This edition of NetworthyND moves from out of this world to the sublime, jazzy and poetic, and, finally, back down to earth to consider the state and fate of K-12 education in the United States.
Might there be another Earth lurking out there somewhere? Notre Dame astrophysicist David Bennet discusses recent discoveries of planets beyond our solar system using an observational technique known as microlensing, which he pioneered.
In its continuing series of popular debates on questions of religious belief, Notre Dame’s Center for the Philosophy of Religion hosted a debate on April 7 between noted “anti-theist” Sam Harris and the evangelical Christian apologist William Lane Craig. The neuroscientist and best-selling author Harris engaged Craig on the topic “Does Good Come from God?”.
For some informed commentary on the debate, see Professor John O’Callaghan’s essay Great God, It’s the Great God Debate. O’Callaghan is the director of Notre Dame’s Jacques Maritain Center.
Last year’s “God Debate” featured the outspoken atheist Christopher Hitchens vs. Dinesh D’Souza, both of whom have written bestselling books taking opposite sides on the belief question.
Here’s a peek at ND’s legendary Collegiate Jazz Festival. The CMU Jazz Lab 1, a big band from Carnegie Mellon University, plays “Aha!” by Bob Mintzer, recorded live at this year’s fest March 4 and 5.
For more background on the fabled jazz fest, check out the “Echoes” essay from the spring issue of Notre Dame Magazine.
The Notre Dame Creative Writing program recently hosted a reading by the renowned Chilean poet Raùl Zurita.
Zurita, who was arrested and tortured under the Pinochet regime, is regarded by many as the pre-eminent Latin American poet today. He read from his recently published bilingual Spanish-English book, Songs for his Disappeared Love. The book was translated into English by the poet Daniel Borzutsky, who recited the translated poetry.
Speaking of poetry, a new Facebook page has been established as a place for poets with ties to Notre Dame to congregate.
Finally, to learn what some renowned experts believe should be done to improve K-12 education, check out the webcast featuring Michele Rhee, the former chancellor of the Washington D.C. school system, Howard Fuller, chair and co-founder of the Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO) and an advocate for school choice, Sarah Martinez Tucker, undersecretary of education at the U.S. Department of Education, and John Dilulio, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives under President George W. Bush. The panel discussion is sponsored by Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education.