Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturers 2010-2011 Abstracts
Gary D. Christian
A Brief History of Analytical Chemistry: From the Beginnings to Modern Analytical Science (S)
The teaching and practice of analytical chemistry reflects the evolution of measurement science over time. Qualitative and quantitative measurements can be traced to pre-biblical times, and have been important throughout the history of humans, and today are key to the functioning of a modern society. The perceived value of gold and silver was the first incentive to acquire analytical knowledge. The chemical balance is recorded in the earliest documents found. I will trace the development of analytical science, presenting some of the pioneers through the eons, up to those who formed the basis for many of our modern techniques, and also early textbook authors and how books evolved. Gravimetry emerged in the 17th century, and titrimetry, along with stoichiometric concepts, in the 18th and 19th centuries. Quantitative analysis textbooks, and hence the teaching of analytical chemistry as a discipline, appeared in the 19th century. The past century saw the development of instrumental techniques, and we now possess incredible capabilities for measurements.
- F. Szabadvary, History of Analytical Chemistry, Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1966.
- H. A. Laitinen and G. W. Ewing, eds., A History of Analytical Chemistry, American Chemical Society, Division of Analytical Chemistry, Printed by The Maple Press Co., York, Pennsylvania, 1977.
- H. M. N. H. Irving, in Essays on Analytical Chemistry, W. Wanninen, ed., Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1977, pp. 591-600.
- G. D. Christian, "Evolution and Revolution in Quantitative Analysis," Anal. Chem., 67, 532A (1995).
- C. A. Lucy, "Analytical Chemistry: A Literary Approach", J. Chem. Ed., 77, 459 (2000).
The Ethics of Scientific Writing: How to Write and How Not to Write a Paper (G)
Scientific writing for peer-reviewed journals is how scientists communicate their work to the world. It is important to tell a clear and compelling story, beginning with justification for the work, placing it in the context of prior work, and its significance in advancing the field, i.e., what problem is being addressed? Manuscripts are submitted to peer-review by experts, selected by the editor. Only a select number will be published, depending on novelty, significance to the field, demonstrated applicability, appropriateness for the journal, and so forth. Peer-review is for the benefit of the author as well as for the editor, and helps improve the quality and impact of the paper. Ethics in publication is of paramount importance, and has become more of an issue for editors in recent years, particularly with the advent of the electronic age.
I will relay my experiences as an Editor-in-Chief for Talanta over some twenty years, providing guidance on how to structure and present a paper so the reviewers and readers will have a good understanding of your accomplishments, and pitfalls to avoid. Real-world examples of manuscripts that do not follow established and ethical guidelines will be given, along with cases of outright scientific fraud in the chemical literature
The Physiology and Chemistry of Breath Alcohol Measurement. Or, Are You Too Drunk to Drive? (P)
Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense in all states. In most states, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% (w/w) is by law deemed to indicate being under the influence. Normally, the blood alcohol level is determined by measuring the percent breath alcohol, assuming a partition ratio between blood and breath of 2100:1. The legal consequences of being convicted of driving while under the influence will be presented, along with the physiology of alcohol absorption and metabolism, the physiological effects as a function of alcohol, and ways to estimate your blood alcohol level. The principles, chemistry, and operations of breath alcohol measuring instruments will be described.
David W. Frayer
Neandertals and Us (P,G,S)
Since their discovery in 1856, Neandertals have generally been considered a different species or offshoots from the subsequent European line with little or no contribution to the people who followed them. Yet, a variety of morphological and metric traits link Neandertals with their European successors. Along with new information from Neandertal biology and culture, it is becoming increasingly difficult to eliminate them from a relationship to the Cro-Magnons who followed them in Europe.
The Krapina Neandertals: What they tell us about Neandertal behavior? (P,G)
A review of the Krapina Neandertal site in Croatia. Excavated between 1899-1905 and dated to ~120,000 years ago, this site has produced hundreds of Neandertal remains. These bones and teeth provide information about Neandertal biology and culture, ranging from handedness to survival following severe trauma to ritual behavior and cannibalism. Coupled with what we know about Neandertals from other sites in Europe and Western Asia, a very different image of Neandertals emerges.
Homo floresiensis: The hobbit tale (P,G)
Discoveries from the Liang Bua cave on Flores Island (Indonesia) have been described as representing a species of miniature humans surviving in isolation for more than 100,000 years until they went extinct about 12,000 years. These discoveries, commonly referred to as "hobbits,' have great importance for models in paleoanthropology involving brain size and intelligence, the effect of isolation and endemism along with more general ideas about the course of human evolution. Conclusions about the fossils are controversial and alternate interpretations contradict the idea that the specimens from the site represent a new species.
