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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?

Apr

8

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tag yourself – im the oscillation between high pressure and low pressure

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:

  • Responsibility, Punishment, and Psychopathy: At the Crossroads of Law, Neurocriminology, and Philosophy” (Monday, April 9, 4:15-6:15pm, Faculty House)
    • Seminars in Society and Neuroscience – “In this seminar, leading experts in neurocriminology, law, and philosophy will consider if, and how, insights into the neurobiological roots of psychopathy might contribute to the reconsideration of the responsibility of psychopathic offenders and how criminal justice should optimally respond to individuals suffering from such a controversial disorder.”
  • Revisiting Hiroshima in Iran: What the Public Really Thinks about Using Nuclear Weapons and Killing Non-Combatants” (Wednesday, April 11, 4:15-6pm, Faculty House)
    • The 9th Annual Kenneth N. Waltz Lecture in International Relations given by Scott Sagan, Professor of Political Science at Stanford (Register at link above)
  • Film Screening of “That Way Madness Lies…” (Wednesday, April 11, 6:30-8:30pm, The Diana Center, Event Oval)
    • “Join Barnard’s Film Studies department and the Global Mental Health Program at Columbia for a screening of the important documentary, That Way Madness Lies, to learn about schizophrenia, mental illness, and their implications. The screening will be followed by a Q & A with the filmmaker, Sandra Luckow.”

Click here for fabulous seminars

Apr

1

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our parallel universe uptown, the columbia medical school, purportedly home to many md/phds

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:

  • Columbia Astronomy Public Outreach presents: Signal to Noise Lecture and Performances (Friday, April 6, 8-10pm, Pupin Hall)
    • In [a collaboration between scientists and artists], The Amateur Astronomers Society of Voorhees and Columbia’s Astronomy Public Outreach program present Signal to Noise, an interdisciplinary salon centering on the topic of sounds of the solar system. A talk by a Columbia astronomer, the presentation of sound and video art pieces, and the distribution of a zine will take place in a variety of locations in Columbia’s Pupin Hall—a lecture hall, a library, and a stairwell—and will be followed by public access to the department’s observatory for stargazing.
  • Public Health Week, hosted by Columbia Public Health Club (events on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday evenings and Friday brunch)
    • Events include a discussion on the current state of research on the opioid crisis, an open mic night of student health stories, and a networking brunch with public health professionals. Food provided at all events!
  • Getting the Most Out of Your Summer Science Research Opportunity (Friday, April 6, 1:30-2:30pm, Lerner 401)
    • “Dr. Vesna Gasperov, Undergraduate Science Research Advisor, will discuss how to prepare for your research experience, set realistic expectations, establish strong connections with your lab mentors, and get the most out of your experience” – RSVP here
  • MD/PhD Discussion Panel (Tuesday, April 3, 6pm, Lerner 401)
    • “Our panelists will speak about the preparation for a career as a physician-scientist. They will address common questions, including: Why choose a MD/PhD program? Who is a competitive applicant for combined degree programs? How should students choose programs and schools that are the right fit? Panelists include representatives from Columbia University, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai and New York University.” RSVP by emailing preprofessional@columbia.edu

Click here for lots of seminars!

Mar

25

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My idea of what data science is.

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 anything from astronomy to zoology, and everything in between.

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

  • Surviving the AIDS Epidemic into Older Ages: Families and Well-Being, Malawi 1998-2017 (Wednesday, March 28, 1pm, Hess Auditorium, 722 W. 168th St. at the Medical Center, RSVP at link)
    • “Across Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), a remarkable cohort is reaching middle and older ages: those who have survived the AIDS epidemic. Nobody could escape an epidemic that was devastating for both its health and social implications… What promoted survival and resilience in such a terrible context, and what influenced well-being among the survivors and their families?”
  • Book Talk and Signing: The Great Quake: How the Biggest Earthquake in North America Changed Our Understanding of the Planet (Thursday, March 29, 6-8pm, Kraft Center, Register at link)
    • “Henry Fountain, a former engineering reporter for the New York Times and currently an environmental reporter for the newspaper, will talk about his true science thriller. The Great Quake is a riveting narrative about the biggest earthquake in North American recorded history — the 1964 Alaska earthquake that demolished the city of Valdez and swept away the island village of Chenega — and the geologist who hunted for clues to explain how and why it took place.”
  • Free Suturing Workshop taught by Columbia dental students, hosted by Columbia Association for Pre-Dental Students (Thursday, March 29, 8-10pm, Lerner 476A)
    • “This event is open to all Columbia affiliated students! Suture materials will be provided. No RSVP necessary.”
  • BioBus on Morningside Campus (Friday, March 30, 10am-1pm, Low Plaza)
    • “Founded in 2008, BioBus works towards a future in which all people reach their full scientific potential. We cultivate this vision by creating accessible, immersive laboratory environments in which scientists join students for hands-on scientific exploration… BioBus programs open doors to science for minority, female, and low-income students in New York City, giving K – 12 students the chance to experience the excitement of discovery.”

