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Pulitzer-winning author to speak, receive honorary degree

Dr. Martin Sherwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and nuclear policy expert, will receive an honorary doctorate from BGSU during a visit to campus this week. Immediately following the conferral of the degree, he will give a talk titled “Oppenheimer’s Shadow: His Nuclear World and Ours” at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 5) in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union Theater.

A brilliant physicist, J. Robert Oppenheimer was widely known as "the father of the atomic bomb." After World War II, he became a leading advocate of international control of atomic energy and an opponent of developing the hydrogen bomb. During the post-World War II “Red Scare,” his loyalty was questioned in public hearings, and he lost his security clearance. “His life is fascinating and raises important, if troubling, issues that we confront today,” said Dr. Donald Nieman, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, which is sponsoring Sherwin’s visit.

A book signing and reception will follow his talk, which is free and open to the public.

Sherwin will also participate Wednesday evening in a panel discussion of the lessons to be learned from Oppenheimer’s life. Some of the issues still pertinent today include the control of nuclear power, the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the role of open debate in a democratic society. Moderated by Tom Walton, former editor of the Toledo Blade, the panel will also include Dr. Gary Hess, Distinguished Research Professor of history, and Dr. Walter Grunden, history. It will be held at 7:30 p.m. in 201 Union.

A history professor at Tufts University, Sherwin’s writings have influenced national discussion of foreign and national security policy for the past three decades. His 1976 book, A World Destroyed: The Atomic Bomb and the Grand Alliance, is a classic analysis of atomic diplomacy and the origins of the Cold War. Sherwin was awarded the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in biography for his book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, co-authored with Kai Bird.

In an effort to break down the Cold War barriers between the United States and the former U.S.S.R. on the level of the private citizen, he spent the 1980s traveling and teaching in Russia, and took American students there as part of his “Global Classroom.” It was during one of those trips that he met Dr. Douglas Neckers, McMaster Distinguished Research Professor and executive director of BGSU’s Center for Photochemical Sciences, and former BGSU President Paul Olscamp, who were forming an alliance with Mendeleev University in Moscow. Sherwin has also worked extensively with Hess.


Friends seek nominees for author, artist recognition

Chairs and directors of academic departments, schools and programs are asked to nominate individuals for recognition at the annual Authors and Artists Reception, sponsored by the Friends of University Libraries.

For more than 20 years, BGSU faculty and staff have been recognized for their scholarly works and achievements. This year's reception will be hosted on Nov. 7. The deadline for nominations is Sept. 20.

For detailed criteria and submission information, visit


All-Campus Picnic, Campus Fest go to ‘extreme degrees’

The campus community is invited to enjoy free lunch and a look at campus activities and organizations at the All-Campus Picnic and Campus Fest Friday (Sept. 7). The picnic will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the University Hall lawn, with Campus Fest tables around the Union Oval.

Be sure to stop by the “COSMOS Extreme Degrees” event that will be going on from about 11:50 to 1:20 p.m. in front of the Mathematical Sciences Building and Overman Hall. Sponsored by COSMOS (Center of Excellence for Science and Mathematics Education), the College of Arts & Sciences, the School of Teaching and Learning, COSI, the Tractor Supply Company and American Rental, the demonstrations are designed to help recruit undecided majors into STEM-related (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines.

On the program are:

• Extreme Fluids, 11:50 a.m. to 1:20 p.m., in which cornstarch and water create a non-Newtonian fluid that sometimes acts like a solid and sometimes a liquid.

• Extreme Life, 11:50 a.m. to 1:20 p.m., with animals from Dr. Eileen Underwood's Herpetarium. 

• COSI Extreme Fountain, at 12:21 p.m. See 600 bottles of Diet Coke and mint Life Savers create a chemical and physical reaction that erupts into a fountain, choreographed to music.

The rain date for the picnic is Sept. 14.

September 4, 2007