Physics

News & Events

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Targeting Mitochondria for the Treatment of Neurodegenerative Disease

Sara Lagalwar, Skidmore College


Time: 12:00 pm
Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
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Thursday, March 30, 2017

From the Ham Sandwich to the Pizza Pie:
An Introduction to Topological Combinatorics

Steve Simon, Mathematics Program

Given any 3 shapes in R3 (e.g., a piece of ham, a hunk of cheese, and a slice of bread), does there exist a single plane that simultaneously cuts each shape into two pieces of equal volume? Can any shape in R2 be dissected into four pieces of equal area by some pair of perpendicular lines? By exploiting hidden geometric symmetries, we will show how equipartition problems such as these can be solved using powerful techniques from the seemingly unrelated eld known as algebraic topology. For instance, the positive answer to the rst problem above { the so-called Ham Sandwich" Theorem { ultimately reduces to a very deep result of Borsuk and Ulam: for any continuous map from a sphere to a plane, there must exist a pair of antipodal points on the sphere whose images coincide. While fairly advanced mathematics is not too far away, this talk requires only a familiarity with the intermediate value theorem to be understood. All are welcome to attend!
Time: 4:45 pm
Location: Hegeman 308
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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Protein Folding: Seeing is Deceiving

 

Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth. -Sherlock HolmesGeorge RoseJenkins Dept. of BiophysicsJohns Hopkins University 

We challenge the time-honored conviction that proteins realize their native folds via specific favorable interactions, proposing instead that an imprint of the fold is selected primarily by elimination of unfavorable interactions.  Two types of energetically disfavored interactions are considered here: steric clashes and polar groups lacking hydrogen-bond partners. Both types are largely excluded from the thermodynamic population, winnowing that population progressively as the protein becomes compact.  Compaction is accompanied by the entropically favored release of solvent shells around apolar groups.  Remarkably, both solvent shell release and excluding interactions are somewhat non-specific, yet together they promote highly specific chain organization.  For example, exhaustive conformational enumeration of a test hexapeptide reduces 1.5x1012 conceivable conformations to the experimentally-determined dominant population in aqueous solution – this despite deliberate neglect of attractive interactions.
 
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Canaries in the Saltmarsh:
Tidal Marsh Conservation in the Face of Sea Level Rise

Chris ElphickUniversity of Connecticut


Time: 12:00 pm
Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Healing, Service, Research, Activism:
An Introduction to the Health Professions

Helen Epstein, Professor of Human Rights and Global Public Health


Time: 5:00 pm
Location: RKC 115
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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Psychosocial Adversity the Epigenetic Origins of Health Disparities

Allison Appleton, SUNY Albany 


Time: 12:00 pm
Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Early Life Adversity and the Risk of Depression in Young Adulthood

Melissa Tracy, SUNY Albany


Time: 4:45 pm
Location: RKC 111
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Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Ecology of West Nile Virus in the United States

 

Sarah Bowden, Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies 


Time: 12:00 pm
Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Molecular mechanisms of SLUG-induced Chemotherapeutic Resistance in Triple-negative Breast Cancer (TNBC)

 

Charvann BaileyVassar College


Time: 12:00 pm
Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Is Empathy Necessary for Morality?

Dr. Jean Decety | University of Chicago

Empathy, the ability to perceive and be sensitive to the emotional states of others, motivates prosocial and caregiving behaviors, plays a role in inhibiting aggression, and facilitates cooperation between members of a similar social group. This is probably why empathy is often and wrongly confused with morality. Morality refers to prescriptive norms regarding how people should treat one another, including concepts of justice, fairness, and rights. Drawing on empirical research and theory from evolutionary biology, psychology and social neuroscience, I will argue that our sensitivity to others’ needs has been selected in the context of parental care and group living. One corollary of this evolutionary model is that empathy produces social preferences that can conflict with morality. This claim is supported by a wealth of empirical findings in neuroscience and behavioral economics documenting a complex and equivocal relation between empathy, morality and justice. Empathy alone is powerless in the face of rationalization and denial. It is reason that provides the push to widen the circle of empathy from the family and the tribe to humanity as a whole.

