'End of the World' Will be Topic of Presentations at Ithaca College

ITHACA, NY — The world didn’t end on December 21, 2012 — Mayan doomsday calendar notwithstanding — and despite some recent close calls with meteors and asteroids, it appears Armageddon is on hold for now. Beliefs about how, when and why the world will come to an end will be discussed in two upcoming events sponsored by the C.P. Snow Lecture Series at Ithaca College. Both are free and open to the public.

“Four Views of the Apocalypse: A Panel Discussion on the Idea of the End”
Tuesday, April 9, 7 p.m.
Room 111, Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise

An asteroid impact? Earthquake? Plague of locusts? Flood? Environmental or political collapse? Are you prepared for the end? Stephen Clancy, professor of art history, will moderate a discussion by four Ithaca College faculty members on apocalyptical thoughts and beliefs about the end of time:
Ron Denson, associate professor of writing
Luke Keller, associate professor of physics
Nancy Menning, assistant professor of philosophy and religion
Rachel Wagner, associate professor of philosophy and Religion

“Doomsday Scenarios and the Ancient Maya: At the Crossroads of Culture, Science and Religion”
Wednesday, April 10, 7 p.m.
Textor 102

Anthony Aveni, a distinguished professor of astronomy, anthropology and native American studies at Colgate University, will explore beliefs about the end of the world. He will examine the deep American cultural and religious roots of apocalyptic thinking, and draw connections between the 2012 Mayan phenomenon and the many visionaries, prophets and evangelical preachers who have set specific “scientifically based” countdowns to the end of the world.

Featured in “Rolling Stone” magazine’s list of the 10 best university professors in the country, Aveni was also voted National Professor of the Year by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. He is considered one of the founders of Mesoamerican archaeoastronomy, in particular for his research into the astronomical history of the Aztec and Maya Indians of ancient Mexico.

Aveni’s books include “Empires of Time,” on the history of timekeeping; “Conversing With the Planets,” which weaves together cosmology, mythology and the anthropology of ancient cultures; “Behind the Crystal Ball: Magic, Science and the Occult from Antiquity through the New Age”; and most recently, “The End of Time: The Maya Mystery of 2012.” He has discussed astronomy on television outlets ranging from the Discovery Channel and PBS to NBC’s “Today Show” and “Unsolved Mysteries.”

The C.P. Snow Lecture Series began in the School of Humanities and Sciences more than 40 years ago as a means of bridging the gap between the sciences and the humanities. It was named for the British physicist and novelist Sir Charles Percy Snow, a man who truly embodied the mission of the series for his work as an internationally renowned scientist, author and lecturer. Speakers over the years have included “Twilight Zone” creator Rod Serling, Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter, “Future Shock” author Alvin Toffler and physician Patch Adams.

For more information on the series, visit www.ithaca.edu/hs/events/series/cpsnow.

Anthony Aveni talks Doomsday Scenarios at Ithaca College