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The Discovery Lecture Series is administered through Discovery Park and was created through a grant to Discovery Park in 2006 from The Lilly Endowment.  The Discovery Lecture Series provided a vehicle to celebrate the many interdisciplinary partnerships at Discovery Park and to highlight the tenth anniversary of Discovery Park.  Four Discovery Lecture Series events were held in April 2012 that reflect strong partnerships across the campus as Discovery Park continues its work. 

First, on April 16, 2012, Professor Elinor Ostrom, Recipient of the 2009 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, spoke to an overflow crowd on "Confronting Challenging Collective Action Problems."  Prof. Ostrom's address was the keynote address for the 2012 Purdue University Workshop on Informal Institutions & Intractable Global Problems.  The co-sponsors for this lecture included the College of Liberal Arts, the Global Policy Research Institute, Purdue's Global Sustainability Initiative, and the Purdue Climate Change Research Center.  A large number of students attended this free presentation.  Professor Ostrom's remarks were very well received.

On April 20th, 2012, Discovery Park sponsored a Discovery Lecture Series event to specifically commemorate the tenth anniversary of Discovery Park.  The keynote speaker, Frans Johansson, authored The Medici Effect and his presentation was titled, "The Medici Effect: Groundbreaking Innovation at the Intersection of Disciplines & Cultures."  Frans spoke to a crowd of about 400 persons including faculty, staff, students, and community members.  Preceding his lecture, Frans had lunch with fifteen students and faculty from the Professional Writing major in the department of English.  The group included both undergraduate and graduate students who asked questions about the writing process, working with publishers, and concepts in his book.  Frans Johansson also toured Discovery Park and was shown highlights about the outcomes of interdisciplinary collaboration at Purdue.  The night before his presentation, Discovery Park celebrated its tenth anniversary with a dinner including both President Emeritus Martin Jischke and current President France Cόrdova as well as all Discovery Park Center Directors and External Advisory Council members.

On April 23rd, 2012, the Discovery Lecture Series was a co-sponsor with Purdue's Global Sustainability Initiative and the Center for the Environment for a presentation by Dr. John Robinson, Executive Vice President, Conservation and Science Wildlife Conservation Society.  Dr. Robinson's talk, "Conservation and Sustainability in a Human-Dominated World," was part of Purdue's Earth Day Symposium.  While he was on campus, Dr. Robinson attended a workshop and met with numerous faculty and students.

The last presentation of this April series was Dr. Laurie Marker, Founder and Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund.  Her Discovery Lecture Series presentation, "A Race to the Future to save the Wild Cheetah," was co-sponsored with the College of Veterinary Medicine.  Her audience included faculty, numerous students, and community members.  While she was at Purdue, Dr. Marker met with several faculty and administrators to share ideas for potential collaborations.  Her Discovery Lecture Series presentation was very well received and was a terrific way to conclude this four-part series in April highlighting partnerships and ten-year accomplishments.

The first Discovery Lecture Series event for the 2012-2013 academic year was a panel discussion, "Immigration and the 2012 Election:  An Academic Roundtable."  The panelists provided both an academic and professional perspective and included:  Lisa Garcia Bedolla, Associate Professor Social and Cultural Studies in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley; Niambi Carter, Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Temple University; Karthick Ramakrishnan, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Riverside; Valeria Sinclair-Chapman, Senior Lecturer at the University of Rochester; and Diane Thomas, President and CEO of the International Center in Indianapolis. 

On October 16th, 2012, the Discovery Lecture Series provided the support for a keynote speaker for the annual Ecological Sciences and Engineering Symposium.  Dr. John Francis, visiting professor for the Nelson Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, spoke on "Urban Rise:  Footprints of a Global Civilization." 

With a continued focus on environmental issues, the Discovery Lecture Series supported a speaker during Purdue's Green Week on October 22, 2012.  Professor David W. Orr spoke on "Designing Resilience in a Black Swan World"  about how to design communities, regions, and nations to improve resilience and prosperity in the face of "black swan" events.


