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Nov

11

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Is this Mars or Utah?

We’re back with Science Fair, Bwog’s weekly curated list of interesting STEM-related talks, symposiums, and events happening on campus. For science and non-science majors alike, our list will bring you events that will satisfy your scientific curiosity for everything from astronomy to zoology, and everything in between.

  • “Science and Capitalism: Entangled Histories”
    • Event information: Monday, November 12, 6:15-8pm, Heyman Center for the Humanities, more info at the link
    • Event description: “[The talk explores] an array of tangled nodes at the science/capitalism nexus, spanning from the seventeenth century to the twenty-first, from Nevada to Central Asia to Japan, from microbiology to industrial psychology to public health.”
  • Frank A. Calderone Prize in Public Health Lecture (Speaker: Dr. Julio Frenk, University of Miami)
    • Event information: Wednesday, November 14, 4-5:30pm, Roy and Diana Vagelos Education Center Room 201, reserve free ticket at the link
    • Event description: “Every two years, the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health presents the field’s most prestigious award, the Frank A. Calderone Prize in Public Health, to an individual who has made a transformational contribution in the field of public health.”
  • “Getting A Head Start: The Developing Brain and the Importance of Early Experiences” (Speaker: Dr. Nim Tottenham, Columbia)
    • Event information: Thursday, November 15, 6:30-8:30pm, Pulitzer Hall, reserve free ticket at the link
    • Event description: “[Dr. Tottenham’s] research examines brain development underlying emotional behavior in humans. Her research has highlighted fundamental changes in brain circuitry across development and the powerful role that early experiences, such as caregiving and stress, have on the construction of these circuits.”
  • “The Signatures of Other Civilizations” presented by Columbia Astronomy Public Outreach
    • Event Information: Friday, November 16, 7pm, Pupin Hall, more info at the link
    • Event description: “When we look at the stars, it’s natural to wonder who else might inhabit the cosmos… I’ll discuss some of the ideas put forward to look for our neighbors, what limits we have to date from such efforts, and what the future holds for this new field of astronomy.”

mars landscape via nasa

Oct

21

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I’m uncertain if STEM midterms season will ever end

We’re back with Science Fair, Bwog’s weekly curated list of interesting STEM-related talks, symposiums, and events happening on campus. For science and non-science majors alike, our list will bring you events that will satisfy your scientific curiosity for everything from astronomy to zoology, and everything in between.

For anyone, related-majors and non-majors alike:

  • “Getting the Lead in, Out, and Beyond: A talk about Lead Exposure in New Orleans” by Howard Mielke, Tulane University
    • Monday, October 22, 2-4pm, Milbank Hall Room 222, click here for more info
    • Event description: “This research provides insights into processes that advance the quality of urban ecosystems. This research reports on soil lead and children’s exposure in unflooded vs. flooded communities of metropolitan New Orleans. At 3pm, an update on lead in New York City soil will be given.”
  • Late Night Science – Faces, Places: Social Networks in the Brain
    • Monday, October 22, 6-8pm, Jerome L. Greene Science Center Room L7-119, click here for more info and to register
    • Event description: “Heard about brain science discoveries in the news? Here’s your chance for a behind-the-scenes introduction to how neuroscience research works. Bring your family and friends to Late Night Science, a seminar series with lab tours by graduate students of Columbia University Neuroscience Outreach.”
  • Extreme Heat Events in Cities: Societal Impacts and Solutions
    • Thursday, October 25, 6-7pm, Faculty House, click here for more info and to register
    • Event description: “This panel brings together climate scientists and public and private sector practitioners to highlight the relationship between climate change and extreme heat events, and showcase some ways that society is adapting.” Followed by a reception with beer, wine, and hor d’oeuvres.

Click for seminars on physics and neuroscience

Oct

14

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home sweet home

We’re back with Science Fair, Bwog’s weekly curated list of interesting STEM-related talks, symposiums, and events happening on campus. For science and non-science majors alike, our list will bring you events that will satisfy your scientific curiosity for everything from astronomy to zoology, and everything in between.

