Office of the Vice Provost for Research

Begun in 1980, the Distinguished Faculty Research Lecture series has featured some of IU Bloomington's most notable faculty members. The list below contains lecture abstracts from 1995 to the present.

MORE INFO Click on a lecture below to expand it for the abstract.

Objects labeled by common nouns — dogs, cars, trees, birds, apples —are so readily recognized and their names so readily learned by infants that some suggest human vision gives these categories already made to young infants. This idea that common object categories “carve nature at its joints,” as Plato wrote, is at odds with the computational complexity involved in recognizing all sorts of dogs or cars or birds or apples. Evidence from children, from human neuroscience, and from machine vision technology make clear that recognizing objects in common categories is a complicated problem. So how do babies do it? The answer is in the frequency, number, and related statistics of objects that appear in their visual world. Smith’s research studies the visual world of infants — and the relation of that world to the learn-ing of first object names — by using head cameras and head-mounted eye-trackers to “see” the world as infants see it. Smith discussed this research as well as new interdisciplinary team research using approaches from developmental psychology, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence to study linkages between learning in human children and learning in machines. This team-based project is supported by IU Bloomington’s first Emerging Areas of Research award..

Linda B. Smith is Distinguished Professor and Chancellor's Professor of psychological and brain sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University Bloomington.

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2016 Brian Powell, "Public Opinion after Obergefell: What Americans Believe about the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Marriage Equality, and Same-Sex Parenting"

Public opinion matters. It both reflects and effects social change. Social scientists have documented how changes in public policy and the legal landscape often are responsive to changes in public opinion. Social scientists also are well aware of how slow—even glacial—changes in public opinion can be. The transformation in Americans’ public opinion regarding marriage equality is a remarkable exception. The turnaround in Americans’ support for same-sex marriage in the past fifteen years is one of the most striking changes in public opinion that we have ever witnessed. Without this change, it is hard to believe that prominent public figures would have evolved their views regarding same-sex marriage and even harder to imagine that the Supreme Court would have taken up the issue of the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage in its landmark case of Obergefell v. Hodges. Now that same-sex marriage is legal throughout the United States, many questions regarding the future direction of public opinion remain. In the 2016 Distinguished Faculty Research Lecture, Brian Powell identified and answered questions including:
  • Have Americans really changed their views about same-sex marriage? And if they have changed their views, what reasons do they give for this change?
  • Do Americans count same-sex couples as a “family” and to what extent will the legalization of same-sex marriage shape American’s definitions?
  • Do Americans believe that children fare equally well being raised in same-sex and mother-father households? Do their beliefs correspond with or diverge from the views of people from other countries?
  • Do Americans believe that businesses should have the right to refuse services to same-sex couples? If so, does support for service refusal apply only to religion reasons or extend to non-religious reasons?
  • Does support for service refusal apply to self-employed individuals only or extend to closely held corporations? Does support for service refusal extend to other groups, such as interracial couples?
  • To what extent is the unprecedented, rapid change in Americans views of same-sex marriage an isolated case or a sign of how public opinion on social issues will change in the future?

Brian Powell is James H. Rudy Professor and chair in the Department of Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences, Indiana University Bloomington.

Follow this link to listen to the recorded lecture.

The recent financial crisis was associated with an acute contraction in the availability of bank credit, a phenomenon known as a “credit crunch.” The financial crisis, fueled by massive bank losses in subprime residential mortgages, started in the United States and propagated to Europe. Interestingly, it came on the heels of another severe real estate-driven financial crisis (and credit crunch) in Japan. Policymakers have struggled to implement programs and strategies to restore European and U.S. banking systems and to mitigate the effects of the credit crunch. In addition, new regulations and policies have been implemented to minimize the likelihood of another financial crisis and the damage that it would inflict. The financial crisis and its effect on business access to finance were the topics of the 2015 Distinguished Faculty Research Lecture. Gregory Udell’s presentation focused on how the recent financial crisis affected the health of the banking systems in Europe and the United States and how this led to a credit crunch in both locations that severely affected business access to finance. Udell also presented new research on key policy tools being considered to inhibit the build-up of risk during the next boom.