Teeth: Repositories of Prehistoric Human Behavior (G,S)
Teeth are the most durable part of the human body and provide a wealth of information about their once-living owners. This lecture reviews examples of fossil and recent teeth from Europe and Pakistan which reveal information about biology and culture.
Michael F. Goodchild
Where are We Now? An assessment of GPS (P)
The Global Positioning System revolutionized the practice of surveying, providing for the first time a cheap and reliable means of directly measuring absolute position on the Earth's surface. Since then it has been embedded in technologies from in-car navigation to cellular phones. It raises concerns about privacy, as do other positioning technologies such as RFID. Its accuracy also creates numerous practical problems of interoperability, given the comparatively poor accuracy of much of our cartographic legacy; and it draws attention to the complexities of accurate Earth measurement. I review novel geographic applications of Web 2.0 that are being grouped under the umbrella of "neogeography", and speculate about the future of geographic information technologies as represented by the concept of a Spatial Web.
The Spatial Web: Visions for a Geospatial World (G)
The popularization of the Internet and the advent of the Web have had enormous impact on geographic information technologies, making it possible for researchers and the general public to access unprecedented amounts of information through digital libraries, clearinghouses, and geo-portals. Google Earth is only one example of a process of technological democratization that has occurred in the past two years. At the same time new positioning technologies have appeared to augment the power of GPS, including radio-frequency identification (RFID), and disciplines from geophysics to ecology and public health are embracing the power of small, cheap, and powerful sensors to collect real-time data on geographically distributed systems. I sketch a vision of a Spatial Web, in which objects in the world know and report their locations, along with useful information about their surroundings; this information is then collected and compiled by servers, and is redistributed to users. This vision has powerful implications for new kinds of science, for "citizen science", for surveillance, and for many other areas of human activity. This technological vision must be tempered by the realities of institutions, human behavior, and politics, and by concerns for privacy. Geographers have a pressing responsibility to reflect on these technological developments, and to ensure their effective and responsible use.
Fundamental Spatial Concepts (S)
The functionality of GIS has grown enormously, and it is now possible to assert that GIS is capable of any conceivable operation on spatial data. However the organization of this mass of functionality is still problematic, making it difficult to find the right tool for a problem. I argue that tools should be organized around the fundamental spatial concepts that they seek to expose and calibrate. In turn these concepts form the core of spatial thinking, and distinguish GIS from any other form of analytic software. I use examples to illustrate how the approach taken by spatial thinkers is both different and intellectually profound.
Wesley L. Harris
Fluid Dynamics of Diffusion in Blood Microcirculation (S)
A novel, unsteady fluid dynamic model/simulation of blood microcirculation including non-linear convection, blood cell membrane deformation, and diffusion of oxygen from the blood cells to thee capillary walls is presented. Normal res blood cells and sickle blood cells are presented and compared to existing experimental results.
Grand and Not-So Grand Challenges for Engineering (G)
The results and implications of the National Academy of Engineering [NAE] Grand Challenges for Engineering are unpacked. Based on my participation as a member of the NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering Committee, the fourteen (14) specific recommendations developed by the Committee are presented in the context of the colorful path to the recommendations, sans personalities.
The Face of American Science (P,G,S)
Based on projections from the 1990 U.S. census, the fraction of college-age adults from underrepresented groups is expected to double by 2020. Approximately one half of the college-age U.S. population will be members of these groups by 2020 compared to one quarter in 1990. Since 1999 the number of bachelorĂs degrees in engineering earned by underrepresented groups has been static and low in numbers. The 2006 percentage of bachelorĂs degrees in engineering earned by women (19.3%) is the lowest since 1998, while women are 56% of the overall undergraduate population.
Progress in graduate education is more measurable but still slow. Minorities received almost 14 percent of all science and engineering doctorates awarded to U.S. citizens in 1995-99, up from 6 percent in 1975-79. In 1999 women constituted 43 percent of PhDs awarded in all fields, compared with 48 percent of the U.S. population 25 years and older with 4 years of college education. From 1920-24 to 1995-99, womenĂs share of all science and engineering doctorates awarded increased from 13 to 33 percent.
These and other similar demographic data will be presented and used as framework of discussion on a series of questions. For example: What are projected outcomes for U.S. competitiveness in an environment where underrepresented group members and women are so disproportionately trained in science and engineering? What are projected scenarios for U.S. colleges and universities in the next decade as the composition of the U.S. student body changes? Should the U.S. out-source its higher education enterprise post 2020? Note that the college freshman class of 2020 is now entering the first grade!
