A&I Continues 2011-12 Season With Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson

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Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who was at the center of the controversy over Pluto’s status as a planet, will continue the 2011-12 season of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Arts & Issues series Dec. 7 in Meridian Ballroom on the first floor of SIUE’s Morris University Center.

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Tyson’s expertise is broad, including his knowledge of star formation and explosions, galactic structures and dwarf galaxies

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who was at the center of the controversy over Pluto’s status as a planet, will continue the 2011-12 season of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Arts & Issues series Dec. 7 in Meridian Ballroom on the first floor of SIUE’s Morris University Center.

Sponsored by the Shaw Memorial Fund, the SIUE Graduate School, the SIUE Physics Club and the SIUE Mathematics Club, Tyson’s 7:30 p.m. appearance is funded wholly or in part through Student Activities fees; therefore, all SIUE students will be admitted free.

For more than 25 years, SIUE’s Arts & Issues series has brought great performers and distinguished speakers to Southwestern Illinois. The official media sponsors for A&I are the Edwardsville Intelligencer and KWMU-FM, while the series official hotel sponsor is Hampton Inn and Suites. The 2011-12 Arts & Issues season is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

Arts & Issues Director Grant Andree said Neal deGrasse Tyson currently is considered America’s best known astrophysicist. “Tyson’s expertise is broad, including his knowledge of star formation and explosions, galactic structures and dwarf galaxies,” Andree said. “And he studies these phenomena through images provided by the Hubble Space Telescope
“I think our audiences will find this presentation fascinating, whether they are attuned to astrophysics or not.”

Tyson is the Frederick P. Rose director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City and has received the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest award given by NASA to a non-government citizen.

A native of New York City, Tyson was educated in the public school system, graduating from the Bronx High School of Science. He went on to Harvard, where he received a bachelor’s in physics and then to Columbia University for a doctorate in astrophysics.

President George W. Bush appointed Tyson on two separate occasions to serve on two commissions that studied the future of the aerospace industry in America and also America’s future in space exploration. In 2006 he was appointed to serve on NASA’s Advisory Council.

In addition to dozens of professional publications, Tyson has written, and continues to write for the public. From 1995 to 2005, Tyson was a monthly essayist for Natural History magazine under the title Universe. Since 2006, Tyson has appeared as the on-camera host of PBS-NOVA's spinoff program NOVA ScienceNOW, which is an accessible look at the frontier of all the science that shapes the understanding of our place in the universe.

Tickets for the Dec. 7 appearance of Neil deGrasse Tyson are available through the website: artsandissues.com or by calling the SIUE Fine Arts box office, (618) 650-5774.

EDITORS: The 2011-12 Arts & Issues photos suitable for print are available at http://www.siue.edu/artsandissues/PhotoIndex.shtml

Other Arts & Issues events for 2011-12 series season include:
Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time with speaker Curt Meine—Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2012, 7:30 p.m., SIUE’s Meridian Ballroom
Sponsored by the Madison County Regional Office of Education
The first full-length, high-definition documentary film ever made about legendary environmentalist Aldo Leopold, Green Fire highlights Leopold’s extraordinary career, tracing how he shaped and influenced the modern environmental movement. An early leader with the U.S. Forest Service, Leopold pioneered wildlife conservation and wilderness management techniques. Curt Meine is a conservation biologist and writer based in Prairie du Sac, Wis., and is a senior fellow with the Aldo Leopold Foundation, director of conservation biology and history for the Center for Humans and Nature, and a research associate with the International Crane Foundation.

Ken Waldman and the Secret Visitors: From Madison County to Moose Pass—Wednesday,
Feb. 22, 2012, 7:30 p.m., SIUE’s Meridian Ballroom
Ken Waldman, “Alaska’s Fiddling Poet,” comes to SIUE with an all-star cast. Waldman will transport the audience to the grandeur of Alaska through poetry, storytelling, traditional music and dance. This one-time only event will include the North Carolina duo Appalachian Roots featuring Ira Bernstein and Riley Baugus. They will be joined by Arkansas native banjo player and singer Allison Williams, Memphis bluesman and multi-instrumentalist Andy Cohen, Austin banjo player and fiddler Jerry Hagins, as well as Chicago fiddler, guitarist and banjo player Jordan Wankoff and West Virginia native fiddler Rachel Eddy.

Nrityagram Dance Ensemble of India Presents Sambhavya—Friday, March 16, 2012, 7:30 p.m., The Wildey Theatre in downtown Edwardsville
The beauty and tradition of classical Indian dance honed to near perfection will be on display when the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble performs for the Arts & Issues series at the newly renovated, historic Wildey Theatre in downtown Edwardsville. Nrityagram was founded in 1990 near Bangalore as a total immersion dance community, and is considered one of the foremost dance companies in India.
The Combined Orchestras of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and SIU Carbondale, featuring violinist David Kim, concertmaster for the Philadelphia Orchestra—Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 7:30 p.m., at the theater in SIUE’s Dunham Hall.
Sponsored by Commerce Bank

The orchestras of both Southern Illinois University main campuses will be combined for one exciting evening, featuring David Kim, a native of Carbondale who has been concertmaster for the Philadelphia Orchestra since 1999. Kim’s numerous solo engagements around the world have included the orchestras of Dallas, Pittsburgh, Capetown, KBS (Korea) and Moscow, as well as the Buffalo and Seoul philharmonics, the Polish National Radio Orchestra, the Metamorphosen Chamber Orchestra and numerous orchestras across North, Central and South America.

Arts & Issues and the SIUe Xfest welcome
The Squonk Opera presenting Edwardsville: The Opera—Wednesday, June 6, 2012, 7:30 p.m., the theater in SIUE’s Dunham Hall
Sponsored by the SIUE Credit Union

Squonk Opera is a multimedia performance troupe from Pennsylvania, “Edwardsville: The Opera” is part of its “hometown opera” series. Squonk will weave hometown documentation and video with its original musical score, providing a heartfelt toast and punk-vaudevillian roast to our city at the same time. While highlighting the distinct characteristics of each community, This avant-garde group’s unique performances combine music, sound and image with innovative video, slapstick comedy and unexpected surprises. Squonk Opera has performed on Broadway, in Europe and South Korea, across the United States, and in a Pittsburgh junkyard with earthmovers and choreographed cranes.

Arts & Issues is a series of distinguished speakers and performers that supports the academic mission of the University. Students meet and discuss issues with renowned speakers in workshops, dinners, receptions and classes. Students in music, theater and dance work directly with visiting artists in master classes. Arts & Issues also gives students opportunities to gain experience in special events production, administration, fundraising and development.

SIUE offers the advantages of a small, liberal arts college with the low tuition rates of a state university. Our emphasis on undergraduate education, complemented by faculty research, creates practical applications for student learning. Located in the second most populated area of the state, this Illinois university draws students from all 102 Illinois counties, 42 states and 50 nations.

The SIUE College of Arts and Sciences combines foundational education with diverse and highly-specialized coursework. Faculty help students explore diversity of ideas, experiences and people while learning to think and live as fulfilled, productive members of a global society. The College offers 44 degree programs in the arts, humanities and social and natural sciences.

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