Gregory F. Udell is Chase Chair of Banking and Finance in the IU Kelley School of Business at Indiana University Bloomington.

Wind energy now supplies sufficient electricity to power 15 million homes in the United States and was the largest source of new electricity capacity in 2012. All utility-scale wind energy production now occurs in large wind power plants where tens or hundreds of wind turbines are deployed in arrays.Barthelmie’s research seeks to accurately predict the electricity generation from these developments by quantifying both the ambient flow field and the complex interactions of the atmosphere with these turbines. Quantifying wakes (the distributed region of flow behind a turbine) is critical to the design and operation of wind “farms” on a scale consistent with other electricity generation. Barthelmie's lecture focused on how the wind is quantified and how that leads to even better ways to harness the power of the wind. The lecture integrated future energy scenarios with the latest climate forcing models to quantify the potential impact of wind energy on electricity supply in 2030 and whether this alone can alter the course of global climate change.

Rebecca J. Barthelmie is professor of atmospheric science and sustainabilityin the Department of Geological Sciences, College of Arts and Science, at Indiana University Bloomington.

In many countries in the world, systems of customary and/or religious law are recognized and authorized by the constitution. But many of these systems discriminate against women in ways that violate the equality guarantees in those same constitutions. Political theorists and constitutional lawyers have been struggling for decades with the tensions between legal recognition for systems of customary law and the commitment to gender equality. The evolving approach in constitutional design has focused on guaranteeing certain rights to women as a mechanism for placing substantive limits on customary law. In this lecture, Professor Susan Williams will argue that we must shift paradigms and focus less on women as rights-holders and more on women as law-makers in customary systems. She will illustrate the nature and significance of this paradigm shift by using examples from her work as a constitutional advisor in Liberia and South Sudan.

Susan Williams is Walter W. Foskett Professor of Law and director of the Center for Constitutional Democracy in the Maurer School of Law at IU Bloomington.

The trait value, Z, of an individual has been classically imagined to consist of genotypic (G) and environmental (E) effects and the interactions (G x E) between them. This perspective allows the differences between individuals within a population to be partitioned into the components of owing to genetic and environmental influences. Such partitionings are the underlying basis of the Nature versus Nurture debate, with genotype in the role of nature and environment in the role of nurture. For individuals, the debate concerns the question of whether his/her characteristics were 'fixed at conception' and are therefore 'hardwired' or whether they were caused by the environment in which the individual developed and, consequently, are malleable. This debate has had effects on policy decisions, for example, those regarding the allocation of financial resources to early education. The argument can be expressed simply as follows. If Nurture plays an important role in desirable characteristics of the populace, then scare resources can be allocated to engineer the environment to bring about the desired social change. However, if desirable or undesirable characteristics are determined primarily by Nature, then it is futile to attempt to address them with policy, since no amount of resource investment or environmental engineering can or will change the underlying genes.

Darwin employed a version of these arguments to deduce that some desirable traits, like the muscles of a blacksmith or the knowledge of a scholar, were entirely (or predominantly) environmentally determined, while many undesirable traits, like 'sports,' were predominantly heritable (i.e., genetic). One of the earliest modern coinings of this debate can be found in Francis Galton's (1874) discussion of the origins of a group of ~300 Englishmen who “deserved” to be called “Men of Science.” Galton (1874, p. 227) the following question: “What then are the conditions of nature, and the various circumstances and conditions of life - which I include under the general name of nurture - which have selected that one and left the remainder?”

