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From colonizing Mars, to a discussion on race by descendants of Thomas Jefferson, to feminism in America, Old Dominion University's Spring 2000 President's Lecture Series promises exciting and intellectual dialogue.

All of the lectures are free and open to the public and will be held in the Mills Godwin Jr. Life Sciences Auditorium.

Robert Zubrin, one of the world's foremost proponents of the colonization of Mars, will kick off the series with "The Case for Mars" at 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20.

A member of NASA's Mars Exploration Long Term Strategy Working Group and founder of Pioneer Astronautics, Zubrin has written more than 100 technical and nontechnical papers in various areas of astronautical, aerospace and nuclear engineering, and is the editor for Mars exploration for the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society. In addition to his many technical publications, Zubrin wrote the book "The Case for Mars: How We Shall Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must."

While a senior and staff engineer with Lockheed Martin, Zubrin worked on the design of advanced space transportation and propulsion concepts, winning two Inventors Awards from the company. The awards honored his design of a nuclear rocket engine propelled by carbon dioxide, allowing a vehicle so powered to have unlimited mobility on Mars. His other award-winning design, for the "Mars Direct" mission architecture, was commended by NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin. "Mars Direct" focuses on using a chemical propellant produced on Mars to provide a return to Earth for a manned Mars mission.

The topic will turn to "The Affairs of Race in America: A Conversation in Black and White," as Jefferson descendants Shay Banks-Young and Julia Jefferson-Westerinen discuss their experiences at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17.

When genetic testing suggested Jefferson bore children with his slave Sally Hemings, Banks-Young and Westerinen were not surprised. Banks-Young, who is black, and Westerinen, who is white, have long believed that their great-great-
grandfathers, Eston and Madison, were, in fact, the sons of Jefferson and Hemings. To them and their families, Jefferson and Hemings' 38-year relationship raises questions about race relations and political "morality" in the United States.

The pair embrace the opportunity to engage in an honest new dialogue about these issues and discuss the differences and similarities they share. Banks-Young is a preventive health trainer and a poet who hosted her own public affairs talk show. Westerinen is a former educator turned businesswoman.

As the Distinguished Presidential Lecturer in History, Michael A. Bellesiles will examine "Samuel Colt and the Origins of American Gun Culture," at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 16.

A professor of history at Emory University, Bellesiles founded Emory's unique interdisciplinary undergraduate Violence Studies Program. He is the author of "Revolutionary Outlaws: Ethan Allen and the Struggle for Independence on the Early American Frontier," and "The Origins of America's Gun Culture," due out this year.

Feminist, author and social critic Naomi Wolf, who is currently making headlines as a campaign adviser to Vice President Al Gore, will discuss "Ethical Leadership for the 21st Century" at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 23.

Wolf serves as president of the board of The Woodhull Institute, an organization that cultivates ethical leadership for the 21st century. Its special focus is a fellowship program to teach professional development in business, law, arts and media to young women ages 21-28. Wolf also is working with Gore's daughter, Karenna Gore Schiff, on an Internet outreach effort to attract young voters to the presidential campaign.

Wolf's first book, "The Beauty Myth," helped her emerge as one of the grande dames of young feminism in 1991. She has also written "Fire with Fire: The New Female Power and How It Will Change the 21st Century" and "Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle for Womanhood." Her next work, "You Walk That Bridge Alone," a look at mothering, will be published this spring.

Conservative David Horowitz, best known for his lifelong intellectual and political journey from a 1960s radical activist to a crusader against the corrosive effects of '60s leftism on modern American culture, will wrap up the series with "The Art of Political War" at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 6.

President of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, Horowitz was a leader of the New Left in the early 1960s. Dissatisfied with the tragic consequences of radical politics, he withdrew from the political arena in the 1970s.

After co-authoring a series of best-selling biographies, his thoughts about politics crystallized. In the 1989 book "Destructive Generation: Second Thoughts About the Sixties," Horowitz and partner Peter Collier chronicled the legacy of the New Left and its effects on American politics and culture. His 1997 autobiography, "Radical Son," was called "the first great American autobiography of his generation" by author George Gilder. Horowitz's most recent book is "The Politics of Bad Faith."

For more information about the President's Lecture Series at Old Dominion University call (757) 683-3116.

This article was posted on: December 15, 1999

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