UNM-LA offers array of community classes

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The University of New Mexico-Los Alamos Community Education will offer two classes in September focusing on the history and popularization of science in Los Alamos.
Heather McClenahan, Executive Director of the Los Alamos Historical Society, will lead a class in the “History of the Manhattan Project.” The class will cover the compelling story of the individuals, institutions and forces that came together in Los Alamos during the development of the atomic bomb.
“This is a fascinating topic and a great class. McClenahan is an expert on the subject and brings the people and events of this episode in history to life.” said Eva Artschwager, UNM-LA Community Education director.
The class is from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Sept. 12 and runs for six weeks. As a special event, the class will have its Sept. 19 meeting at the Los Alamos Historical Museum, where students will have the opportunity to meet the daughter of renowned mathematician and Manhattan Project member, John von Neumann.
Doctoral candidate Aimee Slaughter will teach a second class, “Science and the Popular Imagination,” that will trace four captivating topics in the popularization of science, including science fiction and the radium craze, and the “public enthusiasm” these movements engendered.
Artschwager noted, “We now take for granted that information about scientific discoveries becomes part of the popular understanding, but this process was just beginning in the early 20th century.”
The course highlights the ways in which profound concepts in theoretical physics first crept into popular culture and provides insights into our current public understanding of science.
The class is from 5:30 to 7 p.m., Sept. 17 and runs for four weeks.
To register for either class, or for more information, call 662-0346 or 695-5797. Visit the UNM-LA Community Education website: losalamos.unm.edu/community-education/index.html for additional information and online registration.
The UNM-LA English Department will host “Composition Cinema I: A Film and Lecture Series,” beginning Sept. 12 through November 14.
The five films in the series were selected for their relevance to composition and comparative literature courses being taught at UNM-LA. The films will be hosted by a UNM-LA faculty member and will include a five to 10 minute talk discussing the film, its voice in the course’s theme and how it relates to life beyond the classroom. Afterwards, the host will take questions or open the floor to discussion.
The series will begin on Sept. 12, with “Big Fish,” and will focus on the theme of “authenticity” being discussed in Tracy Thompson’s English 102 course.
Assistant Professor, Dr. Zandree Stidham, will show “Tsotsi,” on Sept. 26, as an example of the theme “resilience” and how we bounce back.
Instructor Chris Strauss will follow on Oct. 10, with the documentary “Home,” as part of his class’s exploration on the theme of “place.”
Dora Aleksandrova will host “Gandhi,” Oct. 24, to culminate her course study on “free will.”
The series will wrap up Nov. 14, with Dr. Mickey Marsee’s showing of “Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” as part of her comparative literature course on the portrayal of scientists in fiction and film.
All films are free and open to the public and will be shown at 6 p.m. in the Jeannette O. Wallace Hall on the UNM-LA campus.
For more information, contact Mickey Marsee, mickeyl@unm.edu.