insect behavior. Much of his research has dealt with scolytid bark beetles and in understanding the causes and ecological consequences of insect behavior.

Hobson has been involved in research projects with the Department of Zoology and Sam Noble Museum at the University of Oklahoma, the School of Forestry at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, the University of Wisconsin, Utah State University, USDA Forest Service, the University of California, and the University of Washington.

He received degrees in zoology and botany from the University of North Carolina and a degree in forest resources from the University of Washington. Hobson received his doctoral degree in entomology from the University of California.

Dr. Edna Manning, current and first president of the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics (OSSM), will discuss Building a Premier Science and Mathematics High School in Oklahoma.

The OSSM is a public residential high school for juniors and seniors with exceptional ability in mathematics and science.  The school has been praised by educators across the country and by news organizations such as Newsweek.

Manning served as assistant superintendent of Edmond Public Schools and superintendent of Shawnee Schools. She was also superintendent of a suburban Corpus Christi school district. She has taught mathematics at both the high school and college level.

She was named one of the “Top 100 School Administrators in North America” by a publication of the National School Boards Association and was inducted into the Oklahoma Educators Hall of Fame in 2007.

Manning holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, a master’s in counseling psychology and a doctoral degree in mathematics education from the University of Houston.

Obstacles to Science Literacy is the discussion topic of Dr. Keith B. Miller, a research assistant professor of geology at Kansas State University. He is involved at both the state and national levels in the advocacy for quality public science education and public science literacy.

Miller believes that modern science is not a threat to Christian faith and that people need not feel forced into a choice between evolution and creation.

Miller received a bachelor’s degree in geology from Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in geology from the State University of New York at Binghamton, and a doctoral degree in geology from the University of Rochester.

Joseph Thai, Presidential Professor of Law at the University of Oklahoma School of Law, will discuss the topic Intelligent Design as a Challenge to the Separation of Church and State. He teaches Supreme Court decision-making, First Amendment, criminal procedure and Constitutional law.

He was named the outstanding faculty member of the OU College of Law in 2005 and 2008. Students also named him the university-wide outstanding faculty member in 2005. He received the President’s Associates Presidential Professorship in 2007.

He practiced in the Office of the Attorney General of Massachusetts, where he handled criminal and civil appeals. Before joining OU, Thai worked at Gable and Gotwals in Oklahoma City, where he litigated trial and appellate matters in state and federal courts and administrative agencies. He continues to engage in pro bono litigation on constitutional matters, including those before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Thai received his artium baccalaureatus degree and his juris doctorate degrees from Harvard University.

USAO’s Emerson-Wier Liberal Arts Symposium series is sponsored annually by the USAO Foundation and was inspired by endowment funds created by Oklahoma College for Women alumnae Gladys Anderson Emerson and Nance Foules Wier.