Fall 2011 began with a Discovery Lecture Series presentation in conjunction with Purdue University's Green Week and the China-U.S. 2011 Joint Sustainability Symposium.  Ed Begley, Jr., celebrated environmentalist, spoke to a packed house on his recent book, Live Simply So That Others May Simply Live.  Ed's presentation on September 26th, 2011 was opened by President France Cόrdova and concluded with several questions from students.  The presentation was free and open to the public with several community members in the audience.  During his visit to Purdue, Ed had lunch with students from the Purdue Energy Club and the Student Sustainability Council.  The students accompanied him on a tour of the West Lafayette Wastewater Treatment Plant where the city owns a "digester" that converts waste materials to energy.  Ed attended part of the research presentations at the U.S. China 2011 Joint Sustainability Symposium.

In November 2011, Purdue hosted two Discovery Lecture Series speakers.  On November 28, 2011, Mr. Bob McDonald, President and CEO of Procter and Gamble and P&G's President of the Board, spoke to a standing room only audience of students on "Values Based Leadership."  During his visit to Purdue, Mr. McDonald met with several administrators and faculty.  He also interacted at a reception with invited undergraduate student leaders and met following his talk at a reception with Purdue University deans. 

On November 30th, Purdue was host to Dr. Paul Hommert, President and Laboratories Director, Sandia National Laboratories.  Dr. Hommert gave a presentation that was open to the public on "Addressing National Security Challenges of the Twenty-First Century:  The Role of the U.S. National Laboratories."  During his visit to Purdue, Dr. Hommert toured the Birck Nanotechnology Center, met with faculty members, and had lunch with two graduate fellows funded by Sandia Laboratories. 


The 2010-11 academic year began with a Discovery Lecture Series panel as part of Purdue University's Green Week activities.  On October 7, 2010, Professor Steve Wereley, from Purdue's department of Mechanical Engineering, discussed his experiences following the Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  His research on the size of this oil spill immediately gained national attention as federal experts and BP executives developed strategies to stop the spill.  Following his remarks, Dr. Ana Unruh Cohen, Deputy Staff Director of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming,  spoke on "Oil and Oversight:  Congress' role in responding to the BP disaster."  Finally, Deborah L. Grubbe, P.E., Operations and Safety Solutions, LLC, presented information on "How to Avoid Turning One Tragedy into Another."  The panelists responded to questions before a full house in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship in Purdue's Discovery Park.

In November 2010, The Discovery Lecture Series partnered again with Honeywell to bring a Nobel Laureate to our campus.  Dr. Aaron Ciechanover who was awarded a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2004, visited Purdue on November 10th and 11th for two full days of activities.  On November 10th, Dr. Ciechanover gave a public presentation  on "Drug Development in the 21st century:  Are We Going to Cure All Diseases?"  On November 11th, Dr. Ciechanover gave a scientific talk, "Why Our Proteins Have to Die So We Shall Live."  Additionally, Dr. Ciechanover met with faculty members and with graduate and undergraduate students while on campus.

Richard Harris, Science Correspondent with NPR News, gave a Discovery Lecture Series talk on February 3, 2011: "How BIG was the BP Oil Spill?  Getting the Truth."  This Discovery Lecture Series presentation was a partnership with the College of Liberal Arts, Purdue's Global Sustainability Initiative, the Center for the Environment, the Purdue Oil Spill Community, the Purdue Water Community, and Purdue's Office of Marketing and Media.  Richard spoke to an overflow crowd in Pfendler Hall.  He also visited classes and met with faculty.  A Purdue staff member videotaped an interview with Richard during his stay at Purdue that was placed on the Discovery Park website.

The Discovery Lecture Series serves as a platform for innovative speakers and innovative ideas.  Purdue's Discovery Park benefits from a strong relationship with regional and state organizations that often participate in and attend this series.  Purdue's technologically strong undergraduate and graduate student populations are often included in meetings with our speakers.  Faculty are involved in the identification of topics:  these topics both reflect the interests of our faculty and are oriented toward a vision of the future.  The Discovery Lecture Series affords a unique tool to engage our faculty with our region and our world.


