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Coastal's Celebration of Inquiry slated for Feb. 11-13, 2004

July 17, 2003

Coastal Carolina University will host its third Celebration of Inquiry, a university-wide academic conference designed to unite the learning community in cross-disciplinary discussion of a common theme, on Feb.11 to13, 2004.

The conference will feature internationally renowned futurist/inventor Ray Kurzweil as the keynote speaker. He will appear live through teleportation, which enables people to appear live, life-sized within an apparent 3-D environment in a remote location and achieve eye-to-eye contact with all participants.

This year's conference theme is "Seeing the World Anew," from the Albert Einstein quote: "No problem can ever be solved by the consciousness that created it. We must learn to see the world anew." Conference sessions will explore the theories, technologies and connections that have helped people to see the world in new ways. Systems thinking, multiple intelligences and other diverse topics will be considered during the three-day conference.

Coastal students, faculty and staff as well as community leaders and educators will offer numerous sessions on a wide range of topics. All conference sessions are free and open to the public. On Feb. 12 and 13 all Coastal classes will be re-directed to conference sessions. Many Coastal students will be involved as presenters in the sessions which will include workshops, performances, panel discussions, lectures and other interactive formats to promote inquiry.

The conference will begin with an opening address by Kurzweil, whose recent bestselling book, "The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence," has received widespread acclaim and has been published in nine languages. He is internationally regarded as one of the leading inventors of our time, and a highly sought speaker at leading venues. His presentations combine wit and insight into contemporary issues of technology and its impact on society.

Kurzweil was the principal inventor of the first omni-font optical character recognition (OCR), the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestra instruments and the first commercially marketed, large-vocabulary speech recognition.

For more information, contact Coastal's Office of Marketing Communications at 349-2015.