Nassau notes

Big Bang expert Turok to speak on universe’s birth

Former Princeton faculty member Neil Turok, a pioneer of theoretical cosmology, will speak on “What Banged?” at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, in Reynolds Auditorium, A02 McDonnell Hall.

Turok was a professor of physics at Princeton from 1994 until 1997, when he assumed his current position as chair of mathematical sciences at the University of Cambridge and director of the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics in Ontario, Canada.

He has made numerous contributions to the Big Bang inflationary picture and introduced a dramatic alternative known as the cyclic universe theory. A popular account is given in “The Endless Universe,” a book he co-wrote with Paul Steinhardt, the Albert Einstein Professor of Physics at Princeton.

In his lecture, intended for a lay audience, Turok will address the questions of what caused the Big Bang and whether the event marked the beginning of time. He will discuss two possibilities: one in which the universe began at the Big Bang, and the other in which the Bang was a violent event in a pre-existing universe. The two pictures lead to radically different theories of the evolution of the universe and its future.

Turok was awarded the 2008 TED (Technology, Education, Design) Prize for his work in mathematical physics and in establishing the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Muizenberg near Cape Town, South Africa. This postgraduate educational center supports the development of mathematics and science across the African continent. Turok also received a “Most Innovative People Award” for social innovation at the World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship earlier this year.

His talk is the second 2008 Evnin Lecture. It is sponsored by the Council on Science and Technology and the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science.

Recent visit and talk by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Provost Christopher Eisgruber and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (photo: Brian Wilson)

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (right) spoke with Princeton Provost Christopher Eisgruber about decisions such as Bush v. Gore and Roe v. Wade in an Oct. 23 discussion in Richardson Auditorium.

Their conversation was preceded by Ginsburg’s talk on the “lighter side” of the U.S. Supreme Court, in which she described everything from casual conversations among justices to birthday parties.

To read more, visit

Financial crises are topic of forum

“Regional and National Financial Crises: Roots, Results and Responses” is the title of a forum sponsored by the Policy Research Institute for the Region from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7, in Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall.

The forum will focus on the anatomy of the mortgage crisis as well as looming threats in the public finance arena as a result of sophisticated trade agreements entered into by state and local governments that may result in significant costs to taxpayers.

Speakers will include: Susan Wachter, a professor of real estate and finance at the University of Pennsylvania and a former official with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Alan Blinder, a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton and former vice chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board; and James Leach, a former U.S. Congressman and current Harvard University faculty member who recently taught in Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

The forum is open to the public, but registration is required. To register, visit

Panel to examine aftermath of 2008 election

Prominent Princeton scholars of politics and public affairs will examine the results of the 2008 presidential election in a roundtable discussion titled “Election ’08: The Aftermath” at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5, in 101 Friend Center.

The discussion will feature Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; Cornel West, the Class of 1943 University Professor of Religion and African American Studies; Eddie Glaude, the William S. Tod Professor of Religion and African American Studies; and Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs.

Farah Jasmine Griffin, director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies and professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, also will participate. Adaora Udoji, co-host of the WNYC radio show “The Takeaway,” will moderate the discussion. The panel will take questions from the audience.

The event is sponsored by the Center for African American Studies and the Graduate School’s Office of Academic Affairs and Diversity.

Fields Center groundbreaking

(photo: George Vogel)

Members of the University community gathered Oct. 18 for a groundbreaking ceremony at 58 Prospect Ave., the new home of the Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding and Community House. Renovations began at the former Elm Club over the summer and are expected to be completed in July.

Participants included (pictured from left): Makeba Clay, director of the Fields Center; senior Rachel Okunubi; junior Jessica Gamboa; Marjorie Young, director of Community House; senior Ashley Viehauser; and Janet Dickerson, vice president for campus life.

For more information on the project, visit

Actor and composer present modern take on ‘Penelope’

Penelope,” a music and theater performance written and presented by award-winning actor and playwright Ellen McLaughlin and composed for a string quartet by Sarah Kirkland Snider, will be staged at 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 4-5, in Taplin Auditorium, Fine Hall.

The performance is a modern take on the story of Penelope, the patient wife who knitted while she waited for husband Odysseus to return from the Trojan War.

McLaughlin, widely known for originating the role of the Angel in Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America,” also has appeared in “Homebody/Kabul,” “Threepenny Opera,” “Ghosts” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The winner of numerous playwriting awards, McLaughlin teaches playwriting at Barnard College and also has taught at Princeton and Yale universities.

Snider is a composer whose work has been performed internationally both in alternative spaces and in major venues and festivals, including Carnegie Hall, the Aspen Music Festival and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project Chamber Series.

