UMass Lowell Professor John Shirley teaches Harmonica class to LIRA.

Fall 2012 Schedule

Most fall study groups will meet in the Meeting Room at the Campus Recreation Center, 100 Pawtucket Street, Lowell.  The Rec Center is a controlled entry building.  Please bring your LIRA photo ID to classes.  The exceptions to meeting at the Rec Center are Thursday, October 18, Wednesday, October 24 and Thursday, October 25.  Classes on these dates will meet in the Talon Club Room at the Tsongas Center, 300 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Lowell.  

Registration will take place at Convocation, Wednesday, September 12 at 10 a.m. in Alumni Hall.   If you are unable to be present at Convocation, it is helpful that you choose your fall courses and ask someone to fill out a signup sheet in your name.   Each course description includes, beneath the title, the person who is presenter or facilitator. Below the paragraph is the name of the course coordinator who makes the arrangements and has responsibility for carrying out details of the class.   Questions regarding the class may be directed to the coordinator.


Eight Mondays 10 a.m. – Noon  Sep. 24, Oct. 1, 15, 22, 29, Nov. 5, 12, 19

Presenter:  Frank Carroll*

The approaching fall season of the Shakespeare class will, for the first time do a first and a second simultaneously. We have decided to read a play already looked at several years ago, and that means we will again read "Hamlet". At the last session of the spring class we were discussing what play we might look at in the fall, and when I just suggested that we could look at one of the great tragedies such as "Lear,” "Macbeth," or "Hamlet" once more, you guessed it--Hamlet won as our next choice by unanimous acclamation.  Although taken completely by surprise, I look forward to once again plumbing the depths of meaning, as well as the glorious poetry of this play.  So, Hamlet it is, and all are welcome. The only requirement is a text of the play.    

Coordinator:  Ann Dahlman*


Four Mondays 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.   Sep. 24, Oct. 1, 15, 22

Presenter:  Barbara Page*

Sep. 24 – Sing Your Song:  This biography of Harry Belafonte covers his many decades as a performer and as an advocate for human rights.

Oct. 1 – The English Surgeon:  Dr. Henry Marsh founds a quality brain surgery clinic in the former Soviet Union.

Oct. 15 – Man on Wire:  Philippe Petit captured the world’s attention when he walked across a high-wire strung between New York’s Twin Towers.

Oct. 22 – The Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey – Leon Theremin was a Russian inventor. This documentary traces his life in Russia and America, with emphasis on the device known as the theremin, an early synthesizer.

Coordinator:  Dorothy Bromage*


Four Mondays 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.   Oct. 29, Nov. 5, 12, 19

Presenter:  Jeanne Gunion*

The Classical style as exemplified in the music of Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) will be listened to and appreciated through studying his works and life, as presented in the Teaching Company’s video lecture series by Robert Greenberg.

Coordinator:  Martha Hill*


Eight Tuesdays 10 a.m. – Noon   Sep. 18, 25, Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, Nov. 6

Facilitator:  Alan Kent*

The first part of this video course marches through various parts of the body or physiological functions, examining first what happens during stress experience by a zebra or lion (great adaptiveness for them) and then how chronic stress winds up being bad news for us.  The role of personality differences is explored.  The final two lectures are an overview of stress management.

Robert Sapolsky is professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery at Stanford University.  LIRA members may remember a previous video course for which he was the lecturer:  "Biology and Human Behavior."

Coordinator:  Carole Mumby*


Seven Tuesdays 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.    Sep. 25, Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, Nov. 6

Facilitator: Toby Hodes*

This fall we will complete our studies of the three Abrahamic religions with the newest of them, Islam.  Among the topics we will cover are the history of Islam, the Five Pillars of Islam, the Quran, Islamic law, the intersection of faith and politics, and issues facing Moslems in the west.  We will use a series of 12 video lectures with follow-up discussions from the Teaching Company and perhaps have a guest lecturer.

Coordinator:  Russ MacLeod*


Eight Wednesdays 10 a.m. – Noon Sep.19, Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, Nov. 7, 14

Beginning with September 19, meetings will start at 10 a.m. and go until Noon.  Please see attached schedule for dates, times, topics, coordinators of the Art and Music sessions, and the locations of those not at the Rec Center.   

Coordinator:  Barbara Page*


Eight Thursdays 10 a.m. – Noon  Sep. 20, 27, Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25, Nov. 1, 8

Facilitator:  Shirley Mitchell*

The Great Decisions studies are based on current materials supplied by the Foreign Policy Association in Washington, D.C.  The following four topics will be discussed this semester:   Promoting democracy:  foreign policy imperative?; Middle East realignment:  the Arab upheaval; Indonesia:  prospects for prosperity;  State of the oceans:  waves of change. These topics are covered in the 2012 briefing book.  Join our group as we share knowledge and discuss these timely topics.

Coordinator:  Shirley Mitchell*


Eight Thursdays 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. Sep. 20, 27, Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25, Nov. 1, 8

Facilitator:  Bob Hanlon*

For thousands of years, the star-filled sky has been a source of wonder, discovery, entertainment, and instruction. Ancient peoples from nearly every continent and culture have told exciting stories about the mythical figures they saw in the heavens.  But why has the night sky captivated people for millennia? What different elements make up the tapestry of lights spread across the heavens? And how much of the universe can we actually observe with the human eye? Learn the answers to these questions and many more in this engaging video course taught by NASA researcher Professor Edward Murphy. Whether you’re totally new to astronomy or looking to share your interest in the stars with others, he’ll guide you on an amazing journey through the celestial spheres of the night sky. Learn about constellations, planets, stars, and meteors.  As an added bonus, we will view some segments of physicist Brian Greene’s award winning NOVA documentary on the fabric of the cosmos.

Coordinator:  Dorothy Bromage*


Four Friday sessions, 10 a.m. – Noon Sep. 21, Oct. 19, Nov. 16, Dec. (to be announced)

Facilitator:   Toby Hodes*

Do you like to read fiction or perhaps the classics, or are biographies your preference?  Perhaps, you are an aficionado of non-fiction.  Whatever your genre preference, guaranteed sometime during the year the book group will read and discuss an example thereof. And what is more inviting to a passionate reader than an opportunity to discuss a book - like it or hate it - with other like-minded people? Our discussions are always lively, interesting, and varied, and a new point of view is always welcome.   Our selections for fall 2012 are:

September - Steve Jobs, biography by Walter Isaacson

October - The Right Hand Shore, fiction by Christopher Tilgham

November - Destiny of the Republic, non-fiction by Diane Millard

December - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, fiction by Betty Smith

Coordinator:  Toby Hodes*

*Denotes LIRA member