 
Time: 4:45 pm
Location: RKC 111
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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Collective Dynamics of Microbes in Natural Sediment

Alexander PetroffRockefeller University


Time: 12:00 pm
Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Fragments, Fungi, and Feedbacks:
Can Fungal Pathogens Help Maintain Prairie Plant Diversity in Fragmented Landscapes?

Michelle HershSarah Lawrence College 


Time: 12:00 pm
Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
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Friday, May 19, 2017

Marco Spodek senior recital


Time: 8:00 pm
Location: Blum Hall
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Monday, March 12, 2018

Getting in to Medical School…And What I Learned on the Way!

Matthew Lampeter, class of 2017


Time: 4:30 pm
Location: RKC 111
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Past Events

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  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008

    • 2011

      What Do Civil and Mechanical Engineers Do?

      December 9
      Hegeman 102

      A lecture by
      Pete Setaro
      Morris Associates, Poughkeepsie, NY

      Senior Project & Independent Research Poster Session

      December 8
      Reem-Kayden Center

      Students presenting:
      Soloman Garber
      Yulia Genkina
      Nabil Hossain
      Anirban Joy

      Shining a Light on the Next Generation of Solar Cells

      November 21
      Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium

      A lecture by
      David Coffey
      Candidate for the position in Physics
      Within the grand search for greener energy sources, several new classes of solar cells are being pursued. One particularly attractive candidate is the organic solar cell, which one day might be printed as easily and cheaply as newspapers are today. However, the same properties that give this promise of easy manufacturing lead to extreme material disorder in current devices. As a result, discovering the physics mechanisms operating in these solar cells remains an area of intense research. In this talk I will describe recent efforts to gain this fundamental understanding including, 1) building new microscopes that can map the efficiency of these solar cells with extremely high resolution, 2) determining surface engineering techniques to control nanoscale structuring, and 3) designing organic solar cells so simple that even physicists can understand them.


      Seeing Under the Surface with Diffusing Photons

      November 18
      Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium

      A lecture by
      Soren Konecky
      Candidate for the position in Physics
      Optical methods involving light scattering, spectroscopy, and imaging are ubiquitous in the study of materials ranging from dilute samples of atoms or molecules, to condensed media such as metals, semiconductors, and complex fluids.   They are also integral tools in biology and medicine, as they allow us to study both the morphology and molecular composition of living organisms.  However, more than a few hundred microns beneath the surface, optical methods which rely on ballistic light transport cannot be used to examine biological tissues, because all of the light that interrogates tissues at these depths is scattered multiple times. Accordingly, my research involves the development of new instrumentation and analytical methods to quantitatively determine the spatially varying optical properties of highly scattering media from measurements of multiply scattered light. This branch of optics is often referred to as “diffuse optics,” due to the fact that under certain conditions multiply scattered light propagates in a manner analogous to diffusion. Almost all biological processes and disease occur beneath the surface, and optical techniques have the potential to study them non-invasively, quantitatively, with high temporal and/or spatial resolution, and at low cost. For this reason, the study of diffuse optics is not only of fundamental interest, but also of great practical importance.  In this seminar I will begin with a basic overview of diffuse optics.  I will go on to describe my work developing Fourier domain and hyperspectral methods for diffuse optics, and how I am applying these methods to image brain function and disease.


