Yankee ingenuity is an expression that’s been around since the Industrial Revolution, so it’s fitting that the 11th collaboration of Wilton Library and Wilton Historical Society’s Scholarly Series takes on “Yankee Innovators – Steamships to Silicon Chips.”  The four-part series will explore the insights, innovations, ingenuity and inventiveness of forward-thinking people, organizations and projects in America’s and Connecticut’s history. The first lecture is on Sunday, Jan. 28, from 4-5:30 p.m. at the library, entitled, “Building the First Steamship in History” with speaker John Laurence Busch. The series is made possible by The Wilton League of Women Voters and Friends of Louise Herot.

Greg Chann, president emeritus of the Wilton Historical Society notes that the series also memorializes Louise Herot, a beloved, recently-deceased Wilton resident, who was instrumental in the creation of the Scholarly Series.

“We were delighted when we heard that The League of Women Voters wanted to sponsor the series and recognize Louise Herot for her legacy.  We lost Louise last year and all the organizers were feeling the void that was left.  This sponsorship in Louise’s memory keeps her front and center in the Scholarly Series that began more than a decade ago and continued under her guiding direction over the years.”

Herot was a longtime resident of Wilton who served on numerous town boards, was past president of The League of Women Voters, past president of the Wilton Library Association, served on the Board of Selectmen, and the Board of Education among other committee roles and organizations.

Elaine Tai-Lauria, executive director for Wilton Library adds, “As president of the Wilton Library Association Board of Trustees, Louise was instrumental, along with Greg Chann and others, in developing this Scholarly Series. At its roots, it has been designed as a college-level lecture series that ‘stimulates the minds of our fellow citizens, reminds us that history needs to be studied so we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past, and educates in a way that makes history come alive.’ Now into our 11th season, we have a strong following of citizens who weather cold winter Sunday afternoons to be inspired, connected and informed.”

All the lectures are held on Sundays, from 4-5:30 p.m., either at the library or the Historical Society, as follows:

January 28

Speaker John Laurence Busch – Building the First Steamship in History, Wilton Library:  Historian and author John Laurence Busch will kick off the four-part series by using his deep knowledge of early steam vessels to explore the interaction between humankind and the first time-and-space-altering ‘high technology.’ He also will explore the role that New London native Captain Moses Rogers played in designing and building the first example of globalized high technology in history. His presentation will be based on his book, Steam Coffin: Captain Moses Rogers and The Steamship Savannah Break the Barrier. Busch is an independent historian who focuses on the interaction between humanity and technology especially with regard to the first generation of steam-powered vessels. Lecture sponsor:  Mary Gail and Jerome Gristina; moderator:  Steve Hudspeth.

February 11

Speaker Neil Maher – Shooting the Moon:  Space Technology, Earthbound Nature, and the New Left During the Vietnam War, at Wilton Library:  Professor Neil Maher’s lecture will examine the shared history of the space race to the moon and the Vietnam War during the 1960s and 1970s.  Maher is an associate professor of history in the Federated History Department at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University, Newark, where he teaches environmental and political history on the undergraduate and graduate levels. Lecture sponsor:  Janice and Michael Hess; moderator:  Max Gabrielson.

February 25

Speaker Andrew Driver – Leading the Helicopter Industry into the 21st Century, at Wilton Historical Society:  Wilton resident and Sikorsky Aircraft‘s Andrew Driver will provide a brief history of how Igor Sikorsky emigrated from Kiev to the Nutmeg State, founded Sikorsky Aircraft, invented the helicopter, and launched an entire industry which today generates over $20 billion in global new helicopter sales each year. He also will discuss significant models and how Sikorsky is leading trends in the industry today. Driver has worked at Sikorsky Aircraft for 29 years having held various engineering, product marketing, strategic planning and market and competitive intelligence positions. Lecture sponsor:  Lila and Buck Griswold; moderator:  Max Gabrielson.

March 18

Speaker Chip Mason – Faster, Smaller, Greener:  How Semiconductor Lithography Enables Innovations All Around Us, at Wilton Historical Society:  ASML Fellow Christopher ‘Chip’ Mason will conclude the series with a presentation on the wide variety of innovations that are made possible by semiconductor lithography. As the manufacturer of the machines that are used to make silicon chips, Wilton’s ASML is one of the world’s most important companies in this field. Mason is an ASML Fellow and an expert in alignment systems, focus systems, and reticle stage technology. Lecture sponsor:  Chris and Dan Delmar; moderator:  Steve Hudspeth.

Additional information may be found in the individual registration links for the lectures. An informal reception will follow each of the talks. Registration is required separately for each of the lectures due to the popularity of the series. There is no charge, but donations are always welcomed.

Wilton Library is located at 137 Old Ridgefield Rd.. Wilton Historical Society is at 224 Danbury Rd.. For information and registration on all four lectures, visit the Wilton Library website or call 203.762.6334.