CHICKASHA — When Erik Kandel steps to the podium for his keynote speech Thursday at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma for its annual Spring Symposium, he will command deserved attention.
That’s what graduating from Harvard, authoring a number of books and winning a Nobel Prize will do — garner the respect of an audience.
But for Kandel, 84, the speech and following discussion will mark a first-time experience for a man with so many accomplishments. It will be his first visit to Oklahoma.
“I think this country is so interesting,” Kandel said. “Every state has its unique strengths and charms. It gives me a chance to see something new. Not bad, at my age.”
Kandel, an American neuropsychiatrist who received the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on the physiological basis of memory storage in neurons, is the keynote speaker for USAO’s eighth annual Emerson-Wier Liberal Arts Symposium beginning at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Te Ata Memorial Auditorium on campus in Chickasha. Kandel will also participate in a panel discussion featuring prominent educators from Oklahoma and Arkansas at 2 p.m. The event and parking is free.
Kandel’s presentation will discuss the research that went into his latest book, “Age of Insight.” It examines the cultural legacy of Vienna, Kandel’s birthplace, through the eyes of psychologists, painters, authors and philosophers.
Kandel’s research into the blending of science and art is exactly what Chris Walker, an associate USAO professor and chair of the spring symposium committee, wanted in a keynote speaker for one of the university’s biggest events of the year.
“This symposium is to highlight and emphasize that notion of interdisciplinarity,” Walker said. “Frankly, Kandel’s work best illustrates that as well as any other speaker that we’ve had.”
I think this country is so interesting. Every state has its unique strengths and charms. It gives me a chance to see something new. Not bad, at my age.”