Dixie Forum to examine link between birdsong, advances in neuroscience

Foreground: Dr. Sylvia Torti. Background: Browning Resource Learning Center. Torti will lecture on “Language and Love in a Birdsong Laboratory” at Tuesday's Dixie Forum in the Dunford Auditorium of the Browning Resource Center, Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, Feb. 7, 2016 | Photos courtesy of DSU, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Dr. Sylvia Torti, dean of the Honors College at the University of Utah, will present on how studying birds has benefited neuroscientific development as part of Dixie State University’s weekly lecture series Dixie Forum.

Torti’s presentation, “Language and Love in a Birdsong Laboratory,” will take place at noon Tuesday in the Dunford Auditorium of the Browning Learning Resource Center on the Dixie State campus. Admission is free, and the public is encouraged to attend.

During her presentation, Torti will discuss how and why birds sing and the role biology plays in her new novel, “Cages.” The story takes place in a research laboratory in which scientists are researching memory and birdsong through experimentation on birds. The novel integrates love, loss and memory by drawing parallels between the birds in the laboratory and two scientists who are both vying for the heart of a young research assistant.

“Cages” won the Nicholas Schaffner Award for Music in Literature and will be published by Schaffner Press this May.

Torti, a writer and ecologist, is also the author of “The Scorpion’s Tail,” which won the Miguel Mármol Prize for best debut fiction by an American of Latino/a descent. Torti has also written short stories and essays that have appeared in various publications. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Earlham College and went on to complete a doctorate in tropical ecology at the University of Utah.

Dixie Forum is a weekly lecture series designed to introduce the St. George community and Dixie State students, faculty and staff to diverse ideas and personalities while widening their worldviews via a 50-minute presentation.

Next week, Dixie Forum will host Jeremy Young, an assistant professor of history at Dixie State, as he presents “Presidential Leadership in the Age of Charisma” at noon on Feb. 14. 

Event details

  • What: Dr. Sylvia Torti lecture on “Language and Love in a Birdsong Laboratory”
  • When: Tuesday, Feb. 7, at noon
  • Where: Dixie State University, Dunford Auditorium of the Browning Resource Center, 225 S. 700 East, St. George.
  • Cost: Free


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