In recent years, somewhat more attention has been focused on gene-environment interaction, especially in the investigation of complex human diseases like autism, obesity and asthma. Although each disease has been shown to have a genetic component, the rise in incidence within a single generation is too fast to be accounted for by evolutionary change in gene frequency. Thus, the increased incidence cannot be owing to an increase in the frequency of the underlying genetic causes. Conversely, if the increased incidence were entirely owing to environmental change, there would be no genetic signature associated with these diseases. Rapid change in the inducing environments is conspicuous and it is affecting some genotypes more than others; therefore, gene-environment interaction is inferred to be a major causal component of these diseases.

The lecture adds a new dimension to the Nature versus Nurture debate, namely, the Nurturers, the biotic components of the environment. These biotic environments have genes and their existence allows the possibility of the co-evolution of genes and environments. I will discuss maternal effects as examples of co-evolving environments. Maternal effects are ubiquitous and the most important and well-studied representatives of what are now called “indirect” genetic effects. I will also discuss other social contexts in which such genes play an important role and why these genes are of interest to animal breeders interested in improving animal welfare. Wade came to Indiana University in 1998 and has served as Director of the Graduate Program in Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior, as well as Associate Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs.

Advances in synthetic peptide chemistry have enabled the biological characterization and commercial development of novel, life-altering medicines. Humalog® and Forteo® , two notable peptide drugs, are fostering unprecedented interest in peptides as therapeutic reagents. Glucagon, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), and gastric inhibitory peptide (GIP) are three gut peptide hormones involved in the maintenance of glucose homeostasis. These three peptides exhibit specific association with their native receptors through unique structural elements to confer differential pharmacology. A set of novel peptides have been identified at Indiana University that exhibit high potency and balanced activity across these three receptors. We have observed combinatorial efficacy in animals to achieve potent body weight and glucose-lowering with single peptides of sustained duration of action. These observations establish a basis for human testing of these novel gut hormone peptides in treatment of diabetes and obesity.

Richard DiMarchi's research contributions in peptide and protein sciences comprise three decades of work in academia, the pharmaceutical industry, and biotechnology companies. His current research is focused on developing macromolecules with enhanced therapeutic properties through biochemical optimization with non-natural amino acids, an approach termed chemical-biotechnology. He is a co-founder of Ambrx, Inc. and Marcadia Biotech, and a scientific advisor to Ferring, Merck, Roche, and three venture funds.

DiMarchi is the recipient of numerous awards including the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Career Research Achievement Award in Biotechnology, the American Chemical Society's Barnes Award for Leadership in Chemical Research Management, the ACS Esselen Award for Chemistry in the Service of Public Interest, the Carothers Award for Excellence in Polymer Sciences, the Watanabe Award for Life Sciences Research, and the Merrifield Award for Career Contributions in Peptide Sciences.

For 300 years, a unique and complex artistic puzzle has been hidden. This puzzle conceals an extraordinary critique of what can be described as the first modern media revolution, or "Print 2.0," when information began circulating much faster, farther, and more broadly than ever before. The mind behind this puzzle was the little-known Dutch/British still-life painter Edward Collier. Working around 1700, Collier embedded an intricate network of cryptic clues, devilishly clever games, and hidden private jokes in his paintings. Once deciphered and reassembled, Collier's message-in-a-painted-bottle turns out to be nothing less than a sophisticated and incisive critique of modernity. Wahrman is the Ruth N. Halls Professor of History in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington. He is also director of the Center for Eighteenth-Century Studies. A leading cultural historian of Western Europe, Wahrman has written and edited numerous articles and books including The Making of the Modern Self (Yale University Press, 2004), which received the Ben Snow Prize from the North American Conference on British Studies and the Louis Gottschalk Prize from the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Wahrman was elected to the Royal History Society and will deliver the society's Prothero Lecture in London in June 2010. Wahrman came to IU Bloomington in 1999. Since 2008, he also has been teaching at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

New communication technologies and economic forces have profoundly altered the 21st-century landscape of journalism, raising urgent and widespread concerns about the survival of the most trusted and respected news organizations in the United States and beyond. Drawing on 35 years of research conducted at Indiana University, including four major surveys of U.S. journalists, studies of voter learning in five U.S. presidential elections, studies of media agenda-setting, and other studies of newspaper readership, foreign news coverage, and press freedom in various countries, Weaver summarizes what he and his colleagues have found and speculates on the implications of these findings for the present and future state of journalism.

