News & Events

Thursday, April 18, 2019 – Sunday, May 26, 2019

Volunteer with the Hudson River Eel Project

Come eeling at the Bard Field Station! Happening every day at low tide, we check the net installed at the Bard Ecology Field Station to count baby glass eels as they migrate from the Sargasso Sea to the Hudson River and then swim up its various tributaries. The data we collect becomes part of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation’s ongoing Hudson River Eel Project. Email Christina for more information or questions, and for the eeling schedule! Location: Bard College Field Station
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Past Events

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    • 2018

      Senior Project Poster Session

      December 18
      Reem-Kayden Center

      Light refreshments will be served.

      The Grand Planetary Ensemble

      December 7
      Hegeman 107

      The Solar System furnishes our most familiar planetary architecture: many planets, orbiting nearly coplanar to one another. However, a typical system of planets in the Milky Way orbits a much smaller M dwarf star. Small stars present a very different blueprint in key ways, compared to the conditions that nourished evolution of life on Earth. My research program combines detailed individual planetary studies with ensemble studies of hundreds-to-thousands of exoplanets. Single planets provide crucial case studies, but understanding planet occurrence and formation requires a wider lens. I will describe ongoing efforts to understand the links between planet formation from disks, orbital dynamics of planets, and the content and observability of planetary atmospheres. Studies of exoplanets with the James Webb Space Telescope comprise the clear next step toward understanding the hospitability of the Milky Way to life. Our success hinges upon leveraging the many thousands of planet discoveries in hand to determine how to use this precious and limited resource.

      From Bard to Biotechnology: A Career in Science

      November 2
      Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium

      Kathryn Stein ’66, PhD, an immunologist with more than 30 years of experience, received the John and Samuel Bard Award in Medicine and Science from Bard College.

      The "end state’’ of galactic evolution

      October 26
      Hegeman 107

      Early-type galaxies (elliptical and lenticular galaxies) are high-entropy stellar systems, all galaxies will eventually tend toward such states (perhaps sped up by interactions with other galaxies). Many early-type galaxies are also high-entropy gaseous systems, essentially with hot gas atmospheres maintained by energy input from their central super-massive black hole, not entirely differently than how central nuclear reactions support stars. However, some early-type galaxies still contain low-entropy, cold gas. In these cases, the galaxies are not quite in an ``end state”. I will discuss possible evolutionary pathways and physical processes that explain how some early-type galaxies still have cold gas reservoirs.

      Senior Prospectus Talks

      October 12
      Hegeman 107

      Room Acoustic Criteria and Theoretical Construction
      Yu-Tien (James) Chou

      What Makes Black Holes Spin?
      Mac Selesnick

      Building a Radio Interferometer
      Isobel Curtin

      Efficiency in Aviation: Gliders, Drones, and Bears, Oh My!
      Rory Maglich

      Drone Analysis
      Kyle Zigner

      Groundbreaking Laser Inventions: The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics

      October 5
      Hegeman 107

      The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to Arthur Ashkin “for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems” and jointly to Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland “for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses.” In this talk, we will go through these groundbreaking laser developments and the impact they have had on precision measurements.

      Bard Summer Research Institute: 2018 Poster Session

      October 4
      Reem-Kayden Center

      Join faculty and students who participated in this year’s program in presenting their work.

      Summer Research Presentations

      September 28
      Hegeman 107

      Gold Microplating
      Kyle Zigner
      Bard College
      Mentor: Christopher LaFratta

      Building a Shot-Noise Limited Laser
      Bruno Becher
      Bard College GO lab
      Mentor: Antonios Kontos

      Simulating Frequency Eigenmodes of LIGO Mirrors
      Isobel Curtin
      Bard College GO lab
      Mentor: Antonios Kontos

      Multilayer Coating Calculations
      Logan Kaelbling
      Bard College GO lab
      Mentor: Antonios Kontos

      Optical Coherence Tomography Setup for the Study of LIGO Mirrors
      Andrew Poverman
      Bard College GO lab
      Mentor: Antonios Kontos

      From Thales to Higgs: A Very Physical Promenade

      September 21
      Olin Hall

      Through various anecdotes, some true, some made up, but always plausible, I start with Thales, move on to Empedocles and Aristarchus, spend some time with Plato and Aristotle, then jump all the way to Einstein. All along, I use a simple language, understandable to everyone and hopefully entertaining. My goal is to explain how the world in which we live is at the same time simpler and more complex, but most of all more marvelous and fascinating, than most people think.

