Intercom Online......October 22, 1998


Information technology
topic of next Forum

Information technology expert Robert C. Heterick Jr. will be the guest speaker on Tuesday, Nov. 10, at the next Penn State Forum, presented by the Faculty Staff Club.

Heterick is former president and CEO of EDUCOM, a consortium of 600 higher education institutions and 100 corporate associates dedicated to transforming education through the use of information technology.

He will speak on "IT: Institutional Transformation," in the Ballroom of The Nittany Lion Inn. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. with lunch and concludes promptly at 1 p.m. Modeled after the National Press Club, the Penn State Forum is sponsored by the Penn State Bookstores.

Heterick also is vice president emeritus at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, where, in addition to his responsibilities for computing, telecommunications and libraries, he spent more than 30 years teaching and researching strategic planning for information technology.

He is a widely read author and his column in The Educom Review, "The View From 16th Street," was frequently quoted in the trade press. He was the recipient of the 1994 CAUSE ELITE Award for lifetime achievement in information technology and was named by Network Computing as one of the 50 network drivers in the United States.

Heterick received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

Also scheduled for the 1998-99 Penn State Forum series are:

* Dec. 1: Martin A. Nisenholtz, president, New York Times Electronic Media Co.;

* Jan. 21: Edward R. Hintz, president, Hintz, Holman & Hecksher, and vice president, Penn State Board of Trustees;

* Feb. 4: Michael Hooker, chancellor of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill;

* Feb. 25: Ervin Duggan, president, Public Broadcasting Service;

* March 3: Lee Knefelkamp, professor of higher and adult education, Teacher's College, Columbia University; and

* April 15: Mary Sue Coleman, president, University of Iowa.

Tickets for the Penn State Forum presentations are available for $10 from the Faculty Staff Club office in 131 White Building at University Park. Tables of 10 may be reserved.

For more information, call (814) 865-7590.

Search for Chimera on Oct. 28

Learn the truth behind paranormal claims as James Randi, a MacArthur Fellow and professional magician (The Amazing Randi), presents "The Search for the Chimera" at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, in Schwab Auditorium on the University Park campus.

Randi's work includes investigating claims of supernatural, occult and paranormal powers, in particular his exposures of television evangelists and "psychics." He was recently featured as an expert in this area on an ABC special, "The Power of Belief."

The James Randi Educational Foundation holds a prize of $1 million, awardable to any person who provides good evidence to prove any psychic, supernatural or occult power or event.

For more information on The James Randi Educational Foundation and Randi's $1 million challenge, point your Web browser to Randi's site at

The Academy of Magical Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles created a special fellowship in Randi's honor; he has won numerous national and international awards; and has published many articles, essays, stories and book reviews.

For more information on this free event, call (814) 867-3226.

Department of Geography
begins new lecture series

Lawrence A. Brown, distinguished professor of geography at The Ohio State University, will present the inaugural lecture in the E. Willard and Ruby S. Miller Lecture Series in Geography on Wednesday, Nov. 4. He will speak on "Change, Continuity and the Pursuit of Geographic Understanding: The Lesson of Innovation Diffusion Broadly Conceived" at 7:30 p.m. in Room 112 Walker Building on the University Park campus. A brief reception will follow.

The new Miller Lecture Series is designed to bring eminent geographers to Penn State and is a gift to the Department of Geography from E.W. Miller, professor emeritus, former department head and associate dean emeritus in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, and his wife Ruby, a retired University librarian and map librarian.

Brown's talk will be a retrospective of his 25-year research program on the adoption and geographic spread of new products and techniques. When his ideas were first introduced in his book, Innovation Diffusion: A New Perspective, they attracted widespread academic attention, since they contrasted sharply with earlier social science research.

Brown, who is department head of geography at Ohio State, has received several professional awards for his teaching and research. He served as president of the Association of American Geographers in 1996-97.

Talks in the Miller Lecture Series are free to the public.

Environmental conference
to be held at University Park

Environmental educators from across the state will migrate to University Park this November to attend the annual conference of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Environmental Education. The theme of the conference, which will take place Nov. 6-8 at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, is "Migration: Risk the Journey."

Keynote speaker Scott Weidensaul, author of more than a dozen books and the "Nature Watch" columnist for the The Philadelphia Inquirer, will speak Friday evening, Nov. 6. His latest work, Living on the Wind, traces bird migration throughout the Western Hemisphere.

Terry Tempest Williams, a recipient of the National Wildlife Federation's National Conservation Award for Special Achievement, will give a keynote address Saturday evening. She is author of several books, including Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, and is the Shirley Sutton Thomas visiting professor of English at the University of Utah.

Other speakers include Paul T. Zeph, Patricia Vathis and Helen Ross Russell, educators whose actions have made significant impressions on the Commonwealth and nation's environmental awareness, and professionals from across disciplines at Penn State.

The conference is open to all educators interested in environmental themes; students also may attend.

For more information about the program, call Mark McLaughlin at (814) 863-200, or e-mail

For registration information, call Suzanne St. Pierre, conference planner, at (814) 863-5100, or e-mail

More information also is available on the Web at

Learn about submarine volcanoes

John R. Delaney, a marine geologist at the University of Washington who studies active volcanoes and hydrothermal systems on the ocean floor, will present the 1998 A. Dixon and Betty F. Johnson Memorial Lecture in Scientific Communication on Saturday, Oct. 24, at 11 a.m. in 101 Thomas Building on the University Park campus. The free public lecture, titled "Submarine Volcanoes, Water and Life in Our Solar System," is intended for a general audience.

Active volcano-hydrothermal systems on the ocean floor provide an essential nutrient source for the communities of microbes that form the foundation of the food chain there.

Delaney's research has revealed strong evidence that the Earth may be teeming with unexplored communities of microbes underneath the sea floor near these active volcanoes, as well.

If this interpretation holds true for Earth, it hints that the brittle outer shell of other volcanically active planets may harbor life.

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