Smiley on fall lectures lineup


Jane Smiley, a Pulitzer Prize winner and former ISU English professor, will speak on campus this fall.

If you want to learn about science, agriculture, economics or literature -- or even have a few laughs -- mark your calendars for this fall's lecture series. A few programs are highlighted below. To find out more about these and other upcoming lectures, access the lectures schedule online. All lectures are free and open to the public.

"How Science Will Revolutionize Business, Medicine, Jobs and Life," Michio Kaku, Sept. 19 (7 p.m., Stephens Auditorium)

Kaku is a theoretical physicist, science advocate and television personality whose two books, Physics of the Impossible and Physics of the Future, were New York Times bestsellers. He's made numerous television appearances, including 60 Minutes, The Colbert Report and several Discovery Channel programs. He also is featured in the Science Channel series, Futurescape.

"Telling Our Story: The Future of Iowa's Farm Families," Bill Northey, Sept. 30 (7 p.m., 127 Curtiss Hall)

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is a fourth-generation farmer from Spirit Lake. He returned to his family's farm after graduating from Iowa State in 1981. In addition to serving two terms as Iowa's secretary of agriculture, Northey also has been president of the National Corn Growers Association, member of the Iowa Farm Bureau, Dickenson County Soil and Water Conservation District commissioner, and cofounder and president of Innovative Growers.

"A Conversation with Jane Smiley," Jane Smiley, Oct. 6 (7 p.m., Memorial Union, Sun Room)

Smiley, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Thousand Acres and former Iowa State English professor (1981-1996), has written a new novel called Some Luck, a story that follows an American farm family during three transformative decades. Smiley has authored numerous novels, five nonfiction works and a book series for young adults. She was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters and received the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature.

"In the Footsteps of Norman Borlaug: The Golden Years of Wheat Production," Sanjaya Rajaram, Oct. 13 (8 p.m., MU Great Hall)

Rajaram, a plant scientist, was named the 2014 World Food Prize Laureate for his scientific research that increased world wheat production. His breakthrough breeding technologies significantly alleviated world hunger and provided nutritious food throughout the world. Rajaram succeeded Norman Borlaug in leading the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center's wheat-breeding program, developing 480 wheat varieties that have been released in 51 countries. A 7 p.m. reception and student poster display will precede the lecture (MU South Ballroom).

"Planet Money Live!" Jacob Goldstein and David Kestenbaum, Oct. 23 (8 p.m., MU Great Hall)

Goldstein and Kestenbaum, correspondents with National Public Radio's Planet Money team, tell humorous and insightful stories about the economy to millions of listeners on Morning Edition, All Things Considered and This American Life. In addition to his NPR work, Goldstein has written for The New York Times Magazine and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications. Kestenbaum has been an NPR correspondent for 15 years.

"Rethinking America's Global Mission," Gen. Wesley Clark, Oct. 29 (8 p.m., MU Great Hall)

Clark, a retired U.S. Army four-star general, was NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe (1997-2000), where he led NATO forces in Operation Allied Force. He previously served in Vietnam, where he commanded an infantry company in combat and was severely wounded. Clark has commanded at the battalion, brigade and division levels, and served in several staff positions, including director of strategic plans and policy. He has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Defense Distinguished Service Medal (five awards), Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, honorary knighthoods from the British and Dutch governments, and numerous awards from other governments, including France's Commander of the Legion of Honor award. Clark has authored several books, including his latest Don't Wait for the Next War: Rethinking America's Global Mission. Clark currently is chairman and CEO of a strategic consulting firm bearing his name, and co-chairman of Growth Energy.