UMass Lowell Professor John Shirley teaches Harmonica class to LIRA.

Winter 2014 Schedule

The 2014 Winter 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 Intersession programs. The time for these programs is 10 a.m. - noon. The Intersession programs are all Wednesdays and will be held in the Campus Recreation Center, 292 Aiken Street, Lowell, MA, with the exception of two sessions that are tours:  Jan. 22 and Feb. 12.  The Rec Center is on the corner of Aiken and Pawtucket Streets; the entrance is facing Pawtucket Street. Parking is in the garage directly across the street or in the Perkins Parking lot. Your ID is needed to enter the garage or lot and the Rec Center. Please use your parking hangtags wherever you park.
PLEASE NOTE:  Three of the programs noted below (January 29, February 5, February 19) are meeting in the University Suites, 327 Aiken Street, Room #106A.  The building is right across the street from the Rec Center and parking is the same as above.

Dec. 11 -  Book Discussion - Toby Hodes*
10 a.m. - noon, The Great Gatsby fiction by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Location to be announced)

Jan. 8 -  Art and the Microscope - Tim Bromage

Analyzing hard tissue to solve the mysteries of skeletal development was once a struggle, but with digital imaging, researchers today can creatively alter colors to highlight miniscule but important features or apply algorithms to calculate the tissue’s growth rate. By employing artistic principals as they manipulate color and structure, researchers create images startling in their beauty as well as scientifically important.  Dr. Timothy Bromage, an NYU College of Dentistry Professor of Biomaterials and Biometrics and of Basic Science and Craniofacial Biology has come to LIRA twice before—this time for pairing art and science.
Coordinator:  Dorothy Bromage*

Jan. 15 - The Many Lives of Sherlock Holmes - Dr. Melissa Pennell, Professor of English, UMass Lowell
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle introduced the character of Sherlock Holmes in 1887’s A Study in Scarlet. Holmes went on to appear in three other novels, including the popular Hound of the Baskervilles and more than 50 short stories. Conan Doyle tried to end Holmes’career and life in the confrontation with Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls, but reader demand brought about his return. Reader demand and fan interest has turned Sherlock Holmes into an immortal character. In this talk and discussion, we’ll look at the original Holmes and at clips of some of the movie and television adaptations; we’ll then consider the many authors, as well as film and television productions, that continue to invent new versions of Holmes and his detective career.
Coordinator:  Ann Dahlman*

Jan. 22 - Color Revolution: Style Meets Science in the 1960s

Chemists and manufacturers were experimenting with new fibers and dyes after World War II and these experiments in technology, combined with a cultural reaction against the perceived dreariness of the wartime legacy, resulted in an artistic explosion of color and patterning in the 1960s. We will have a talk on the Color Revolution by staff and the Director of Interpretation will talk about exhibits at the American Textile History Museum. Please meet at the Museum, 491 Dutton Street #2, Lowell, MA at 10 a.m.
Coordinator:  Beverly Rudeen*

Jan. 29 - The World Crisis About Water - Nick Schott
LOCATION CHANGED to University Suites, Room #106A

About 70 percent of the earth is covered with water but only 2 percent is fresh water. Population growth, pollution, deforestation, and climate change have put a great strain on this vital resource. Many parts of the world have great fresh water scarcities that can lead to wars, famines, and disease.  Reliable, clean, affordable, safe water can prevent many diseases and allow us a lifestyle and standard of living that is the best in history, but can it last? We may have to change our lifestyle, agriculture, technology to live in harmony with nature and have a decent life for all the people of the world.  Both fresh water and the ocean water are under stress and solutions must be found before it is too late. Nick Schott is Emeritus Professor, UMass Lowell-Plastics Engineering.
Coordinator:  Jean Schott*

Jan. 29 - Book Discussion - Toby Hodes*
LOCATION CHANGED to University Suites, Room #106B

12:30 - 2:30p.m.  The Round House, fiction by Louise Erdrich

Feb. 5 - Terrorism Then and Now - Neil Shortland, Senior Research Associate, Criminal Justice, UMass Lowell
LOCATION CHANGED to University Suites, Room #106A

Neil’s primary research interest is terrorist behavior, and specifically how this can be used to inform the counter-terrorism, both at the policy level and at the investigative level. He is also interested in socio-psychological factors of military operations and problems currently faced by deployed forces.
Coordinator: Russ MacLeod*

Feb. 12 - Robot Testing Capabilities at the UMass Lowell NERVE Center - Adam Norton

The New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation (NERVE) Center is a dedicated testing, training, and research at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. The 10,000 square foot space houses replicas of robot test methods from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), water features designed in collaboration with the Army, an indoor rain area, and many other NERVE-designed test apparatuses.  The NERVE Center also houses a machine shop used for wood working, 3D printing, and laser cutting. During this event there will be a tour of the test courses and machine shop, as well as a demo of an Inuktun VGTV robot.

Meet at the NERVE Center, 1001 Pawtucket Boulevard (Route 113), Lowell, MA at 10 a.m.  As you enter the parking lot, the company COBHAM will be on your left. The NERVE Center’s main entrance is located around the back of the building between the loading docks. Please park on your right in the area designated for ‘Day Event Parking’ and walk down the street to the Center entrance.
Coordinator: Jeri Durant*

Feb. 19 - The Development of Artificial Heart Technology: Past, Present and a Look into the Future - Victor Poirier
LOCATION CHANGED to University Suites, Room #106A

Our past president Lyndon Johnson suffered a mild heart attack in 1965 and asked the following question “Why don’t we have an artificial heart in this country? We sent a man to the moon and back and we don’t have a heart.”
This was the starting point and that is when I became involved in developing Heartmate Technology. This talk will describe the challenges that faced us and the significant effort put forth in over 30 years of research looking at over 20 different pump configurations as well as multiple types of power sources including nuclear energy. After completing over 500 hundred animal trials we undertook the first clinical trial in humans in 1975. This was followed by six additional trials which evaluated first generation pulsatile pumps and second generation high speed rotary pumps. In all, three pump configurations were FDA approved as well as applications for a bridge to transplant and as an alternative to transplant. To date over 20,000 Heartmate devices have been implanted to support desperately ill patients, one of which was vice president Dick Cheney. 
Coordinator:  Leon Poirier*

Feb. 19 - Book Discussion – Toby Hodes*
LOCATION CHANGED to University Suites, Room #106B

12:30 - 2:30p.m.  Polio: An American Story, non-fiction by David Oshimsky.

Feb. 26 - Ted Williams and the Red Sox - Bill Nowlin

Bill Nowlin will talk on Ted Williams and the Red Sox. This talk will focus on Williams’ drive to be the best at whatever he undertook – batting, fishing, or flying bombers with John Glenn during the Korean War. 
Coordinator:  Nancy Pitkin*

*Member of LIRA