Evelyn L. Hu
Michelangelo's Laser (G,S)
'Michelangelo's Laser' will focus on some of the design, art and tools used in shaping semiconductor materials to achieve the desired scientific or technological performance. In the masterpieces of form and sound that most delight us, we are willing believers that the artists who shape those works have a clear vision beforehand of the ultimate form that will emerge out of the starting material. Perhaps surprisingly, the same vision applies to the 'artists' who shape structures out of materials like semiconductors, where the resulting creations can be used to control the behavior and interactions of electrons and photons, vital agents of information that define our day-to-day technology. This talk will focus on some of the techniques that semiconductor artists use to sculpt nanoscale forms into their materials, and discuss how the appropriately sculpted form can provide exceptional function.
Creating Solar Cells with Viruses (G,S)
Scientists can select from the rich choice of materials that nature provides to make devices that can convert electrical energy to light energy, like lasers or light emitting diodes - or to make devices that convert light energy from the sun to electrical energy. We could potentially make much more efficient devices, if we could control the nanostructure (not the atomic structure) of the material to add the right combination of semiconductors, metals and insulators. Biological structures can possess both the nanoscale structure that can serve as a template for building materials, and also strongly specific binding of materials to those templates. The big challenge is to link biological materials with what we usually think of as 'non-biological' materials, like metals or semiconductors. I will discuss a technique that can provide that linkage: a discovery tool that will identify compatible biological-non biological material pairs. This provides the starting point for a new way of constructing non biological materials from the nanoscale, allowing creative three dimensional design of new materials and electronic and optical devices.
Terry L. Hunt
What (Really) Happened on Easter Island? Ecological Catastrophe and Cultural Collapse (P,G,S)
Easter Island has become the "poster child" for prehistoric human induced ecological catastrophe and cultural collapse. Today a popular narrative recounts an obsession with monumental statuary-a mania for the megalithic moai-that led to the island's ecological devastation and the collapse of the ancient civilization. Scholars offer this story as a parable of our own reckless destruction of the global environment. In this lecture Dr. Hunt critically examines the evidence for Rapa Nui. A revised, later chronology for Rapa Nui calls into question aspects of the current model for the island's ecological history. A closer look also reveals a complex historical ecology for the island; one best explained by a synergy of impacts, rather than simply the reckless over-exploitation by ancient Polynesians. It is essential to disentangle the related notion of prehistoric "ecocide" with the demographic collapse (i.e., post-contact genocide) that occurred centuries later with European disease, slave trading, and the other abuses heaped upon the Polynesians of Rapa Nui. Contrary to the now popular narratives, prehistoric deforestation did not cause population collapse, nor was it associated with it.
Theory of Bet-Hedging Points to Ancient Easter Island's Success (G,S)
The monuments and statues of Easter Island have drawn scientific and public interest for decades. Recent writers have suggested that making and moving the giant statues led to over-exploitation of resources and the downfall of the ancient society. In this lecture Dr. Hunt explores a very different possibility. On tiny remote Easter Island a population that grew too large to cope with periodic food shortages brought on by drought or other natural causes would have invited crisis, failure, even collapse. But under particular conditions many species-including humans--spend time in the pursuit of non-food producing, non-reproducing activities. These activities can range from simple inefficiency to grandiose forms of showing off (or "costly signaling"). In the short term, this seems to be self-defeating since organisms are sacrificing Darwinian success, but such loss is gained in long term stability and persistence. On Easter Island investments in art, architecture, and ritual demanded much of people's energy budget-what evolutionary biologists reckon as energy used for one thing cannot be used for another. Thus time spent on making and moving statues meant diversions from expanding gardens and raising larger families. By accident or design, such a strategy may have been critical to Easter Islanders by reducing the consequences of inevitable uncertainty in food supplies. Theory tells us the story of Easter Island may be quite different than many have supposed.
Megaliths Made to Move (G,S)
Easter Island is a peculiar place. Its treeless windswept landscape is littered with hundreds of multi-ton stone statues. These ancient statues (moai) were moved several miles to every corner of the island, over hills and across rugged volcanic surfaces. Their ancient transport is the enduring "mystery" of Easter Island. Ancient islanders say that the statues "walked." Archaeologists from Heyerdahl to those recently experimenting for the cameras of the Discovery Channel have proposed various methods using wooden sleds and other contraptions. In this lecture Dr. Hunt reports his field work--the first systematic examination of its kind--that considers new evidence from both the ancient roads and the details of more than 50 statues fallen along the way. The evidence documents that the statues were moved-perhaps even "walked"-in an upright position. New theories or experiments showing how these colossal statues might have been moved will have to take into account the real-world evidence of archaeology.