In early 2009, Dr. Mark R. Pinto, Applied Materials, Inc. spoke on the topic of renewable solar energy to a group of faculty, staff, and students. Dr. Pinto led the formation of Energy and Environmental Solutions to extend the company's new nanomanufacturing technologies into new markets, including its rapidly growing solar business.  He is a former Bell Labs Fellow, a Fellow of the IEEE, and the recipient of the 2008 J.J. Ebers Award from the IEEE Electron Devices Society for his contributions to semiconductor technology.  While on Purdue's campus, Dr. Pinto met with top administrators and allowed Purdue to explore a new University-Industry relationship to grow our research enterprise.

One of the goals of Purdue's Strategic Plan is "Meeting Global Challenges."  The Discovery Lecture Series was a backdrop for two individuals whose expertise contributes uniquely to Purdue's strengths.  As part of the fourth annual symposium with the Korean Institute of Science and Technology, Purdue University hosted Dr. Ken Bradley who is a partner at ARCH Venture in Chicago, Illinois to discuss "Transformation of Science into Products."  The following day, Dr. Roderic I. Pettigrew, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, addressed Purdue's guest from Korea as well as an audience of Purdue faculty and students.  His talk, "Bionanotechnology in 21st Century Healthcare" is an important topic for a large number of Purdue researchers.

International renowned physicist, Sir John Pendry, known for his research into refractive indexes and creation of the first practical "invisibility cloak" delivered a keynote address November 2009. His talk, "Transformation Optics at Optical Frequency" filled the Burton Morgan Center auditorium with faculty and students. Pendry met with several key administrators during his stay at Purdue, including President Córdova, while collaborating with the Birck Nanotechnology staff.

In April 2010, the Discovery Lecture Series sponsored a keynote address in conjunction with the dedication for the Hall for Discovery and Learning Research. 
Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan, the first American woman to walk in space, spoke as part of the activities to commemorate the occasion.  Dr. Sullivan also met with top administrators while on campus. She is currently located in Columbus, OH at the John Glenn School of Public Affairs, Ohio State University, where her passion for igniting others the wonder and importance of science, math, and technology is focused at The Battle Center for Math and Science Education Policy.


Fall 2007 added another two Discovery Lecture Series Events.  On October 15th, a partnership with the College and Consumer and Family Sciences, the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering, and the Indiana Office of the Governor was formed.  The Governor's Office sponsored a Healthcare Summit at Purdue, INShapeIndiana.  The Discovery Lecture Series sponsored one of the day's keynote speakers, Dr. Dee Edington, Director of the Health Management Research Center at the University of Michigan, whose presentation was titled, "Health Management Programs as a Serious Business Strategy."

The Discovery Lecture Series is a tool for key partnerships.  On November 8th, a partnership between the Kauffman Foundation, Biocrossroads, and the Discovery Lecture Series sponsored a day-long event.  The morning featured a Kauffman Campuses Initiative Workshop with two key speakers:  Dr. Ted Ashburn, Senior Director of Corporate Development at Genzyme Corporation on "Skills for Business Development," and Dr. Michael Kurek, Partner, Biotechnology Business Consultants, LLC, on "Skills for Successful Entrepreneurs."

Beginning with lunch, Biocrossroads and the Discovery Lecture Series featured an afternoon of activities.  Beginning at 11:30 a.m., a luncheon provided the context for a keynote speech by Steven Burrill, CEO, Burrill and Company, speaking on "Biotech 2007:  A Global Transformation."  The moderator for this session was Dr. William Miller, Provost Emeritus from Stanford University.  President France Córdova , Purdue's 11th president, followed.  She discussed "Technology Commercialization and Purdue University."  Following these presentations, a panel was moderated by David Johnson, President and CEO of Biocrossroads.  Dr. Johnson opened with "Translating Indiana Ideas into Global Successes."   Dr. Ted Ashburn, Senior Director of Corporate Development at Genzyme Corporation described the "Importance of Intellectual Property," and Dr. Roger Newton, Co-Founder , Esperion Therapeutics, discussed "Considering Global Competition when Developing IP in a Startup Environment."

