Thursday, January 21, 2016

On Tuesday, Jan. 26, University of Iowa International Programs will host “Research to Real Life,” a WorldCanvass event seeking to explore what it means to be a research university and how basic research impacts the world.

UI Vice President for Research and Economic Development Daniel A. Reed will open the discussion with examples of academic research that led to discoveries and technological innovations that have transformed each person’s lives, including computers, the Internet, and smartphones; the biomedical revolution with new vaccines and lifesaving drugs, and diagnostics such as the MRI.

Reed says that basic research has fueled most of the technological, scientific, and medical breakthroughs over the past 70 years, and that more than half of U.S. economic growth since World War II can be traced to science-driven technological innovation.

Reed will speak during the first segment of the Jan. 26 event, followed by three scholars in the humanities who will discuss their research and its relevance to the present day: Ed Folsom, professor of English and noted Walt Whitman scholar; Jacki Rand, associate professor of history and scholar of Native American history; and Professor Angela Onwuachi-Willig from the UI College of Law.

For the third segment, researchers will discuss their work in the area of virtual reality. Jodie Plumert, professor and chair of the UI Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, will share her research into brain function and perception at the Hank Virtual Environments Lab, and Karim Abdel-Malek, professor in the UI Departments of Biomedical and Engineering and director of the UI Center for Computer-Aided Design will explain the ‘predictive dynamics’ of Santos, of the Virtual Soldier Research Program.

The program will take place at Iowa City’s non-profit cinema arts organization FilmScene, 118 East College St., and is free and open to the public. Concessions will be available for purchase and audience members are invited to enjoy a social hour from 4-5 p.m. preceding the show.

WorldCanvass is recorded before a live audience for later broadcast on UITV, YouTube, iTunes, and the Public Radio Exchange. Podcasts can be downloaded for free from iTunes and past programs are available through IP’s website.

WorldCanvass is a production of UI International Programs in collaboration with FilmScene and University of Iowa Video Services. For more information, contact Joan Kjaer at or visit the WorldCanvass web page.