Get the latest on our spring planning.
Lectures will be held virtually through 2020–21. They are free and available to the public and are followed by a question-and-answer period.
Information about access will be posted closer to the lecture date.
Recordings and transcripts of lectures are available on the SJC Digital Archives site. Access any of the Fall 2020 lectures on YouTube.
Please stay tuned for additional lectures for the Dean’s Lecture and Concert Series for the Spring 2021 semester.
Cantos V, VI, and VII in Dante’s Paradiso touch on central themes of medieval Catholic orthodoxy. But is this last canticle of the Divine Comedy just Dante’s staging of Church doctrine? A lot depends on who we think Beatrice (Dante’s guide in Paradise) is. Is she simply the romantic crush of the poet’s youth? Or is she a mature figure of Wisdom, like Sapientia, the eternal companion of God in the biblical books attributed to Solomon? Some of the comedy of the Comedy may be related to the fact that hardly anyone suspects Dante’s girlfriend of holding very independent views, let alone radical ideas about Church politics and theology. This talk will challenge that assumption and listen to what Dante and Beatrice are discussing over the heads of the saints and theologians.
Thucydides gives a scathing account of Nicias’s failures in Sicily and then says, just before his awful death, that Nicias was least among the Hellenes to deserve such a fate because “the whole of his life had been ordered toward virtue.” In this essay, I try to think through what this eulogy means and whether or not Thucydides presents it as a compliment.
It’s been a fantastic decade for black hole studies, highlighted by the 2017 and 2020 Nobel Prizes in Physics. Multiple Galactic Center research groups, the Event Horizon Telescope, and LIGO/Virgo continue to bring rapid new observations to sharpen our understanding of these exotic objects. I will discuss the unique variability of the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole, alongside other time domain phenomena in the Galactic Center, traced out over more than 20 years of observations from coordinated multi-wavelength campaigns. I will also briefly explore how we can continue to push the frontiers of black hole research with existing and next-generation observatories.