Ancient Human Impacts on Land and Sea in Polynesia (G)
Over the past several decades, archaeologists, anthropologists, and other scientists have written about indigenous societies as conservationists and the pristine environments they inhabited, or in contrast, as agents of widespread impacts and wholesale habitat destruction. The Pacific Islands, as "laboratories" of human ecological history, have figured prominently in these debates. In this lecture Dr. Hunt illustrates how a dichotomy of conservation versus wholesale destruction oversimplifies the complexity of human relationships and their environments. Case studies from the Pacific Island illustrate the timing, causes, and consequences of deforestation, extinctions, and in contrast, histories of sustainable resource use in terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Understanding human impacts and long-term environmental histories are important to many contemporary concerns.
Marc L. Imhoff
Gray Wave of the Great Transformation: A Satellite View of Urbanization, Climate Change, and Food Security (P,G,S)
Land cover change driven by human activity is profoundly affecting Earth's natural systems with impacts ranging from a loss of biological diversity to changes in regional and global climate. This change has been so pervasive and progressed so rapidly, compared to natural processes, scientists refer to it as "the great transformation". Urbanization or the 'gray wave' of land transformation is being increasingly recognized as an important process in global climate change. A hallmark of our success as a species, large urban conglomerates do in fact alter the land surface so profoundly that both local climate and the basic ecology of the landscape are affected in ways that have consequences to human health and economic well-being. Fortunately we have incredible new tools for planning and developing urban places that are both enjoyable and sustainable. A suite of Earth observing satellites is making it possible to study the interactions between urbanization, biological processes, and weather and climate. Using these Earth Observatories we are learning how urban heat islands form and potentially ameliorate them, how urbanization can affect rainfall, pollution, and surface water recharge at the local level and climate and food security globally.
Planetary Secrets: The Secret Lives of Storms, Deserts, and Fires (P,G,S)
Why are some storms worse than others? Can hurricanes really go surfing? Why would a fish at sea care about the Gobi desert? When they say 'the world is on fire' do they mean 'literally'? A suite of Earth observing satellites especially designed to simultaneously view the land, atmosphere and oceans is revealing Earth's secret liaisons intricately connecting processes together that would have once seemed improbable. Recent results from NASA's Earth Observing System are showing how human activities, biological processes, and climate affect one another across time and space. This new and developing capability will allow us to plan healthier and safer urban environments, understand climate and climate change, and maintain landscapes capable of sustaining adequate food and fiber production.
Human Appropriation of Net Primary Production - Can the Earth Keep Up? (P,G,S)
A unique combination of satellite and socio-economic data were used to explore the relationship between human consumption and the carbon cycle. The amount of Earth's NPP required to support human activities is a powerful measure of the aggregate impact on the biosphere and indicator of societal vulnerability to climate change. Biophysical models were applied to consumption data to estimate the annual amount of Earth's terrestrial net primary production humans require for food, fiber (including fabrication) and fuel using the same modeling architecture as satellite-supported NPP measurements. The amount of NPP required was calculated on a per capita basis and projected onto a global map of population to create a spatially explicit map of NPP-carbon 'demand' in units of elemental carbon. NPP demand was compared to a map of Earth's average annual net primary production or 'supply' created using 17 years (1982-1998) of AVHRR vegetation index to produce a geographically accurate balance sheet of NPP-carbon 'supply' and 'demand' for the globe. Globally, humans consume 20% of Earth's total net primary production on land. Regionally the NPP-carbon balance percentage varies from 6% to over 70% and locally from near 0% to over 30,000% in major urban areas. Scenarios modeling the impact of per capita consumption, population growth, and technology suggest that NPP demand is likely to increase substantially in the next 40 years despite better harvesting and processing efficiencies.
How Has Urbanization Altered the Carbon Cycle in the United States? (S)
Data from two satellites and a terrestrial carbon model were used to quantify the impact of urbanization on net primary productivity (NPP) and its consequences on carbon balance and food production. We found that different classes of urbanization have a recognizable satellite-based NDVI signal at a spatial resolution of 1 km. Our results show that urbanization is taking place on the most fertile lands and hence has a disproportionately large overall negative impact on regional and even continental scale NPP. Urban land transformation in the U.S. has reduced the amount of carbon fixed through photosynthesis by 1.6 percent of the pre-urban value. The reduction nearly offsets the 1.8 percent gain made by the conversion of land to agricultural use, a striking fact given that urbanization covers less than 3 percent of the land in the U.S. while agricultural lands approach 29 percent. At local and regional scales, urbanization increases NPP in resource-limited regions, and through localized warming "urban heat" contributes to the extension of the growing season in cold regions. In terms of biologically available energy, the loss of NPP due to urbanization of agricultural lands alone is equivalent to the caloric requirement of about 6 percent of the US population annually.
