Brothers’ panel to detail successes

By Trevor Allison

Three brothers will be part of a panel discussion titled “All in the Family: Creativity Across the Disciplines Through Three Brothers” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Kayser Auditorium. The brothers, Ted, Charles and Paul Chihara, have doctoral degrees in mathematics, philosophy and music, respectively.

Dr. Lance Littlejohn, chair of the department of mathematics, is a personal friend of Ted Chihara and said he is excited about the visit.

“This is the first time the brothers have spoken together in this setting,” Littlejohn said. “We will be trying to find out how they all became so successful in very different fields.”

Dr. Kevin Dougherty, associate professor of sociology, will moderate the discussion.

“This event will be an introduction to three remarkable men and the circumstances that made them who they are,” Dougherty said.

Littlejohn said the brothers, who were born in the United States, grew up in a Japanese internment camp in Idaho during World War II which shaped the brothers’ experiences.

“These were not the best of conditions, but they have a lot to do with what they became,” Littlejohn said.

Dougherty said he believes the event will be worthwhile for students to attend even in the midst of busy schedules. He called the panel “a rare gift to the Baylor community.”

Ted is a professor emeritus in mathematics at Purdue University, Charles is a professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of California Berkeley and Paul is a professor of theory and composition of music at the University of California Los Angeles.

Dougherty said this unique panel discussion will essentially allow the audience to sit in on a conversation among three brothers.

“It’s like getting to come the family room,” Dougherty said. “We’ll hear their reflections, observations and inside stories.”

Littlejohn said though Dougherty will ask opening questions to fuel discussion but audience members will also be able to submit questions for the brothers.

Littlejohn said students who attend will have the opportunity to learn more about what life was like in the U.S. during World War II and see what caused the three brothers to succeed in three very different fields of study.

Dougherty said he is excited about the visit from a sociological standpoint.

“It’s part of that classic debate: ‘Where does creativity come from?’” Dougherty said. “It it nature or nurture?”

Dougherty said he hopes the panel will give students insight into this sociological debate.

“It’s a unique opportunity to think about the origins of genius,” Dougherty said. “These men had unique family dynamics and their life experiences led them to the pinnacles of their fields.”

The panel is free to attend and open to the public.