City College

‘The Colonel’ Was Writing to Unger

April 28, 2011 | Book Beat, City College, CUNY Lecture Series

Many artists have a source of inspiration that forever holds a place in their heart, and for Guatemalan-born David Unger it is Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his book, “No One Writes to the Colonel.” “That book forged my identity as a Latin American native and writer,” says Unger, who, through a shared language and culture, felt a kinship with Marquez. Today, Unger, who teaches translation at City College’s MFA program, is the author of four books, including his latest novel, “The Prince of Escape.” As part of the City College Center for Worker Education Book Talk Lecture Series: Writers on Writing, Unger reads from his work and talks about his brief encounter with Marquez as a graduate student at Columbia University.
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Fukushima and the One Hundred Year Storm

April 27, 2011 | City College, Newsmakers

Japan’s devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami were unavoidable forces of nature, but the nuclear meltdown that resulted was man made, according to Michio Kaku. “If you take a look at Fukushima, there have been previous tsunamis that have hit the exact same area,” says Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at City College, referring to the area about 140 miles north of Tokyo where the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station was built. In an interview, Kaku pointed out that engineers tend to study incidents that take place in their own lifespan, not long term. “When it comes to nuclear power, we have to look at the 100-year storm.”
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Is It Superman? No, It’s 2100

April 11, 2011 | City College, CUNY Lecture Series

By the end of the century, Michio Kaku sees a world in which humans will have x-ray vision, and micromachines — smaller than the period at the end of this sentence — will perform surgery. “Your computerized toilet will be able to analyze proteins emitted from a colony of cancer cells from excretions,” says Kaku, co-founder of string field theory and professor of physics at City College. Kaku’s latest book, “Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100,” predicts a future in which nearly everything we touch, including our eyeglasses, will be connected to the Internet. “You’ll blink and you’ll go online — it’s coming faster than you think.”
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New York in Turmoil: The Draft Riots

March 31, 2011 | Book Beat, City College, CUNY Lecture Series

The draft riots in New York City, which took place during the summer of 1863, remain to this day the worst civil disturbance in American history. In his 2002 book, “Paradise Alley,” Kevin Baker used the chaotic event as a backdrop for the critically acclaimed historical novel. “This really was more of a revolution than a riot, as one observer noted, it was a pitched battle.” At a Book Talk Lecture Series: Writers on Writing, sponsored by City College’s Center for Worker Education, Baker describes the mob of mostly poor, Irish Catholics, as overcome with anger at the Protestants who had exploited them and with resentment toward African Americans for being forced to fight for their freedom by the newly enforced Civil War draft. What happened during the riots was horrific, says Baker, including “killing, raping and looting.”

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Birds, Dolphins and Mimicry

December 28, 2010 | City College, CUNY Lecture Series, Hunter College

The ability to learn and mimic vocal sounds is rare in nature but found in certain birds and in dolphins says Diana Reiss, professor of psychology at Hunter College. “There’s been a lot of anecdotal reporting over the years that dolphins are highly mimetic,” says Reiss, an expert on dolphin cognition. City College associate professor of biology, Ofer Tchernichovski, who studies brains and vocal learning in birds, says birds, which are capable of vocal learning, even “dedicate” part of their brain to produce and learn bird songs. In a lecture, “Bird Culture and Dolphin Intelligence: How we learn from animal behavior,” part of the Serving Science Cafe Series, Reiss and Tchernichovski discuss their own research, and their collaborative study at the Baltimore National Aquarium to decode dolphin vocalization.
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Rivers at Risk

December 1, 2010 | City College, Newsmakers

Nearly 80 percent of the world’s rivers are so adversely affected by humanity’s footprint that the drinking water of 5 billion people and the survival of thousands of aquatic species are threatened, according to a report in the September issue of Nature. “We’ve repaired problems after they arise,” says Charles Vörsömarty, a professor of civil engineering and director of CUNY’s Environmental Crossroads Initiative at City College and the lead author of the study entitled, “Global Threats to Human Water Security and River Biodiversity.” Vörsömarty insists that there should be a more proactive approach and a global sharing of information and tools. We should be “protecting ecosystems and allowing ecosystems to do the very good job that they naturally do in providing stable and clean water supplies.”
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New Dominican Gallery Opens

December 1, 2010 | City College, Newsmakers

In recent years, the Dominican Republic has accounted for the largest number of the foreign-born residents in New York City. And now a new exhibition space has opened to celebrate that experience. “We wanted people to see the diversity of the Dominican people,” says Ramona Hernandez, director of the CUNY Dominican Studies Institute at City College, about the gallery, which is housed in the library’s multipurpose room. The inaugural show, “Manifestaciones,” by the artistic collective Dominican York Proyecto GRAFICA, is a set of 12 prints that explore the Dominican American identity.
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Greenland’s Hottest Year Ever

October 13, 2010 | City College, CUNY Lecture Series

With its massive — and melting — ice sheets, Greenland is the ideal laboratory for scientists studying the effects of global warming, says Marco Tedesco, assistant professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the City College of New York. This summer, scientists recorded Greenland’s hottest year ever, a “spectacular, catastrophic year in the arctic,” according to Tedesco, who spoke on “Glacial Meltdown and the Impact of Global Warming,” at the University’s Serving Science lecture series. “Since we started observing Greenland, using satellites in 1979, there’s been a strong increase in both melting and surface temperature,” he says.
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Obesity’s Sick Days

September 21, 2010 | City College, Newsmakers

The number of work days Americans lose each year due to obesity has more than doubled in the past two decades, according to a new study co-authored by Erica Lubetkin, acting chair of the Department of Community Health and Social Medicine at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. “Many creative solutions will be needed to reverse this trend,” says Lubetkin, “and these interventions must be implemented through an individual’s life span — particularly during early childhood.”
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Nobel Laureate Lederman, Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor Address CUNY Grads

June 11, 2010 | City College, CUNY Lecture Series, Hostos Community College

Nobel Laureate Leon M. Lederman challenged The City College’s Class of 2010 to “help make the world a better place” in a commencement speech delivered 67 years after his own graduation from CCNY. The renowned physicist, who received his B.S. in chemistry in 1943, urged the graduates to tackle the most difficult issues of their time. “The major concerns facing the citizens of the 21st century will be population growth, environmental and global climate change, and the increasing gap between the rich and poor,” said Lederman. “It’s my wish that you — beneficiaries of the greatest education I know — can enjoy its benefits and help make the world a better place.” Other distinguished speakers at The City University of New York’s 2010 commencement ceremonies included U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who told Hostos Community College graduates of her mother’s struggle as a single parent and return to school, at 47, for a nursing degree. “Hostos opened the doors to my mother’s dreams and it opened the path to where I am today,” said Justice Sotomayor.
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