Intended for more advanced students of the given subject (but still open to all interested students):

  • The Power of Small: Atomic Mutagenesis in a Post-Structural Era, Department of Biological Sciences Seminar by Chris Ahern (Monday, March 26, 12pm, 601 Fairchild)
    • “The Ahern laboratory has a long-standing interest in the pharmacology and function of the voltage-gated ion channels that support electrical signaling in muscle and nerve cells… Our use of genetic code expansion and the design, synthesis and encoding of unnatural amino acids to rescue ion channel genes harboring nonsense (stop) codons, has yielded several interesting recent discoveries.”
  • Data Science Day at Columbia University (Wednesday, March 28, 9am-5pm, Roone Arledge Auditorium at Lerner Hall, $20 registration for Columbia students)
    • “Join us for demos and lightning talks by Columbia researchers presenting their latest work in data science. The event provides a forum for innovators in academia, industry and government to connect.” Features speech by Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene

Bar graph via Public Domain Pictures

Mar

23

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you’ve got this!

Do you have an upcoming face-to-face interview with a potential PI? A phone interview for a summer research internship? A panel medical school interview? Today, Bwog Science Editor Alex Tang brings you science interview tips, compiled from his own experiences and those of his friends and peers.

Chances are, as a science student, you’re going to receive an email or a call one day asking to schedule an interview, whether for an undergraduate research position, a summer program, or for medical/graduate school admissions. It’s a common misconception that doing well in interviews is an innate skill – in reality, being able to ace an interview is 90% preparation, especially when it’s a interview that might get scientifically technical. Here are some tips we’ve compiled on acing an interview for a science position.

  • Be optimistic! Summer and graduate school positions are incredibly competitive, and the cut for those who make the interview is usually the harshest by far. In terms of numbers alone, your chances of landing the position once you get the interview are usually much better than the chances of landing the interview. The fact that they selected you for an interview means that you look very qualified on paper. The interview is a chance for you to bring your on-paper application to life (and to go above and beyond your on-paper self).
  • Put in adequate preparation. (Don’t get too cocky, corollary of tip above.) Depending on the importance of the interview, I’d recommend starting interview prep no later than a couple days before the interview (definitely a couple weeks if it’s an important one, like a med school interview). To prepare for the interview, anticipate the possible topics you’ll be asked to talk about. (See next tip for common questions). On Google Docs or Word, use bullet-points to list out your possible responses to certain questions, as well as specific characteristics and experiences about yourself that you want to get across.
  • Cover your bases by anticipating their questions. If the interview is for a summer research position, you’ll have to explain your prior research projects, as well as your specific scientific fields of interest (and why you’re interested in them). If it’s a medical school interview, you’ll have to talk about how you discovered your interest in medicine. The point is, you should prepare for these easily anticipated questions so that you won’t get spooked during the actual interview.

More tips below!

Mar

9

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ALMA (Advanced Lunar-Mars Architecture), a recent design by CSI RASC-AL – distant relative of Alma mater?

Today, Bwog Science brings you a clubhop on Columbia Space Initiative (CSI), “a group of students and professors dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge in near-space, space, and beyond.” Although the club is relatively new (started in 2015), it has already accomplished much, attending national competitions at Cape Canaveral and sending a stuffed animal Roaree up 100,000 feet into the atmosphere.

Once thought impossible, space exploration is a definite reality of our present time, with initiatives such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX (goal to settle Mars) and NASA’s ongoing investigations into life outside of Earth. Columbia Space Initiative represents an eclectic group of individuals united by a passion for space, who engage in a wide variety of activities that allow them to explore their interests. The club meets in Mudd 233 from 4-6pm on Fridays (with additional meeting times for various projects).

I recently sat down with four leaders of CSI: Current Co-President Leon Kim (SEAS ‘19), Incoming Co-President Leena Chen (BC ‘20), Outreach Director Cleo Payne (BC ‘21), and Co-Leader of CSI’s RASC-AL competition team Aaron Pickard (GS/JTS ‘20). Representing different schools and diverse majors (from engineering to pure math to the humanities), the four of them illustrated a vibrant community that has something to offer to anybody, from any background, with an interest in space.

Kim described CSI’s goal as “spreading the love of space within and outside of the Columbia community,” joking that they were building a “community of space nerds.” The board members emphasized CSI’s nature as an engineering club, focusing on tangible hands-on missions and projects, rather than as a science club, which largely focuses on research and literature review. Established in 2015, CSI is still relatively new, but has already accomplished impressive feats. The group successfully launched a stuffed animal version of Roaree into space, and designed a commercially viable space station that won them a trip to Cape Canaveral, Florida. Alumni from CSI have gone on to work in aerospace, including startups such as Infinite Orbits.

The board stressed the interdisciplinary nature of their club. Members have all sorts of interests, from education to hands-on projects for competitions, with skills as diverse as the ability to perform complex math derivations as well as effective communication for community outreach. The club primarily consists of students majoring in mechanical engineering, physics, computer science, and electrical engineering, but all students of any field are welcome (Payne, an ancient studies major, emphasized this fact).