For anyone, related-majors and non-majors alike:

  • Embodied Cognition and Prosthetics: Are Our Tools Part of Our Bodies?
    Monday, October 15, 4-6pm, Heyman Center for the Humanities (74 Morningside Dr), register at this link
    Event description: “Embodied cognition theorists emphasize the role of the body and the environment in constituting mental processes. By examining how our brains interact with the rest of our bodies and how our entire bodies interact with the environment, we can learn much about human behavior and the human mind.”
  • Seminars on Sex, Gender, and Autism Spectrum Disorder
    Monday, October 15, 6:15-8:30pm, Fayerweather 513, register at the link
    Event description: Using relevant readings from research, this seminar will examine the interplay of sex and gender in how male-female phenotypes of ASD are characterized. Speakers include Rebecca Jordan-Young (Barnard), Chiara Manzini (George Washington University), and Russell D Romeo (Barnard)
  • “Face/Off or On? Face Transplants and the Resistance to Categorization” presented by Sharrona Pearl (UPenn)
    Wednesday, October 17, 6-8pm, Fayerweather 513, more info at the link
    Event description: Both like and not like cosmetic surgery and whole organ transplants, facial allografts have proven difficult to categorize. This talk will show how bioethicists, surgeons, and journalists have conceptualized face transplants as neither and both, and the resulting stakes for each.

Click here for Columbia Astronomy Public Outreach and more!

Oct

12

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here’s a relaxing photo. it’s going to be okay :)

Now that the first series of STEM midterms are safely behind us, it’s a good time to think about ways in which we can improve our test-taking skills for the next batch of exams. In this week’s edition of Science 101, Bwog Science Editor, Intro Bio TA, and science intro-sequence veteran Alex Tang brings you his advice on what to do if you didn’t do so hot on your first midterm.

Most of us know that feeling – you log onto Canvas to check that grade from last week’s gen chem or astrophysics or immunology midterm. You’re expecting a B+, a B maybe… you know you definitely missed two questions, but everything else seemed okay. You click to see your grade, a feeling akin to ripping out a bandaid. Your heart sinks – you flunked. What went wrong?

  • Don’t panic. Chances are, you’re allowed to drop your lowest test score (for me, gen chem, Mowsh bio, and orgo have had this policy – double check your syllabus though). If this is the case, you’re effectively still on a clean slate, albeit with an unpleasant wake-up call. In many of my science courses, my first midterm did end up being the score that I dropped, so it’s definitely likely that you’ll improve if you put in more work. Many compassionate professors have this policy because they want students to acclimate to the structure and pace of the class, and to adjust their study habits accordingly. If you can’t drop an exam, don’t fret. Your midterm is weighted lighter than your upcoming exams, so a comeback is definitely within reach (you’ll just really need to work for it).
  • Debrief how the test went. When you left the testing room, did you have that gut feeling that you did poorly? Or was the bad grade a shock to you? Did you run out of time on the exam? Were most of your errors due to carelessness, or a lack of understanding the content? Go over every mistake you made on the exam, and analyze why you made that mistake. Figure out what concepts you missed, what types of problems tended to trip you up, and how you could avoid making those errors next time.
  • Debrief your study methods (work smarter). Based on your analysis of how the test went wrong (previous tip), figure out how you can modify your study methods to avoid the same types of errors you made on the previous exam. Your optimal study habits might depend on the class you’re taking. For example:
    • If you’re in a quantitative STEM class, it’s possible that you spent too much time reading the textbook, and not enough time practicing the actual assigned practice problems. It’s especially imperative to redo practice problems that you got wrong the first time.
    • If you were tripped up by specific pieces of content on the exam, it’s possible that you might need to read lecture notes more carefully. Some classes post comprehensive lecture notes or recordings (eg. Mowsh bio or immunology), where any detail could be tested. It might be a good idea to review the material a couple times after lecture until you’re familiar with all the small details.

Click here for additional tips

Oct

7

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rip uracil never made it to the big leagues

We’re back with Science Fair, Bwog’s weekly curated list of interesting STEM-related talks, symposiums, and events happening on campus. For science and non-science majors alike, our list will bring you events that will satisfy your scientific curiosity for everything from astronomy to zoology, and everything in between.

