Wonder Becomes the Second Topic for the Academy’s Salon Series

February 28, 2017

By Brady Farmer, Austin Henderson, Phuc Lee, Max Salinger, Henry Sharpe, Devyn Stewart, Ava Stipanovich, Juan Tello, and Bryanna Thumma

This fall, the University of Iowa’s Belin-Blank Center welcomed its first class of Bucksbaum Early Entrance Academy students.   The long-term development and success of these students is very important to the Center, and toward that end, we have designed a series of salons around meaningful subjects like noble failure, wonder, and humility.  These conversations take place around a dinner table and include perspectives from our University and Iowa City communities.

Our second salon was held on the stage of the Riverside Theater.  The topic was “wonder,” with each student being paired with an invited guest.  Students and guests alike brought an artifact that represented wonder to them.  At the end of the night, each group shared a word that represented their conversation.  The words were gathered and spontaneously turned into a song by local blues artist, Kevin “B.F.” Burt.  It was a wondrous evening indeed.

Chris Cheatum, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry (guest)

Juan Tello listens intently to Dr. Chris Cheatum.

At the second salon, I had the pleasure of talking with Dr. Chris Cheatum.  Dr. Cheatum is an amazing chemistry professor and researcher whose current research interests involve using lasers to study movement of protons.  Dr. Cheatum and I talked about several topics including miracles, our pasts, and our current lives.  He also brought a leaf to demonstrate his idea that life as a process is a beautiful miracle.  Dr. Cheatum mentioned how “miracle” is a term we use when describing things we don’t understand.  When we find out how something works we tend not to appreciate it anymore.  He said things like leaves and life are miracles and we must value them. I had so much fun at this salon and really enjoyed spending time with Dr. Cheatum.  (Juan Tello, student)

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