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“Making Connections” lecture series to debut

September 28, 2011

The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History is sponsoring a series of monthly lectures that focus on wide-ranging topics, from art to science in popular culture, beginning on October 9, 2011. The lecture series is entitled “Making Connections: Lectures on the Lighter Side of Nuclear Science.”

The first lecture, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 9, is based on the art of Doug Waterfield, an artist and professor from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. His “Doomtown Series” paintings were created in response to the phenomenon of the appearance of the atomic bomb in American culture. The subjects of these works depict an assimilation, sterilization, and domestication of the threat of nuclear war into our culture. Eleven of his paintings are now included in the latest atomic pop culture exhibit entitled “Bikinis and Martinis: Life After the Bomb” at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History.

There will be a lecture entitled “End of an Era” on at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov.13, by Ted Spitzmiller. His presentation will chronicle the development of the Shuttle—considered the most complex machine devised by man—and the reasons it failed to achieve its primary goals. It reviews the two tragic failures that crippled the program and concludes with the prospects for the future of human space flight. Spitzmiller attended the Army’s Ordinance Guided Missile School in Huntsville, Alabama and nuclear weapons training at Sandia Base in New Mexico, where he taught in the Atomic Weapons Training Group. He has worked for IBM, Intel, and the Los Alamos National Laboratory from which he retired in 2001. He is an aerospace historian, pilot, and flight instructor. He has logged over 4,500 hours in more than 60 different types of aircraft. His articles have appeared in all major aviation magazines and he has published five books. As a member of the National Space Society, he is a regular contributor to their book reviews.

The next lecture in the series will take place at 2 p.m. on Jan. 15, 2012. Gary Jobson, a sailor and filmmaker, will discuss “Energy on Trial,” which he produced. According to Jobson, “’Energy On Trial’ addresses the energy source groups one by one, presenting the pros and cons of each. Along the way, an impressive array of experts from the scientific, academic, political, and business communities is heard from. The film concludes that while we will require all forms of energy to meet the huge demands of a growing population, and new elements like electric vehicles, the role of new nuclear power must be augmented to shoulder the immense base load we require.” Jobson is a world class sailor, television commentator and author based in Annapolis, Maryland. He is President of US SAILING, the National Governing Body of Sailing. Gary has authored 17 sailing books and is Editor at Large of Sailing World and Cruising World magazines.

The lectures are free with regular admission ($8 for adults) to the Museum.

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