Jessica M. Nu˝ez de Ybarra
The Public Health Approach (P,G,S)
The Mission of Public Health in the United States of America is the fulfillment of society's interest in assuring conditions in which people can be healthy [Institute of Medicine]. This lecture will explore the history of public health and review the tools that are used to protect health in America.
The Work of Public Health: A California Example (P,G,S)
This Lecture will explore the broad areas that public health concerns itself in the United States of America. As an example, focus will be given to providing a basic understanding of the role of state level communicable disease control in partnership with local and federal partners as part of the overall State Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response System in California.
The People in Public Health (P,G,S)
This Lecture will be dedicated to discussing the many disciplines and experts that come together to protect the health of all residents in the United States of America. The career ladder of a public health medical officer will be outlined. Moreover the effort to ensure the cultural competence and humility of the public health workforce will be reviewed.
The Challenges of Public Health (P,G,S)
The Mission of Public Health in the United States of America is the fulfillment of society's interest in assuring conditions in which people can be healthy [Institute of Medicine]. This mission can be daunting in an ever changing world with constant emerging threats and resource limitations. This Lecture will discuss a few of the directions the field of public health is heading with lessons from the past and future improvements including soliciting community input and partnership. Risk communication and the importance of translating scientific results into policy that are communicated clearly to the public are emphasized
Bette L Otto-Bliesner
Climate Change: What Could Happen and What Can Earth's Past Tell Us? (P,G)
"Warming of the climate system is unequivocal." This bold statement of the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is based on many observations, including increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level. The rate and pattern are not natural and are best explained by human interference over the 20th century. Civilization became established during the recent millennia of relatively stable climate. Over the coming centuries, the anthropogenic disturbance of the Earth system is projected to be disruptive, with changes to precipitation patterns and longer droughts, increasing acidity of the oceans and loss of coral reefs, and melting from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets contributing to greater sea level rise.
Paleoclimate data and models help us understand how the climate system changes over interannual to millennial time scales. Evidence from natural recorders of past climate supports the interpretation that the warmth of the last half century is unusual in at least the previous 1,300 years. These records also confirm that droughts lasting decades or longer, megadroughts, were a recurrent feature of the US Southwest. On longer time scales, the last interglacial, which started 130,000 years ago, provides evidence of less global ice and sea level 4 to 6 meters above present. This was the last time the polar regions were significantly warmer than present for an extended period. Ice cores indicate that the current atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane exceed the natural glacial-interglacial variations of the last 800,000 years.
Warmth at the Poles and Sea Level Rise (G,S)
The Arctic is warming with temperatures increasing at almost twice the global rate of the past 100 years. The observed rapid retreat of Arctic sea ice could lead to the disappearance of summertime ice in this century. Flow speeds have increased for some Greenland and Antarctic outlet glaciers, and for Greenland, losses due to melting have exceeded accumulation due to snowfall. Model projections in the last assessment of the IPCC give a sea level rise of 0.18 to 0.59 meters by the end of this century. These estimates do not include fully possible future rapid dynamical changes in ice flow in Greenland and Antarctica. Indeed, more recent estimates suggest greater rise in sea level with retreat of these two ice sheets.
The past can give us a perspective on the sensitivity of the polar ice caps to warmer temperatures. Globally there was less glacial ice and sea level was 4 to 6 meters above present during the last interglacial, which started 130,000 years ago. With warmer summer temperatures, the ice sheet over Greenland retreated to a steeply-sided dome in central and northern Greenland, with its melting leading to a sea level rise of up to about 3 meters. Some sea level rise must also then have come from Antarctica, with the possibility of some melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet as warming of the oceans triggered melting at its base.
Dealing With Danger: How Innercity Youth Cope With the Violence that Surrounds Them (P,G)
In this presentation, Dr. Howard Pinderhughes examines how youth violence is mass produced in American society and examines the profound effects that exposure to violence has on inner city youth. The lecture presents a theoretical framework on the social production of violence in the United States. The talk is a unique presentation that combines both quantitative and qualitative data from Pinderhughes' research over the last 15 years on violence among youth in Oakland and San Francisco, California. The presentation also uses pictures and popular cultural music in a multimedia presentation about the causes and consequences of inner city youth violence. The talk is both a scientific and moving presentation of one of the most persistent and troubling social problems in contemporary US society.