Weaver is the Roy W. Howard Professor in journalism and mass communication research in the School of Journalism at IU Bloomington. He has published numerous volumes of journalism research including Media Agenda-Setting in a Presidential Election, The Formation of Campaign Agendas, Contemporary Public Opinion, and The American Journalist in the 21st Century. Weaver is editor of The Global Journalist and co-editor of Communication and Democracy, Mass Communication Research and Theory, and Global Journalism Research. He also has published numerous book chapters and articles about U.S. journalists, the agenda-setting role of the media in political campaigns, newspaper readership, foreign news coverage, and journalism education. Weaver has taught at Indiana University since 1974, mainly in the areas of research methods, political communication, public opinion, and precision journalism (the use of social science methods in reporting). He has lectured on these subjects around the world.

Since the earliest civilizations, plants and animals in their environments have been explored as sources of remedies for disease. In search of elixir properties, humans have discovered all manner of things in distant mountains and steaming jungles. The folklore of tribal medicines and the alchemy of the Middle Ages have contributed to the development of modern pharmaceuticals. In fact, natural substances have served as a primary stimulus for innovations leading to drug development up to the present day.

David R. Williams looks underwater for his elixirs. "The marine ecosystem provides a rich resource for novel molecular architectures with remarkable potency," says Williams, the Harry G. Day Chair and professor of chemistry at Indiana University Bloomington. Throughout his years at IU, Williams and his laboratory colleagues have conducted studies culminating in more than 40 syntheses of complex natural products. In recent years, Williams's laboratory has designed strategies and methods for synthesizing marine natural products that are available in exceedingly small quantities from sources such as a rare deep-water sponge or soft coral. For example, Williams's studies of the molecular complexity of marine natural products have led to a synthesis of hennoxazole A, a potent anti-inflammatory agent. In his 2008 Distinguished Faculty Research Lecture, Williams discussed the efforts of his laboratory group to explore the chemistry of recently discovered natural products from the marine world and how substances from those products may be transformed into new treatments for disease.

In the Midwest, most farmers grow corn, wheat, or beans. Meredith West grows behavior. West co-directs the Animal Behavior Farm at Indiana University in Bloomington with her husband and research partner, Andrew King. Working with cowbirds, starlings, and other species, West has spent decades studying the social experience and competence of birds. Contrary to the image summoned by the term “birdbrain,” she says, many avian species rely extensively on social learning to transmit culture. West has focused especially on avian vocal communication‹on the 200th anniversary of Mozart¹s death, her work on starlings made national headlines, as the media were eager to learn about a pet starling who played a musical role in Mozart¹s life and about an offbeat requiem by the composer that might have been inspired by the song of his starling friend. At the Animal Behavior Farm in Indiana, West and her colleagues were the first to discover that female cowbirds, who do not sing, still ³teach² males how to sing by using visual gestures to motivate and manipulate the male¹s vocal practice. In her 2007 Distinguished Faculty Research Lecture, West reflects on ³close encounters of the avian kind² she has experienced at the Animal Behavior Farm--a 93-acre laboratory-farm with several aviaries--as she has studied the multiple means by which animals guide one another¹s ability to learn. Employing state-of-the-art video and audio technology to document the actions of animals in semi-naturalistic environments, West and her Animal Behavior Farm colleagues are creating a new kind of laboratory for educating others and themselves.