In January 2008, the Discovery Lecture Series presented Dr. Robert S. Langer, Draper Award Winner and Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; 2007 National Medal of Science Recipient; and Member of the National Academy of Science, National Academy of Engineering and Institute of Medicine.  Dr. Langer spoke on "Advances in Drug Delivery Tissue Engineering" to an overflow crowd of Purdue faculty and students. 

The Discovery Lecture Series brings a variety of audiences/speakers together.  In June 2008, Dr. C. N. R. Rao, National Research Professor and Chairman of the Science Advisory Council to the Prime Minister Government of India, was a featured speaker.  Dr. Rao's talk, "Today's Scientific Scenario and Tomorrow's Challenges:  The Case for India," attracted faculty, administrators and members of the corporate community.   In addition to Dr. Rao's presentation, Dr. Gail Cassell, Vice President, Scientific Affairs, and Distinguished Lilly Research Scholar for Infectious Disease, Eli Lilly and Company, made a presentation on "Rising Above the Gathering Storm." 
This truly international opportunity was capped with a presentation by Dr. Arabinda Mitra, Executive Director, Indo-US Science and Technology Forum, who spoke on "Funding Opportunities for Bilateral Activities between USA and India."  The afternoon presentations provided a wonderful context to initiate new and exciting partnerships between Purdue University/Discovery Park and India.

The Discovery Lecture Series sometimes features distinguished speakers whose competence in technical areas is unique.  In September 2008, Dr. Phillip Sharp, Nobel Laureate, spoke to a packed auditorium of students, staff, and faculty on "The Roles of Short RNA in Cancer and Biology."   During his time on the Purdue campus, Dr. Sharp met with senior administrators to discuss strategies for interdisciplinary research initiatives and met with numerous faculty and students.  His revolutionary work on understanding how RNA molecules act as switches to turn genes on and off provided stimulating conversations with Purdue researchers.

Fall 2008 was a busy time for the Discovery Lecture Series.   Sustainability is a topic  of great importance and the Discovery Lecture Series provided a venue in October 2008 for speakers and discussion in this area.  Dr. James A. MacMahon, Trustee Professor of Biology and Director of the Ecology Center at Utah State University,  and Dr. Theo Colborn, Professor of Zoology at the University of Florida, Gainesville and President of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange, spoke on "A World of Uncertainty:  Thresholds and Dilemmas in Ecology."  Their remarks were responded to by:  Dr. David Neale, University of California, Davis; Dr. John Avise, University of California, Irvine; and Dr. David Hillis, University of Texas.


The Discovery Lecture Series began in February 2006 with an inaugural panel of scientists presenting on the latest work in nanotechnology.  Mihail "Mike" Roco, U.S. National Science and Technology Council's Subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology and the Senior Advisor for Nanotechnology at the National Science Foundation spoke on "National Nanotechnology Initiative Vision and Outcomes".  He chaired the forum of nine panelists.  The day's events also included a media panel to discuss science writing and press coverage of innovations in science.

In fall 2006, Dr. John H. Marburger, III. Science Adviser to the President and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy gave a Discovery Lecture keynote address to a packed auditorium.  His keynote was titled: "Committed to Being the Best: The American Competitiveness Initiative."

This spring 2007, two Discovery Lecture Series events were held.  On April 16, in a partnership with Honeywell, Dr. John L. Hall, Nobel Laureate met with students, had lunch with faculty members, made a technical presentation, and gave a keynote speech.  His address, "Making a Big Deal out of the Small Decimal Digits:  The Remarkable Utility of Precision Measurement" was followed by an arm chair conversation with President Martin Jischke on "What's Next in Science?"

On April 23, the Discovery Lecture Series partnered with the Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering to present two keynote speakers.  Stephen Shortell, Ph.D. and Dean, School of Public Health, University of California at Berkeley spoke on "Marriage of Medicine and Management: Sustaining Improvement in Delivery, Quality, Cost and Outcomes."    Karen Davis, Ph.D., and President of The Commonwealth Fund discussed "Achieving the Best: The Road to Improving National Performance of Healthcare Delivery."



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