Racial Identities, Attitudes and Conflict Among Youth (P,G)
In this presentation, Dr. Howard Pinderhughes examines the dynamics of intergroup relations among youth in high schools in New York City, Oakland and San Francisco, California. Dr. Pinderhughes presents findings from research on race relations among adolescents in each of these cities with a theory on the factors producing racial conflict among youth. The talk also presents data from an intervention study at a high school in San Francisco. This project PROPS - People Respecting Other Peoples was recognized as a model program in the Pathways to One America in the 21st Century: Promising Practices for Racial Reconciliation-- a report by President Clinton's Advisory Panel on Race Relations in America.
Love Is Blind: Relationship Violence Among Inner City Youth (P,G)
In this presentation, Dr. Howard Pinderhughes examines the dynamics of relationship violence among adolescents in San Francisco and Oakland. This lecture presents quantitative and qualitative data on the causes and consequences of adolescent relationship and dating violence. The talk examines the role of gender, race and class dynamics in the production and reproduction of adolescent relationship violence.
William N. Ryerson
Solving the World's Social and Environmental Problems through Soap Operas (P,G,S)
Solving the world's population problem is required to stop climate change. Yet the low status of women, large family traditions, and misinformation are standing in the way. Population Media Center (PMC) uses a special type of serialized melodrama for changing behavior on such issues as family planning, elevation of women's status and protection of the environment. Characters in locally written and produced prime time melodramas on radio and television in many developing countries evolve into role models for the audience and, in the process, lead to population-wide changes in behavior.
Sex, Soap Operas and Social Change (P)
Some of the world's most intractable problems - like population growth and the AIDS epidemic - are now being addressed through the medium of soap operas. Population Media Center (PMC) uses a special type of serialized melodrama for changing behavior on such issues as family planning, elevation of women's status and protection of children. Characters in locally written and produced prime time melodramas on radio and television in many developing countries evolve into role models for the audience and, in the process, lead to population-wide changes in behavior.
Role Modeling by the Mass Media in Shaping Health and Environmental Behaviors (P,G)
Entertainment media have a significant influence on social norms in most countries. Since entertainment programs on television and radio attract the largest audiences, a whole field of "entertainment-education" has been developed to use such programs to both attract large followings and simultaneously to provide audiences with information and role-modeling that will be useful for their lives. Find out how this approach is being used in both developed and developing countries and how audiences respond to these programs.
Application of Albert Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory to Practical Issues of Reproductive Health and Population Trends in Developing Countries (S)
Reproductive Health and Population Trends in Developing Countries
Stanford University professor Dr. Albert Bandura is the most frequently cited living psychologist in professional journal articles. He first became known for his famous "Bobo Doll" experiments in which he showed that role modeling of violent or non-violent behavior on television dramatically affected the behavior of children who watched these programs. His Social Cognitive Theory explains how role models affect human behavior and what factors make someone (parent, peer, celebrity, or fictional character) more or less influential among observers. His work is now being applied to addressing reproductive health and population issues around the world. Learn the history of this work and the influence it has had globally.
Francisco J. Samaniego
Bayesian vs. Classical Statistics: The History, the Debate and a Recommended Solution (G,S)
This talk explains two general but quite different approaches to drawing inferences about populations from which we might randomly sample. The argument about which approach is more correct, appropriate or useful -- in short, which tends to give better answers -- has been going on for some 250 years. I'll present the main ideas behind claims on both sides and talk about a real experiment whose rather surprising answer suggests a way to resolve the debate. Finally, I will explain (without the mathematical details) the theoretical developments which solve, in an important class of statistical settings, the elusive "threshold problem", that is, the problem of finding the dividing line between situations in which one approach provides performance which is superior to the other and situations where the reverse is true.
From the X Files (and the Y Files) of the Statistical Laboratory at the University of California, Davis (P,G,S)
This talk is meant to give the audience a feel for the type of work that a statistical consultant does. I give detailed examples of consulting projects I've worked on in recent years for three State of California Departments (Conservation, Education and Transportation). In each case, a substantive scientific question was asked, and a statistical methodology was devised for answering it.
Comparing Engineered Systems (G,S)
This talk introduces the subject of "structural reliability", and describes a particular proxy for system designs -- the "system signature" -- which is useful in comparing classes of engineered systems, ordering their anticipated performance from best to worst or comparing systems in reliability-economics frameworks where both performance and cost are treated simultaneously. The application of signatures in the comparison of communication networks will also be discussed. All comparisons are probabilistic in nature.
