[Currents headergraphic]

February 23, 1998


Deborah Letourneau

Environmental studies professor Deborah Letourneau is an invited speaker at the week-long Gordon research conference on "Plant Herbivore Interactions," sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The conference, which is taking place in Ventura this week, has attracted scientists from all over the world. Letourneau is giving a talk on the "Possible Role of Plant Secondary Metabolites in Mediating Cascading Effects Through Four Trophic Levels" as part of discussions focused on multitrophic interactions.

One of Europe's oldest universities, the 650-year-old Charles University of Prague, the Czech Republic, has presented Pavel Machotka, professor emeritus of art and psychology, with its highest honor, the degree of Doctor of Education honoris causa. The degree was bestowed on him, according to the university announcement, "as an expression of high esteem for [his] lifelong contributions to the psychology of art and empirical aesthetics, and the study of art as a means to socialization and the humanization of the world." Machotka will receive his degree in early April, during a conference at Charles University titled "The Role of Universities on the Threshold of the 21st Century." Charles University was founded in Prague in 1348 by Charles IV, king of Bohemia and of the Romans.

Pavel Machotka

Machotka was born in Prague and came to the United States with his family at the age of 12. Machotka said, "The Velvet Revolution in 1989 made it possible for me to return to Prague for the first time since my childhood. Although I arrived first as a visitor, I soon developed contacts with sociologists, art educators, and fellow psychologists, with whom it was easy to make an immediate connection through our essentially shared education."

"My contacts now are both scholarly and practical. There was, for example, a need to build up the library in the psychology department, which many of my colleagues at UC Santa Cruz helped me do by donating some of the best books in the field. Now I try to help knowledge flow the other way, by reviewing books dealing with Czech contributions to psychology, for example."

"I am very moved by this honor, which connects me with the period when universities first developed in Europe. To be present 650 years after the founding of Charles University by an enlightened king--almost to the day, actually--is particularly poignant."

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