For anyone, related-majors and non-majors alike:

  • “Just Genomes?” A seminar on race and genomic research by Dr. Jenny Reardon, UC Santa Cruz
    • Monday, October 8, 4-6pm, Knox Hall Room 509, click here for more info
    • Event description: Since WWII, human geneticists had labored to distance the study of human genes from eugenics and the Nazi regime. In the wake of the sequencing of the human genome—or the postgenomic era—genome scientists and their supporters proposed a new ‘democratic’ approach to genomics. This talk explains how and by what means debates about ‘race’ and racism remain central and formative of the postgenomic condition.
  • HeForShe #GetFree Tour Columbia: Gender Equality in STEM and Academia
    • Wednesday, October 10, 10-11:30am, Low Memorial Library, click here for more info (and to register)
    • Event description: Columbia University presents a discussion on women and equality in academia with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in conjunction with the UN’s global HeForShe movement for gender equality. Check out the list of speakers at the link above.
  • The Imagine Science Film Festival
    • October 12-19, various locations in NYC, click here for more info (and for tickets)
    • Event description: “This year we look at the high stakes for all life on Earth and beyond. We’ll feature tumultuous natural history and startling feats of adaptation. Apoptosis versus immortal cell lines. Half-lives and radical life extension. The deaths of stars and extraordinary paths to SURVIVAL.”

Click here for events in data science and physics

Oct

2

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Black holes are the astrophysics equivalent of spooky season

Fun question for all you scientists out there: is it possible for the skills and strategies used in astrophysics to translate into biology? Yesterday, Bwog Science Editor Alex Tang attended the Department of Biological Sciences seminar given by Columbia Physics Professor Szabolcs Marka (yes, you read that right – physics). Here, he discusses the insights that Professor Marka shared from his multidisciplinary research experiences. The talk was titled “On the Beauty and Impact of Astrophysics: From Gravitational Waves to Biology.”

Professor Marka calls himself someone who practices “Renaissance Science.” In an allusion to the “Renaissance Man,” Marka is referring to his passion in all aspects of scientific research, starting from the inception of an idea, followed by the theoretical aspects and finally the experimental aspects. Also relevant is his interest in a variety of incredibly different fields in science. While Marka is a physicist by title, his research interests have spanned topics as diverse as gravitational waves and insect physiology. Seminar host Dr. John Hunt made the joke that in order to give this seminar, Dr. Marka had to make the arduous, exceedingly difficult journey from Pupin to Fairchild – a rare journey if you think about it.

In his seminar, Dr. Marka began by giving the biologists in the room a quick primer on gravitational waves. Whenever two massive, dense objects (ie black holes and neutron stars) collide in astrophysics, they create black holes. Black holes are the densest entities known in astrophysics, with a gravitational pull so heavy that not even light can escape. The density of a black hole is equivalent to 60 times the mass of the solar system roughly occupying the size of Long Island. The collision of two dense objects creates a ripple in spacetime, which is propagated outwards. Think about throwing a pebble into a lake. The impact of the pebble with the lake represents the collision of the two dense astronomical objects, and the ripples you see in the water represent the gravitational waves that are equidistantly propagated outwards from the collision.

Gravitational waves (created by massive collisions) were actually predicted by Einstein about a century ago. However, they have been incredibly hard to prove. Once these gravitational waves reach Earth, they are insanely tiny. The effect that a gravitational wave has in pushing or pulling an object on Earth compared to the object’s mass is equivalent to the proportion of a millionth of a cent in the US national debt (17.7 trillion dollars).

In 2015, LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) sensed a blip in spacetime, proving the existence of gravitational waves for the first time. LIGO is an incredibly sensitive instrument that can monitor discrepancies in spacetime differences via tiny changes in the patterns of intersecting light. Read more here from a LectureHop we did two years ago if you’re interested in learning more. The sensing of gravitational waves has remained the most sensitive measurement done by mankind.

Click here to see how all of the above relates to biology

Sep

30

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learn how your brain processes britney spears in the narrative medicine talk on wednesday!

We’re back with Science Fair, Bwog’s weekly curated list of interesting STEM-related talks, symposiums, and events happening on campus. For science and non-science majors alike, our list will bring you events that will satisfy your scientific curiosity for everything from astronomy to zoology, and everything in between.

