Princeton University’s Spencer Trask Lectures: Edward Tufte, Data Theorist and Sculptor

Edward Tufte, data theorist and pioneer in the field of data visualization, will discuss seeing, reasoning, and producing in high science and high art.   His latest project “The Thinking Eye” examines “forever knowledge” and helping people “see without words.” Edward Tufte,  Professor Emeritus Political Science at Yale University, previously taught at Princeton.  His books include “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information” (1983), “Visual Explanation” (1997) and “Beautiful Evidence” (2006).   A data theorist and sculptor, he has been described…

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Princeton University’s Spencer Trask Lectures: Dava Sobel and Diane Ackerman

Diane Ackerman was conferring with Carl Sagan, creating poems about the planets for her doctoral dissertation at Cornell when she met Dava Sobel, then science writer in the University’s news bureau. Since befriending one another in the 1970s they have occasionally traveled together on assignment (including a total solar eclipse in Mexico in 1991) and cheered each other through multiple magazine articles, non-fiction works (two best-sellers each) and several collections of Diane’s poetry. For this special event at Princeton, they plan…

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Princeton University’s Spencer Trask Lectures: Steve Martin

Stand Up: My Rise and Collapse (NOTE: Free ticket required. See below.)December 8, 2011 in McCosh Hall 50 (Simulcast in McCosh 10)Spencer Trask Lecture Update 12/01/11: There are NO more tickets available. There will be a wait line before the event for any unclaimed seats. There WILL be simulcast in McCosh 10 (no ticket necessary).

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Princeton University’s Spencer Trask Lectures: Patti Smith

Patti Smith is a singer, songwriter, poet, and visual artist. Her memoir, Just Kids (Ecco, Harper Collins 2010) about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, just won the 2010 National Book Award for nonfiction. Smith will read excerpts from the book and her poems and perform some of the music that made her famous. (photo: 2007 © Edward Mapplethorpe). NO TICKETS REQUIRED. ADMISSION TO MCCOSH 50 WILL BE FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED. DOORS OPEN AT 6:30 pm. A simulcast room for late-comers will be available in McCosh Hall 46.

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Princeton University’s Spencer Trask Lectures: Chip Kidd

Citing examples from his near quarter-century’s worth of work, Chip Kidd explains the way graphic design works, how our brains process it, what it means if it succeeds or fails, and why we should care. Chip Kidd is an award-winning art director and graphic designer. Currently he is associate art director at Knopf, an imprint of Random House. He is the designer of covers for books by hundreds of authors. He is also the author of two novels (The Cheese…

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Princeton University’s Spencer Trask Lectures: Errol Morris

Errol Morris is a director and filmmaker. His film “The Fog of War” about Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara won the 2003 Academy Award for best documentary feature. Other films have won the Edgar from the Mystery Writers of America, the Golden Horse (Taiwan International Film Festival), the Grand Jury Prize (Sundance Film  Festival) and have appeared on many ten best lists. They have been honored by the National Society of Film Critics, the National Board of Review, and…

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Princeton University’s Spencer Trask Lectures: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Born in Nigeria, novelist Chimamanda Adichie is the author of Purple Hibiscus (2003),which was nominated for a Booker Prize, andHalf of a Yellow Sun (2006), which won the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction and revolves around the Biafran war of 1967-70.  She has recently published a collection of short stories titled The Thing around Your Neck (2009). She was a MacArthur fellow in 2008. She has been a visiting writer at Wesleyan University and at Princeton University, where she was a Hodder fellow.

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Princeton University’s Spencer Trask Lectures: John Waters

In this part-lecture, part-vaudeville performance, Waters speaks candidly and irreverently about the formative influences on his career, Hollywood, the art world, social taboos, and modern culture in general. Born in Baltimore, Waters began his career making low-budget underground films. His first full-length feature film, Mondo Trasho, appeared in 1969. Waters first came to public attention with Pink Flamingos (1972), Female Trouble (1974), Desperate Living (1977), and Polyester (1981). He entered the mainstream with Hairspray (1988) and Cry-Baby (1990), which were later adapted to the stage. Those successes were followed by Serial Mom (1994), Pecker (1998), Cecil B. DeMented (2000)…

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Princeton University’s Spencer Trask Lectures: Simon Winchester

Seldom can it be said that any one person ever managed  to change the outside world’s perception of an entire nation, an entire people. But, beginning in 1954, Joseph Needham (1900–1995), a Cambridge biochemist, a figure dauntingly eccentric and brilliantly polymathic in equal measure, did just that. This account, drawn from his diaries and letters and the immense and extraordinary book he spent half a lifetime writing, is his remarkable story. A graduate of Oxford University, Simon  Winchester began his career…

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Princeton University’s Spencer Trask Lectures: Alfred Brendel

The lecture sets out to show that in musical performances the perception of character and atmosphere is no less important than that of form and structure. The belief that the structure of a work automatically reveals its character is a fallacy. The notion of character appears in 18th-century treatises on interpretation as well as in writing on aesthetics where it is first discussed at the time when Beethoven’s sonatas begin to appear. Czerny’s comments on Beethoven’s piano works are full…

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