UCSB geography and psychology professors will honor the career of the late professor Reginald Golledge this afternoon at Corwin Pavilion.
The lectures will focus on the scholar’s career in behavioral geography, an academic subfield he pioneered that links geography and psychology. Golledge was named Faculty Research Lecturer for 2009 — the highest honor that can be granted to a faculty member — last March for his contribution to the scientific field. Unfortunately, he passed away in May before he could deliver his Faculty Research Lecture.
Geography professor Daniel Montello will begin the series of lectures — entitled “Reginald G. Golledge: A Research Career” — by discussing Golledge’s early work. According to Montello, Golledge was the influencing force in this new field of geography.
“[Reginald] was an early originator and great popularizer of [behavioral geography],” Montello said in an e-mail. “This approach contrasts with dominant approaches at the time, and still popular, such as social physics and classical economic geography. The behavioral approach contrasts with these by opting for an individual or disaggregate level of analysis rather than an average group level.”
Helen Couclelis, Golledge’s close friend of 27 years, will lecture on the middle years of Golledge’s career. Couclelis said Golledge’s research allowed people with handicaps — Golledge was blind himself for 25 years — to better understand their environment.
“He showed how spatial thinking and later also spatial technology can help illuminate how people understand and move around the places they live in,” Couclelis said in an e-mail. “He is widely known for his work on helping blind people navigate their environment with electronic devices.”
Meanwhile, psychology professor Jack Loomis will conclude today’s event by speaking on the latter part of his colleague’s career, as well as his work on the Personal Guidance System — a GPS-based navigation system that assists the visually impaired.
“[Our] research collaboration … began in 1984, a year after [Reginald] lost his sight as a result of retinal dis-ease,” Loomis said in an e-mail. “Together with Roberta Klatzky — then a professor of psychology at UCSB — we embarked on a fruitful collaboration of basic research.”