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Douglas Lindner

Douglas Lindner, Colloquium Organizer

Bio: Douglas Lindner has a PhD from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in Electrical Engineering.  For the past 30 years he has been on the faculty at Virginia Tech. This year he is the Frederick P. Lenz Fellow at Naropa University. Recently he has been interested in contemplative practice for engineers as well as the relationship between Eastern spiritual traditions and Western science.

Colloquium:  Contemplative Practices in a Technological Society
We invite the Naropa community to engage in a conversation to explore possibility of integrating contemplative mind body practices into a society increasing intermeshed with technology. Society is facing increasingly complex global, social, and environmental challenges. Technology is often proposed as the solution to these challenges. So too are contemplative practices often put forward as practices for living in a fast paced technological world. In this colloquium we investigate the idea that integration of these two approaches provides a holistic approach to the challenges of the 21th century. We investigate the idea that integration of these two approaches provides a greater possibility for an enriched life experience.

Dec 5, Douglas Lindner, Lenz Scholar
“Did the Buddha Invent Black Holes? A Short Cultural History of Zero”
Short Cultural History of Zero (.MP3, 68977K) 
Short Cultural History of Zero (.pdf, 6341K)
Abstract: The number zero “0” has an interesting cultural and intellectual history. The Greeks (and Egyptians) rejected the idea. Zero didn’t show up in Western thought until the Renaissance, coming by way of Bagdad from India. We’ll discuss its impact on the scientific revolution, western culture as well as modern scientific thinking. The name for zero in Sanskrit is “sunya” or nothing. This observation leaves open the question of zero’s relationship to emptiness, Buddhism and Hinduism. Woven into the lecture, we will offer some speculations on the relationship between the concept of zero and spiritual experience.

Jan 23, Douglas Lindner, Lenz Scholar
“Explorations of Number – Part 1: Sacred Number”
Explorations of Number - Part 1: Sacred Number (.mp3, 42769K) 
Sacred Number, Lindner, 1-23-14 (.pdf, 6277K)
Sacred Geometry-Islamic Art, Lindner, 1-30-14 (.pdf, 6373K)
Abstract: Many cultures have considered the counting numbers, 1, 2, 3, … as a gift from the universe. They have gone on to attach sacred meaning to each of these numbers, which took expression in their music, art and architecture, their philosophies, their “science”, and their spiritual practices. In this talk we will give a brief introduction to several belief systems around these numbers. We will explore the Greek, Islamic, Buddhist, and Chinese interpretations of the first five (5) numbers. We will also compare the early interpretations of these numbers to their use in modern science.
Jan 30, Douglas Lindner, Lenz Scholar
“Explorations of Number – Part 2: Sacred Geometry and Islamic Art”
Explorations of Number Part 2: Sacred Geometry and Islamic Art (.mp3, 36384K)
Abstract: In this talk we explore the idea of sacred geometry and how it is used in Islamic Art. We will start with a brief introduction to sacred geometry and the idea of proportion. Next we will explore a few concepts related to infinity especially as they relate to the Islamic tile pattern. Then we will explore sacred numbers and geometrical patterns that underlie Islamic geometrical patterns.

