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Faculty Spotlight

 Event Preview of SPY: The Secret World of Espionage with Dr. Eric Zillmer
Carl R. Pacifico Professor of Neuropsychology
and Director of Athletics

Do you, like many, find the world of espionage and spying one of excitement and intrigue?

Perhaps because spying has been essential in our nation's history – from the Revolutionary War to today's Global War on Terror. Or maybe because it's so relevant to our daily lives; where does our right to privacy end and the government's right to collect information begin?

Whatever the reason, the Alumni Association invites you to join Drexel graduates and guests at the Franklin Institute's exhibit SPY: The Secret World of Espionage on Wednesday, September 25. In addition to the exhibit, you will have the exclusive opportunity to hear Dr. Eric Zillmer, Carl R. Pacifico Professor of Neuropsychology and Director of Athletics at Drexel University, share his expertise on the world of spying and espionage.

"The SPY exhibit is fascinating," said Zillmer. "It features a lot of the technology related to spying, but I'm also going to talk about the psychology of it all. I am personally intrigued about the human aspect of spying, why we have secrets, and why, as people and as a country, do we need to know? My goal is to make the world of spying come alive through the lens of psychology."

Zillmer will take guests through history and discuss how every single war has depended on intelligence gathering. As he points out, one tiny piece of intelligence, "Where is Bin Laden hiding?" was probably worth billions of dollars to the American government.

"It's like Washington said during the Revolutionary War, 'Everything depends on intelligence,'" said Zillmer. "Still today we're very concerned as a nation with how we obtain information. Knowledge is more important than weaponry and insight into a person or a country's intentions and motivations is essential to our national security."

Zillmer said that he will also touch upon what psychological characteristics a person must have in order to be a good spy, and why espionage garners so much interest within popular culture, including cinema and literature. "People are obsessed with spying in books, movies and plays because in real life the secret word of espionage is of interest to almost everyone."

According to Zillmer, Philadelphia has always been a very active center for spying because of its rich history. In his presentation, he will point out several different Philadelphia sites that are important to spying, one of those locations being Drexel University.

"I'll close the presentation with a look at the very relevant topic of modern warfare," said Zillmer. "How do we spy on terrorists and how do they spy on us? What kinds of threats are we dealing with?"

Zillmer has another special surprise planned for guests, but it's a secret that he's not willing to give up so you'll have to come to the event to find out this classified information.

"Above all, we're going to have fun," he said. "Drexel is a school for understanding the world in a meaningful way and our alumni are really interested in how the world works. I can't wait to go through the exhibit with them and see what they think of it all."

To register for the alumni reception, talk and tour of SPY: The Secret World of Espionage, click here or call the Office of Alumni Relations at 1.888.DU.GRADS or 215.895.ALUM. Space is limited and tickets are going fast so register today!