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NASA officials and Huey Lewis and The News headline fourth week of Chautauqua Institution’s 2016 season

July 13, 2016
Westfield Republican

With a third of the season completed, Chautauqua Institution is proud to announce the program lineup for Week Four of its 2016 season. The week, which begins July 16 and concludes July 23, features presentations by renowned guests such as Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David McCullough, astronomer and writer Phil Plait and three of NASA's top officials, as well as performances by Huey Lewis and The News and more.

Chautauqua Institution's nine-week summer season features morning and afternoon lectures focusing on weekly cultural themes. The morning lecture series will take place at 10:45 a.m. Monday through Friday in the Amphitheater. During Week Four, Chautauquans will look beyond the skies as they ponder "Our Search for Another Earth." Space exploration and its possible results will be approached from a variety of perspectives - literal, speculative, economic, political and more - as speakers consider some of the biggest questions to ever face mankind.

The Interfaith Lecture Series, at 2 p.m. weekdays in the Hall of Philosophy, is "Searching for an Interstellar Spirituality?" As science has supplanted religion's role in explaining the facts of the universe, the question of how science, religion and philosophy can be reconciled together in an interplanetary context will be explored.

The Rev. Tony Campolo, founder and president of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, will serve as ecumenical guest chaplain for the week. In 2012, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Youth Worker's Convention. He is also professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University and a former faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania.


Morning:Phil Plait is an astronomer, writer and creator of the "Bad Astronomy" blog at Slate. He previously worked with the COBE satellite, as part of the Hubble Space Telescope team at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and served as president of the James Randi Educational Foundation, which promotes scientific skepticism. In addition to "Bad Astronomy," he is the author of two books, a contributor to Astronomy magazine and a frequent guest on the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute's radio show, "Big Picture Science."

Afternoon:David Weintraub is professor of astronomy at Vanderbilt University, where he directs programs in the Communication of Science and Technology and Scientific Computing. In 2015, he won the Klopsteg Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers in recognition for outstanding communication of the excitement of contemporary physics to the general public.


Morning:Charles C. Mann is a journalist and author of "1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus," which traces the history of exploration with new findings of pre-Columbian America. He has written for publications including The Atlantic, Wired and The New York Times, and has received writing awards from groups such as the American Bar Association and the American Institute of Physics, among others.

Afternoon:Joshua Ambrosius is professor of political science at the University of Dayton, where he researches urban and housing policy, faith-based social policy and space exploration. He has written for several websites including Red Letter Christians and his recent work on religious publics' perspectives on space exploration has been featured on


Morning:Sara Seager is professor of planetary science and physics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Dubbed an "astronomical Indiana Jones," her research includes theories about life on other planets, the development of space mission concepts and more. She also works in space instrumentation and space missions for exoplanets, including on TESS, an MIT-led NASA Explorer Mission to be launched in 2017.

Afternoon: Fr. Jos Gabriel Funes, SJ is the former director of the Vatican Observatory and former member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. He currently serves as professor at the School of Philosophy in the Catholic University of Cordoba, Argentina, where his research includes the scientific, philosophical and religious implications of the search for other worlds and the future of the universe.


Morning: Jill Tarter is the Bernard M. Oliver Chair for SETI at the SETI Institute. Her work in the search for extraterrestrial life includes leading Project Phoenix, a decade-long search of more than 700 nearby star systems, and as a project scientist for NASA's High Resolution Microwave Survey. Her work served as some of the inspiration for Carl Sagan's novel "Contact," where Jodie Foster portrayed her in the film adaptation.

Afternoon: Michael Waltemathe is senior lecturer in the Department of Protestant Theology at Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany. He also serves as an officer of the Astrosociology Research Institute and is a founding member of the International Academy for the Study of Gaming and Religion.


Morning:David W. Miller is chief technologist at NASA, where he is the agency's principal adviser on NASA technology policy and programs. His work at NASA includes the space shuttle, the International Space Station and the NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative. He is the Jerome C. Hunsaker Professor at MIT, where he teaches in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Ellen Stofan is NASA's chief scientist and the agency's top adviser on science programs and science-related strategic planning and investment. At NASA, she has worked on a number of projects including the Cassini Mission to Saturn, the Titan Mare Explorer and at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Afternoon: Paul Root Wolpe is senior bioethicist at NASA and director for the Center of Ethics at Emory University. His research focuses on the social, religious and ideological impact of biotechnology on the human condition. In 2011, he won the World Technology Network Award in Ethics.