      Without trying to sell myself as a specialist of scientific thinking, which I'm not, my goal is to explain why physics is for me a constant source of inspiration and wonder.

      The show is free and open to the public. However, we ask that you reserve a seat by emailing Hal Haggard (

      Talking Science: An Actor’s Perspective on Scientists Connecting with Their Audiences

      September 21
      Hegeman 107

      Doing science is one (great) thing; talking science is something else, especially if you talk to people who are not science-minded. It can also be great, but for some people it's harder than for others. As an actor and storyteller I think that there are a few tips that I can share and that will be helpful to you scientists and/or scientists-to-be, whenever you'll be talking to an audience. This will not be a lecture, nor a workshop, rather a freewheeling exchange.


      Physics Seminar Series: Summer Research Presentations

      September 14
      Hegeman 107

      Underwater Laser Ablation of Graphene
      Grey MacAlaine, Cameron Miller, and Ethan Richman
      Bard College Nanolab and Columbia University
      Mentor: Paul Cadden-Zimansky

      Micro-Hydro Summer Internship
      Eva Grunblatt
      Bard College and Current Hydro
      Mentors: Jan Borchert, Matthew Deady, Joel Herm, Laurie Husted and  Richard Murphy

      The Development and Evaluation of the Ho'ouna Pono Drug Prevention Curriculum
      Nathalie Jones
      Hawaii Pacific University
      Mentor: Scott Okamoto

      Lab Safety Training

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

      Lab Safety Training

      September 6
      Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium

      Lab Safety Training

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

      Exoplanets: Worlds Beyond Our Solar System

      June 15
      Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium

      The idea that worlds exist beyond our solar system, exoplanets, dates back to the Greek times, but it was not until 1992 that the first exoplanet discovery was accepted by the scientific community. Detections of exoplanets continued at a crawl until the Kepler mission began in 2009. To date, over 3,700 exoplanets have been confirmed using a variety of techniques. The types of exoplanets detected range from incredibility hot, Jupiter-size exoplanets to Earth-like exoplanets that may be habitable for life.
      First, we’ll discuss the motivation behind exoplanet science and explore the subject from a historical perspective. We will investigate how some of the detection methods work and discuss their relative successes. Finally, we will conclude by exploring the reflected light of exoplanets in more detail and will discuss two methods of modeling that light.

      Astronomy Night: Jupiter over Montgomery Place

      May 17

      Buses leave from Kline South stop at 8:30 pm.

      Join us at the Montgomery Place visitor center for a short talk by Prof. Antonios Kontos on the science of Jupiter—from the days of Galileo to the latest NASA missions—followed by telescope viewing of Jupiter and its moons, a guided tour of the night sky, and a round of ask-a-physicist-anything.


      Senior Project Poster Session

      May 17
      Reem-Kayden Center

      Magnetic Nanostructures for Data Storage and Biomedical Applications

      May 11
      Hegeman 107

      Nanostructured materials are materials with one or more dimensions at the nanoscale (10-7-10-9 meters). Examples of nanostructured materials include 2-dimensional ultrathin films, 1-dimensional nanowires, 0-dimensional nanodots, and more complex structures that could have a combination of these characteristics. Nanostructured materials often exhibit new and enhanced properties over their bulk counterparts, so they not only offer ideal material systems for exploring fundamental physics, such as magnetic topological phases, but also hold promise for applications in data storage and biomedical engineering. In this talk, I will report our experimental work on 2D multilayers that host magnetic skyrmions, topologically protected spin textures that have promising applications in Spintronic data storage devices, as well as our work on magnetic disks that form the magnetic vortex state, useful for biomedical applications.

