The Virginia Tech College of Science 2019 J. Mark Sowers Distinguished Lecture Series continues April 24 with guest speaker Patricia Kuhl, the Bezos Family Foundation Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning at the University of Washington.

Kuhl’s talk will focus on “Early Language Acquisition and the Social Brain: An Inflection Point in the Brain’s Human Language Network.” The lecture is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 24, at 100 McBryde Hall. The event is free and open to the public. No RSVP is needed. 

The talk is being hosted by the Department of Psychology, part of the College of Science.

Kuhl is the Bezos Family Foundation Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning and co-director of the University of Washington Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, director of the National Science Foundation-funded Science of Learning Center, and professor of speech and hearing sciences. She is an internationally recognized expert on early language learning and bilingual brain development.

She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Rodin Academy, and the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Acoustical Society of America, the American Psychological Society, and the Cognitive Science Society.

Among her more recent awards are the IPSEN Foundation’s Jean-Louis Signoret Neuropsychology Prize in 2011, the William James Lifetime Achievement award in 2013, the George A. Miller Prize in Cognitive Neuroscience in 2015, and the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Psychology from the American Psychological Association in 2018. She is co-author of "The Scientist in the Crib: Minds, Brains, and How Children Learn" and gave a TEDxRainier talk in fall 2010.

The lecture series is funded by J. Mark Sowers, a Richmond, Virginia-based businessman and longtime supporter of the College of Science. It debuted in 2017 with speaker Professor David Reitze, executive director of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Project at CalTech. Since then, six renowned scientists, including Steven Strogatz of Cornell University, have visited Virginia Tech to share innovative ideas in scientific fields.

Additional speakers for 2019 include:

●      Colin Camerer, the Robert Kirby Professor of Behavioral Finance and Economics at Cal Tech, on Sept. 12.

●.     Gerard ‘t Hooft, a Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist at Utretcht University, on Sept. 16.

●      Geraldine Richmond, presidential chair in science with the University of Oregon’s Department of Chemistry on Oct. 24.
A programming committee for the series is composed of faculty from across the College of Science.

Related story:

Scientist David Reitze kicks off J. Mark Sowers Distinguished Lecture Series