The Cirque is coming to town All eyes will be on UAB’s Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center Sept. 25-28 when MASS Ensemble and the ASC present “Cirque Alys Aerial Music,” an original, immersive musical experience combining one-of-a-kind instruments, musicians, aerial performers and sculpture. Free outdoor demonstrations will be held at noon and 6 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday.

“Cirque Alys Aerial Music,” a one-time-only event on Friday, Sept. 28, will begin inside with the audience seated underneath the giant Earth Harp, floating percussion machines and dream-like cirque performers suspended in the air. The audience then will move outdoors for the grand finale, performed on a 25-foot-high truss sculpture that becomes both the instrument and the structure for a beautiful aerial performance. A free party with DJ and cash bar will follow. For more information or tickets, call 975-2787 or visit

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Life lessons from the "Godfather of Soy" Stephen Barnes, Ph.D., has spent the past 50 years — 35 of which have been at UAB — developing a broad range of academic interests, from mass spectrometry to the role of nutrition in preventing chronic disease. His groundbreaking research on the health benefits and actions of soy has led colleagues at national meetings to refer to him as the “Godfather of Soy” — a recognition of his leadership in the field. Now he has another title: 2012 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer, the UAB Academic Health Center’s most prestigious faculty award. On Oct. 10 at 4:30 p.m., Barnes will deliver a free public lecture in UAB's Alys Stephens Center.

While Barnes's research has brought international attention, colleagues say his impact on students has been equally important. Barnes remembers how vital it was to him that his early mentor, Nobel Laureate Sir Ernst Chain, taught him the value of lateral thinking and how to develop alternative ways of explaining data and thinking of experiments that can distinguish between those alternatives. "My early mentors were so critical," Barnes says. "I had people who recognized my talents and potential, and pushed me on to the next step."