Mario Livio, PhD
Dr. Mario Livio is an internationally-known astrophysicist, best-selling author, and sought-after speaker who worked for over 20 years with the Space Telescope Science Institute, which operates the Hubble Space Telescope. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Livio has published more than 400 scientific papers on topics ranging from dark energy and cosmology to black holes, extrasolar planets, and supernova explosions. He is also the author of six popular science books, including the two on which his talks today are based. Also, “Is God A Mathematician?” was the basis for the 2016 Emmy-nominated TV NOVA program, “The Great Math Mystery”. Dr. Livio’s book “Brilliant Blunders” was a national bestseller in the U.S., and was selected by the Washington Post as one of the “Best Books of the Year.” His upcoming 2020 book is: “And Yet It Moves!”. He has been nominated 3 times by the USA Science and Engineering Festival as one of their “Nifty-Fifty Speakers“, has been selected as a Distinguished Lecturer for multiple groups, and is a favored and frequent presenter for the Smithsonian’s Associates Program.
Lisa Passaglia Bauman, PhD
Dr. Lisa Passaglia Bauman is an Associate Professor in Art History at George Mason University. She received her PhD in Art History from Northwestern University, and her scholarly interests and publications focus on cardinals as patrons in late fifteenth-century Rome and the elaborate rhetoric of patronage of the della Rovere family. Before coming to George Mason University, she worked at the Art Institute of Chicago and held teaching positions at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University. In 2007, Dr. Bauman was awarded George Mason University’s Teaching Excellence Award, and in 2016 she became the first Academic Director for George Mason’s Winter program in Florence, Italy. In addition to her PhD, Dr. Bauman also holds certification in Landscape Architecture and Design, and in 2018 she won a curriculum grant from the Provost to create and develop a new intra-collegiate, cross-disciplinary minor in Design Thinking. She is a frequent contributor to the Smithsonian’s Resident Associate Program and to the Smithsonian Journeys Travel Program.
Walter Kitundu, MacArthur Fellow
Walter Kitundu creates sculptures and sound installations, develops public artworks, builds and performs on extraordinary musical instruments, while researching and documenting the natural world. He is the inventor of a family of Phonoharps, multi-stringed instruments made from record players that rely on the turntable’s sensitivity to vibration, such as wind and rain, fire and earthquakes, birds, light, and the force of ocean waves. In 2008 he received a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. His eclectic art practice includes developing wildly imaginative instruments for a string quartet, composing for dance and theatrical production, engaging in research fieldwork with wild birds of prey, and heading the design and fabrication of environments for learning at a prominent science institution. Mr. Kitundu has performed and been in residence at art centers and science museums internationally and has collaborated with the renowned Kronos Quartet and other artists in venues from Carnegie Hall to a high school library in Egilstaadir, Iceland. In addition to his art practice, Mr. Kitundu is currently a visiting professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
David A. Smith, PhD
By popular request, Dr. David A. Smith will return to Brazos Forum to offer closing remarks at the conclusion of Wednesday’s programs. David is a senior lecturer in American history at Baylor University where he has won several teaching awards. He received his undergraduate degree from Texas State University, and his PhD in modern American history from the University of Missouri. David is also a book author and writes columns on art, culture, and politics for the Waco Tribune-Herald, the Wall Street Journal, the Dallas Morning News, and many others. He has been featured on numerous regional and national radio shows, and is a much-in-demand public speaker.