For anyone, related-majors and non-majors alike:

  • India Global Design Challenge
    • Tuesday, October 2, 5:30pm, Davis Auditorium in Schapiro (kickoff to learn about actual upcoming design challenge, scheduled for Saturday, October 6th at 10am), more info here
    • Description: “Columbia Engineering is pleased to be working with Columbia’s Mumbai Global Center to launch a collaborative design challenge that will bring engineering, planning, public health, policy, business, and many other disciplines together… At the end of the Fall semester, three teams will be selected to travel to India in early January to further refine their designs. The winning team, which will be selected during the Spring semester, will have the opportunity to return to India in late May.”
  • Columbia Astronomy Outreach: “Slooh Your Way To The Stars”
    • Friday, October 5, 7pm, Pupin Hall, more info here
    • Description: “Slooh is an online observatory that livestreams telescope feeds for public viewing and use. We have a wealth of amateur astronomers discovering comets, tracking asteroids, and spotting supernovae. In this talk I will provide an overview of our technology and the unique ways our members are using Slooh telescopes.” Event followed by guided stargazing with telescopes (weather permitting)
  • Narrative Medicine Rounds: “Music and the Brain: How Our Lives in Sound Shape Who We Are” 
    • Wednesday  October 3, 5-7pm, Faculty Club of CUMC (Medical Campus), more info here
    • Description: “‘The talk will center on the ways sound processing in the brain is a reflection of brain health. How our brains respond to sound reveals each person’s unique narrative of their life experiences.”

Click here for dark matter and more!

Sep

23

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protect these tallbois; in other news, i miss nature (and central park doesn’t count sorry)

We’re back with Science Fair, Bwog’s weekly curated list of interesting STEM-related talks, symposiums, and events happening on campus. For science and non-science majors alike, our list will bring you events that will satisfy your scientific curiosity for everything from astronomy to zoology, and everything in between.

For anyone, related-majors and non-majors alike:

  • “The Process of Making Breakthroughs in Engineering,” Armstrong Memorial Lecture delivered by Thomas Kailath (Stanford)
    • 2-4pm, Tuesday, September 25, Schapiro CEPSR, Davis Auditorium; learn more here
    • Lecture Abstract: “This presumptuous title was first proposed as a challenge, followed by an irresistible bribe! Of course, there are no magic formulas for making breakthroughs in any field. However, it is possible to gain useful insights from past experiences. I will go over a few case histories and draw some pointers from them.”
  • Geriatric Medicine: From Classroom to Bench to Bedside
    • 11:30am-12:30pm, Thursday, September 27, Allan Rosenfield Building, Room 440 (Medical Campus); learn more here
    • Event description: “The Columbia Aging Center (aging.columbia.edu) presents a seminar by Dr. Evelyn C. Granieri, Chief of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Aging. Dr. Granieri’s interests are in medical and geriatrics education, programmatic development, advocacy and interdisciplinary care of frail and vulnerable older adults.”
  • Regulation: The Responsible Control of Drugs – A Public Presentation of a New Report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy
    • 4-6pm, Wednesday, September 26, Faculty House, Floor 2; learn more here
    • Event description: “The new report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy provides a practical roadmap that details how governments can take control of currently illegal drug markets through responsible regulation, thereby weakening criminal organizations that now profit from them.”

Click here for events on climate change, RNA imaging, and the expansion of the universe

Sep

20

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me studying for my first freshman year gen chem midterm the night before (WHAT NOT TO DO)

Science 101 is Bwog’s weekly advice column for Columbia and Barnard students studying STEM. In this week’s edition, Bwog Science Editor and junior-year biology/pre-med major Alex Tang brings you advice he wish he knew as a freshman.

Class of 2022, welcome to Columbia! You’re currently confused, excited, nervous (and probably way too cool to admit it)… we’ve all been there. There’s a huge learning curve at any college, but especially so at Columbia, where students seem especially independent and campus just so happens to be in the biggest (and probably most stressful) city in the nation. Here are some things I wish I knew as a freshman, in my experience as a STEM student.

1. Take care of yourself first. Your friends might have your back, but the only person who knows how you’re truly doing is you. These next few years, you’re going to experience sleepless nights, stressful exams, and personal/social/professional challenges. While it never seems like it at the moment, everything always just happens to turn out okay. Get enough sleep, eat regularly, and go out once in a while. Try not to talk about schoolwork too much at dinner. Call home once in a while! Always remember that Columbia provides 24/7 support if things don’t seem to get better.

2. Make friends in your classes. As a STEM student, you’ll tend to see the same faces in your lectures, recitations, and office hours. You’ll soon recognize the same classmates in whatever it is you study – in other words, your fellow pre-meds, civil engineers, physicists, etc. It’s always good to have a few trustworthy friends with whom you can study, get notes from, ask to turn in your homework when you’re sick, gripe about exams with, etc. These classes are always easier with a friend.

