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Brown Bag Webinar Lectures

Brown Bag Lectures are free and open to the public. Pre-registration is required. Suggestions, comments, and questions for the speaker(s) can be emailed to Jane Adler, Lecture Organizer/Moderator at [email protected]. (Unfortunately, due to time constrictions, not all questions can be answered.)


Thursday, October 5, 2023
4-5 PM

Alan Hoffman, Translator of Lafayette in America in 1824 and 1825

Lafayette and the Farewell Tour: Odyssey of an American Idol

Click here to register for this Zoom Webinar.

Contemporaries thought that Lafayette’s Farewell Tour of America in 1824 and 1825 was a unique event in our history, indeed, of world history. During the Tour, this 67-year-old former major general of the Continental Army visited all 24 states and Washington City and became a household name among roughly 12,000,000 Americans. Yet today, the Tour seems to have vanished from American history, and Americans are by and large unaware of it.

Alan Hoffman, translator of Lafayette in America in 1824 and 1825, a first-hand account of the Tour written by Lafayette’s private secretary, will describe the Tour and explain why 80 cities, towns and counties were named for Lafayette as well as streets and roads everywhere, including Lafayette streets in Providence and Pawtucket.

A retired lawyer, Alan Hoffman serves as president of the American Friends of Lafayette and the Massachusetts Lafayette Society.


Tuesday, October 17, 2023
4-5 PM

Professor Stephen Porder, Brown University and Author of Elemental: How five elements changed Earth’s past and will shape our future

Climate Change: Local Solutions to a Global Problem

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Human-caused climate change is the defining challenge for society in the 21st century and is the world around us. Rising to its challenge will require mitigation, to slow the pace of change, and adaptation, to build resilience to the changes that we cannot stop.

In this talk, Professor Stephen Porder will cover the basic science of climate change, its drivers, and the path towards a resilient, zero-emissions future. He will highlight things individuals can do to dramatically lower their climate footprint, and opportunities that Rhode Island has to take a leadership role in moving towards a more stable climate future. He will discuss some of the difficult tradeoffs that will need to be considered to keep warming, and thus the need for adaptation, to a minimum. This talk aims to spark exciting ideas about the ways in which we can all become a part of the solution to this unprecedented problem.

Stephen Porder is Associate Provost for Sustainability and Professor of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology at Brown University, where he is a fellow in the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Natural History, Providence Journal and other leading publications.


Wednesday, November 8, 2023
4-5 PM

Eric Nathan, noted Composer and Brown Professor

From Inspiration to sound: behind my creative process

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A Special Presentation

Here’s a rare opportunity to understand what new music is and to hear it played by the internationally known, very accomplished composer, Brown professor, Eric Nathan.

Professor Eric Nathan will speak about the creative process behind his music, taking the audience on a journey from inspiration to realization, looking at his works for solo, chamber and orchestral music. We will come away from this presentation with a better understand of what new music is all about.

Professor Eric Nathan, a 2013 Rome Prize Fellow and 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, has garnered acclaim internationally through performances by Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Scharoun Ensemble Berlin, International Contemporary Ensemble, Boston Symphony Chamber Players, Recent projects include three commissions from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, including a chamber work, Why Old Places Matter (2014) for the Boston Symphony Chamber Players.


Tuesday, November 21, 2023
4-5 PM

Maria DeCarvalho

For History Buffs, and lovers of Beauty: Azulejos: Memories in Blue and White 

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Many of us have traveled to Portugal, or have seen pictures of, the distinctive and beautiful multicolor tiles known as azulejos that cover the surfaces in private and public buildings. Join Maria DeCarvalho to discover their intriguing history, development and meaning, and how they have helped preserve important collective and deeply personal memories.

Maria DeCarvalho has traveled to Lisbon throughout her life. Her father served as Portuguese Consul here in Rhode Island for over thirty years.

Apartment building facade in Lisbon

Thank you to our previous fall speakers:

Danny Warshay Headshot Cropped

Professor Danny Warshay, Executive Director of the Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship at Brown University and Author of See, Solve, Scale: How Anyone Can Turn an Unsolved Problem into a Breakthrough Success

Professor Danny Warshay presented his three-step “See, Solve, Scale” workshop process that he teaches to aspiring entrepreneurs at Brown and in other contexts all over the world and that he shares in his award-winning book, See, Solve, Scale: How Anyone Can Turn an Unsolved Problem into a Breakthrough Success.

As opposed to the myth that entrepreneurs are creative geniuses from birth, ”See, Solve, Scale” is a skill set that anyone can learn, master and apply.

Danny Warshay is a Professor and Executive Director of the Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship at Brown University. He leads creative and thought-provoking workshops on entrepreneurship around the world. Based on this course, Danny has written the award-winning book, See, Solve, Scale: How Anyone Can Turn an Unsolved Problem into a Breakthrough Success.