The Purdue University North Central "Books & Coffee" discussion series will continue with presentations during the spring semester. The programs are free and open to the public and meet from noon to about 1 p.m. in Library-Student-Faculty Building, Assembly Hall, Room 02, located on the building’s lower level. Refreshments will be served.
Each session will feature a review of the book, followed by a discussion period. The books being reviewed are available in the PNC Bookstore. This semester’s selections include:
February 18: Dr. Aaron Warren, associate professor of Physics will review “Sync: How Order Emerges From Chaos in the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life” by Steven Strogatz. Strogatz, a leading mathematician in the fields of chaos and complexity theory, explains how enormous systems can synchronize themselves, from electrons in a superconductor to pacemaker cells in human hearts. He shows that although these phenomena seem unrelated on the surface, at a deeper level there is a connection forged by the unifying power of mathematics. The tendency for systems to synchronize may be one of the most pervasive and fundamental in nature, intriguing some of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century, including Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Norbert Wiener, Brian Josephson, and Arthur Winfree.
March 18: Linda Dutlinger, retired associate professor of Developmental Studies, will present the Pulitzer Prize winning “Five Days at Memorial” by Sherry Fink. The book is a painfully accurate account of Memorial Hospital in New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina. The author details facts on the topics of responsibility during a major disaster and how decisions are made. Forty-five bodies were recovered from the hospital, more than any other hospital in the city; charges of intentional killings of patients during the disaster led to a grand jury investigation.
April 15: Dr. Raymond Gleason, limited term lecturer of English, will discuss his book, “The Violent Season.” It is a book about people, Americans and Vietnamese; men and women; young and some old; innocent and eager or jaded and worn out; all transformed in the Vietnam War. An excerpt reads: “If Trinh allowed himself to think of such things, he would admit that he would gladly trade the rest of his life just to be able to spend one evening together with his father reading from the book of Apollinaire’s poetry that Trinh had burned so many years ago in the mountains near the Chinese border. But, such things are not possible. His father’s body was rotting in some undiscovered pit outside Hanoi where the Japanese had dumped it. His mother had probably died in one of those horrid ‘comfort houses’ where the Japanese forced Vietnamese women to service the sexual needs of their soldiers . . . Sergeant Major Trinh’s only reality is that on this morning, he is on a wooded ridgeline with twenty soldiers of the People’s Army of Viet Nam, a snot-nose Sub-Lieutenant with a party card and a university degree, the enemy near and a mission to accomplish.”
Additional information about Books and Coffee may be obtained by contacting Dr. Kenneth Kincaid, associate professor of History, at 785-5200, ext. 5244 or email@example.com. Persons with disabilities needing accommodations should contact Kincaid.