      Dark Energy and the Big Lurch

      November 10
      Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium

      A lecture by
      Peter Skiff
      Physics Program
      The discovery of an unexpected acceleration of the expansion of the cosmos led to the awarding of the 2011 Nobel Prize to Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt, and Adam Reiss. While cosmic expansion (the continuous separation of galaxies and clusters) is neatly described by the use of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity and Gravity, this acceleration is not (quite).  The most popular of the current speculations involves a mysterious “dark energy” that was somehow lurking undetected in the13.5 billion year old cosmos until about 7 billion years after the origin, inflation, and “big bang” events began the evolutionary track.  Apparently this dark energy comprises about 75% of the total matter and energy of the universe.  This talk will review the expansion models and the techniques used to measure the galactic motions that led to this discovery, including the theory and observation of type Ia Supernovae. It will be descriptive (no mathematics), in order to be accessible to a general audience.



      Pencil + Tape = Topological Quantum Computation? The New Two-Dimensional Universe of Graphene

      November 7
      Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium

      **PLEASE NOTE ROOM CHANGE
      LECTURE BEING HELD IN RKC AUDITORIUM**

      A lecture by
      Paul Cadden-Zimansky
      Candidate for the position in Physics
      From its isolation in 2004 to last year's Nobel Prize, the impressive material properties of graphene have been widely touted: it's a single atom thick, stronger than steel, a better conductor than copper, and more transparent than glass. But what has intrigued many condensed matter physicists is the unusual charge carriers that can exist in graphene, particularly when it is subjected to high magnetic fields. These "particles" that inhabit graphene's two-dimensional universe can be relativistic, have fractional charge or multiple spins, and may even obey new types of quantum statistics. This talk will present recent experiments demonstrating some of these properties, and explain why the topological nature of these high-field carriers make them a potential building block for quantum computation.

      Senior Project Prospectus Talks

      November 3
      RKC 111

      4:45
      Sankalpa Khadka 

      5:00
      Zhiwei Wu

      5:15
      Kimberly Wood 

      5:30
      Siyao Du

      5:45
      Joy Sebesta

      The Primes Do What?

      November 1
      RKC 111

      **ROOM CHANGE
      LECTURE BEING HELD IN RKC 111**

      A lecture by
      Nathan Ryan
      Department of Mathematics
      Bucknell University
      The distribution of the primes among the positive integers has long fascinated mathematicians. In this talk I will discuss this distribution and describe some of its surprising characteristics.

      Senior Project Prospectus Talks

      October 27
      RKC 111

      4:45
      Dimin Xu 

      5:00
      Changwei Zhou 

      5:15
      Yunxia Jia 

      5:30
      Yongqing Yuan 

      5:45
      Youseung Kim


      Senior Project Prospectus Talks

      October 25
      RKC 101

      4:45
      Mariya Mitkova

      5:00
      Ke Cai 

      5:15
      Zana Tran 

      5:30
      Adriana Johnson 

      5:45
      Jeanette Benham


      The Bard College and Columbia University Engineering Partnership: Information Session on the Combined Plan Program

      October 21
      Hegeman 102

      James Minter, from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at Columbia, will speak about the different combined programs in engineering.


      Senior Project Prospectus Talks

      October 20
      RKC 111

      4:45
      Stergios Mentesidis

      5:00
      Lindsey Scoppetta

      5:15
      Evan Seitchik

      5:30
      Yuan Xu

      Visualizing Cancer Morphology Over Time and Space: Understanding Breast Cancer Progression through Mathematical Biology

      October 13
      RKC 111

      A lecture by
      Kerri-Ann Norton, '04
      Department of BioMedical Engineering
      Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
      Breast cancer is one if the leading causes of cancer deaths in women. While breast cancer is a dynamic disease that may change morphology (shape) over time and depending on its placement within the tissue, diagnosis of the disease is usually accomplished by examining 2D slices of stained breast tissue and assigning the sample a grade and morphology. Unfortunately, the correlation between grade (a way of evaluating how irregular the nuclei look) and patient outcome is poor, depends on details of the classification method used, and is complicated by the frequent presence of multiple morphologies within a single sample. Here, I show two examples of how using mathematical biology provides insights into
      the mechanisms that drive the disease and provides possible explanations for the difficulties in correlating morphology with patient outcome. Specifically, I use mathematical modeling techniques to study the progression of breast cancer over time under different cellular conditions and I use image processing to visualize the 3D morphology of breast cancer as compared to corresponding 2D slices. I find that differences in breast cancer morphology can result from different cancers with different cellular features or from cancers with the same cellular features at different time-points. I also find that early breast cancers with similar morphologies in 2D exhibit very different 3D morphologies. This work demonstrates the benefits of using mathematical and computational tools for studying cancer.

      Overview of the Actuarial Profession and Career Opportunities

      October 4
      RKC 101

      Michael L. Frank
      President & Actuary, Aquarius Capital

      Michael Frank is the founder and president of Aquarius Capital.  He is a health and life actuary with twenty four (24) years of experience, including executive management experience with insurance, reinsurance, employee benefits consulting and managed care entities. His company provides financial and management consulting to a variety of organizations including insurance companies, investment bankers, reinsurers, HMOs, managed care organizations, hospitals, disease management, third-party administrators, accounting firms, private equity funds, Fortune 500 companies and other organizations servicing  the insurance/reinsurance industry in the US and internationally.


      Bard Summer Research Institute Poster Session

      September 22
      RKC lobby

      Students participating:
      Raed Al Abassee, Tedros Balema, Sheneil Black, Ke Cai, Nicole Camasso, Abhishek Dev, Erin Hannigan, Nabil Hossain, 
Matt Hughes, Nicole Kfoury, Youseung Kim, Thant Ko Ko, Brian Liu, Andres Medina, Jonathan Naito, Jessica Philpott, Eric Reed, Laura Schubert, Eva Shrestha, Nathaniel Steinaur, Joshua Tanner, Isabelle Taylor, Jasper Weinrich-Burd, Michael Weinstein, Will Wisseman, Dimin Xu, Yongqing Yuan, Feifan Zheng

      Overview of Knot Invariants

      September 22
      RKC 111

      A lecture by
      Georgi Gospodinov
      Bard College
      Knot theory is central to low-­‐dimensional topology and has many applications to physics, chemistry, biology, etc. We study knots up to isotopies, i.e., deformations that do not tear the knot or pass it through itself. So isotopic knots are thought of as the same. The question arises, given two knots, how can we tell if they are isotopic or not? Knot invariants are functions that assign an object (usually an algebraic object such as a number, a polynomial or a more complicated structure) to a knot. We use knot invariants to detect knots that are different, by studying the algebraic objects associated with the knots.

      Styrofoam Worlds and Planet-Eating Stars: An Update on the Search for Extrasolar Planets

      September 15
      RKC 111

      A lecture by
      Laurence A. Marschall
      Professor of Physics, Gettysburg College

      Until 1995, we knew of no solar systems like our own in the universe. Yet in the past few years nearly 500 planets have been discovered orbiting stars other than our Sun using telescopes here on Earth, and, in early 2011 NASA  announced the discovery of more than 1000 planets discovered from the orbiting  Kepler mission. In this presentation I'll describe how this sudden flood of discoveries came about, explore some of the oddest and most noteworthy new worlds that have been investigated so far, and review what we have learned about the structure and history of our own planetary system from observing these far more distant planets.

      Physics Phriday

      September 9
      Hegeman 107 (main Physics Lab)

      Physics Phriday (definition): A monthly gathering of Physics-interested people to eat snacks, talk Physics, and get to know each other.

      Snacks will be provided


      Ice Cream Social

      August 24
      RKC lobby




      Senior Project Poster Session

      May 12
      Reem-Kayden Center

      Students presenting:
      Thomas Anderson, Gregory Backus, Lionel Barrow, Julia Bennett, Alexandra Carver, Sebastien Cendron, Adam Chodoff, Sara Director, Elena Dragomir, Anastassia Etropolski, Margo Finn, Alexandros Fragkopoulos, Zoe Johnson-Ulrich, Melanie Kenney, Robert Kittler, Bella Manoim, Travis McGrath, Leandra Merola, Jules Moreau de Balasy, Olivia Nathanson, Angela Potenza, Nazmus Saquib, Madeline Schatzberg, Benjamin Selfridge, Erik Shagdar, Lisa Silber, Nathan Smith, Abigail Stevens, Adina-Raluca Stoica, Jacqueline Stone, Maksim Tsikhanovich, Zhexiu Tu, Regina Vaicekonyte, Stavros Velissaris, Michael Walker, Anshul Zota

      A Tour of Operator Algebras

      April 28
      RKC 111

      A lecture by
      Jan Cameron
      Vassar College
      In this talk we will introduce the field of operator algebras, currently one of the most exciting and widely applicable areas of mathematics. Our main objects of study are collections of linear transformations on vector spaces with special properties. Operator algebras possess both a rich algebraic structure, and a meaningful notion of distance, and as such have seen many natural connections to fields as diverse as signal analysis, geometry, group theory, and dynamical systems. We won’t cover all this ground; but we will look at a few of the most important examples of operator algebras, and conclude, if time permits, with a glimpse at some current research problems.

      Jim and Nim: Impartial Combinatorial Games

      April 21
      RKC 111

      A lecture by
      Japheth Wood
      MAT program and Math Circle
      Bard College
      Nim is an impartial combinatorial game with a long history and a mathematical theory. Jim (short for Japheth's Nim) is also an impartial combinatorial game that was invented by the speaker in February 2011! In this interactive math circle talk, participants learn how to play both Nim and Jim, and develop strategies that lead to a full understanding of the mathematical theory of both games. This talk will assume no mathematical or scientific background, and is open to all Bard students.


      Living in a Quotient Space

      April 14
      RKC 111

      A lecture by
      Marisa Hughes
      Cornell University

      A manifold is a space that locally "looks like" Rn.  The surface of the earth, for example, is a 2-manifold.  In times past, our civilization was unable to distinguish this surface from the side of a cube; sailors feared that they may sail off the edge of the earth.  In this talk, we will discuss what life would be like in other 2-manifolds and venture into higher dimensions.  We will then begin folding these manifolds along certain symmetries to get a new (and often stranger) spaces.  What do these spaces look like?  How can we, as mathematicians, quantify the properties of life in a quotient space?


      Morse Theory: Smooth, Polyhedral and Discrete

      April 7
      RKC 111

      A lecture by
      Ethan Bloch
      Mathematics Program
      Morse theory is an important tool in the study of smooth manifolds, which are the higher-dimensional analogs of surfaces. For example, Morse Theory is used in the proof of the higher-dimensional Poincare Conjecture. The idea of Morse Theory is to analyze a manifold by looking at the critical points of smooth maps from the manifold to the real numbers. This talk will provide an elementary introduction to the basic idea of Morse theory, and will discuss some recent analogs of Morse theory in polyhedral and combinatorial settings.


      This talk should be accessible to students who have taken Calculus III.

      Distinguished Scientist Scholar Award: Guidelines and Application

      March 3 - March 30

      All current students concentrating in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics or physics are eligible to apply for a Distinguished Scientist Scholar (DSS) Award. These awards are given to exceptional students who have distinguished themselves academically in one of the disciplines in the division of Science, Mathematics and Computing. Please note that this is a very competitive process and only a few awards will be given out each year.  To apply for a DSS award (commencing in the fall), a student must meet the following eligibility criteria:
      o   Concentrating in one of the programs in the SM&C Division (Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics or Physics). o   Not currently receiving a DSS scholarship or award.o   Cumulative GPA of 3.0 overall in the college. o   Cumulative GPA of 3.5 in courses in the SM&C Division.

      For complete application guidelines, please see the attached document.