College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Department of Math & Actuarial Science

Woods Lecture Series 2013-2014

Nina Tandon

Body 3.0

Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013 - 7:30 p.m., Reilly Room

Nina _TandonNina Tandon believes that the era of engineered tissues--like, for example, a replacement kidney grown in the lab--is just beginning.  In this talk, Tandon shows us how we (and our bodies) have lived through most of history (Body 1.0), and then how we evolved into "cyborgs" with implants (such as pacemakers and artificial joints, Body 2.0).

Now, Body 3.0 is all about growing our OWN body parts.  For her doctoral thesis, Tandon drew cardiac cells that beat like tiny hearts.  In this thrilling and eye-opening talk, she explains the process of growing tissue and transplants, and the future of medical sciences.  With the help of manufacturing and information technology, we are on the verge of being able to grow human tissue--and Tandon is here to walk us through this unbelievably exciting era.

Tandon studies electrical signaling in the context of tissue engineering, with the goal of creating "spare parts" for human implantation and/or disease models.  She is an electrical and biomedical engineer at Columbia University's Laboratory for Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering, and adjunct professor of Electrical engineering at the Cooper Union, teaching a "Bioelectricity" class.  Fast Company named her one of their 100 most creative people in business.

After receiving a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Cooper Union, Tandon spent her early career in telecom (Avaya Labs) and transitioned into biomedical engineering via her Fulbright scholarship in Italy, where she worked on an electronic nose used to "smell" lung cancer.  Tandon studied electrical stimulation for cardiac tissue engineering at MIT and Columbia, and now continues her research on electrical stimulation for broader tissue-engineering applications.

National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence - Sylvia Earle

The Quest for Sustainable Seas

Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 - 7:30 p.m., Reilly Room

Earle _Kip -EvansSylvia A. Earle is an explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society, founder of the Mission Blue Foundation, chair of the Advisory Council for the Harte Research Institute and the Marine Science and Technology Foundation, and former Chief Scientist of NOAA. She was named Time Magazine's first Hero for the Planet, a Living Legend by the Library of Congress, and a 2009 winner of the TED Prize. Earle has pioneered research on marine ecosystems and has led more than 100 expeditions totaling more than 7,000 hours underwater.

Earle is author of more than 175 scientific and popular publications, including "The World Is Blue: How Our Fate and the Ocean's Are One" (2009) and "Ocean: An Illustrated Atlas" (2008).  Her research places special emphasis on marine plants and ecosystems, and the development of technology for access and research in the deep sea.

She played a key role in bringing about increased support for U.S. National Marine Sanctuaries during the Clinton administration in 1999, and later helped inspire George W. Bush to designate vast tracts of American-controlled Pacific Ocean islands, reefs, surface waters, and sea floor as marine national monuments, limiting fishing, mining, and oil exploration. Today, she is leading a global effort to develop networks of protected areas in the sea--"Hope Spots"--large enough to protect the blue heart of the planet.

Earle has a bachelor's degree from Florida State University and a master's degree and doctorate from Duke University as well as numerous honorary doctorate degrees.  She lives in Oakland, Calif.

Carl Pomerance

"What we still don't know about addition and multiplication"

Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013 - 7:30 PM, Reilly Room

Pomerance 2013How could there be something we don't know about arithmetic?  It would seem that subject was sewn up in third grade.  But here's a problem we don't know: What is the most efficient method for multiplication?  Another: How many different numbers appear in a large multiplication table?  Come hear about many more of these types of problems, plus some recent progress.

Pomerance received his B.A. from Brown University in 1966 and his doctorate from Harvard University in 1972 under the direction of John Tate.  During the period 1972-1999, he was professor at the University of Georgia, with visiting positions at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Limoges, Bell Communications Research, and the Institute for Advanced Study. From 1999-2003, he was a member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories.

Currently he is the John G. Kemeny Parents Professor of Mathematics at Dartmouth College and Research Professor Emeritus at the University of Georgia.

