Being spontaneous is a gift.
This week I was spontaneous, which is really against my nature.
During my weekly meeting for the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service, Ray Grant, an administrator at SUU, stopped into the Leavitt Center with a scholar who was visiting campus, Jeff Lieberman. Lieberman is a roboticist who also happens to be a renowned photographer and musician. His interests may seem like opposites, but this is where his genius is born. He had spent the day giving a lecture for anyone who wanted to listen and stopped inside various classrooms across campus. He came into the Leavitt Center and chatted for a minute with us about our interests and gave us some of his thoughts on the combined world of art and physics. He also talked about his show on Discovery Channel.
Lieberman was the host of the show Time Warp. During this show he would use high-speed photography to film events (a champagne bottle being opened, punching someone in the face, an exploding piece of raw chicken) and show viewers what their natural eye could never see.
These are a few of my favorites from the Discovery Channel website (sorry for the links, Discovery Channel videos would not embed into WordPress).
Jeff said this video was his favorite of all the episodes:
If you are wondering if he is smart, here is a speech he gave at TED on science and spiritually. I understand about 20% of the whole thing. He was wearing that same jacket on Tuesday, BTW.
Our time with Jeff was pretty short, so Ray Grant invited anyone on the Leavitt Center Executive Council to go to dinner with him and Jeff that evening at a local favorite, Sweet Basil Thai.
About 6 of the council members took him up on the offer. I was one of them, and that was my spontaneity for the week. It was one of the highlights of my SUU experience. When you think of a visiting scholar, you probably think of a stuffy person who thinks he/she thinks they are better than everyone in the room because of their IQ. Jeff is the complete opposite. It was so refreshing. We all ordered different Thai dishes and had a “family style” meal where we shared with each other. He even filled each person’s water glass. Not only was it a tasty meal with awesome people, but Jeff continued his discussion about basically everything. We covered several topics like how things are filmed in 3D, green energy, the science of spicy food, and some of the latest technologies. It was just enriching to be apart of the conversation, even though I had little to contribute. It was nice to be able to sit down and discuss ideas with someone of that caliber and not just be lectured by them.
Rather than being a huge Jeff Lieberman cheerleader because he is so stellar, I think this post illustrates how great the lengths our staff and faculty members on campus will go to give students the best education they can. I could not thank Mr. Grant enough for this experience. It was educationally sublime.
On a random side note, We are Young by Fun. hit #1 on iTunes this week, and they use slow motion in their video. I actually think they stole some of the ideas from Time Warp (i.e. the face punch). I love the song and the video and it kind of relates to this post, so I thought I would share.