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UW Professors to Discuss Research at Gillette Saturday U Program

October 18, 2013

Area residents have the opportunity to go back to college for a day -- minus the tests, stress and homework -- with three University of Wyoming professors lecturing Saturday, Oct. 26, in Gillette for the fall term of Saturday U -- the University of Wyoming's free one-day college education program.

Buffalo Bill Cody’s legacy in Europe; the science of superheroes in today’s world; and what Wyoming residents can expect from the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) are among Saturday U topics to be discussed from 8:30 a.m.-1:45 p.m. at the Gillette College main building presentation hall.

A half-day of college classes and discussion begins with refreshments at 8:30 a.m., followed by a welcoming address at 8:45 a.m. The guest lectures begin at 9 a.m.

In its fifth year, Saturday U is a collaborative program that connects popular UW professors with lifelong learners. Offered six times a year -- twice each in Jackson, Gillette and Sheridan -- Saturday U is sponsored by the university, the UW Foundation and Wyoming Humanities Council, and is presented locally by Gillette College.

Participants may attend one, two or all three lectures in Jackson, plus the final luncheon and roundtable discussion at 12:45 p.m. The program is free and open to the public.

Listed are program topic descriptions and UW representatives lecturing:

9 a.m. -- “Buffalo Bill’s Legacy: Finding the West and Westerners in Contemporary Italy,” Renee Laegreid, UW Department of History associate professor. Beginning in 1889, Buffalo Bill took his Wild West Show overseas throughout Europe. After his shows, memories of the cowboys, cowgirls and Native Americans remained topics of conversation for years, even generations.

In Italy, Buffalo Bill and his Wild West shows continue to shape the Italian perspective of the American West, inspiring an increasing interest in American Western culture and literature, American-style rodeo, “western riding” (reining and cutting competitions) and the growth of the American quarter horse industry.

10:15 a.m. -- “Superheroic Science,” Mike Brotherton, UW Department of Physics and Astronomy associate professor. Superheroes are more popular than ever, with comic book characters reaching new and vast audiences through blockbuster movies and big-budget video games, Brotherton says.

“Often, the science of superheroes is so implausible that they're best treated as fantasy,” he says. “Still, many superheroes are based in science and technology.” Brotherton identifies and analyzes science and fantasy in these characters and films, and discusses what it reveals about the modern world.

11:30 a.m. -- “Obamacare: The Sound and the Fury and the Economics,” Anne Alexander, UW International Programs director. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is coming into effect with plenty of sound and fury. Alexander, a policy economist, explores the Affordable Care Act’s impact on health care costs, the uninsured, employers, the federal budget and the economy. Does it get at the root of some of our most insidious health care system problems? How will this affect Wyoming? Alexander will explore these topics.

Buffalo Bill Cody took his Wild West show to Rome in 1890. Cody’s influence in Italy will be among topics discussed during Saturday U. Oct. 26 in Gillette. (UW Department of History)

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