Feb 6, David Levy, Information School, University of Washington, Seattle
“Mindful Tech: Learning to use Digital Technologies More Attentively and with Less Stress”
Mindful Tech, Levy, 2-19-14 (.pdf, 4506K)
Abstract: Today’s digital technologies are both powerful and powerfully distracting. For more than a decade, through my research and teaching, I have been exploring how to help students and adult professionals develop a more contemplative—a more focused and engaged—relationship with their digital tools. In these remarks, I will present elements of my research and teaching, focusing on a series of exercises I have developed to help students achieve greater contemplative balance.
Bio: David Levy earned a Ph.D. in Computer Science at Stanford University in 1979 and a Diploma in Calligraphy and Bookbinding from the Roehampton Institute (London) in 1983. For more than fifteen years he was a researcher at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). A professor at the University of Washington, Seattle,  Information School since 2000-2001, he has been investigating how to restore contemplative balance to a world marked by information overload, fragmented attention, extreme busyness, and the acceleration of everyday life.
Feb 27, Matthew Jelacic, Environmental Design, CU
“Climate Change, Shelter and Community”
Abstract: Problems are the difference between “what is” and “what can be”.  Clearly defining a problem requires both dependable information and an empathetic imagination.  These two needs are equally difficult to acquire when working in community: communication and values are dynamic, living experiences.  Listening to community partners and understanding their realities can be challenging in the best of circumstances, but as cultural and economic divides increase so do the difficulties. Empathetic engagement in developing communities is an ideal approach whose successful practice is, unfortunately, exceedingly rare. Good ideas are too often developed in a vacuum or are poorly translated in and between communities.  While many organizations are working hard to overcome the limits of problem definition in developing communities, the reality of climate change is making these efforts more urgent.  Current humanitarian crises have resulted in the displacement of more than 45 million people, however this number is estimated to more than triple in the next 90 years due to the effects of global climate change.  This talk will review some current approaches to community development and explore some future potentials for addressing the effects of climate change and the resulting permanent mass displacement.
Bio:  Matthew Jelacic is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Design, an Adjunct Faculty member of the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities and the Faculty-in-Residence of the Sustainability and Social Innovation Residential Academic Programs at the University of Colorado Boulder.  In 1999 his firm won the first Architecture for Humanity competition to design transitional housing for the Balkans. His current research includes sustainable materials for sheltering displaced people and the role of alternative organizational paradigms for traumatic urbanization planning.  In 2009 he began working with the Apsáalooke (Crow) Nation to develop a job training program and affordable homes made with compressed earth block.  Following the 2010 Haitian earthquake, he began developing several projects that will provide employment opportunities and affordable shelter.  One program, funded by 1000 Jobs/Haiti and in cooperation with Partners in Health, will use a material that he invented which combines recycled plastic and adobe-like mud to make blocks.  A second program, which uses rubble from collapsed buildings as material for walls, was selected by the Haitian government after a major international competition to be a prototype for future reconstruction efforts.  In early 2011 he served as a member of the USAID task force on post-disaster infrastructure reconstruction and as a member of the Fetzer Institute’s Inter-Generational Mentoring Community.  Prof. Jelacic received his architecture degrees at Pratt Institute, where he received the AIA Henry Adams Medal, and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, was a Harvard Loeb Fellow in 2003-4, studied international human rights law at Oxford University in 2008 and was a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Scholar in Residence in 2009.  In 2014, Jelacic will begin a Franklin Fellowship at the US Agency for International Development helping to establish their new Global Development Lab.  From 1991-2001 he worked in the atelier of Louise Bourgeois and in 2004 he became a licensed contractor.
March 6, Bernard Amadei, Civil Engineering, CU
“Engineering in Sustainable Human Development: Challenges and Opportunities”
Amadei talk, Colloquium, 3-6-14 (.pdf, 45134K)
Abstract:  In the next two decades, almost two billion additional people are expected to populate the Earth, 95% of them in developing or underdeveloped countries. This growth will create unprecedented demands for energy, food, land, water, transportation, materials, waste disposal, earth moving, health care, environmental cleanup, telecommunication, and infrastructure. The role of engineers will be critical in fulfilling those demands at various scales, ranging from remote small communities to large urban areas, and mostly in the developing world. A simple question arises: Do today’s engineering graduates and engineers have the skills and tools to address the global problems that our planet and humans are facing today, or will be facing within the next 20 years? Since the answer to that question is negative and we cannot solved tomorrow’s problems with yesterday’s tools and skills, a new epistemology of engineering practiceand education is needed; one that is based on the idea of reflective and adaptive practice, system thinking, engagement, and a holistic approach to global problems. This new form of engineering education and practice must be designed to cover a wide range of technical and non-technical issues in order to train global citizen engineers and whole persons, capable of operating in a multi-cultural world. As we enter the first half of the 21st century, the engineering profession must embrace a new mission statement—to contribute to the building of a more sustainable, stable, and equitable world. 
Bio: Dr. Amadei is Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He received his PhD in 1982 from the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Amadei holds the Mortenson Endowed Chair in Global Engineering and served as Faculty Director of the Mortenson Center in Engineering for Developing Communities from 2009-2012. He is also the Founding President of Engineers Without Borders - USA and the co-founder of the Engineers Without Borders-International network. Among other distinctions, Dr. Amadei is the 2007 co-recipient of the Heinz Award for the Environment; the recipient of the 2008 ENR Award of Excellence; an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and National Academy of Construction; and an elected Senior Knight-Ashoka Fellow. He holds four honorary doctoral degrees. In 2012, Dr. Amadei was appointed as a Science Envoy by the U.S. Department of State.
March 13, Douglas Lindner, Lenz Fellow,
“Everyday Science and Buddhism”
Abstract: In this talk we will explore some of the contacts between science and Buddhism and meditation as experienced by the practitioner. The emphasis in this talk will be on the average person’s experience with scientific knowledge. We will explore the scientific method and point out some contacts with the meditative experience. We will also discuss a few areas of overlap and disagreement between science and Buddhism. We will end with an investigation the Copernicus, Kepler, and the mind body split.

March 18, Asa Ben-Hur, Computer Science, CSU
“Science Meets Spirituality:  A Scientist's Personal Journey”
Science Meets Spirituality (.MP3, 117407K)
Abstract: Western science has tremendously expanded our understanding of the world.  And yet, certain phenomena like consciousness and alternative healing modalities remain a mystery.  In this talk I will present some ideas how science can benefit from the insights of contemplative practice, how contemplative practice can benefit from the scientific world view, and why it matters.
Bio: Asa Ben-Hur is a computer science professor at Colorado State University whose research area is computational biology, which is an Interdisciplinary field at the interface of biology, statistics, and computer science.  He has been studying meditation with Shinzen Young and Lawrence Conlan, and has recently started teaching it to his computer science graduate students.  In his talk he will describe how he got on a spiritual path, and how it informs his work and his approach to science.