A number theorist, Pomerance specializes in analytic, combinatorial, and computational number theory, with applications in the field of cryptology.  He considers the late Paul Erdos as his greatest influence.

Pomerance was an invited speaker at the 1994 International Congress of Mathematicians, the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) Polya Lecturer for 1993-95, and the MAA Hedrick Lecturer in 1999.  More recently he was the Rademacher Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania in 2010.  He has won the Chauvenet Prize (1985), the Haimo Award for Distinguished Teaching (1997), and the Conant Prize (2001).  He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and of the American Mathematical Society.

He is president of the Number Theory Foundation, a past president of the MAA and past chair of the Mathematics Section of the AAAS.  He is the author of nearly 200 published papers and several books.

Daniel Levitin

"This is Your Brain on Music"

Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014 - 7:30 PM, Schrott Center for the Arts

Levitin -portrait -5

Daniel J. Levitin, the James McGill Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at McGill University, is the author of the book This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession (Dutton/Penguin, 2006) which stayed on The New York Times and The (Toronto) Globe and Mail bestseller lists for more than 16 months.  Two award-winning documentaries base on "This is Your Brain on Music" have been broadcast internationally: The Music Instinct co-starred Levitin and Bobby McFerrin, and The Musical Brain co-starred Levitin and Sting.

As a musician (tenor saxophone, guitar, and bass), he has performed with Mel Tormé, Nancy Wilson, David Byrne, Roseanne Cash, Sting, Bobby McFerrin, Rodney Crowell, Victor Wooten, Blue Öyster Cult, members of the Steve Miller Band, and Santana.

Levitin earned his doctorate in cognitive psychology from the University of Oregon.  He has been a visiting professor at Stanford University, where he taught courses in the psychology, computer science, human biology, music, and anthropology departments, and the School of Education.  He has also been a visiting professor in psychology at US Berkeley and Dartmouth.

Joe Ritter and John Broere

The Solar Car Challenge: Designing for the Future (The Secrets of the Principia Solar Car Project)

Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 - 7:30 p.m., Reilly Room

The Principia Solar Car Project began in 1991 with a handful of highly motivated liberal arts students.  For the past 12 years, the project has consistently met its goals through active learning and application of engineering principles.  The team has consistently place in the top seven in the numerous cross-country races, a record particularly remarkable given that Principia College is a small liberal arts school in Elsah, Ill., competing against top engineering universities, multinational corporations, and engineering firms.

Broerejohn 2013

Ritterjoe 2013

Joe Ritter joined the faculty in 1995 as an assistant professor of chemistry, attaining the rank of professor a decade later.  He has served as chair of the Chemistry Department, director of the Engineering Science Program, and faculty advisor to the Principia College Solar Car Project.  A longtime faculty mentor with invaluable experience and irrepressible enthusiasm for project-based learning, he assumed the post of assistant dean of academics in 2008.

John Broere is an instructor of computer science at Principia.  He has been a faculty adviser to the Principia Solar Car Team since 2007, and was a member of the team as an undergraduate student from 1998-2002.  During his time with the team, he has had the opportunity to participate in numerous major races and events both nationally and internationally.  he also was instrumental in erecting a wind test tower on Principia's campus to investigate the viability of using wind power to supplement the College's energy supply.

Olcay Ünver

Wednesday, Apr. 9, 2014 - 7:30 p.m., Reilly Room


Olcay Ünver is the coordinator of the United Nations World Water Assessment Programme of the UN-Water and the director of the UNESCO Programme Office on Global Water Assessment in Perugia, Italy

Prior to joining UNESCO in 2007, he was with Kent State University, where he was a distinguished professor of water resources since 2004.  During his time at Kent State, he founded the Euphrates-Tigris Initiative for Cooperation (ETIC), a track-two program that aims to support and strengthen the track-one efforts in the Euphrates-Tigris basin

Ünver holds a doctorate in civil engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.