Grawemeyer Award winners visit campus

By on April 21, 2014

By Nick Miller–

Four months after the winners were announced, four of the Grawemeyer Award winners spoke on campus this past week, each discussing their winning topics.

The Grawemeyer Awards are given in five fields: psychology, improving world order, musical composition, education and religion. Each award comes with $100,000 prize.

The winners for musical composition, education, improving world order and psychology spoke on campus, while religion winner Tanya Luhrmann presented at the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Here’s the rundown on the four on-campus speakers:

Djuro Zivkovic – Musical Composition

Djuro Zivkovic was the first award winner to speak. He discussed his award-winning chamber orchestra piece, “On the Guarding of the Heart.”

“The piano acts as a guide for the confused thoughts and soul represented in the orchestra,” said Zivkovic. “I also like to start with a non-musical idea and then paint it with sound.”

Zivkovic says his two previous compositions inspired him to compose the winning piece.

“These awards are worth so much, you know the person getting it really deserves it,” said freshman attendee Travis Baker.

Diane Ravitch – Education 

Diane Ravitch talked about her winning book, “The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choices are Undermining Education,” when she gave her 2014 Grawemeyer Award lecture on education.

Ravitch served in the US Department of Education during the George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations. After realizing her reforms weren’t working, she humbly admitted she was wrong, and authored the winning book.

“I saw what was happening. I saw that the ideas that I had previously supported weren’t working,” said Ravitch.

“Diane has showed us all that the word reform just no longer holds any meaning, that we should stop seeking reform, this meaningless shell of a word, and now seek improvement,” said a co-speaker at the lecture.

Antonio Damasio – Psychology

Antonio Damasio won the 2014 Grawemeyer Award for psychology for his research and insight into the somatic marker.

“[Damasio] has directly contributed to the study of emotion, communication, and even drug addiction,” said award director Woody Petry.

Damasio, a professor of psychology, is heavily involved in the international community of psychology, and continues offering his experience into his field.

“I’m pleased to see my ideas recognized by this award,” said Damasio. “This award has been given to some of my colleagues that I admire most.”

“I have actually wrote a paper on the somatic marker hypothesis before,” said senior psychology major Alexander Bowman. “It is really exciting to actually be this close to something I have invested myself in.”

Jacques Hymans – Improving World Order

Jacques Hymans, winner of the 2014 Grawemeyer Award for improving world order, discussed the problem of international nuclear policy during his April 15 lecture. He received the award for his 2012 book, “Achieving Nuclear Ambitions: Scientists, Politicians, and Proliferation.”

“What’s interesting, is to look at the states that try to get nuclear weapons,” said Hymans, an associate professor of international relations at the University of Southern California. “They are, more often than not, the states that are completely unprepared to handle a major, big science project.”

“Some people just can’t be controlled, you know? Some people just kind of have no limit. And then, sometimes, those people lead a country. That’s when things can get bad,” said economics major Brian Yap.

About Olivia Krauth

Asst. Editor in Chief at The Louisville Cardinal.

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