3. Do all the problems. In my experience, the best way to guarantee a good score on a science exam is to simply do all the assigned problems. Doing this is way more important than reading the textbook and (in my opinion) even going to lecture. This piece of advice has helped me through a whole variety of STEM classes at Columbia, in math, chemistry, physics, and biology. [edit: you should still go to lecture, nice try]

4. Start research early, if possible. I started lab research during my last month of freshman year. Since then, research has become one of the richest, most rewarding activities I’ve been involved in. If research sounds like something you’d be interested in doing, don’t hesitate to reach out to professors early on, even during your first semester! While you’re definitely busy acclimating to college life during your first semester, it’s always possible to start with a lower time commitment in lab, just to get a feel for it. Science professors actually love it when undergraduates start research early, as an earlier start means more time to grow as a researcher. If you start during freshman fall (as opposed to late freshman spring as I did), it will also give you more time to collect great recommendation letters and open up more summer research opportunities. Check out our tips for getting into science research here. If you’re really busy your first semester, you can also start in the spring, or even sophomore year. It does tend to get tougher (but is still not impossible) to get started with research your junior and senior years.

Summer programs, choosing professors, and more advice!

Sep

16

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coming soon to broadway! (ok not that soon)

We’re back with Science Fair, Bwog’s weekly curated list of interesting STEM-related talks, symposiums, and events happening on campus. For science and non-science majors alike, our list will bring you events that will satisfy your scientific curiosity for everything from astronomy to zoology, and everything in between.

For anyone, related-majors and non-majors alike:

  • From the Faculty Lounge: Biology and the Sexes
    6:30-8pm, Monday, September 17, Sulzberger Parlor in Barnard Hall

    • Event description: “Alison Pischedda, assistant professor of biology, and Rebecca Jordan-Young, associate professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, join Provost Linda Bell to discuss the ways biology and culture shape our understanding of sexuality and sexual attraction.”
  • Columbia Astronomy Public Outreach Lecture: “Clocks of the Universe”
    8pm, Friday, September 21, Pupin Hall

    • Event description: Free lecture and observatory tour for the general public, given by the Columbia Department of Astronomy
    • Topic description: “Observing the night sky, we can notice many periodic motions that can help us keep track of time. Quantities such as the day and the year can be defined in ways which slightly differ from one another. I will talk about the reasons for these differences and their effects. I’ll also talk about how some of the calendars we use try to incorporate them.”
  • World Maker Faire New York (OFF CAMPUS)
    Saturday/Sunday, September 22 and 23, New York Hall of Science (Corona, Queens)

    • Event description: “The East Coast’s largest celebration of invention, creativity, and curiosity showcases the very best of the global Maker Movement. Get immersed in 600+ projects and 8 stages focused on making for social good, health, technology, electronics, 3D printing & fabrication, food, robotics, art and more!”
    • Schedule and tickets at link above

Click here for more science!

Sep

11

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gel electrophoresis schmood

Like many other science students at Columbia, this Bwogger spent his summer working in a research lab (immunology). Here, he shares his summer experiences, based on (mostly) true events. If you did SURF, SRI, or any type of research this summer, you might be able to relate!

Lab rat (noun): An undergraduate who spends their days holed up in a research lab, due to a genuine interest in science, a sense of nihilism, a pre-med agenda, or a combination of the above.

Day 1: New lab, new me! I’m going to learn so much about XYZ! My PI is so smart and sooo chill, the grad students seem happy, and I got my own white lab coat! Maybe I’ll even publish a paper by the end of the summer (fingers crossed)??? [edit: you won’t]

Day 2: Where is everything?

Day 3: Where is everything?

Day 4: (spends 5 minutes trying to calculate a 1:1000 dilution while my mentor silently watches/judges)

Day 7: Summer in New York is supposed to be hot and humid, but not for me! I bring a sweater to lab everyday to weather the constant labroom chill plus regular trips to the cold-room AKA Antarctica.

Day 10: Contaminated samples! Go back to start!

Day 11: Where is everything again?

Day 15: I’m now an expert at beginning and finishing a round of Subway Surfers during a 10-minute Miniprep centrifugation.

Day 17: It’s 1pm, but I totally have time to start this ELISA! Three 1.5 hour incubations, so I should be out by 6pm at the latest!

Day 17 (9pm): Why am I like this

Click here for the rest of the summer!

