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Distinguished Lecture Series announces spring lineup

January 30, 2014

The first speaker of the spring 2014 Wisconsin Union Directorate Distinguished Lecture Series will be award-winning physicist Lawrence Krauss.  He will speak on Wednesday, Feb. 12, in Union South’s Varsity Hall at 7:30 p.m.

Lawrence Krauss

Lawrence Krauss

No tickets are required for this event.

Krauss is a theoretical physicist and director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University. He is the only physicist to have received major awards from all three US physics societies, the American Physical Society, the American Institute of Physics and the American Association of Physics Teachers.

Krauss is also the author of several bestselling books, including “The Physics of Star Trek,” and frequently contributes to newspapers including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

This free lecture is intended for UW–Madison students, faculty, staff and Union members and guests.

The remaining spring semester Distinguished Lecture Series speakers are listed below.  All lectures are in Varsity Hall and begin at 7:30 p.m., except where noted.

Feb. 20:  Alexis Ohanian, Co-founder of

Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman co-founded, which has become one of the most popular social news websites. After leaving his full-time post at reddit, Ohanian started the social enterprise Breadpig and later helped launch hipmunk. Ohanian ran the marketing, public relations, and community for hipmunk’s first year before joining the fight against Stop Online Piracy Act & PROTECT IP Act. Today, Ohanian is an investor, a board member of reddit inc., the Y Combinator Ambassador to the East, a hipmunk advisor, co-founder of the non-profit IHAS, and author of the book “Without Their Permission.”

March 5: Cheryl Strayed, advice columnist and author of “Wild”

Strayed is the author of the No. 1 New York Times bestselling memoir, “Wild,” which was the inaugural selection for the launch of Oprah’s Book Club 2.0.  Strayed is also the author of the bestselling book “Tiny Beautiful Things” and the critically acclaimed novel “Torch,” a finalist for the Great Lakes Book Award.  Her books have been translated into more than 30 languages.  She is a founding member of VIDA: Women In Literacy Arts, and serves on their board of directors.

March 27:  Alice Waters, founder of Slow Food USA and restaurateur

Waters is an American chef, restaurateur, activist, and author. She owns Chez Panisse, a Berkeley, Calif., restaurant famous for its organic, locally grown ingredients and for pioneering California cuisine. Chez Panisse has consistently ranked among the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Waters has been cited as one of the most influential figures in food in the past 50 years and is currently one of the most visible supporters of the organic food movement including founding Slow Food USA. In addition to her restaurant, Waters has written several books on food and cooking, including “Chez Panisse Cooking” (with Paula Bertolli) and “The Art of Simple Food.”  She is one of the world’s most well-known food activists.

April 19:  Wisconsin Festival of Ideas

The Festival of Ideas is an all-day conference organized by DLS showcasing some of the best and brightest ideas and collaborations happening on campus. The day is broken into four sessions — each session will include two professors and one student speaker, each speaking for 20 minutes. Sessions will finish with questions from the audience to the panel. There will be lunch and evening receptions to allow further discussion between attendees and participants. The Festival celebrates the research and ideas on campus, brings together faculty, students and the community and provides an opportunity for discussion and connections across disciplines.  The event will be held in the H.F. DeLuca Forum and Atrium (Town Center) in the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.  The first session will begin at 9:30 a.m., and the evening reception will end at 6:30 p.m.

April 24:  Filmmaker Oliver Stone and Professor Peter Kuznick

Stone is a film director, screenwriter, producer and veteran. Stone came to public prominence between the mid-1980s and the early 1990s for writing and directing a series of films about the Vietnam War, in which he had participated as an infantry soldier. Many of Stone’s films, such as “JFK,” “Natural Born Killers,” and “Nixon,” focus on contemporary and controversial political and cultural issues. The director of American University’s award-winning Nuclear Studies Institute, Kuznick spearheaded the Committee for a National Discussion of Nuclear History and Current Policy in response to the Smithsonian’s Enola Gay exhibit and co-founded the Nuclear Education Project. He writes often and lectures frequently about nuclear issues in general and atomic bombings in particular. He regularly provides commentary to the media on a broad range of subjects and was selected Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer, 2004-07.