The Franklin Lectures were established to address the urgent need for a forum in which the issues and questions of a rapidly changing world could be examined. The founders of the series recognized that stunning advances in technology brought both challenges and opportunities, but they also presumed that the humanities would be essential resources for addressing these issues. In consequence, they created a rare creature, a lecture series that would address scientists and humanists and would employ the strengths of both domains to examine the human issues of the day. To insure that discussion would be of the highest level, the founders determined to employ speakers of extraordinary distinction. A very brief sampling of Littleton-Franklin Lecturers illustrates the lofty standards for selection: Richard Leakey, C.P. Snow, Steven Jay Gould, Leon Lederman, and David Halberstam. They represent some of the finest minds of the era, and some of the most incisive thinking.
From the beginning, Littleton-Franklin Lecturers have been available to students. In many ways, the series isfor the students. Students will ask questions during the public lectures, then run up to the podium afterwards to ask more. The next morning the lecturer will have breakfast with a group of students, then meet with two classes—each no larger than 25 or 30. On more than one occasion, I have seen students with stars in their eyes, amazed that they were speaking directly to someone whose books they had read for classes or whom they had seen on television. Taylor Littleton, one of the founders of the series, made the point beautifully. He spoke of the “silent transformations,” the quiet moments in education when disparate ideas, authors, and problems come into clear focus and become fixed points of reference for a lifetime. The Littleton-Franklin Lectures aim to spark these invisible changes.
The Littleton-Franklin Lectures address the pervasive problem of retaining our humanity and ideas in a rapidly developing technological society.This season's lectures are sponsored by funds from the John and Mary Franklin Foundation, Atlanta, Ga. The series in its name also recognizes the service to the program of Mosley Professor Emeritus Taylor D. Littleton. Members of the Littleton-Franklin Faculty Committee are Richard Chapman (Computer Science and Software Engineering), Gerard Elfstrom (Philosophy), Martha Escobar (Psychology), Eleanor Josephson (Veterinary Medicine), Clark Lundell (Industrial Design), and Michael Pindzola (Physics).
For more information, contact:
Gerard Elfstrom firstname.lastname@example.org
Littleton-Franklin Lectures Program 6080 Haley Center Auburn, AL 36849-5312
Last May 30, 2013