Italian director Federico Fellini (1920-93) is widely regarded as Italy's greatest film director. Many consider him to be Europe's most original 20th-century filmmaker, so famous that he has even inspired several new words or phrases in the Merriam-Webster English Dictionary. For example, "paparazzi," a term universally employed to refer to aggressively annoying photographers seeking candid shots of celebrities, derives from the name of such a photographer in Fellini's blockbuster film La Dolce Vita (1959), the title of which has also become a popular English expression referring to the sweetness of life. Fellini's work garnered 23 Oscar nominations in an impressive variety of categories, and filmmakers and scriptwriters as different as Martin Scorsese, Bob Fosse, Woody Allen, Paul Mazursky, Peter Greenaway, François Truffaut, Lina Wertmüller, Giuseppe Tornatore, Spike Jonze, and Charlie Kaufman are deeply indebted to his work. Two successful Broadway musicals—Sweet Charity and Nine— were based respectively on The Nights of Cabiria and . The study of Fellini's works quite naturally focuses on the sources of such a fertile imagination. Bondanella's lecture provides a survey of the often surprising influences on Fellini's works. Pop culture icons plus Fellini's private dream world play a larger role in his creativity than the impact of other filmmakers. Such visual sources include early American cartoons by Winsor McCay and Frederick Burr Opper; Roman humor magazines of the fascist period; painters or artists as diverse as Giulio Romano, Fragonard, De Chirico, Picasso, and Scipione; and a Jungian analysis of the director's own dreams. The Lilly Library Fellini Archive, a collection of original manuscripts obtained from Fellini and scriptwriter Tullio Pinelli through Bondanella's efforts, are featured in this discussion of Fellini and fantasy.

There are several ways in which scientific investigation can proceed. The traditional "scientific method" is hypothesis-driven: a hypothesis is formulated, a procedure is devised to test the hypothesis, and the results of the test are used to determine the validity of the original idea. Unfortunately, this traditional approach generally yields only incremental gains in knowledge. Today, many of the most important scientific advances arise from true innovation: making connections between areas that have no apparent relationship. Consider the emergence of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) from its origins in the technical field of nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry. Or, an application may be sufficiently important that it encourages fundamental investigations to help characterize it. The current bioscience revolution is an illustration. Clearly, basic science can lead to the solution of significant applied problems, and important present problems can lead to better science. These two approaches—the applied leading the basic and the basic driving the applied—can be considered the two sides of scientific investigation. But both of these approaches require a catalyst. That catalyst is often instrumentation. It would seem, then, that there are three sides of scientific investigation. In this lecture, these three sides of scientific investigation are illustrated with work from Heiftje's laboratory.

Understanding the confinement of quarks—fundamental constituents of matter—is recognized as one of the important and outstanding problems in physics. This lecture describes one search for an explanation of quarks' confinement (in the vibrations of flux-tubes)—a project the Secretary of Energy included as a short-term priority in its 20-year strategic plan of the Office of Science in the Department of Energy. Like the electron and proton of the hydrogen atom, quarks are bound together, but the force binding the quarks is dramatically different than the force that holds the atom together. The interquark force is many times stronger. Even more amazing, quarks are forever confined within the subatomic particles of which they are a part. The proton and electron of the hydrogen atom can be separated with relative ease, but no one has ever freed a quark from a baryon or a meson. Recent decades of experimentation and theoretical progress have led to the theory of quantum chromodynamics, or QCD. This theory postulates that quarks are bound by exchanging gluons, the quanta of the chromodynamic field. Gluons carry the analog of electrical charge, called color charge, meaning quarks carry color charge as well. Gluons can self-interact and form flux-tubes, which are the collapse of flux lines together to form a slender tube. These flux-tubes explain why quarks are confined — a meson is a quark and antiquark connected by a flux-tube. Furthermore, the vibrations (or excitations) of these flux-tubes should lead to a whole new family of mesons — called exotic mesons.

