February 28 Scholar Recognition Day Seminars

1. A Few Arguments Concerning the Existence of God. The motto of philosophy is, “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Philosophy is about trying to find the nature of the universe by using evidence and logical arguments, but each person must evaluate the evidence and arguments for oneself, otherwise it is not the examined life. Here is an example of a philosophical controversy: Does God exist? We will examine two arguments for the existence of God and one against. The purpose of this short talk is to explore how thinking hard about hard questions is necessary for the examined life. 

3. Beautiful and Gruesome: An African American Woman Describes India, 1928-29. Juliette Derricotte, a black American, traveled to India as a representative of the Young Women's Christian Association in 1928. While there, she wrote long letters back to her family describing her experiences and what she saw. She grappled with whether she felt more in common with her white American companions or the people in India with skin very close to the color of hers. Come hear why she sometimes felt very close to the white Westerners and why other times she saw life through the eyes of the Indians she had just met. 

5. Chemistry Makes Scents. The human nose is a very sensitive detector of odor. Explore with us the molecular characteristics that make one molecule smell fruity and another smell like sweat socks. Bring your nose! 

6. Computer Generated Images. When you go to a movie or look at a picture in a magazine or online, it’s hard to tell which characters and scenes are real and which are computer-generated. In this workshop, we will explore some of the techniques used to create these computer-generated images. 

7. Do You Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve? Emotions, Stress, and the Mind-Body Connection. It is common knowledge that stress can make you sick, but how, when, and why are questions that are not always well understood. In this session we will conduct a couple of experiments that take a closer look at the fascinating connections between your mind and body. What you learn in these experiments will help you better understand and cope with daily social and academic stresses. 

8. Fairy Tales Then and Now. You know fairy tales, but do you know where they come from? These stories have traveled through centuries and across continents. What makes them so persistent and powerful? In this seminar we'll discuss the origins and meanings of some well known fairy tales and investigate strategies for understanding what these important stories may mean for our lives. 

9. Flexibility and Creativity in the Choral Rehearsal. Music education in secondary schools must be more than preparation for performance. Large ensembles in which the director makes most of the musical decisions tend to be the modus operandi. We will explore a few ways to break out of that mold  within the boundaries of the choral rehearsal. Come prepared to use your voice! 

10. From the Enlightenment to the Magic Kingdom. This presentation will concentrate on the evolution of the fairy tale literary genre with attention to French and Danish contes that have become favorites in the English speaking world (Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Puss in Boots and Frozen). Questions to be examined include the persistence and relevance of fairy tales in times of unease and cultural transition, the representation of the feminine and cultural differences between European and American adaptation of these stories. 

11. Godless Europe vs. a God-Blessed America? In America, someone who attends church on a regular basis is considered normal. In Europe, such a person is more likely to be considered a fanatic. What explains this difference? Come and explore with us the possible reasons why Americans appear to be much more religious than Europeans. 

12. Human Anatomy. This seminar is currently full. If you select it, you will be placed on a waiting list. We will use prosected (previously dissected) human cadavers to look at some of the major human muscles, arteries, nerves, and joints. We will also examine organs such as the human heart, brain, and lungs. This session is appropriate for anyone who has an interest in what the human body looks like inside. 

13. Let's Make A Deal For Justice? Ninety five percent of criminal charges in the United States are either dismissed or resolved by a plea bargain. This exercise allows participants to try being prosecutors and defense attorneys and negotiate about the sentencing of various offenders and to discuss the role of plea bargaining in a system aiming at justice for all parties.

14. Making Math Tangible. Current students training to become elementary math teachers will engage participants in active hands-on activities for making math meaningful and compelling for the learning. 

16. Outbreak at Luther College! Follow how an infectious disease, such as Ebola, could be spread at Luther College. Participants will be actively involved in "spreading" a disease, then acting as a tracking team to plot the disease. 

17. Research and Study Away Opportunities as Important Components of Your Luther Biology Program. Tour biology research labs and visit with current biology students and faculty to find out about some of the collaborative research projects that are happening at Luther College. 

18. Shoulder Assessment. The shoulder is perhaps the most dynamic and complicated joint of the body to assess. Join us in looking at some mechanics and assessment techniques used by health care professionals in diagnosing injury to the shoulder. Hands on activity will be incorporated in a 'laboratory' type setting.

19. So You Think You are Not Creative? Creativity is essential to success in today's business world. Fortunately, creativity is a thinking skill that can be learned. Come learn how you can be creative on demand and develop new ideas for businesses and products. 

21. Star Clusters in the Milky Way. Thousands of open star clusters are scattered throughout the plane of our galaxy while hundreds of globular star clusters cluster around the center of the galaxy. Each cluster is a group of hundreds of stars. We will look at the properties of these different types of star clusters and study how their distributions on the sky help us visualize the shape of our home galaxy, the Milky Way. We will conclude with a visit to the planetarium to visualize our home galaxy. 

22. Study Abroad Opportunities In Spanish. Hear ¡n español about short-term and long-term study abroad opportunities in Spanish speaking countries. Majors and minors at Luther spend time abroad immersing themselves in language and culture. Faculty and current students will show you where our students go and what they do while studying abroad. You will also have a chance to share your own travel and study abroad experiences while practicing your language skills. 

23. Sustainable Resilient Communities: Decorah in 2050. Climate change will make life quite different than we are used to. For example, by 2050 we won't be using much fossil fuel, if any. Small towns and urban neighborhoods that become more resilient and self-sufficient will be better able to survive in this new environment. How can we create communities that are more resilient, sustainable, and self-reliant? 

24. The Hunger Games as Equipment for Living. Given the tremendous literary and box office success of The Hunger Games, this seminar considers the way in which science fiction contributes to our understanding of contemporary human life. Embracing the futuristic, the spectacular, and the speculative, how does The Hunger Games film invite viewers to enter a public dialogue concerning such wide ranging issues as gender, economics, and politics? To what degree does the film function as a parable, a narrative capable of reinforcing or challenging cultural beliefs, values, and norms? 

25. Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Mathematics? Tracking Avalanches to Uncover the Catalan Triangle in Piles of Sand. How do avalanches occur in large piles of sand? Together, we will explore the dynamics of a particular sandpile model in small groups. In particular, we will explore why the Catalan Triangle helps count the number of possible sandpile configurations. This hands-on seminar will follow the discovery process of a summer Student-Faculty Research Collaboration with two Luther Students. 

27. Woodwind Faculty Open Rehearsal/Pre-Recital Talk. Observe this open rehearsal and master class presented by the woodwind faculty An open rehearsal is an opportunity to observe a professionally run chamber music rehearsal and witness faculty collaboration in music. Selections to be performed at a 7:00 p.m. recital will be rehearsed.

28. Combating HIV/AIDS in Botswana: A Search for Effective Solutions. Despite discovering diamonds and rapid  development after gaining independence in 1966, Botswana remains a country with one of the world’s highest rates of HIV/AIDS. While the country has attempted to implement HIV/AIDS prevention and care policies to reduce the rate of this deadly disease, these strategies are clearly failing as the HIV/AIDS rate in Botswana continues to linger around 24.8 percent. In an effort to find effective solutions to the epidemic in Botswana, this presentation focuses on why current HIV/AIDS policies are unsuccessful in the country and what changes should be made in order to reduce the rate of the disease.