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Course Schedules

2019 Summer Intersession

The 2019 Summer Intersession, given between semesters, offers to retirees and those semi-retired, a sample of LIRA’s almost year- round program and friendly community. The program is planned and much of it provided by the members themselves. The general public is invited to all Summer Intersession programs.

All programs are on Wednesday except for the Book Discussion. 
Important note: All remaining classes for the summer Intersession (July 10, 17 and 24) will be held in O'Leary Library room 222.  There is plenty of parking in the 61 Wilder Street lot where we parked last summer.  Please use your parking hang-tags wherever you park.

Friday, May 17: Book Discussion 10 a.m. to Noon,
Location: McGauvran Center, Room 320, 71 Wilder Street, Lowell. Parking is right across the street in the Wilder Lot 

"H is for Hawk, a Memoir" by Helen MacDonald

Coordinator: Toby Hodes*


June 5: A City of Cotton and Opposition to Slavery - Robert Forrant, Ph.D.
Without Southern cotton and riches from the trade in human beings there’d be no Lowell mills. The eve of the Civil War, Lowell mills consumed 405 tons of cotton a week. Yet, with its dependence on cotton, many in the city opposed the institution of slavery and formed a variety of organizations to express their opinions. At the same time, fugitives from slavery lived and worked in Lowell. Women mill workers formed a female anti-slavery society in the 1830s. Abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass spoke in Lowell numerous times. Garrison's Liberator and Douglass's North Star were sold across the city and Holiday Bazaars raised money for the Underground Railroad. The city’s anti-slavery advocates counseled people to disobey the 1850 Fugitive Slave Law, while its churches offered sanctuary. After the Law’s passage, several fugitives fled Lowell to Canada. An October 1850 article in the Lowell Advertiser reported on a meeting held to discuss this situation. Pledges to defy the federal government rang out. “No complicity with slavery!” became a rallying cry.

Coordinator: Diane Baker*


June 12: “The Adventures and Misadventures of a Writer in Search of Her Audience" - Sharon Healy-Yang, Ph.D.
Sharon Healy-Yang has a passion for classic mysteries on the page or screen as well as a delight in bewitching audiences that inspired her to create mysterious tales of her own. She'll be sharing how her love of history and mystery led her to write Bait and Switch and Letter from a Dead Man, two novels that present a 1940s smart-talking gal making her way through the twists and turns of a noir world at war to save herself and those she loves. Healy-Yang will also share how her long journey as a writer and a seeker after publication finally led to the opportunity to present her writing to readers. She is excited to perhaps give some inspiration and guidance to writers who are also seeking to commit their creativity to paper (or computer screen) and get that work out to an audience.

Coordinator: Nancy Pitkin*


June 19: Trip to Hammond Castle, Gloucester, Mass.
Visitors are often surprised to see a true European castle on the New England shoreline in Gloucester, Hammond Castle was built in the late 1920s by scientist, inventor, and interestingly enough, an art connoisseur of the highest order, John Hays Hammond, Jr. (1888-1965). Sitting high on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the castle brings together a unique combination of art, architectural elements and culture, backstopped by many innovative technological applications.
Our tour will last up to 90 minutes, and we will visit almost every room of this amazing home by the sea. We will learn about the unique collections, the dining and lifestyle of the Hammonds, and the stories about them and their famous guests. Tour is scheduled for 10:30 am.
Bus will leave from the back parking lot at Hannaford in Chelmsford at 8:30 am. Cost:  $22 for LIRA members; $27 for non-members.  Bring a lunch to eat on the bus.  We will return to Hannaford between 1:30 and 2 p.m.. Please send the check to: Susan Lemire, 40 Fowler Rd., Lowell, MA, 01854 by June 9. Make the check out to: LIRA Inc.

Coordinator: Susan Lemire*


Friday, June 21: Book Discussion 10 a.m. to Noon, Location TBD
"Educated: A Memoir," non-fiction by Tara Westover

Coordinator: Toby Hodes*


June 26: Breaking the Enigma Code - Leon Poirier, Ph.D.
It is widely accepted that breaking the ‘unbreakable’ Enigma code at Bletchley Park shortened WWII by one to two years. Among the thousands of people recruited to work at Bletchley Park were chess masters, mathematicians, linguists, cryptologists, radio operators, academics from Cambridge and Oxford, and the creator of the British Bombe that broke the Enigma code, Alan Turing. Leon Poirier will describe how the Enigma Machine encoded messages, discuss the work at Bletchley Park, and show the development of Turing’s Bombe that made it possible to read German communications.

Coordinator: Bob Hanlon*


July 10: New Directions/New Authors in Mystery and Detective Fiction - Melissa Pennell, Ph.D. 
Note: This session will be held in O'Leary Library room 222.

Many people have favorite writers of long standing in mystery and detective fiction, but the genre is ever-changing and new writers regularly introduce a detective and/or series that soon becomes another fan favorite. This presentation will look at the work of some of these authors and their additions to the field, as well as mentioning some new releases by old favorites.

Coordinator: Susan Lemire*


July 17: The Sputnik Years - J. Kelly Beatty
Note: This session will be held in O'Leary Library room 222.

When a Russian rocket lofted Sputnik 1 into orbit on October 4, 1957, the worldwide reaction was a mixture of awe and apprehension. The Space Age — and the Space Race — had begun. To an American public that had grown accustomed to our country’s growing global primacy, Sputnik’s launch was a traumatic wake-up call. This retrospective will explore the events leading up to Sputnik's launch, the political fallout that led to America's response (Explorer 1), the formation of NASA, and the crucial role that amateur astronomers played in tracking the first satellites.

Coordinator: Peter Sebelius*


July 24: Understanding Artificial Intelligence - Peter Sebelius* and Bob Hanlon*
Note: this session will be held in O'Leary Library room 222.

Artificial Intelligence is changing our world. From healthcare diagnostic systems that predict what’s wrong with us to financial systems that process our credit applications to self-driving cars and beyond. There are even some who predict massive disruption in the job market as tasks that once required people become automated. The USA is now in a race against China to see who can lead the world in this technology. Come learn what Artificial Intelligence is, what it is being used for, and how it works.

Coordinators: Peter Sebelius* and Bob Hanlon*


July 31: Trip to Gropius House, Lincoln, Mass.
Walter Gropius, founder of the German design school known as the Bauhaus, was one of the most influential architects of the twentieth century. He designed Gropius House as his family home when he began to teach architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Modest in scale, the house was revolutionary in impact. Gropius House is a National Historic Landmark.  Gropius House in Lincoln, MA, combined traditional elements of New England architecture—wood, brick, and fieldstone—with innovative materials including glass block, acoustical plaster, chrome banisters, and the latest technology in fixtures. With the family’s possessions still in place, Gropius House has a sense of immediacy and intimacy. The tour will be at 10 a.m. and last about an hour- limit 20 people. We are free to walk the grounds after the formal tour.

We will carpool, leaving from the back parking lot at Hannaford in Chelmsford at 8:45 am.  Admission is $12 for senior citizens. Please send check to Susan Lemire, 40 Fowler Rd., Lowell, MA, 01854 by July 21. Make the check out to: LIRA Inc.

Coordinator: Susan Lemire*

*Indicates LIRA member