Additional Lectures

5 p.m. Wednesday, July 20, Amphitheater: David McCullough speaks on his book, Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (CLSC) selection "The Wright Brothers," which tells the dramatic story of Orville and Wilbur Wright and their history-changing leap into the world of flight. McCullough is a two-time recipient of both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has written 11 books, including "The Path Between the Seas," "Truman" and "John Adams."

Amphitheater Entertainment

Aside from the daily lectures, Week Four features a variety of evening entertainment programs at the Amphitheater each night.

On Saturday, the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra (CSO) returns for its Opera Highlights Concert, featuring Chautauqua Opera Young Artists. The performance is at 8:15 p.m. with tickets priced at $42.

At 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Charlotte Ballet in Residence presents the Chautauqua School of Dance Student Gala with associate artistic director Mark Diamond. Admissions to the grounds and the Amphitheater are free on Sundays.

On Monday, Chautauqua's Music School Festival Orchestra performs at 8:15 p.m. with music director and conductor Timothy Muffitt. The repertoire includes pieces by composer-in-residence Annie Gosfield and Benjamin Britten. Tickets are $20.

On Tuesday, the CSO returns to the Amphitheater with conductor Rossen Milanov for a night of "Bernstein on Broadway," featuring a full repertoire of Leonard Bernstein compositions. As part of a series of Community Appreciation Nights, tickets are $20.

At 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, world-renowned pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk returns for a solo recital. Following recent performances in Toulouse, Fribourg, Moscow, New York, London and more, Gavrylyuk is not to be missed during his 11th season at Chautauqua. Tickets are $20.

On Thursday, the CSO returns at 8:15 p.m. with Milanov as conductor and guest cellist Felix Fan. The repertoire includes pieces by Paul Hindemith and composer in residence Gosfield. Tickets are $42.

At 8:15 p.m. on Friday, Chautauqua welcomes Grammy Award-winning group Huey Lewis and The News to the Amphitheater stage. For more than 37 years, the band has been charming audiences across the world with its infectious brand of rock 'n' roll. Tickets for this event are sold out.

Alternative Entertainment Options

On Monday, Chautauqua Quartet will take the stage at 4 p.m. in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall. Featuring four CSO musicians, Chautauqua's very own string quartet will perform in an intimate chamber setting. A gate pass is required for admission.

On Wednesday, ventriloquist and comedienne Lynn Trefzger will bring her zany cast of characters to the Institution. Trefzger has performed across the country and regularly appears on Disney Cruise Lines, where she is one of its top five performers. Shows at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Smith Wilkes Hall are free.

Later in the week, Chautauqua Theater Company's (CTC) production "The Profane" previews at 8 p.m. in Bratton Theater. A Chautauqua commission, the play by Zayd Dohrn tells the story of two immigrant families forced to grapple with each other's religious beliefs, cultural traditions and deep-seated prejudice when a liberal writer's daughter falls for the son of a fundamentalist. Tickets are $35.

Gate Pass Information

Day tickets are available for purchase at the Main Gate Welcome Center Ticket Office on the day of your visit. Morning tickets grant visitors access to the grounds from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. for $24. Afternoon tickets grant access from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. for $16. Combined morning/afternoon passes allow access from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and cost $40. Evening passes grant access from 4 p.m. to midnight with the cost varying based on the evening entertainment. For tickets and information, visit or call 716-357-6250.

The pre-eminent expression of lifelong learning in the United States, Chautauqua Institution comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. Over the course of nine weeks, more than 100,000 people visit Chautauqua and participate in programs, classes and community events for all ages - all within the beautiful setting of a historic lakeside village. In a recent piece in the New York Times Travel section, Lisa Schwarzbaum wrote, "A week at Chautauqua is a microcosm of what we can make of our lives, if only we remember to slow down and pay attention."



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