Judges and lawyers commonly regard the U.S. Constitution as a juristic document — a set of legal rules, enforced through the judicial process, to govern the interaction of the government and citizens. Many citizens, however, have regarded the Constitution in a different way — as a civic text, an expression of transformative ideals never perfectly realized and always contested, that constitutes the American citizenry as a people. In this vision of civic constitutionalism, the Constitution does not belong ultimately or exclusively to the courts. Instead, the people are co-responsible for its interpretation, maintenance, alteration, and unmaking. In this lecture, Williams explores this civic version of the Constitution. He argues that it is a necessary backdrop for an adequate understanding of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Williams argues that from the beginning, the amendment arose from popular myths about the relationship between American civic identity and political violence. For the Framers of the Constitution, that myth was about a united people making a revolution against a corrupt government bent on subverting the common good. More recently, however, the Framers' myth of unity has been supplanted by myths about the inevitability of disunity and the resulting need for "good" Americans to control "bad" Americans through force of arms. Williams concludes that none of these myths serve modern Americans well in taming political violence: the Framers' myth calls for a unity that we do not possess, and the modern myths encourage violence by reinforcing our disunity. He suggests that the amendment should serve primarily not as a rule of law but as a cultural icon directing us toward greater unity on the use of political violence while celebrating our diversity in other areas of life.

Ellen Ketterson has spent more than 20 years exploring the hormonal basis of reproductive behavior and physiology in a common species of songbird, the dark-eyed junco ( Junco hyemalis , also known as the snowbird). Employing techniques from animal behavior, evolutionary biology, ornithology, and behavioral endocrinology, Ketterson and her colleague and husband, Val Nolan Jr., have conducted long-term field studies of the junco. Their goal is to understand variation in avian mating systems and parental behavior. To determine why an animal behaves the way it does, Ketterson and Nolan use hormones to induce it to behave otherwise and calculate the consequences, both beneficial and detrimental. Ketterson's lecture describes the results of field and laboratory studies and relate these to larger themes in behavioral biology. Ketterson and Nolan's research helps to clarify how evolution produces complex adaptations, particularly those mediated by hormones and involving trade-offs. On a broader scale, their research methods may help to quantify the impact of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the environment and lead to a deeper understanding of the relationship between sex and gender.

Imagine that sometime in the future we will make contact with intelligent, technologically advanced beings on a far-away planet. Will their science and mathematics resemble ours or be totally different? In this lecture, Newton argues that scientific theories are not logical deductions from experimental and observational data, but are products of the human imagination. Apart from certain basic scientific facts, then, the big wide-ranging physical theories of the aliens should not be expected to be very much like ours. While Newton disagrees strongly with those who claim science is a social and cultural construct whose content and form are determined by the race, gender, or the milieu of scientists, he does not defend the position that our theories are etched in stone or that alien science must be just like ours.

After Kenneth W. Starr's multi-year and multi-million dollar investigation of President Clinton that culminated in the document known as The Starr Report, the report began creating waves among leading thinkers. Public intellectuals and professor-pundits rushed after The Starr Report, attempting to define it in broader civilizational terms. Malti-Douglas's lecture takes off where her study, The Starr Report Disrobed, ends. In that work, Malti-Douglas analyzed the obsessions of Judge Starr's text, paying particular attention to the intersection of gender, sexuality, and the body with American legal and political conceptions. The cultural fall-out from the Report has much to say about America and its fixations. Gender and sexuality play a central role, as the various literary allegiances open fascinating and provocative critical paths.

The nineteenth-century German scientist, Herman von Helmholtz, once remarked that if a lens maker were to deliver a lens with such poor optical quality as the human eye he would be summarily dismissed as a very careless fellow! Of course the eye was not designed by a lens maker, it evolved over hundreds of millions of years in response to evolutionary pressure on sensory organs to extract biologically useful information from the environment. As an eye grows over the life span, automatic mechanisms help coordinate changes in its optical system, but occasionally these mechanisms fail to produce a well-focused eye. Fortunately for modern humans, the focusing errors associated with near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism are easily corrected with spectacles or contact lenses, but there are many other kinds of optical imperfections found in eyes that are not as easily corrected. Consequently, the quality of the optical image which falls upon the retina is considerably less than is theoretically possible. For this reason the human eye falls short of its true potential as the organ of sight. Thibos's lecture focuses on the eye as an image-forming device and exciting approaches to the measurement and correction of its imperfections developed at the IU School of Optometry. These methods utilize adaptive-optical components from astronomy to make complex, computer-controlled lenses to correct the highly irregular aberrations of eyes. One aim of this work is to create "electronic spectacles" which have the potential to raise the quality of vision to unprecedented heights, giving human observers an opportunity to experience the visual world, in a way never before possible — unencumbered by the optical imperfections of the human eye.

