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Go beyond the spin and soundbytes when you join LearningLife for this popular series in which University scholars and researchers share firsthand knowledge of today’s most intriguing stories. From medical breakthroughs and culture clashes to social trends, international affairs, and more, you’ll learn the who, what, where, why, and how from an insider’s point of view and then share your insights in a moderated and lively Q&A.

LearningLife also offers an innovative portfolio of short courses, seminars, and one-day immersions, as well as Encore Transitions, a series of courses designed to help you imagine and prepare for a vibrant post-career life.

March 1, 7 p.m.

Astronomy’s Golden New Age: Observing the Universe with Gravitational Waves

Dr. Vuc Mandic


In 2015, two detectors from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational‐Wave Observatory (LIGO) identified the first gravitational‐wave signal, which was produced approximately one billion years ago during a collision of two black holes. In addition to confirming Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, this monumental discovery demonstrated that scientists now had an innovative new way to observe the universe. 

Since that detection in 2015, other black hole mergers have been observed, providing unprecedented insight into these signals—their formation and evolution—but nothing as significant as what was observed in late 2017, when the LIGO team, along with their collaborators at VIRGO, detected for the first time, gravitational waves produced from two colliding neutron stars. More remarkable still, the teams were able to pinpoint the precise locations of the stars in order to watch the event unfold. 

As one periodical put it, “These scientists were able to witness, directly, the alchemy of the universe in action.” [Vox, 10/16/2017]

“Together,” says Professor Vuk Mandic, a member of the LIGO team, “these observations have enabled a series of new studies, including a novel measurement of the expansion of the universe and a study of the formation of the heaviest elements (such as platinum and gold) in the mergers of neutron stars.”

Join us March 1 when Mandic will detail how the observation of gravitational waves helped lead to the origin of gold, but more, to a golden new age in learning about the universe.

Vuk Mandic is a Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota, where his award-winning research involves gravitational waves and dark matter. The recipient of the University’s 2017 Taylor Research Prize, Mandic is a member of the renowned LIGO Scientific Collaboration. To learn more about this event.

April 5, 7 p.m.

Net Neutrality: Then, Now, Later

Dr. Christopher Terry, Assistant Professor, Hubbard School of Journalism & Mass Communication


