ATEC Lecture Series Returns on Jan. 28
The University of Texas at Dallas will welcome Lincoln Wallen, chief technology officer of DreamWorks Animation, to kick off the second season of the ATEC Distinguished Lecture Series on Jan. 28.
The lecture series, presented by The Dallas Morning News, returns to the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building, which houses programs that explore topics at the intersection of arts and technology.
“Last year’s inaugural series was a complete success. Our campus opened its doors to a number of creative minds that challenged the University community to explore new avenues of collaboration, invention and research,” said Dr. Roger Malina who holds the Arts and Technology Distinguished Chair. “As the ATEC program at UT Dallas continues to explore how to fuse technology with the creativity of the arts and humanities, and as the University as a whole looks to push the boundaries of research, this year’s group of speakers is sure to spark the minds of many.”
Wallen joined DreamWorks Animation in 2008 as head of research and development to direct the creation and deployment of the studio’s CG production platform and software tools. A recipient of InfoWorld’s 2012 Technology Leadership Award, he has also enjoyed a distinguished career as a professor at Oxford University and was the first director for the multidisciplinary Smith Institute for Industrial Mathematics and Systems Engineering.
World-renowned artist, graphic designer, computer scientist and educator John Maeda will speak on March 4. He was named one of the “75 most influential people of the 21st century” by Esquire. In 2014, President Barack Obama named him a member of the National Council on the Arts. Maeda previously served as president of Rhode Island School of Design, but has since taken on new roles at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and as chairman of eBay’s design advisory board.
Hugh Herr, an associate professor who heads the biomechatronics research group at the MIT Media Lab, will speak April 8. Time magazine called him the “Leader of the Bionic Age” because of his revolutionary work in the emerging field of biomechatronics, a technology that marries human physiology with electromechanics. Herr is responsible for breakthrough advances in bionic limbs that increase mobility and offer new hope to people with physical disabilities. A double amputee, he designed his own bionic legs and the world’s first bionic foot and calf system called the BiOM.
Tony and Jonna Mendez will be the featured speakers April 28. Tony Mendez, a retired CIA officer, author and award-winning painter, received the Intelligence Star for Valor for engineering and conducting the rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Iran during the 1979-1981 hostage crisis. The rescue operation involved creating an ostensible Hollywood film production company, complete with personnel, scripts, publicity and real estate in Los Angeles. The story served as the basis for his most recent book, Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled off the Most Audacious Rescue in History, as well as the Academy Award-winning film Argo. Jonna Mendez worked in the agency as a technical operations officer with a specialty in clandestine photography. Her duties included training the CIA’s most highly placed foreign assets to use spy cameras and process the intelligence they gathered.
Last year, the series drew nearly 4,000 people to four lectures that featured Robert Edsel, author of the bookMonuments Men; Microsoft executive and datacenter chief Christian Belady; Vinton G. Cerf, chief Internet evangelist at Google; and astronaut, engineer, physician and teacher Dr. Mae Jemison.