Presenters: Dr. John Miller and Chrysti M. Smith

Date: Monday, March 21

Time: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Location: Holiday Inn: 5 East Baxter Lane.

What are the differences between the brains of left-handers and right- handers? Are other aspects of our physical and cognitive characteristics “lateralized”? Dr. Miller will consider several “sidedness” characteristics, discuss how they come about, and try to interpret all of this within the context of the popular “left-brain vs. right-brain” hoopla. Chrysti Smith will discuss the linguistic implications of handedness. Left-handers, which comprise approximately 10% of the global population, are linguistically vilified with such words as gauche (French for ‘left’) and sinister (Latin). Left-handed compliment, having two left feet and to get up on the wrong (left) side of the bed have the left representing clumsiness and ill-fortune. Even the ‘neutral’ word ambidextrous maligns left-handers, because it means ‘having two right hands’!

Presenters' Bio's: 

John-MillerJohn Miller is an Emeritus Professor of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at MSU, and was a College of Letters and Science Distinguished Professor. His primary research was on the biological mechanisms underlying information processing in nervous systems. A physicist and biologist with postdoctoral research in Computational Neuroscience at the National Institutes of Health, Miller was a teacher and researcher for 15 years at Berkeley and co-founded the Journal of Computational Neuroscience. At MSU, Miller established the Center for Computational Biology. He has served on several national committees, including President Clinton’s Information Technology Advisory Committee.


Christy2Chrysti Smith holds a degree in Anthropology from MSU, but is better known as the writer and host of “Chrysti the Wordsmith,” a daily two-minute radio series recorded at KGLT-FM and syndicated across the West. What began as a student project for a linguistics class became Smith’s vocation: that of turning dictionary entries into radio stories. “Chrysti the Wordsmith” is in its 25th year of production and Smith believes she has 25 more years’ worth of dictionary stories to tell. Smith is a native of Poplar, Montana and now lives in Belgrade.


Kathryn Earley 2When my husband and I were looking for our place to retire, one of the places we visited was Bozeman.  While we were here we went to the library, where I happened to pick up a Wonderlust brochure.  Here was university-quality instruction by experts in a huge number of subjects.  No homework, no exams, no papers, just a chance to learn new things or review things we’d already studied.  It was also an opportunity to meet people with a wide variety of interests.  I was hooked! Over the past several years, I’ve come to feel strongly about supporting this valuable community resource for lifelong learning, and fortunately there’s a community of dedicated volunteers who feel the same way.

This past year was our first as Friends of MSU Wonderlust, whose mission is to support and promote MSU Wonderlust.  We’ve contributed funds to getting a new projector at Hope Lutheran Church, where many of our classes are held, and to Gallatin Community Radio, which broadcasts many of our Friday Forums.  We’re also sponsors of and taking part in Active Aging Week and the Prime Age 50+ Expo.

In January Friends will sponsor the MSU Wonderlust reception.  Join us at the Country Bookshelf on January 9, 5 pm – 7 pm, where you can meet instructors and other people interested in learning.  

Kathryn Earley, President of Friends of Wonderlust