Statistical Issues in Gambling, Extra Sensory Perception and Lie Detector Tests (P)
This talk takes a brief look into some of the statistical issues pertaining to topics on which I have taught courses in the Honors Program at the University of California, Davis. In the area of gambling, I'll explain the notion of "mathematical expectatio
Maxine L. Savitz
Increasing Energy Efficiency: Expanding the Opportunities (P,G)
The United States, the world's largest consumer of energy, is responsible for about 20 percent of energy consumption worldwide. China, its closest competitor, consumes about 15 percent. In the past two years, the complex subject of energy and climate change, national security and long term U.S. economic vitality has been in the forefront of a national debate. Several recent studies have concluded that the most cost-effective near-term option is to deploy existing energy-efficient technologies, particularly in the next decade. Potential energy savings from available technologies in buildings, industry, and transportation could more than offset projected increases in U.S. energy consumption through 2030. Energy efficient opportunities in all sectors of the economy will be discussed. Questions such as: How much energy could be saved by improving the efficiency with which Americans use energy? How would these energy savings take place? What would it take to make it happen?
America's Energy Future: Technology Opportunities, Risks and Tradeoffs (P,G)
In the past two years the role of energy in climate change, national security and long-term U.S. economic vitality has been pushed to the forefront of national attention. The National Academies recently initiated a study to assess the potential of a wide range of technologies ot transform energy production, distribution, and use with the goal of increasing energy security and reducing adverse environmental impacts. The study concludes that with a sustained national commitment, the U.S. could obtain substantial energy-efficient improvements, new sources of energy, and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through the accelerated deployment of a portfolio of existing and emerging energy-supply and end-use technolgoies. Key factors responsible for the renewed interest in energy issues will be discussed. Also to be discussed will be the results of the study and what actions need to be taken between now and 2020 to develop and demonstrate the viability of several key technologies to determine what the nation's energy options will be for the decades to come.
Striving for the Simplest Possible Means of Detecting Disease (G,S)
Methods for detecting and monitoring disease that do not rely on sophisticated, expensive equipment and expert personnel are in current global demand. The creation of simple indicator molecules that sense specific disease biomarkers is a major focus of our laboratory. These new reagents operate based on principles analogous to those used in routine pH measurements. A highly selective visual change is observed upon contact with disease-related sugars, amino acids or lipids.
How to Design a Molecular Light Bulb and Related Broadband Organic Gluorophores (G,S)
Straightforward dye synthesis methodology has led to the attainment of a series of aqueous soluble fluorophores with relatively low molecular weight, enhanced stability and potential utility in imaging. Additional properties include tunable broadband red-green-blue (RGB), white light and near infra-red (NIR) emission, as well as enhanced Stokes shifts. For example, one of these fluorophores emits NIR fluorescence upon absorbing light in the blue/green wavelength region. The potential utility of these materials in a variety of modern optical applications will be presented.
Chemistry, Medicine and Society - Translational Research from the Perspective of a Basic Scientist (P,S)
Translational research, typically defined as the application of fundamental discoveries in basic science to the development of new diagnostics and therapeutics, has become a major focal point of national science policy in the current decade. The scope of the issues that translational and related multidisciplinary research raise are relevant to not only modern health care, but also challenge some deeply rooted notions in areas such as research, teaching, communication and culture. This presentation describes the modern collaborative landscape from the viewpoint of an experienced researcher and teacher in a basic science field.
Sheryl A. Tucker
The Pipeline: Igniting Children's Interest in Science (P,G,S)
Magic of Chemistry is a hands-on, inquiry-based science outreach program designed to ignite children's interest in science at an age where national studies indicate they begin to lose this curiosity. Three thematic workshops - "Case of the Unsigned Letter", "Fun with Polymers", and "Chemistry of Color" - held on a university campus rotate annually, exposing fourth through sixth grade Junior Girl Scouts to different science experiments and concepts. Approximately 81% of girls who completed the evaluations over a decade professed an interest in wanting to learn more about science and science-related careers following participation in the program. In addition, the program has been adopted throughout the country with other audiences, such as mixed gender classrooms.
From Having a Pet to Working with a Vet (P,G,S)
While many human treatments for medical conditions originate from small animal studies, there are also situations where veterinarians must adapt human treatment modalities to care for large animals, such as horses, whose body mass introduces significant challenges. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the most common tumor of the horse eye. It is locally invasive, may metastasize, and frequently results in blindness. Presently, there is no satisfactory treatment for this vision-threatening neoplasm. Local photodynamic therapy represents a novel delivery method and treatment modality for equine periocular SCC with favorable preliminary clinical results. Through a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach, the efficacy of this promising, novel, clinical treatment modality is explored, via molecular spectroscopy.
