German Science After Reunification, Parks in the Big Apple, Politics in Indonesia Among Topics This Week at Yale

The following talks at Yale University from March 1-10 are free and open to the public, unless noted otherwise.

The following talks at Yale University from March 1-10 are free and open to the public, unless noted otherwise.

Restoring ecosystems in the ‘Big Apple’ is topic of forestry talk

Marc Matsil, chief of the Natural Resources Group of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, will be the next speaker in the semester-long Distinguished Lecturer lunchtime series titled “The Restoration Agenda: Focus on Plants.”

Matsil’s talk, titled “Managing Ecosystems in the Big Apple: The Politics and Science of Funding, Acquisition, Restoration and Monitoring,” will take place on Wednesday, March 3, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Bowers Auditorium at Sage Hall, 205 Prospect St. Participants may bring a brown-bag lunch for the discussion following the talk. For registration information, call 432-3335 or e-mail

As chief of the Natural Resources Group (NRG), Matsil’s job includes protecting the city’s ecosystems, cleaning up old landfills, making sure public works projects do not run roughshod over the environment, fighting the effects of oil spills and winning lawsuits against polluters – more than $60 million over the last decade, according to a recent report in The New York Times. He has also spearheaded the Parks Department’s acquisition of 2,000 acres of wetlands and woodlands on the fringes of the city. New York City is home to more than 40 rare and endangered species contained in a 28,000-acre parks system.

The “Restoration Agenda” lecture series is co-sponsored by the Society for Ecological Restoration and the New Haven Land Trust, with additional support from the Watershed Fund of the Regional Water Authority and Roots Inc.

Professor to give update on current events in Indonesia

Arief Budiman, a professor of Indonesian at the University of Melbourne, Australia, will discuss “The Latest Political Developments in Indonesia” on Thursday, March 4, at noon in Rm. 203 of Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Ave. Budiman is a prominent critic of the regime of former Indonesian president Soeharto, who resigned in the midst of the political turmoil that followed his country’s economic collapse two years ago. Budiman, who is head of the Indonesian Program at the Melbourne Institute for Asian Languages and Societies, is also a commentator on Indonesian cultural, literary and political issues.

Budiman’s visit is sponsored by the Council on Southeast Asia Studies at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies

Writer will talk about her book detailing clash of cultures

Anne Fadiman, an award-winning reporter who also is editor of The American Scholar, will deliver the Robert Penn Warren Lecture on Thursday, March 4, at 5 p.m. in the Beaumont Room of the Sterling Hall of Medicine, 333 Cedar St. In her lecture, titled “Cultural Competence? Immigrant Patients, American Doctors,” Fadiman will discuss the emotional and intellectual journey she took while writing the book “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures.” During the second half of her talk, she will focus on some of the conclusions she has drawn about how American physicians might care more humanely and effectively for patients from other cultures. The event is sponsored by the Program for Humanities in Medicine.

In her book, Fadiman tells of the encounters of a young Hmong girl and her family with American doctors in Merced, Calif., when the girl has a series of seizures. The family, which believes her symptoms to be related to spiritual possession, becomes resentful of the American doctors who try to convince them that their cultural remedies will be unsuccessful. Conversely, the girl’s doctors become impatient with the family, which refuses to follow all their instructions. David McClintick, author of “Indecent Exposure,” characterized the work by saying, “Anne Fadiman is a virtuoso. Her reporting is deeply revelatory, her writing is elegant, and her story is gripping. ‘The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down’ is an unforgettable work of nonfiction literature.”

Fadiman has written articles and essays for Harper’s, Civilization, Life, The New York Times and The Washington Post, among other publications. She has received a John S. Knight Fellowship in Journalism and a National Magazine Award for Reporting. “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” is her first book.

Former Indian official to talk about politics in his country

“Contemporary Politics in India” is the title of a talk being given on Friday, March 5, by Vidya Charan Shukla, a former member of the Indian Parliament. His talk will begin at 7 p.m. in Rm. 202 of Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Ave. The event is sponsored by the South Asian Studies Committee.

Shukla is a veteran of the Indian political scene of the last half century. He was a member of Parliament 1957-96, except for a brief interval. He became a member of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s Cabinet in 1966, and held positions in the government’s offices of parliamentary affairs, home, defense, planning, and information and broadcasting. He became a Cabinet minister in several areas, including external affairs in 1980. His interests include external relations, administrative reforms, environmental conservation and parliamentary affairs.

Noted physicist to speak about science in reunified Germany

Gisbert Freiherr zu Putlitz, a noted German physicist, will speak on the topic “German Science After Reunification” on Wednesday, March 10, at 4 p.m. in Rm. 203 of Luce Hall, 34 Hillhouse Ave. The talk is sponsored by the Connecticut Humboldt Association of America at Yale and the department of political science.

Zu Putlitz is the author of more than 200 publications, covering topics as diverse as Jewish integration and identification, atoms and ions in superfluid helium, and the ecological aspects of scientific research. Noted for bringing together basic and applied research for the benefit of humanity, he received the Federal Republic of Germany’s Distinguished Service Award in 1984 and five years later was awarded the Leo Baeck Prize.

Vernon Hughes, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Physics and Zu Putlitz’s research partner for 30 years, will host the talk. D. Allan Bromley, the Sterling Professor of Sciences and dean of engineering, will comment on Zu Putlitz’s talk from his perspective as a former White House science advisor.

Zu Putlitz is chair of the German Ministry for Science and Technology Commissions on Basic Research, on Nuclear Solid State, and on Medium Energy Physics. He also serves as chair of the Baden-Wuerttemberg Council for Research. At Heidelberg University he is director of the Institute of Physics, a member of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics and a Commissioner of the Deutsche Forschungs Gessellschaft. He has also served as rector of the university and acting rector of its College for Jewish Studies.

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