Based on more than 30 years of his research, Parmenter focuses on the ways in which the understanding of how molecules acquire and use the vibrational energy needed for chemical reaction can be illuminated with lasers, both figuratively and literally.

Schick and Toth's lecture focuses on the archaeological evidence for the emergence of stone tool-making and tool-using hominids (protohumans). About 2.5 million years ago the first recognizable stone artifacts, archaeological sites, and larger-brained hominids are found in the prehistoric record. What are the evolutionary implications of these new features? What biological changes and cultural innovations can be seen as human evolution proceeds? Schick and Toth have spent decades investigating the Early Stone Age in Africa, Europe, and Asia through conventional archaeological fieldwork as well as "experimental archaeology," attempting to re-create aspects of prehistoric lifestyles through an experimental approach. These studies have included experiments in making and using primitive stone tools, examining how stone age sites could form and become buried, and teaching an African ape to make and use stone tools. A wide range of approaches to addressing questions about our Paleolithic ancestors or near-ancestors is presented.

In the mid-1970s, the conventional wisdom was that it was impossible to get too much iron, which is needed to prevent anemia a condition in which the blood cannot carry the amount of oxygen required by cells. Surplus iron was thought to be stored in the liver and bone marrow. By the mid-1990s, it was known that excess iron is a significant risk factor for the development of disease. In his lecture Weinberg describes the "iron withholding defense system", a major mechanism used by animals and humans to protect themselves against microbial infection and cancer.

Professor Hites's research has applied sophisticated techniques of organic analytical chemistry to the understanding of environmental problems. His lecture centered on the sources and behavior of potentially toxic organic compounds in the environment.

Below are the lecturers from 1980–1994. Abstracts are not available.

  • 1994 Lewis Rowell, "Narrative Beginnings in Music"
  • 1993 Esther Thelen (deceased), "The Origins of an Embodied Cognition and the Dynamics of Time Scales"
  • 1992 Joan Hoff, "Watergate Revisited"
  • 1991 Robert E. Pollock, "Cold Traps"
  • 1990 H. Scott Gordon, "How Many Kinds of Things Are There in the World?"
  • 1989 Milos Novotny, "Chemical Communication in Mammals"
  • 1988 Bruce Cole, "Love, Lust, and Loss in Venetian Painting of the Golden Age"
  • 1987 John R. Preer Jr., "Repairing Genetic Defects by the Introduction of Cloned Genes"
  • 1987 Howard Gest, "A Trail of Directed Serendipity in Research on Photosynthetic Bacteria"
  • 1986 Elinor Ostrom (deceased), "How Inexorable is the 'Tragedy of the Commons?': Institutional Arrangements for Changing the Structure of Social Dilemmas"
  • 1985 Richard Westfall (deceased),"Galileo and the Jesuits"
  • 1984 Eliot Hearst, "Empty Intervals and Absent Events: Something About Nothing in the Psychology of Animals and People"
  • 1984 Richard M. Shiffrin, "Automatic and Controlled Processes in Memory and Attention"
  • 1983 Ciprian Foias, "Abstract Mathematics and Concrete Problems"
  • 1982 David Pisoni, "Speech Technology: The Evolution of Computers that Speak . . . and Listen"
  • 1981 Anthony Mahowald, "The Precocious Germ Cell, A Haven from Developmental Change"
  • 1980 J. Rufus Fears, "Roman Liberty: An Essay in Protean Political Metaphor"