Understanding and Harnessing Molecular Containers (G,S)
In order to imitate and understand nature, especially after recognizing how many complex proteins and viruses are self-aggregating, many researchers are working on understanding self-assembling macromolecules, Most instantaneously, self-assembling structures are based on noncovalent bonds, generally hydrogen bonds. In our case, hexameric nanocapsules are formed by six C-hexylpyrogallolarenes (PgC6) held together by 72 hydrogen bonds, making the structure stable in solution, even in nonpolar solvents. To better understand and potentially control the host-guest process, the encapsulation of fluorescence reporters, such as pyrene butyric acid, pyrene butanol and 1 (9-anthryl)-3-(4-dimethylaniline) propane, is explored. Very few reports, have examined these new materials in solution or explored their viability as molecular transporters.
Lawrence J. Wangh
For the past twenty years conventional PCR, also known as symmetric PCR, has been a cornerstone of molecular biology for amplifying relatively short segments of DNA. Symmetric PCR generates double-stranded DNA copies by using two oligonucleotide primers of equal concentration and equal melting temperature. In 2004 we reported on the invention of LATE-PCR, an advanced form of asymmetric PCR, in which two primers of unequal concentration and unequal melting temperature are used to generate double-stranded DNA followed by single-stranded DNA. This change in experimental design improves the fidelity, sensitivity, and quantitative accuracy of the amplification process. It also means that single-tube multiplex assays can be built which generate a great deal of information in a single-tube. Using this approach we are currently building and testing assays for important veterinary and human infectious diseases, as well as assays that can detect single precancerous cells or genetic diseases.
The Role of Serendipity in Scientific Discovery: A Personal Account (G)
Over the past decade I and my laboratory colleagues at Brandeis University have invented two platform technologies, LATE-PCR and PrimeSafe, which together promise to significantly improve detection and diagnosis of small quantities of DNA and RNA characteristic of many diseases. Both of these technologies started with serendipitous results which we did not anticipate but quickly learned to appreciate and take advantage of. I will talk about the events that led us to these discoveries and the inventions that have come from them.
From Bench-to-Bedside (P,G)
The goal of biotechnology is to transform basic scientific discoveries made in a research laboratory into practical products that improve the quality of life and make money. The path to that goal is not easy, or inexpensive, but it is very exciting. I will talk about what I have learned over the past decade in going from conception of a problem, to discovery of a solution, to commercialization of a new platform technology in the field of nucleic acid detection and diagnostics.
Genes and the Human Story" (P,G)
Genetic information today has a great deal to tell us about the origin of our species in Africa and its migration to the far corners of the earth. And, our origin as a species in Africa has a great deal to tell us about the genetic diversity of our species today. I will discuss and speculate about human history from these two perspectives.
How Physical Properties of the Extracellular Matrix Affect Cancer Invasion (G,S)
There is increasing evidence that cells not only sense chemical-molecular aspects of their environments, but also physical rigidity. The softness or rigidity of extracellular environment has been shown to affect diverse phenotypic outcomes such as stem cell fate determination, gene transcription, and cell motility directionality. In breast cancer, tissue density (which is related to rigidity) has been linked to increased frequency and invasiveness of tumors. This lecture will discuss our research on molecular and cell biological mechanisms by which matrix rigidity and crosslinking affect cancer cell invasiveness.
Integration of Experimental Data and Mathematical/Computational Science: The Whole is Greater than the Sum of Its Parts (P,G,S)
Mathematical modeling holds great promise as a tool for biology and medicine. However, in order for mathematical models to be useful and testable, they must have the ability to integrate experimental data. Unlike models used routinely in weather prediction and economics, most mathematical models of biological processes are difficult both to parameterize with biological data and to test with experimentation. Conversely, most of biology could benefit from a theoretical framework but is performed in its absence. In this lecture, I will discuss the efforts in our Integrative Cancer Biology Center to integrate experimental biology and mathematical and computational modeling to understand the process of cancer progression.
In Silico Experiments Provide Insight into Cancer Progression Mechanisms (P,G,S)
The process of tumor progression is complex and multivariate. Mathematical modeling can provide a tool to integrate and analyze the effects of multiple variables on tumor cell dynamics. In our Integrative Cancer Biology Center we have been using models of tumor dynamics to ask questions how cancer cell-microenvironment interactions affect the process of tumor dynamics. In particular, a focus has been the effect of competition and adaptability on tumor progression. This lecture will describe the rationale and results of our studies.