Noble's speaker series schedule set - - Texoma news, weather and sports

Noble's speaker series schedule set

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From the Noble Foundation:

ARDMORE, Okla. — The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation announced today the four speakers who will comprise the 2010-2011 Profiles and Perspectives season.

The speakers include two scientists (one researching plants in space and one using specialized cameras to capture the unseen world of animals); an archeologist studying the mythical attachment of humans to pyramids; and a master gardener set to discuss the step-by-step education of landscape design.

"For 13 years, Profiles and Perspectives has provided informative, thought-provoking and entertaining speakers to residents of southern Oklahoma," said Mary Kate Wilson, Noble Foundation director of granting and chair of the Profiles and Perspectives Committee. "This year, we've assembled another diverse and exciting group of speakers that I'm confident audiences will enjoy."

The season will kick off on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010, with Noble Foundation scientist Elison Blancaflor's presentation, Tales of Discovery: Boldly Going Where No Mustard Plant Has Gone Before. Blancaflor, Ph.D., has explored the inner mechanics of plants for almost two decades. This spring, his research to improve agriculturally significant plants was launched into outer space as part of a recent NASA space shuttle mission.

Blancaflor will provide the Profiles and Perspectives audience a behind-the-scenes look at the details, challenges and ultimate success of putting 14 petri dishes of seedlings into space. During his talk, Blancaflor will also discuss the long-range implications of how his plants' trek into space could benefit agriculture in the Southern Great Plains, as well as its impact on future space exploration.

Internationally renowned archeologist Kara Cooney, Ph.D., will follow Blancaflor on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010, with an insightful look at pyramids during her talk, Out of Egypt: Pyramids – The Shape of the Gods. An assistant professor of Egyptian art and architecture at UCLA, Cooney will lead audience members on a journey around the world to understand why human beings are obsessed with the pyramid shape.

Cooney's presentation will begin with the ancient Egyptians, who invested millions of hours of manpower into building the perfect pyramids as tombs for their kings, and travel thousands of miles away to Central America, where the native inhabitants used similar pyramids as sites for colossal rituals involving human sacrifice. She will also discuss the pyramids in India and Sri Lanka from the entrance to the sacred Hindu temples to the modern pyramids being built today as skyscrapers in the Middle East.

After the winter break, Profiles and Perspectives will return with a special offering for the landscapers preparing for the spring of 2011. On Thursday, Feb. 19, 2011, popular gardening expert Neil Sperry will present Designs On a Great Landscape. Sperry will discuss the fundamentals of effective landscape design, including bed layout; plant selection and placement; effective use of color; and the hardscaping elements of a fine garden. Sperry has been a radio host for more than 30 years and is a member of the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. His book, "A Complete Guide to Texas Gardening," is the fourth best-selling gardening hardback in American history.

The 2010-2011 season will wrap up on Tuesday, April 19, 2011, with Greg Marshall's Crittercam: A Wild Point of View. Almost 20 years ago, Greg Marshall, a biologist and filmmaker, was snorkeling in Belize when he witnessed a small suckerfish hitching a ride on a shark. The moment sparked his imagination and eventually led to the development of Crittercam, a small, lightweight camera that is attached to various animals, providing breathtaking glimpses of the world from their view.

During his talk, Marshall will take audiences through the development of several of his award-winning, Crittercam films for National Geographic, detailing how his team uses innovation, creativity, engineering, and wild and woolly expeditions to lead the field of animal-borne imaging.

The 2010-2011 Profiles and Perspectives series is offered at no cost, courtesy of the Noble Foundation.  All programs will take place at 7 p.m. at the Ardmore Convention Center.  Additional information can be obtained by calling the Noble Foundation at 580.224.6246 or visiting The Ardmore Convention Center is located at 2401 N. Rockford Road, Ardmore, Okla.