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Winter 2017

The 2017 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. All intersession programs are 10 a.m. – Noon and all programs will meet at University Suites, Room 106A, 327 Aiken Street, Lowell. Parking for on campus programs is in the garage directly across the street from the Rec Center or in the Perkins Parking lot. Your ID is needed to enter the garage or lot. Please use your parking hangtags wherever you park. On street parking is also available in metered spaces. Note that the Hawk’s Nest Café will not be open for coffee during the first two weeks of January. It will reopen on January 17.

January 4 Six Frigates - Peter Sebelius*
On March 10, 1794, the American Congress authorized then Secretary of War, Henry Knox, to build or buy six frigates for the colossal sum of $688,888. The need for an American Navy was driven primarily by threats against its merchant shipping from the Barbary pirates. These ships, their Captains, crews, the famous and infamous battles they fought and the impact they had on American History will be the focus of this presentation. One of the original six frigates, the USS Constitution, is still on the active duty roster of U.S. Navy and is homeported right here in Boston.

Coordinator: Skip Youngberg*

January 11 Water Politics - Chris Wilkinson
Explore Hydropolitics in terms of policy, access, privatization and degradation of humanity's only true resource: potable water. Everything has a water footprint from food, clothing, housing and even transportation. Examine the policies that ensure those who have never had access stay that way, to those who have had their access stripped by carefully crafted legislation and privatization. The twenty first century marks the end of the oil wars and start of the water wars.

Coordinator: Richard Grove*

January 18 Mystery Books - A Surprise! - Melissa Pennell
Please join us for a return engagement for a program that will focus on mystery and detective novels with Melissa Pennell. Her field of expertise is 19th and early 20th century American literature and in mystery and detective fiction and in New England regional writers. Her programs are always exciting and very entertaining – and we learn something too!

Coordinator: Russ MacLeod*

January 18 Book Discussion
Facilitator: Toby Hodes*
12:30 – 2:30 p.m. "We are Market Basket", non-fiction by Daniel Korschun & Grant Welker

January 25 Movable Books (and cards) – Bev and Kim Rudeen*
Did you have a favorite book with moving parts in your childhood? Perhaps you’ve given your child/grandchild such a book. Bev and Kim Rudeen have a liking for these pop-up books or movable books too. They will give a lecture on pop-ups, their history, show some interesting videos, and report on the Moveable Book Conference that they attended in September 2016 in Boston. They will bring many examples to share and we will also make a pop-up card.

Coordinator: Dina Gerosideris*

February 1 "American Philosophy: A Love Story" - Professor John Kaag
John Kaag is a dispirited young philosopher when he stumbles upon West Wind, a ruin of an estate in the hinterlands of New Hampshire that belonged to the eminent Harvard philosopher William Ernest Hocking. Hocking was one of the last true giants of American philosophy.

The books Kaag discovers in the Hocking library are crawling with insects and full of mold. But he resolves to restore them, as he immediately recognizes their importance. Not only does the library at West Wind contain handwritten notes from Whitman and inscriptions from Frost, but there are startlingly rare first editions of Hobbes, Descartes, and Kant. Part intellectual history, part memoir, American Philosophy is ultimately about love, freedom, and the role that wisdom can play in turning one’s life around.

Coordinator: Suzanne Gamache*

February 8 Bridging the Generational Gap - Conversations with UMass Lowell Students
An intergenerational contact project to be piloted spring of 2017!

This pilot program will partner UMass Lowell College of Health Sciences undergraduate students with LIRA members. Under the guidance of Faculty, the students who are enrolled in the Introduction to Gerontology course will lead discussions with LIRA members about various aging issues and identify “service needs” in Lowell and surrounding communities. Each student in a group will be pre-assigned with a specific aging issue to discuss in the meeting. Students will write a reflection paper and work on a group project as a part of class assignment. The LIRA members will benefit from this project by contributing to a developing educational initiative! We enthusiastically welcome your participation.

Coordinator: Toby Hodes*

February 15 "Secret War" Jesse Heines*
The book, "Secret War", is the true story of a Greek espionage organization during the Nazi occupation, written by its founder and leader. Although six of Rigopoulos’s closest companions were caught and executed, cunning, heroic friends, and no small amount of luck helped him escape and survive to write the story of Service 5-16-5 and the surrounding events. The book captures the struggle of an enslaved people and the spirit of those who resisted. This book was written in Greek. Heines worked with both his friend and his friend’s father, the author, over a period of three years to bring the book into English.

Coordinator: Bonnie Heines*

February 15 Book Discussion
Facilitor: Toby Hodes*

12:30 – 2:30 p.m. "Homegoing", fiction by Yaa Gyasi

February 22 Mathematics: Invented or Discovered? Beautiful or Bewildering? Alan Friedman*
Math is a word that most people hear and run the other way. But math has been an essential element of human thought at least as long as speech, and nobody is afraid of talking and listening. Most of us fall short of Shakespeare, but that doesn’t prevent us from keeping journals, sending e-mails, and (heaven help us) tweeting. Why shouldn’t we get in touch with our inner mathematicians? Engage in an interactive discussion and exploration of the intrinsic nature of math. Use a little linguistic archaeology to investigate how Homo sapiens first engaged with math. Watch brief videos, some animated, some featuring famous mathematicians you never heard of. Provide input into Alan's planning for a spring course, to be entitled "One two three … infinity: a biography of numbers."

No prior experience is required. No equations will be solved. However, depending on class interest, we may poke our noses into the subject of non-Euclidian geometry, which provoked lively discussion in this fall’s classes on General Relativity.

Alan Friedman is a retired manager at Digital Equipment Corporation / Hewlett Packard. He is not afraid of math.

Coordinator: Sally Coulter*

*Denotes LIRA member