Apr

29

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“california physics” features nonlinear optical properties – “new york physics” probably features the mechanics of dodging taxicabs on the way to pupin

We’re back with Science Fair, Bwog’s weekly curated list of interesting STEM-related talks, symposiums, and events happening on campus. For science and non-science majors alike, our list will bring you events that will satisfy your scientific curiosity for everything from astronomy to zoology, and everything in between.

For anyone, related-majors and non-majors alike:

  • From Ebola to Dinosaurs to 23andMe: Writing about the Science of Life, featuring Carl Zimmer (Wednesday, May 2, 5-6:30pm, World Room, Pulitzer Hall)
    • “Carl Zimmer is a columnist for the New York Times. His journalism has also appeared in magazines such as National Geographic, Wired, and The Atlantic.”

Intended for students of the given subject, but still open to anyone interested:

  • Department of Biological Sciences 2018 Schuetze Lecture by Dr. Nieng Yan, Princeton (Monday, April 30, 12pm, Davis Auditorium, Schapiro)
    • “Title: ‘How is electrical signal generated? Structural and mechanistic investigations of Nav channels.’ The voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channels are responsible for the initiation and propagation of action potentials.”
  • Physics Colloquium: California New Age Physics: Sunshine, Crystals, and Quantum Physics of Bands, by Dr. Joe Orenstein, UC Berkeley (Monday, April 30, 4:15pm, 428 Pupin)
    • “Nonlinear optical properties of materials are important as tools in basic research and optical technology. Recently there has been a tremendous upsurge of interest in optical nonlinear effects, especially in crystals with curved bandstructure geometry. Such materials are candidates for applications based on the conversion of light to dc current.”
  • Chemistry Colloquium: Single molecule dynamics at soft interfaces: from basic science to a $100,000,000,000 problem, presented by Dr. Christy Landes, Rice University (Thursday, May 3, 4:30-5:30pm, 209 Havemeyer)
    • “Practical goals in materials engineering include minimal cost, maximum efficiency, and optimized longevity. As our experimental and theoretical methods to study nature’s molecular-scale design principles improve, we begin to understand that one reason nature can be so successful is that her engineering strategy often differs from ours…”

image of California via wikipedia

Apr

22

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a brain – something that many of us have at columbia

We’re back with Science Fair, Bwog’s weekly curated list of interesting STEM-related talks, symposiums, and events happening on campus. For science and non-science majors alike, our list will bring you events that will satisfy your scientific curiosity for everything from astronomy to zoology, and everything in between.

For anyone, related-majors and non-majors alike:

  • Neuroscience in Action: A Conversation About Early Life Trauma and the Brain (Tuesday, April 24, 4:30-7pm, Schapiro Davis Auditorium)
    • “This talk takes a closer look at how exposure to psychosocial adversity relates to children’s behavioral and neurobiological development. The speakers will present recent findings on emotional and cognitive development and their associated biological correlates.” Speakers include professors of psychology and neuroscience. RSVP at link above
  • (Medical School) Admitted Students Panel hosted by CU AMSA (American Medical School Association) (Wednesday, April 25, 7pm, 511 Hamilton)
    • “We will be hosting a Q&A session with students who have been recently admitted to medical school! Please have questions prepared. This is an opportunity to ask questions you may have about the admissions process. They will have great advice to offer and you can get some insight into the entire application process.”
  • Debate on Single Payer Health in New York State (Thursday, April 26, 12-1pm, Russ Berrie Pavilion, 1150 St. Nicholas Ave, Medical Campus)
    • “Last year, the New York Health Act single-payer bill passed again in the Assembly but was not voted on by the State Senate. Join us to see Richard Gottfried, Chair, NYS Assembly Committee on Health and the author of the NY Health Act and Todd Richter, Vice Chairman of Global Healthcare Banking at Barclays who facilitated the deal between CVS Health & Aetna debate “Should New York become a Single Payer Health System?” – RSVP at link

Click here for talks on biology!

Apr

15

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don’t miss out on the physics colloquium – Dr. Kip Thorne was executive producer of the movie Interstellar (as well as a Nobel Prize winner in physics!!!)

We’re back with Science Fair, Bwog’s weekly curated list of interesting STEM-related talks, symposiums, and events happening on campus. For science and non-science majors alike, our list will bring you events that will satisfy your scientific curiosity for everything from astronomy to zoology, and everything in between.

