Kenwood Press

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Upcoming Sunday Symposiums

The Oakmont Sunday Symposium provides a forum for speakers on diverse topics such as science, history, politics, culture and current events. Attendance is intended for Oakmont residents and their invited guests. Symposiums take place from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the East Rec Center, 7902 Oakmont Dr.

May 4 - “Sarajevo: First Shot of World War I”

A century ago on June 28, 1914, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, were shot dead as they crossed over the Latin Bridge in Saravejo, Bosnia. The assassin was a Serbian teenager, Gavrilo Princip, who was part of a Serbian military conspiracy. Within a month this seemingly local event grew into a four-year war that claimed 10 million lives. Instead of settling conflicts among nations, the Great War led to the Russian Revolution, the rise of Adolf Hitler, the Cold War, and international problems with which we are still faced.

Historian Bob Kirk, will explain how an act of terrorism drew European nations inextricably into a deadly trap that their rulers and strategists had set. Kirk earned his Ph.D. in history from U.C. Davis. He is the author of five books, and has lectured on cruises all over the world since 1986.

May 8, Special evening presentation, 7 to 9 p.m., “Blazing Galaxies, Exploding Stars, and Monstrous Black Holes: High-Energy Visions of the Universe”

Einstein's most famous equation is E=mc2 - but what does it really mean? When scientists observe the high-energy universe, light from exploding stars, blazing galaxies and monstrous black holes illuminate Einstein's vision. In this talk, Professor Lynn Cominsky, Chair of the Physics and Astronomy Department at Sonoma State University, will showcase many exciting results from recent NASA missions. Since launching in June 2012, NASA's NuSTAR has been uncovering black holes hidden deep within gaseous galaxies, including studies of the black hole at the center of our own Milky Way. It has also mapped out elements from supernovae, revealing details of the processes that create the “starstuff” from which we are made.

Cominsky received her Ph.D. in physics at MIT. In 1993, she was named Sonoma State University's Outstanding Professor, and the California Professor of the Year by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. She has served as the scientific director for the PBS NOVA television program “Monster of the Milky Way” and accompanying planetarium show “Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity.”

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