April 9, Judy Frantz, Sr. Information Systems Project Manager at Level 3 Communications, and Corey Kohn, co-owner and COO of dojo4
“Meditation in the Workplace: A Conversation with Practitioners”

Meditation in the Workplace (.MP3, 63530K)

Abstract: In this panel discussion, we will explore how a contemplative education will impact a professional career. Corey Kohn and Judy Frantz are both involved in the business world and they both have had meditation practices for many years. We will explore how their practices have informed their workplace experience. Interaction with the audience is encouraged.
Bio: Judy Frantz has been employed in the Information Systems and Telecommunication industries for 30 years. She has earned a Master’s Degree in Computer Information Systems and holds internationally recognized Project Management Professional certification. She is currently a Sr. Information Systems Project Manager at Level 3 Communications for Enterprise Level billing application consolidation. She has been a practitioner in the Shambhala Sangha for 30 years, currently practicing within the Scorpion Seal and Chakrasamvara communities.  Also she has practiced and studied Daoist Qi Gong with Eva Wong since 2008.

Bio: Corey Kohn is a Boulder native, the daughter of students of Naropa founder, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, raised in the Shambhala community. She started off studying biology and math, but ended up with a B.A. in Medical Anthropology from McGill University and a graduate degree in Communications from Concordia University. Her background is in documentary film and photography, and she is now the co-owner and COO of dojo4, a web development agency in Boulder. She first received formal mediation instruction around the age of eight and has kept up a meditation practice ever since, but still isn’t sure if she’s doing it right.


NEW: April 17, Panel: Amir Massihzadeh, P.E., Orion Architectural Systems, LLC; Carl A. Worthington, AIA ASLA, & Associates; Eric Doub, CEO, EcoSmart Homes; Kyle Callahan, Kyle Callahan & Associates
“Contemplative Considerations In Planning And Building Sustainable Communities”

April 17 Panel (.MP3, 134104K)

PDF lecture notes:

Bio: Amir Massihzadeh is a registered Professional Engineer. He holds a bachelors degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a Certificate of Management from the University of Denver. Amir’s experience encompasses collaborating with architects, engineers and builders on diverse building projects from residential and commercial to large institutional projects such as universities and airports. Amir co-founded Rheinzink America, Inc. a subsidiary of Rheinzink GmbH, Germany, a mill producer of architectural zinc.

Amir is a member of the Boulder Rotary Club and is Co-Chair of the Preserve Planet Earth Committee at Club and District level. He serves on the Advisory Board of Cool Energy, Inc., an innovative company specializing in converting waste heat into electricity. He also serves on the boards of two nonprofit organizations: Peruvian Hearts, dedicated to health and education programs for disadvantaged children in Peru and the Crestone Baca Land Trust, dedicated to land conservation in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Colorado.

Bio: Since 1962, Carl A. Worthington & Associates has focused on Architecture, Urban Design and Master Planning for significant work, not measured by size, but by relevance to how a project’s development impacts its investors, the community, the built-environment, and setting. Projects such as the Denver Technological Center, Westminster Promenade, Boulder Downtown Pearl Street Mall in Colorado, and the Kigali City Master Planning in Rwanda have been highlights in his prominent career. Working around the world in over 14 countries, he has been creating complex themed mixed-use environments that become the “heart” of the setting they find themselves in, whether an urban center or a new community. Since 2002, Carl has acted as Director of Urban Design for OZ Architecture    

Bio: Eric Doub grew up in Boulder, Colorado and founded award-winning Ecofutures in 1994.  Since earning a degree at Stanford in the 1980s called “Sustainable U.S. Resource and Security Policies” he has become a nationally recognized expert in buildings that excel in comfort, health and energy efficiency.  In 2005 he designed and built North America’s first publicly verified custom home in a cold climate to produce as much energy as it uses, where the energy systems are all on the home. This is his family’s residence and called Solar Harvest.

Collaborating with a dedicated management team leveraging over 50 years of green remodeling experience, in 2010 Eric went into revenue with the spinoff EcoSmart Homes.  Through establishing scalable systems, ESH has provided energy and comfort benefits to over 180 clients. 

Bio: Kyle Callahan practices Architecture along the Front Range of Colorado and the Denver Metro Area. With an emphasis on Environmental Design and Sustainability, Kyle seeks to embody the buildings that he designs with a sense of place, of permanence, and of stewardship to the environment. His practice provides architectural design and construction documentation for a variety of building types - from small to medium sized commercial buildings to single and multi family residences. Many of his projects involve renovations of and additions to existing buildings.

Kyle’s design education is from the University of Colorado in Boulder, from which he was graduated in 1988. He was employed at several prestigious design firms prior to starting his own practice in Boulder in 2000.

NEW: An Engineer Visits Naropa
Douglas K. Lindner, Ph.D. Fredrick P. Lenz Foundation Residential Fellow in Buddhist Studies and American Culture and Values Monday,
May 5th ∙ 4:30pm – 6:30pm Performing Arts Center Reception Following Presentation