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December 1, 2006

The Science, Politics, and Ethics of Stem Cell Research

Why would a prominent stem cell researcher with a world-class reputation and an office view of the Golden Gate Bridge move from the University of California-San Francisco to the University of Minnesota? According to Dr. Firpo, "This was the only place that I could go to move science forward in the way I want to move it."
On December 7, 2006, University of Minnesota research scientist Meri Firpo, professor of medicine and endocrinology and a pioneer in embryonic stem cell research, discussed the future of stem cell research and medicine in light of the changing political landscape. Listen to her Headliners presentation by downloading the audio (mp3 file).

November 1, 2006

The Social Web

There have been precious few innovations that have changed the way humans, as a society, behave. We gathered around fire, we moved our bodies with wheels and our minds with the printing press. Sure, there have been other milestones along the way. But nothing changed our societal DNA like instant, always-on access to a global community and its data vault of knowledge -- the Internet.
In the wake of Google's acquisition of YouTube and Reuters launch of a virtual Second Life bureau, University of Minnesota computer science professor John Riedl discussed humanity's "Social Web" in the November 2006 presentation. Download the audio of the event (mp3 file).

October 1, 2006

The Prospects for Peace in the Middle East

The 34-day Lebanese-Israeli conflict in the summer of 2006 claimed over 1,000 lives and caused the displacement of more than one million people on both sides of the border. What were the causes of the war? Was it connected to Iran's ambitions, the U.S. war in Iraq, Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, or another cause? What do we make of how it was fought? What have been its consequences? In Lebanon, how did the war and the subsequent U.N. peacekeeping operation impact Hezbollah and its political standing among average Lebanese? What is the fallout for the Israeli government? What are the prospects for regional stability? Was this war just one of many in the Middle East, or does it suggest a different and perhaps darker future for the region?

University of Minnesota professor Michael Barnett discussed these and other questions in the October 2006 presentation, archived here as an mp3.