Visiting author at AU to discuss link between science, fine arts

AUBURN – A scientist, author and jazz musician whose career is an example of intellectual multitasking will present a public lecture at Auburn University on Tuesday, Dec. 4, as part of the 2007-2008 Littleton-Franklin Lectures in Science and Humanities.

William T. Benzon, whose books span the fine arts, the humanities, cognitive science and computer science, will discuss “The Magic of the Bell: Music, the Spirit, and Human Nature” at 4 p.m. in the Science Auditorium of the AU College of Sciences and Mathematics on Roosevelt Drive.

Benzon’s latest book is “Beethoven’s Anvil: Music in Mind and Culture,” which explores the complex capacities, motivations and skills involved in musical performance and enjoyment. He is also coauthor of “Visualization: the Second Computer Revolution,” a book about computer graphics and image-processing.

He also has published articles, reviews and technical reports on African-American music, literary analysis, cultural evolution, cognition and brain theory, visual thinking and technical communication.

Before joining the World Development Endowment Foundation in 2003, Benzon was a senior scientist in the healthcare technology industry.

The purpose of The Littleton-Franklin Lectures is to address the pervasive problem of retaining our humanity and ideals in a rapidly developing technological society.

The next Little-Franklin lecture is scheduled for April 2008 and will feature Richard Leakey, a leading authority on wildlife and nature conservation.

The lecture series is sponsored by the College of Sciences and Mathematics, Auburn University; Merchant Capital, Montgomery, Ala.; Yetta and Mary Samford, Opelika, Ala.; and funds from the John and Mary Franklin Foundation of Atlanta, Ga. The series also recognizes the services of Mosley Professor Emeritus Taylor D. Littleton.

Contact: James Bradley, (334) 844-4830 (, or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (