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

  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008

    • 2012

      Senior Project Poster Session

      December 13
      Reem-Kayden Center

      Students Presenting:
      Stephanie Dunn
      
Adviser: Felicia Keesing

      Justin Gero
      
Adviser: Felicia Keesing

      Liza Miller
      
Adviser: Brooke Jude

      Keaton Morris-Stan
      
Adviser: Philip Johns

      Megan Naidoo 

      Adviser: Philip Johns

      Jonah Peterschild 

      Adviser: Felicia Keesing

      Damianos Lazaridis Giannopoul
      
Adviser: John Cullinan

      Chaos and Network Synchronization

      December 12
      Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium

      A lecture by
      Lucas Illing
      Candidate for the position in Physics
      Time-delayed coupling and self-feedback occurs in many systems and is particularly important at high speeds, where the time it takes signals to propagate through device components is comparable to the time scale of the signal fluctuations. A fascinating feature of systems with delay is that even seemingly simple devices can show exceedingly complex dynamics such as chaos.  I will talk about the generation of high-speed chaos using optoelectronic time-delayed feedback oscillators and discuss a particularly intriguing form of collective behavior that arises when several such oscillators are coupled to form a network. Under certain conditions the entire network will oscillate in synchrony, in spite of the signal propagation delays in the coupling links.

      Collecting Electrons from Bacteria with Microbial Fuel Cells

      December 5
      Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium

      A lecture by
      Emily Gardel
      Candidate for the position in Physics
      The energy for all forms of life comes from the flow of electrons in energetically favorable pairings of oxidation and reduction reactions. While humans can only use oxygen as an electron acceptor, bacteria have the ability to use a variety of compounds, including solid materials, such as metal oxides. This metabolic diversity makes these micron-sized organisms dominant members of our biosphere and opens possibilities for biotechnological applications, including electricity production, bioremediation, and wastewater treatment. In my research, I focus on bacteria that are capable of transferring electrons outside the bacterial cell to a solid-phase electron acceptor. I will discuss how this phenomenon can be studied by separating the locations of the oxidation and reduction reactions while providing an electrode as an electron acceptor for the bacteria. These microbial fuel cells (MFCs) produce an electrical current and there is interest in understanding the limiting factors governing overall power performance in these systems. Using an environmental MFC, I have found that current production decreases when the system is mass-transfer limited. By allowing the electrode to rest disconnected from electron flow, any necessary nutrients or electron donors diffuse to the bacteria on the electrode and allow for increased current production upon reconnecting the electrode. These findings demonstrate a method for determining an optimal way for operating MFCs used for electricity generation as well as raise additional questions about bacteria-electrode electron transfer.

      Bring Disease to Light: Medical Diagnostics for Low-Resource Settings

      November 29
      RKC 111

      A lecture by
      Neil Switz
      Candidate for the position in Physics

      Quasichemical Consideration of the Effect of Osmolytes in Protein Solution Thermodynamics CANCELED

      November 6
      RKC 102

      **This lecture has been canceled and will be rescheduled at a later date**

      A lecture by
      Dilip Asthagiri
      Johns Hopkins University
       


      Bard Summer Research Poster Session

      September 27
      Reem-Kayden Center

      Students presenting:Michael Anzuoni, Tedros Balema, Amanda Benowitz, Cara Black, Sheneil Black, Max Brown, Celeste Cass, Matteo Chierchia, Nikesh Dahal, Francesca DiRienzo, Leila Duman, Jose Falla, David Goldberg, Sumedha Guha, Nabil Hossain, Linda Ibojie, Lena James, Seoyoung Kim, Thant Ko Ko, Lila Low-Beinart, Yuexi Ma, Keaton Morris-Stan, Mark Neznansky, Matthew Norman, Ian Pelse, Liana Perry, Min Kyung Shinn, Olja Simoska, William Smith, Nathan Steinauer, Xiaohan Sun, James Sunderland, Weiqing Wang, Michael Weinstein, Clare Wheeler, Sara YilmazAdvisers: Craig Anderson, Christian Bracher, John Cullinan, Swapan Jain, Philip Johns, Brooke Jude, Tanay Kesharwani, Christopher LaFratta, Barbara Luka, Emily McLaughlin, Keith O’Hara, Lauren Rose



      So You Want to Become an Engineer?

      September 14
      Hegeman 102

      Nicole Ross graduated from RPI in 2011 with a BS in chemical engineering. Her first job was with Schlumberger, “the world’s largest oilfield services company.” She’ll talk about the engineering curriculum and her work experience.

      Her talk will be illuminating to students interested in pursuing a degree any field of engineering through the joint programs with Columbia University and Dartmouth College.


      Senior Project Poster Session

      May 17
      Reem-Kayden Center

      Graduating Seniors:
      Daniela Anderson, Lilah Anderson, Nadya Artiomenco, Conor Beath, Rachel Becker, Jeannette Benham, Matthew Boisvert, Samantha Brechlin, Ke Cai, Nicole Camasso, Curtis Carmony, Deven Connelly, Shellie Ann Dick, Sara Doble, Siyao Du, Madison Fletcher, Briana Franks, Abigail Fuchsman, Kira Gilman, Erin Hannigan, Lucas Henry, Andrew Hoffman-Patalona, Maxwell Howard, Yunxia Jia, Adriana Johnson, Axel Kammerer, Nicole Kfoury, Sankalpa Khadka, Youseung Kim, Sining Leng, Emily Mayer, Stergios Mentesidis, Mariya Mitkova, Samantha Monier, Jessica Philpott, Jega Jananie Ravi, Laura Schubert, Lindsey Scoppetta, Evan Seitchik, Hannah Shapero, Abhimanyu Sheshashayee, Eli Sidman, Gabriella Spitz, Veronica Steckler, Joshua Tanner, Emma Taylor-Salmon, Isabelle Taylor, Giang Tran, Will Wisseman, Kimberly Wood, Zhiwei Wu, Dimin Xu, Jing Yang, Yongqing Yuan, Changwei Zhou

      All I Really Need to Know I Learned from Triangles

      March 15
      Hegeman 308

      Joshua Bowman
      SUNY Stony Brook
      Flat surfaces (such as a cube or tetrahedron with the vertices removed) show up in a variety of mathematical areas. Their structure can be studied using Delaunay triangles, which in most cases are uniquely determined by the surface. As a surface is deformed, its Delaunay triangles change, and the way in which they change can give us a surprising amount of information about the surface. The only prerequisites for this talk are knowing what a
      2x2 matrix is, and a certain level of comfort with abstract constructions.

      Orthogonal Maximal Abelian Subalgebras of the n x n Matrices

      March 8
      Hegeman 308

      A lecture by
      Jan Cameron
      Vassar College
      Though the terminology may be unfamiliar, you have certainly seen a maximal abelian self-adjoint subalgebra (masa) of the complex matrices in your linear algebra course: the algebra of diagonal matrices. The notion of orthogonality for a pair of masas in M_n(C) is simple to describe, but surprisingly deep and relates to many areas of mathematics. In this talk, we'll consider the fascinating and important open problem of nding complete sets of pairwise orthogonal masas in the n x n complex matrices. We'll look at a few di erent ways to think about the problem, as well as why one might be interested in a solution, and an assortment of related questions. If time permits, I'll talk a bit about how orthogonal masas have come up in current research on structure theory of nite von Neumann algebras.This talk will be accessible to anyone who has had a course in linear algebra

      Making the Most of Euler's Formula

      March 1
      Hegeman 308

      Kristin Camenga
      Department of Mathematics
      Houghton College
      Most people remember working with polyhedra in elementary and high school: cubes, prisms, tetrahedra, pyramids, etc. Euler's formula states that if V is the number of vertices, E the number of edges and F the number of faces of a polyhedron, V + F = E + 2. This is a beautiful and useful formula - but can't we do more? Can we get a similar theorem if we change some of our hypotheses? How does Euler's formula change if we allow polyhedra to be in dimension 4 or 5 or n? What if we look at angles of polyhedra instead of the number of faces? We will look at a number of examples as we generalize Euler's formula in these directions and others. We will end with a glimpse of open questions about angles in polytopes. No specific math background will be assumed, but curiosity is expected!

      Symmetries of Julia Sets

      February 23
      Hegeman 308

      James Belk
      Mathematics Program
      Bard College
      A fractal is a mathematical shape that exhibits the same structure at a range of different scales. Among the most famous fractals are the Julia sets, which arise in a simple way from polynomials and complex numbers. In this talk, I will introduce Julia sets and discuss some of their basic properties. I will then indicate a connection between Julia sets and certain groups of functions on the unit circle. This talk should be accessible to students who have taken Proofs and Fundamentals. Some familiarity with groups would be helpful, but is not necessary.


      The History and Arithmetic of Legendre Polynomials

      February 16
      Hegeman 308

      A lecture by
      John Cullinan
      Mathematics Program

      The Legendre Polynomials are orthogonal polynomials that have deep connections to mathematical physics. For example, they arise when solving the Laplace equation in spherical coordinates. It is also the case that the Legendre Polynomials are extensively studied for their number-theoretic properties. In this talk we will describe some of these properties as well as discuss some open questions surrounding the Legendre Polynomials. This talk should be accessible to students who are currently taking Proofs and Fundamentals (though some group theory will be used at the end).

      **MATH TEA**The weekly Math Tea will immediately follow the seminar.  Join us for tea and refreshments at 4:30 in the Albee 3rd floor Math Lounge.