Lecture series kicks off with two talks in Sept.

Old Dominion kicks off its 2002-03 Presidential Lecture Series this month with two speakers on successive Thursdays.

Historian Jonathan Riley-Smith of England's Cambridge University will present the Distinguished Presidential Lecture in History, "Islam and the Crusades in History and Imagination, 8 November 1898 to 11 September 2001," on Sept. 12.

Gordon Shaw, author of the book "Keeping Mozart in Mind," which chronicles the so-called "Mozart Effect" on the learning skills of those listening to the composer's music, will deliver the Parsons Foundation Early Childhood Education Series Lecture Sept. 19.

Both lectures begin at 8 p.m. the Mills Godwin Jr. Life Sciences Building auditorium. They are free and open to the public.

The author of 15 books on the Crusades, including "The Oxford History of the Crusades," Riley-Smith is the Dixie Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Cambridge and chair of the university's Center of Middle East and Islamic Studies. Among his recent publications is an article on religious violence.

He is a graduate of Eton College and Cambridge, where he has been a faculty member since 1972.

On Friday, Sept. 13, the Old Dominion history department will present a colloquium to encourage a dialogue on Riley-Smith's lecture. History faculty members Maura Hametz and Rowena Muzquiz will be joined by international studies professor Kurt Gaubatz for a frank discussion of religion and history in an international context. Riley-Smith will respond to their comments, and the floor then will be opened to the audience. The free colloquium will be held at 2 p.m. in room 1005 of Constant Hall.

Gordon Shaw's lecture is made possible by the Alison J. and Ella W. Parsons Foundation.

Since Shaw's original findings were presented in 1993, "The Mozart Effect" phenomenon has been widely discussed in both the scientific community and the media. It is based on the principal observation that study participants improved their scores on spatial-temporal tests after listening to Mozart piano sonatas.

During his visit to campus, Shaw also will conduct workshops for students in the Darden College of Education and area teachers.

Shaw is chair of the board of the MIND Institute and professor emeritus of physics at the University of California-Irvine.

His major research interests focus on using music as a window into higher brain function. Important behavioral studies and neurophysiological investigations have been conducted based on the brain model he developed. The Music Spatial-Temporal Math Program of the MIND Institute has, at present, more than 4,100 second- and third-graders in 30 schools.

Shaw has written more than 170 publications in neuroscience and elementary particle physics.

Also speaking this fall will be award-winning novelist, short-story writer, essayist and playwright Susan Sontag on Oct. 3. Sontag, who also has written and directed four feature films, will address "Regarding Other People's Pain: War and the Visual Arts."

For more information call 683-3114.