The following are some events that you might be interested in checking out if you’re in the area or putting in your tickler file for next year:

December 1, 2005
The National Humanities Center Lecture Series
“Historical Counterfactuals and Alternate History Novels”

Catherine Gallagher from the University of California, Berkeley will discuss the alternate history sub-genre of science fiction at the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, N.C.

The lecture will begin at 5 p.m. and will be followed by a reception. Supported by the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Educational and Cultural Outreach Endowment Fund, the lecture is free and open to the public.

In addition to being an Eggers Professor of English Literature at UCB, Ms. Gallagher is also an Archie K. Davis Senior Fellow at the National Humanities Center. The National Humanities Center is the only major independent American institute for advanced study in all fields of the humanities. Beginning operation in 1978, it was planned under the auspices of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The National Humanities Center is located at 7 Alexander Drive, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709. For more information, call (919) 549-0661.

Now Through January 8, 2006
Strange Matter: It’s Strange and It’s Science!

This exhibit at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, N.C., focuses on the materials science of every day stuff — from the shoes we wear to the CDs we hear to the bikes we ride. “Understanding how that stuff is put together, how it can be used, how it can be changed and made better to do more amazing things–even creating completely new kinds of stuff: that’s what materials science is all about,” says the museum’s website.

Strange Matter investigates the structure of exotic and ordinary materials, revealing what gives them their remarkable properties. Visitors can learn about magnetic liquids, liquids that can respond to magnets; amorphous metals, such as Liquidmetal® alloy, one of the world’s hardest materials, that can improve your golf game or help a patient in the operating room; and the importance of material structures and defects. There is a Touch Table where younger children can discover materials through hands-on experimentation and “zoom” area where visitors can look at materials from the macro (or naked-eye) scale down to the nanoscale.

Strange Matter is presented by the Materials Research Society. The exhibit and its tour are supported by the National Science Foundation, Alcan, Dow, Ford Motor Company Fund, Intel® Innovation in Education and the 3M Foundation.

For more information, go to www.strangematterexhibit.com.