For anyone, related-majors and non-majors alike:

  • “New Horizons: Understanding Pluto,” Columbia Astronomy Outreach Event hosted by Briley Lewis (Friday, April 20, 8pm, Pupin Hall)
    • “Pluto, formerly the solar system’s ninth planet, is more than just a ball of ice. In this talk, we’ll set out on a grand tour of the Pluto system, showing what we’ve learned from NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto and proving that it is an interesting object whether or not we call it a ‘planet’” – free lectures followed by guided stargazing with telescopes (weather permitting)
  • Ronald Breslow Memorial (Wednesday, April 18, 1:30-5pm, Low Memorial Library Rotunda)
    • “Columbia University and Department of Chemistry commemorate the life and passing of Ronald Breslow, hosting former students and colleagues sharing their memories of Professor Ronald Breslow.”
  • Physics Colloquium by Dr. Kip Thorne, Caltech (Monday, April 16, 4:15pm, 428 Pupin)
    • “Kip is the recipient of the The Nobel Prize in Physics 2017 and also the scientific consultant and executive producer of the movie Interstellar. Thorne’s research has focused on Einstein’s general theory of relativity and on astrophysics, with emphasis on relativistic stars, black holes and especially gravitational waves. He was cofounder (with R. Weiss and R.W.P. Drever) of the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) Project, with which he is still associated.”
  • Transforming Public Transport in African Cities: Data, Informality and Access (Tuesday, April 17, 3-5pm, International Affairs Building Room 1510 – RSVP at link)
    • “Currently, transportation investment and infrastructure development are taking place without adequate public transport data, exacerbating politics and making more holistic planning difficult. Drawing on work from Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Cairo, eThekwini, and Cape Town, this talk provides an overview of this critical but contentious politics around transforming public transport in African cities.”
  • Surviving the Cycle (Medical Admissions), Hosted by the Charles Drew Pre-Medical Society (Thursday, April 19, 8-10pm, Hamilton 703)
    • “Are you applying to medical school in this cycle? Nervous about the process or still have remaining questions? Let Dr. Hutcherson calm your nerves! Dr. Hilda Hutcherson is the Senior Associate Dean for Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at Columba P&S and will be answering any questions students have about the quickly approaching application cycle.”

The learning doesn’t stop here!

Apr

13

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check out columbia’s MD/PhD program here

Bwog Science is back with Science 101, our semi-regular advice column for all things science! Last week, Bwog Science Editor (and potential MD/PhD applicant (?)) Alex Tang attended an MD/PhD discussion panel, which included MD/PhD representatives from Columbia, NYU, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai, and Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Here, he brings you the advice and information he gleaned from the session.

Are you currently pre-med, but absolutely love the work you do in your lab? Or are you torn between clinical practice or science research as a career? Are you interested in creating and implementing solutions to biomedical problems? If so, read on!

To the eyes of an undergraduate student, the MD/PhD path is a long, mystical path – one that is often misunderstood. Attending the panel discussion gave me a more grounded understanding of the MD/PhD degree, which I’ll talk about in this post. I’ll first begin to describe what an MD/PhD path entails, the outcomes of this dual degree, as well as what it takes to prepare oneself for an MD/PhD program.

Our country is in great need of future biomedical researchers, people who can power the greatest medical discoveries of the twenty-first century. MD/PhD programs around the country strive to address this fact, graduating cohorts of students each year who have undergone both the training required in medical school (for an MD) as well as intensive hypothesis-driven laboratory work (PhD).

The MD/PhD, the panel described, is designed as the interface between medicine and science. Medical doctors often know which big medical questions to ask, but don’t usually have the research tools to find out the answers. Medical schools focus on teaching existing material, on getting across the information a physician needs to diagnose and treat disease, but not how to design and conduct experiments that will create new scientific knowledge. On the other hand, PhD-only science researchers have the means to design and conduct experiments, but are oftentimes far from the applications of their projects. The MD/PhD, however, combines skills from both medical and scientific training. Essentially, after a long training (and the process is long – consisting of the 7-8 year MD/PhD program itself followed by additional years of residency/fellowship training), the individual will be able to practice medicine, and to use those clinical experiences to drive their own research projects. The good news is that MD/PhD programs are almost always fully-funded (NIH-funded MSTPs, or Medical Science Training Programs, waive tuition and grant stipends and health insurance to all students).

What do MD/PhDs do, and how does one get into an MD/PhD program?

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