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Coastals Celebration of Inquiry slated for Feb. 11-13

January 30, 2004

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 Seeing the World Anew on Feb. 11 to 13. All conference sessions are free and open to the public.

The conference will feature internationally renowned futurist/inventor Ray Kurzweil as the keynote speaker Wednesday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. in Wheelwright Auditorium. 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. Its free, but tickets are required and a limited number are still available. The program, however, will be simulcast at the Wall Auditorium.

This years conference theme, Seeing the World Anew, is 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.

On Feb. 12 and 13 all Coastal classes will be re-directed to conference sessions. Students, faculty and staff, community leaders and educators will present more than 150 sessions on a wide range of topics that will include workshops, performances, panel discussions, lectures and other interactive formats to promote inquiry.

Highlights of the conference include the Walk Through Time, a one-mile series of panels that tells the story of Earths evolution, plus dramatic readings, poetry parties, photo exhibits, honors thesis presentations, The Mini-Mouth Opera Company and Darryl the Honolulu Chorus and much more. The complete schedule, with event descriptions, is available online at

Other featured speakers include journalist Charles Bierbauer, dean of the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies at the University of South Carolina, and Neale Lundgren, a former Benedictine monk and a leader in multi-faith awareness.

Bierbauer will speak Thursday, Feb. 12 at 3 p.m. in Wall Auditorium, and Lundgren is featured Friday, Feb. 13 at 11:30 a.m. in the same location. Cypress, the musical trio featuring Lundgren, will perform Friday at 12:30 p.m. in Edwards Recital Hall.

The conference will open with an 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 orchestral instruments and the first commercially marketed, large-vocabulary speech recognition.

Bierbauer is a veteran broadcast journalist with more than 30 years experience covering national and international affairs. He was senior CNN Washington correspondent during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations and moderator of CNNs Newsmaker Saturday, a weekly report featuring interviews with leading newsmakers. He has served as network bureau chief and foreign correspondent for ABC (Moscow and Bonn bureaus), a correspondent for the Chicago Daily News, a reporter with Westinghouse Broadcasting (Group W) for KYW-TV in Philadelphia, a foreign editor in London, an East European correspondent in Vienna, a freelance correspondent in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and a reporter for the Associated Press in Pittsburgh.

Neale Lundgren is a counselor, musician and scholar who has dedicated his multifaceted career to promoting a deeper awareness of spirituality, both in the private lives of individuals and in the public arena. He has taught courses in philosophy, literature, psychology and spirituality in academic, medical, corporate and spiritually based settings for more than 20 years. He leads seminars, workshops and retreats exploring the relationship between psychological and spiritual health, incorporating music in his work.

Tickets to the Kurzweil keynote address are available at the Wheelwright Box Office. Call 349-2502. For more information, contact Coastals Office of Marketing Communications at 349-2015 or visit the Web site at