The performances of “Penelope,” directed by Lisa Rothe, are free but tickets are required. For tickets, visit <> or call 258-9220. The production is sponsored by the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Performance Central program.

Symposium showcases research talent

Research on topics ranging from immigration to the poetry of Horace will be presented at this year’s Princeton Research Symposium from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, at the Friend Center.

Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from many disciplines will share their work with the public through talks and poster presentations specifically tailored to an educated but nonspecialized audience.

More than 30 researchers from 15 departments will present their work this year. Edward Taylor, the A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Organic Chemistry Emeritus, will give the closing lecture, describing how his basic research on proteins found in butterfly wings led to the successful development of the cancer drug Alimta.

The event is sponsored by Princeton’s Graduate School, the Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni, the Pace Center, the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, the Graduate Student Government Events Board and the Alumni Council’s Committee on Graduate Alumni Relations. While attendance is free, online registration is requested at

‘Communal table’ hosted at Prospect

In an effort to inspire dialogue among faculty and staff members from departments across campus, Prospect House will host a “communal table” from noon to 1:30 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays beginning Nov. 3 in the downstairs Tap Room.

Faculty and staff members interested in joining the discussion are invited to purchase their own lunch in the Tap Room and join the group at the large table near the windows.

Questions may be directed to Barry Jacobs at

Dorsky to screen films, discuss work

Experimental filmmaker Nathaniel Dorsky, a lecturer in visual arts in the Lewis Center for the Arts, will present a screening of three new films and discuss his work at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 4, in the Stewart Film Theater, 185 Nassau St.

Dorsky is a celebrated avant-garde filmmaker from San Francisco also known as a prominent “film doctor” for rescuing projects in need of radical revision. The screening will feature three of his new films: “Sarabande,” “Song and Solitude” and “Winter.”

The event is sponsored by the Program in Visual Arts and the Lewis Center.

Community and Staff Day

(photo: Bentley Drezner)

A local youngster took to the air to celebrate Princeton spirit in a cheerleading clinic at Community and Staff Day, the annual celebration of sports and entertainment.

The event, held Oct. 18 at Princeton Stadium before the Tigers’ football game vs. Brown, brought University community members together with local residents of all ages for a “Family Fun-Fest,” live entertainment and a youth sports clinic hosted by Princeton athletes.

November events set at Labyrinth

Labyrinth Books will host the following University-related events in November. The events, which are free and open to the public, will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the bookstore, 122 Nassau St.

• Leonard Barkan, Princeton’s Arthur W. Marks ’19 Professor of Comparative Literature, will hold a conversation with the noted editor Elisabeth Sifton on Thursday, Nov. 6. Sifton helped see Barkan’s book “Satyr Square: A Year, a Life in Rome,” into print at the publishing house Farrar, Straus and Giroux, where she is a senior vice president.

• On Tuesday, Nov. 11, Joshua Guild, an assistant professor of history and the Center for African American Studies at Princeton, will speak with Rutgers University scholar Barbara Foley about her book, “Spectres of 1919: Class and Nation in the Making of the New Negro.” Both Guild and Foley study the intersections of race, class, culture and radical politics in America.

• Princeton professor of music Simon Morrison will discuss his new book, “The People’s Artist: Prokofiev’s Soviet Years,” with Columbia University music scholar Laura Silverberg on Saturday, Nov. 22. Morrison studied previously sealed documents of the legendary Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev for the book, which furnishes new insights into Prokofiev’s engagement with the Stalinist regime. The discussion is cosponsored by the Department of Music.

For more information about these and other events at Labyrinth, visit

Free vaccines offered at FluFest

University community members can obtain free flu vaccines at University Health Services’ annual FluFest event Nov. 5, 6 and 10, and enjoy the Cirque de Santé health and wellness fair.

Flu shots and nasal-spray flu vaccines will be available from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 5-6, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Nov. 10, in the Frist Campus Center Multipurpose Rooms. The vaccines are available free to all faculty, staff and students. Dependents over 12 can receive the vaccines for $30. No appointments are necessary.

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 5-6, FluFest will be accompanied by Cirque de Santé (“Circus of Health”), which will feature health and fitness screenings, massages and entertainment. The fair will be held on the 100 level of Frist and in the Multipurpose Rooms.

The events are cosponsored by the Office of the Provost, Office of the Vice President for Campus Life, Frist Campus Center, Department of Facilities and Department of Dining Services, with additional participation from several campus and local organizations.

For more information, contact University Health Services at 258-5036.