Brian Greene, The Rosenn Lecture, Wilkes University: A Night of Connectedness

Written by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Photographs by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Copyright 2015
Mussari-Loftus Associates
The Face of America Project

I have long thought that anyone who does not regularly – or ever – gaze up and see the wonder and glory of a dark night sky filled with countless stars loses a sense of their fundamental connectedness to the universe. Brian Greene

Honoring Greatness

During his lifetime, Max Rosenn was a leader, a thinker and aMax Rosenn reconciler. In death, the important work he did for his community and his country is remembered every year at the Max Rosenn Lecture in Law and Humanities. This event brings people from all walks of life together at Wilkes University for an evening of celebration, conversation, and connectedness.

Three hours before the lecture, a large group of invited guests attend a private reception and dinner. It is a festive occasion that enables Rosenn family members, Judge Rosenn’s law clerks and the featured speaker to interact with community leaders, teachers, students and friends of the judge. The atmosphere is welcoming. The conversations are enjoyable, and the food is delicious.


The pre-dinner speakers always share information about the judge and his contributions to the community. This year Eva Rosenn spoke about her grandfather with admiration and respect. She noted that he set the bar incredibly high. He transmitted his values by example, and he expected us to do what we can.

As Eva was speaking, I thought to myself Judge Rosenn would have enjoyed the event, because he liked to engage people in a personal way. The judge was always at his best when he was talking with a person face to face.

Judge Rosen was a quality person. When William A. Foster wrote these words, he was describing Judge Rosenn:

Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.

Reaching for the Stars

The absolutely worst thing you ever can do, in my opinion, in bringing science to the general public, is to be condescending or judgmental. It is so opposite to the way science needs to be brought forth. Brian Greene

Brian Greene is a celebrated author, a gifted speaker and a distinguished physicist who is dedicated to unraveling the secrets ofIMG_8542_s the universe. These are impressive credentials to be sure, but there is another characteristic that is central to his success. He gives one the impression that he is as interested in the people he meets as he is in the research he does.

I had the good fortune to observe him interacting with people at the reception, during his presentation and afterward at a book signing. He was kind, helpful, patient and pleasant with everyone.

Brian Greene is approachable. He enjoys answering questions, and he does his very best to provide thoughtful responses to young and old alike.

In person and on stage, Brian Greene is dynamic, not histrionic. He is humorous, not ludicrous. He is friendly, but never condescending.


Before a packed house in the Dorothy Dixon Dart Center for the Performing Arts, he demonstrated his creativity as he explained String Theory, Black Holes, and Holograms.

He is a man on a mission. He wants to help people look at the universe not just as a subject of wonder, but as an opportunity for learning and gaining an understanding of “the what" and "the why" questions.

He creatively used multimedia tools to demonstrate the possibility that there are many other universes that exist parallel to our IMG_8574_Suniverse.

He artfully demonstrated how the universe may be a three dimensional image on a 2-D surface that surrounds us. In other words, the universe may be a hologram.

To be sure, this Rosenn lecture was much different from any of its predecessors. Yet like all the others it caused people to think about and talk about matters that they might never consider.

Now when we look up at the sky our thoughts will be more than “Oh it’s so beautiful.”

That is exactly what the Rosenn Lecture is designed to do, and that is why I believe Judge Rosenn would be very pleased with Brian Greene’s presentation.

Aphorisms for Life and Science

IMG_8582_s These are a few of the maxims Brian Green shared with his audience:

It is so hard to criticize something you don’t understand;

Cutting edge is an uncomfortable place to be;

To push forward, to innovate one must go forth not knowing whether they are right or wrong;

The art of explanation is not certainty;

A scientist must have the courage to ask the questions a five-year old would ask. How does it work? Why does this happen?

Brian Green, a brilliant Face of America, has that kind of courage.

Thank You, Erin Dupay, Lucas Domulevicz, Rebecca Kuc, and Dr. Terry Wignot, for your wonderful dinner conversation at table 7.


Thank you Rebecca Van Jura and Mildred Urban for the time, effort IMG_8476_Sand energy you invested in making the 34th Max Rosenn Lecture a success.

Thank you, Craig Blakeley, Dr. Chris Bresieth, Judge Tom Burke, Judge Joe Van Jura, Iran Fahmy and Ed Transue. It was great to see you at our annual reunion.

Thank You, Brian Greene for bringing your message to our home town in an entertaining, informative and interesting way.

Thank you, Dr. Patrick Leahy and the members of the Wilkes University administration, faculty and staff for a wonderful evening of connectedness.

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