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Turning Your World Upside Down: A Sabbatical Adventure
MRIC 2004/05

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"Turning Your World Upside Down: A Sabbatical Adventure"

November 2 
Margrit von Braun - College of Graduate Studies

Abstract: "Turning your World Upside Down: A Sabbatical Adventure"
The opportunity to take a sabbatical leave is one of the privileges of an otherwise wonderful job. The term “sabbatical year” is derived from an ancient practice whereby every seventh year vineyards and fields remained fallow and debtors were released from their obligations. In modern times, the sabbatical leave is defined (by Webster’s) as “a leave of absence, often with pay, usually granted every seventh year, as to a college professor, for travel, research, or rest.” At UI, the definition includes “study, work, or travel” (note the absence of “rest”!) in order to “enhance the faculty member’s value to UI.”

I will describe some of the wonderful adventures I had in Spring 2004 with a small subset of the 3000 photos I took. My travels took me from a modern university in southern Thailand to Nelson Mandela’s self-described university in prison on Robben Island in South Africa. I also discovered connections among a lead smelter in the Russian Far East, one in Zambia, and Idaho’s own Bunker Hill site that surprised me and validated years of work.

As a Humble Explorer of Planet Earth, I was reminded that serendipity is better than planning and that, in the words of Michael Faraday, “nothing is too wonderful to be true.”

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