January 20, 86

Vol. 01 , No. 07   


James Burke, one of the BBC's outstanding television writer-producers, launches our spring semester's program of distinguished visiting speakers when he appears at the Athenaeum January 29-30. Born in Northern Ireland and educated at Oxford, he taught at the universities of Bologna and Urbino before joining the BBC in 1966. His series, "Connections," (1979) which explores historic developments in Western science and technology, debuted in Great Britain in 1979. Later that year it attracted one of the largest audiences for a documentary series when it aired on American public television.

Burke's most recent work, a ten-part series entitled "The Day the Universe Changed," (1985) examines those critical periods when the ideas and institutions that have shaped the modem Western world were born. This series has already been shown in Great Britain, where it received high acclaim, but won't appear on American television until later this year. Mr. Burke's visit enables us to preview the series, as in addition to speaking about this recent work, he will screen two segments of it during his Athenaeum visit.

All of James Burke's projects analyze fundamental questions in ways that must fascinate anyone interested in politics or history, science or philosophy, literature or economics. Especially in "The Day the Universe Changed," Mr. Burke studies the relationship between our knowledge and our view of the universe. That exploration poses a dilemma: if past views of the world were valid for their times, is ours actually an improvement, or is it merely different? Is knowledge what we discover about the secrets of nature, or is it an artifact we fabricate as we go along? Is there such a thing as absolute knowledge, and if not, where are our studies taking us?

Consult the Reservations section of The Fortnightly for further details, and please do plan to join us for dinner and discussion on Wednesday, January 29, and again for lunch and dinner on Thursday, January 30, to learn more about "The Day the Universe Changed."


This column lets Laura May and me express our views as Athenaeum student fellows. This month I want to use my "Turn" to preview the Athenaeum's major programs for the second semester. Because in addition to James Burke, our calendar offers a packed schedule of attractive events. As you put them on your calendars and plan to attend them, please note that all who wish to join us for a luncheon or dinner in conjunction with the programs have to make reservations with the Athenaeum secretary at least 48 hours in advance. Meal card numbers from students are required. Students, faculty, staff, trustees, and other specially invited persons dine as the Athenaeum's guests. As seating permits, reservations from the public-normally $3.00 for lunch and $5.00 for dinner, payable in advance by check to the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum-are welcome, too.

The Day the Universe Changed
Wednesday, January 29-Thursday, January 30, 1986

James Burke, writer-producer of the new BBC series, "The Day the Universe Changed." (1985) Reception, 5:30 p.m.; dinner, 6:00 p.m. Discussion after dinner both days. Screening of segment from "'The Day the Universe Changed," 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, followed by lunch and discussion.

Free to Choose
Mondays, February 3, 10, 17, 24, 1986

"Free to Choose," (1980) four segments from economist Milton Friedman's film series. Screening of the 30-minute parts at 5:30 p.m. (with wine and cheese), followed by dinner at 6:00 p.m. and discussion led by Claremont economists, such as Wm. Craig Stubblebine (CMC), Frank Wykoff (Pomona), and Richard Sweeney (CMC).

Religion Today
Wednesday, February 5, 1986

Matthew Fox, leading religious thinker, co-sponsored by McAlister Center. Reception, 5:30 p.m.; dinner, 6:0O p.m. Discussion after dinner.

Presidential Politics, '84-'88
Tuesday, February 25-Thursday, February 27, 1986

"Presidential Politics, '84-'88," co-sponsored by the John Brown Cook Association. A series of presentations looking forward to the 1988 presidential campaign. The invited participants, influential Democrats and Republicans, include Patrick Caddell, James Johnson, Charles Manatt, Lyn Nofziger, Edward Rollins, and Richard Wirthlin.

An Evening with Professors Milton and Rose Friedman
Monday, March 3, 1986

An Evening with Professors Milton and Rose Friedman. Reception, 5:30 p.m.; dinner, 6:00 p.m. Discussion after dinner.

The Archetypal Foundations of War and Peace
Wednesday, March 26-Thursday, March 27, 1986

Dr. Anthony Stevens, Jungian psychologist and author, discusses "The Archetypal Foundations of War and Peace." Reception, 5:30 p.m.; dinner, 6:00 p.m. Discussion after dinner both days.

