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January 23, 2010 - DAVID BROOKS

David Brooks is an author and New York Times columnist offering a gift for bringing audiences face to face with the spirit of our times with humor, insight and quiet passion. He is a keen observer of the American way of life and a savvy analyst of present-day politics and foreign affairs. Brooks is a regular political analyst on NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. He writes what he calls “comic sociology,” descriptions of how we live and “the water we swim in” that are as witty and entertaining as they are revealing and insightful. His first book, Bobos in Paradise, was a New York Times best seller. His most recent book, about suburban life in America, is On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (and Always Have) in the Future Tense.

February 13, 2010 - BOB & LEE WOODRUFF

Bob Woodruff joined ABC News in 1996 and was named co-anchor of ABC’s World News Tonight in 2005. In January 2006, while reporting on U.S. and Iraqi security forces, Woodruff was seriously injured by a roadside bomb near Taji, Iraq. Now back at work for ABC News with his Bob Woodruff Reports, he has continued to cover stories that focus on veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He is also the anchor of “Focus Earth with Bob Woodruff” on the new Discovery Channel, Planet Green.

Lee Woodruff, a contributing editor for ABC’s Good Morning America, garnered critical acclaim for the compelling and humorous chronicle of her family’s journey to recovery following her husband’s injuries in Iraq. As co-authors of the 2007 best-selling In an Instant, and appearing together on national television and radio, the couple has helped put a face on the serious issue of traumatic brain injury among returning Iraq war veterans.

March 6, 2010, - RAY KURZWEIL

Ray Kurzweil, described as “the restless genius” by The Wall Street Journal, and “the ultimate thinking machine” by Forbes, is one of the leading inventors of our time. Kurzweil was the principal and first developer of the CCD flat-bed scanner, omni-font optical character recognition, print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, text-to-speech synthesizer, music synthesizer capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition. Inc. Magazine ranked him #8 among entrepreneurs in the United States, calling him the “rightful heir to Thomas Edison,” and PBS included Kurzweil as one of 16 “revolutionaries who made America,” along with other inventors of the past two centuries. Among Kurzweil’s many honors, he is the recipient of the $500,000 MIT-Lemelson Prize, the world’s largest for innovation. His latest book, The Singularity is Near, was a New York Times best seller, and has been the #1 book on Amazon in both science and philosophy.

WEBMASTER'S NOTE: Kurzweil's presentation in March, 2010 included a thought-provoking slide presentation. You can review this presentation again by clicking here.

March 27, 2010 - JIM LEHRER

Jim Lehrer worked for ten years in Dallas as a newspaperman and then as the host of a local experimental news program on public television before coming to Washington with PBS in 1972. Soon after his coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings with Robert MacNeil in 1973, they launched The MacNeil/ Lehrer Report, and, in 1983, The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour, the first 60-minute evening news program on television. When MacNeil retired in 1995, the program was renamed The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Lehrer has been honored with numerous awards for journalism, including a presidential National Humanities Medal in 1999. In the last five presidential elections, he moderated ten of the nationally televised candidate debates. Lehrer has written 17 novels, including White Widow, Purple Dots, Blue Hearts, Flying Crows, The Special Prisoner and Eureka. He also has written two memoirs and three plays.