      Richard Feynman’s Legacy and the Mentorship of John Wheeler

      May 4
      Hegeman 107

      Richard Feynman, the Nobel Laureate whose centenary we are celebrating on May 11, was one of the most important American theoretical physicists of all time. His diagrams are used every day in characterizing particle interactions. In my talk, I'll explore how he was influenced by his PhD mentor at Princeton, another well-known physicist, John Wheeler. I'll discuss how the lifelong interplay between the two physicists helped shape Feynman’s key contributions to physics and physics pedagogy, despite clear differences in style and personality between the two.

      Gas Stripping in Nearby Galaxy Groups and Clusters

      April 20
      Hegeman 107

      A long-standing problem in extragalactic astronomy is to understand the correlation between a galaxy's environment and its ability to form new stars. The fraction of red galaxies is much higher in dense environments, whereas blue, star-forming galaxies are more prevalent in rural galactic environments. One could therefore infer that environment plays a role in removing gas from galaxies and may help drive a galaxy's transition from blue and star-forming to red and quiescent. However, many other galaxy properties correlate with environment, such as mass and morphology. I will present results from the Local Cluster Survey, a survey whose goal is to look for evidence of environmentally driven quenching among star-forming galaxies in nearby galaxy groups and clusters. We have studied 200 galaxies over a range of stellar mass, morphology, and environment in an effort to separate the influence of these factors. We find that galaxies in dense environments have more centrally concentrated star formation, and the presence of a bulge seems to enhance the effectiveness of environmental processing. Our results suggest that galaxies in dense environments experience outside-in quenching over a timescale of several gigayears. I will also discuss new work that probes galaxies in the filamentary structure around the Virgo cluster, and the possibility for completing observations of these filament galaxies using Siena College's new telescope.

      Einstein: The Old Sage and the Young Turk

      April 6
      Hegeman 107

      There is a striking difference between the methodology of the young Einstein and that of the old. Starting in the late 1910s, Einstein went from putting empirical data and general physical principles first to putting mathematical elegance first. This switch was the result both of his scientific experience finishing the general theory of relativity and his crushing personal and political experiences during the war years in Berlin. In crisis situations like this, Einstein, invoking Schopenhauer, used science to escape from it all. Building mathematical castles in the sky was better for this purpose than trying to extract information about nature from empirical data. In his later years, Einstein worked mainly in this mathematical speculation mode. The older man accordingly left us with a misleading picture of how his younger self achieved most of the successes for which he is still celebrated today. This has had a harmful influence on theoretical physics. If the young Turk’s successes are any guide as to how successful theoretical physics is done, paying close attention to general features of the empirical data is much more important, and mathematical elegance much less important, than the old sage wanted us to believe.


      Distinguished Scientist Scholar Award

      February 26 - April 2

      The Discovery of Global Warming

      February 23
      Hegeman 107

      The history of how we learned about climate change offers a deep look into the way scientists work and how that has changed. When 19th-century scientists discovered the Ice Ages they came up with various explanations, including a decrease of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Could humanity’s fossil fuel emissions bring a reverse effect, global warming? The idea found only a few supporters, curious scientists who stepped aside from their usual research to develop “greenhouse gas” calculations and measurements. By 1960 they proved that the idea merited serious research. An onslaught of droughts in the early 1970s brought public attention to climate and intensified research, typically by small teams, but scientists admitted they could not even predict whether the world would get warmer or colder. This was resolved at the end of the 1970s by computer models that found global warming would become obvious around 2000. The implication that the fossil fuel industries must be radically reduced brought political pushback and scientific controversy. Crucial confirmation of the models came from a totally independent direction: research on climates of the distant past (studies that were themselves confirmed through independent lines of attack). Large-scale teamwork was now necessary to advance, and almost no climate scientist worked alone. When the world’s governments devised a novel mechanism to get scientific advice, hundreds and then thousands of experts in diverse fields managed to cooperate. By 2001 they reached a nearly unanimous consensus: dangerous climate change is all but certain within our lifetime. The focus of research turned to the impacts.