Monday, March 31-Wednesday, April 2, 1986

"Leadership," a series of presentations focusing on the relationship between liberal arts education and leadership roles in contemporary America. Invited participants include Jack Gould, dean, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago; Barbara Dyer, associate director, Council of State Planning Agencies, Washington, D.C.; Eugene Miller, executive vice president, USG Corporation, Chicago; and Jeffrey Klein '75, senior staff counsel, Los Angeles Times.

An Evening with Larry Kushner
Tuesday, April 15, 1986

Larry Kushner, author of The River of Light: Spirituality, Judiaism and the Evolution of Consciousness (1981) and other important books in Jewish religious thought, co-sponsored by McAlister Center. Reception, 5:30 p.m.; dinner, 6:00 p.m. Discussion after dinner.

The Killing Fields
Wednesday, April 16-Thursday, April 17, 1986

Sydney H. Schanberg and Dith Pran. Two evenings with the journalists whose story is told in The Killing Fields (1984). Reception, 5:30 p.m.; dinner, 6:00 p.m. Discussion after dinner both days.

Keck Lecture on International Understamding
Monday, April 28-Wednesday, April 30, 1986

Yeshoshafat Harkabi, Hexter Professor of International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and former chief of intelligence for the Israeli Defense Forces, will be in residence at the Athenaeum as the 1986 Keck Lecturer on International Understanding.


In addition to speakers visiting the Athenaeum, the second semester features an entertaining schedule of celebrations, which include:

Monday, January 27, 1986: Mozart's Birthday Party. Recepition, 5:30 p.m.; dinner, 6:00 p.m. Following dinner, a concert of chamber music will be provided by: Donald Ambroson (viola), Cecilia Cloughly (French horn), Lewis Ellenhorn (clarinet), Douglas McCracken (bassoon), John Phillips (oboe), and Bonnie Snortum (piano). They will play Mozart's Trio in E-flat Major for Piano, Clarinet, and Viola, K. 498 and his Quintet in E-flat Major for Piano, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn, and Bassoon, K. 452. Amadeus (1984) will be shown on the Athenaeum's VCR at 3:00 and 8:15 p.m.

Friday, February 14, 1986: The Athenaeum Valentine Party takes celebrants to "Evening in Vienna," 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, March 4, 1986: Art at the Athenaeum. A "progressive dinner" also features commentary about the Athenaeum's exceptional art collection.

Thursday, April 3, 1986: Clam Bake. Come to the Athenaeum for a "shore dinner," 6:00 p.m.


Afternoon Tea. Beginning Monday, January 20, 1986, and every Monday through Friday thereafter during the regular term, tea and sweets are offered in the Athenaeum library, 3:00-4:30 p.m.

The Wednesday Lunch. One of the small Athenaeum dining rooms will be reserved each Wednesday-starting January 22, 1986-for students and faculty who wish to drop in for lunch and conversation. No prior sign-up is required; and the number of seats has been expanded.

Sunday Brunch. On February 2, 1986, and on the first Sundays of March, April, and May, Harald Bauer provides his famous brunch at 11:00 a.m. Make reservations early.

A Digest of Forthcoming Athenaeum-sponsored Events

January 22, 1986 "The Wednesday Lunch," 12:00 noon
January 27, 1986 Mozart's Birthday Party
January 29, 1986 "The Wednesday Lunch," 12:00 noon
January 29, 1986 James Burke, "The Day the World Changed" (I), reception 5:30 p.m., with dinner and discussion following
January 30, 1986 James Burke, "The Day the World Changed" (I and II), 11:00 a.m. through lunch; also 5:30 p.m.
February 2, 1986 Sunday Brunch, 11:00 a.m.
February 3, 1986 "Free to Choose" series, Part I, 5:30 p.m.
February 5, 1986 "The Wednesday Lunch," 12:00 noon
February 5, 1986 Matthew Fox, reception 5:30 p.m., with dinner and discussion following
February 10, 1986 "Free to Choose" series, Part I, 5:30 p.m.
February 12, 1986 "The Wednesday Lunch," 12:00 noon
February 14, 1986 The Athenaeum Valentine Party, 7:00 p.m.
February 17, 1986 "Free to Choose" series, Part III, 5:30 p.m.