Dr. Christopher Terry

Headliners Archive

Hidden Harms: The Supply and Demand of Sex Trading and Trafficking in Minnesota
Dr. Lauren Martin
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Augmenting You: 3D Printed Bioelectronic Devices 
Dr. Michael C. McAlpine
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From ICE to Sanctuary Cities: The Myths and Realities of Immigration Enforcement
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The Art of the Wasted Day 
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Our Health Economy: The Undiscovered Country
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April 6, 2017
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Cyber Crime: From Phishing to The Dark Net
Mark Lanterman
March 2, 2017
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Best of Class: Can We Feed the World Without Destroying It? 
Dr. Jason Hill
February 2, 2017
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One for the Record Books: 2016 Election Results and the Implications for Governing
Dr. Kathryn Pearson
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Beyond Cecil: Lions, Conservation, and Controversy
Dr. Craig Packer
November 3, 2016
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Radio K Interview "Beyond Cecil" with Dr. Craig Packer
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Protecting Your Lunch: Food Fraud and Adulteration
Dr. Amy Kircher
October 6, 2016
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Radio K Interview with Dr. Amy Kircher
October 4, 2016
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The Anti-Campaign
Dr. Larry Jacobs
May 5, 2016
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The Growing Stickiness of Criminal Labels
Dr. Christopher Uggen
April 7, 2016
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News from Paris: Deciphering the UN Conference on Climate Change
Dr. Jessica Hellmann
March 3, 2016
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When Everyone is Above Average: Inflated Rhetoric in Higher Education
Julie Schumacher
February 5, 2016
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Mapping and Interfacing with the Human Brain
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December 3, 2015 
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Stronger, Faster, Brighter: Wearable Technology and the Future of Clothing 
Dr. Lucy Dunne
November 5, 2015
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Energy Evolution: Shaping the Future of Electricity
Dr. Elizabeth J. Wilson
October 8, 2015 
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Contemporary Fiction and the Modern Security State
Charles Baxter
May 7, 2015
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Copper, Nickel, and Precious-Metal Deposits in Northeastern Minnesota: A Geological Perspective
Jim Miller
March 5, 2015
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The Shifting Tides of Global Terrorism
Dr. Jarret Brachman
Feburay 5, 2015 
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Paleofantasy: What Evolution Tells Us about Modern Life
Dr. Marlene Zuk
December 4, 2014
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Ebola: Rethinking Global Emergency Response
Dr. Jeffrey Bender
November 6, 2014
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Explore, Teach, Inspire: Taking Education and Innovation to the Next Level
Dr. Aaron Doering
October 9, 2014
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What's Next for Generation Next? R.T. Rybak Tackles the Education Achievement Gap
R.T. Rybak
May 1, 2014
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Stem Cell Research and the Frankenstein Complex
Dr. John Wagner
March 6, 2014
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Managing Global Crises and the Future of Our World
Dr. Eric Schwartz
February 6, 2014
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A Trillion Reasons to Care: Early Evidence and Expectations of the Affordable Care Act
Dr. Jean Abraham
December 5, 2013
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Galápagos Fragile Past, Brighter Future
Dr. Julia Ponder
November 7, 2013
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Big Data Landscape: Technology, Economy, Society
Professor Ravi Bapna
October 3, 2013
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Alleviating Global Poverty
Professor J. Brian Atwood
April 11, 2013
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The Secret World of the Body's Blood-Clotting System: An Inside Look at the Elusive Platelet
Professor Christy Haynes
March 7, 2013
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Seeing the Forest and the Trees: The Impact of Climate Change on Terrestrial Ecosystems
Regents Professor Peter Reich
February 7, 2013
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What's Next? Envisioning the U's Future
President Eric Kaler
January 10, 2013
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Fracking: Facts, Fiction, and Fixes
Professor Lawrence Wackett
December 6, 2012
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Election 2012 Recap
Professor Kathryn Pearson
November 8, 2012
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Post-Revolution Egypt: The Struggle Continues
Professor Ragui Assaad
October 4, 2012
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The New Public Square
Professor Heather LaMarre
April 5, 2012
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Ramp Up to Readiness: Should College Be the Goal for Every Student?
Kent Pekel, executive director of the University of Minnesota College Readiness Consortium
March 1, 2012
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What's Past is Prologue: The Global Economic Crisis
Professor Tim Kehoe 
February 2, 2012
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Treating Man and His Best Friend
Professor John Ohlfest
January 5, 2012
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Seven Billion and Counting
Professor Jonathan Foley
December 1, 2011
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American Metropolitics: The New Suburban Reality
Professor Myron Orfield
November 3, 2011
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What's Next?: Debunking the Myths about Retirement in America
Professor Phyllis Moen
October 6, 2011
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The Important Life of Bees
Professor Marla Spivak, Distinguished McKnight Professor of Entomology
March 3, 2011
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Easing the Economic Slowdown
Narayana Kocherlakota, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
February 3, 2011
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Get Smart: A Power Grid for the 21st Century
Professor Massoud Amin
January 6, 2011
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Book Versus Nook (and iPad and Kindle and Kobo and...)
Douglas Armato, director of the University of Minnesota Press
December 2, 2010
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Election 2010: Reading the Tea Leaves
Professor Kathryn Pearson
November 4, 2010
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Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine: The Controversy and the Science
Professor Jonathan Slack, director of the Stem Cell Institute at the University of Minnesota
October 7, 2010
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The New Frugality
Chris Farrell, journalist and personal finance expert
April 4, 2010
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The Curious Culture of Wall Street
Professor Karen Ho
March 4, 2010
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Who Really Makes National Security Policy?
Vice President Walter Mondale and Larry Jacobs, director of the Center of the Study of Politics and Governance at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
February 4, 2010
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A Way Forward in Afghanistan
Professor Iraj Bashiri 
January 7, 2010
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New Models for the News
Nora Paul, founding director of the University of Minnesota's Institute for New Media Studies
December 3, 2009
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The Journey of Solar Decathlon 2009: A View from the Trenches
Peter Hilger, architect and CCE Construction Management faculty
November 5, 2009
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Touching the Third Rail: The Politics of American Health Care
Larry Jacobs, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
October 1, 2009
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The Awful, Lawful Joyride: Minnesota's Budget Rollercoaster
Jay Kiedrowski, former state finance commissioner and co-chair, Minnesota Budget Trends Study Commission
March 5, 2009
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Living on a Shrinking Planet: Challenges and Opportunities for a Sustainable Future
Jonathan Foley, Director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota
February 5, 2009
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A Culture in Peril: Hmong Grave Desecration in Thailand
Professor Mai Na Lee
January 8, 2009
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Where Do We Go From Here?: Transition in the White House
J. Brian Atwood, Dean, Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
December 4, 2008
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Election 2008: History in the Making
Professor Kathryn Pearson
November 6, 2008
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Petropolitics and the Middle East
Professor William O. Beeman
October 2, 2008
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The Foreclosure Crisis Hits Home
Professor Prentiss Cox
April 3, 2008
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The China Connection
Professor Yongwei Zhang
March 6, 2008
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On the Road in Search of Latino America
Professor Louis Mendoza
February 7, 2008
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Global Warming...Regional Impact: Minnesota's Role in an Environmental Crisis
Professor Deborah Swackhamer
January 10, 2008
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Game Theory in an Economic Maelstrom
Professor Varadarajan V. Chari
December 6, 2007
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A Discovery of Cosmic Proportion
Professor Larry Rudnick
November 1, 2007
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Bridges Fall Down
Professor John S. Adams
October 4, 2007
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How "Free" Is the Freedom of the Press?
Professor Jane Kirtley
April 5, 2007
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Understanding the Conflict in Somalia
Professor Abdi Samatar
February 1, 2007
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The Next Generation of Biofuels
Professor David Tilman
January 11, 2007
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The Science, Politics, and Ethics of Stem Cell Research
Professor Meri T. Firpo
December 7, 2006
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The Social Web
Professor John T. Riedl
November 2, 2006
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The Prospects for Peace in the Middle East
Professor Michael Barnett
October 5, 2006
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