Click here to read about the cool projects CSI is doing!

Mar

4

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friday’s snowstorm would have been picnic weather on neptune

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 anything from astronomy to zoology, and everything in between.

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

  • Alien Weather” Columbia Astronomy Outreach Stargazing and Lecture Series (Friday, March 9, 7pm, Pupin Hall)
    • “Weather on the Earth is driven by energy from the Sun and influenced by Earth’s oceans and continents. What are weather and climate like on a world such as Neptune, which has a bottomless atmosphere and receives a comparatively tiny amount of sunlight?”
  • Sexuality, Disability, and Aging: Queer Temporalities of the Phallus (Monday, March 5, 6:30-8:30pm, Buell Hall “Maison Française”)
    • “The talk brings together crip theory, feminist aging studies, queer temporality, psychoanalysis, and anecdotal theory. It considers how disability that begins in midlife and/or the entrance to middle age are lived as a threat to one’s sexuality and one’s gender, but also how these perspectives can supply us with alternative models of sexual temporality.”
  • Free Screening of “That Way Madness Lies”… a New Mental Health Documentary Film (Tuesday, March 6, 7:30-10pm, Jerome Greene Hall)
    • Presented by the Columbia Health Law Association – “In this documentary Sandra Luckow, the filmmaker, tracks her brother’s battle with paranoid schizophrenia and his attempts to navigate the complex mental health legal system. There will be a panel discussion following the film.”

Click here for more science!

Mar

2

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tank top and bikini weather! iced coffee! the MCAT! hooray!

Bwog Science is back with Science 101, our regular column which brings you tips and tricks on navigating science at Columbia. In this week’s edition, Bwog Science Editor (and token pre-med) Alex Tang provides ideas for ways that pre-meds can spend the summer.

With the warmer weather and the agonizingly oh-so-close approach of Spring Break, we’re reminded of the presence of that benevolent behemoth, summer vacation, lurking in the distance. Ignoring the constant bombardments of “what are you doing this summer?”, keep in mind that there are countless ways to spend the break, as long as you’re being intellectually stimulated and emotionally refreshed from the long prior semester. With that being said, here are some summer ideas tailored especially for our pre-med audience.

  • Columbia has resources! If you feel stuck and want some guidance regarding your personal circumstances, speak with the Center for Student Advising! I especially recommend setting up an appointment with Megan Rigney, Director of Preprofessional Advising, whom you may know as the woman behind the pre-med email listserv. Together, you can discuss your own career interests and background, and she’ll be able to highlight a lot of options for you. Also, click here for some summer/extracurricular recommendations offered by Columbia advising.
  • Research is an activity that a lot of top medical schools want to see, and it seems like more and more pre-meds are gaining experience with it. Working in a research lab, you’ll be able to see up close how science is conducted, and apply many of the concepts that you’ve learned about in class, and which will come in handy in medicine. Summer is a great time to do research because you’ll be able to devote most of your time to it, without this pesky thing called “classes” in the way.
    • Check out Bwog’s first Science 101 post: How to get started with undergraduate research.
    • Now’s a perfect time to start contacting professors about working in their lab over the summer. If you’re not from the tri-state area, and want to go home for the summer, think about contacting professors from labs in universities near your home. Be prepared to send out lots of emails, but don’t give up (especially if you follow our tips in the link above).
  • MCAT Prep: Are you applying to medical school next year (as in the summer after this one)? If so, you’re probably planning on taking the MCAT soon. The MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) is around 7 hours 30 minutes in length, and will test you on your knowledge from gen chem, bio, orgo, physics, psychology, and critical analysis/reasoning. Having a solid study plan for this massive test is absolutely required, and will take a few months of dedicated studying. The summer is the perfect time to grab some prep books, review some old courses, and build up your confidence for this test.

Click here for more ideas!

Feb

25

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as interdisciplinary as it gets!

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:

  • House for King and Slave: Patients and Medical Practice in the Medieval Islamic Hospital” (Monday, February 26, 6pm, Heyman Center for the Humanities)
    • “This lecture series will explore the enigma of how what we write relates back to the experience of bodies in different stages of health and disease. Our speakers will explore how the medical humanities build on and revise earlier notions of the “medical arts.” At stake are the problems of representation and the interpretation of cultural products from the past and present through medical models.”
  • Film Screening: “A Dangerous Idea” (Tuesday, February 27, 7:45pm, 501 Schermerhorn)
    • “A documentary about genetics, eugenics, and the American Dream,” film screening organized by the Research Cluster on Science and Subjectivity (RCSS), free snacks!
  • Transparency, Fairness, and Privacy challenges with targeted advertising in social medias” (Tuesday, February 27, 2:30pm, CS Conference Room)
    • “In this talk, we present three key challenges with social media advertisement platforms: (i) Transparency: how can users learn what data is known about them and how it is being used? (ii) Fairness: can advertisers target users in a discriminatory manner and if so how can we detect that? (iii) Privacy: does the advertisement platform leak personal information of users? For each of these challenges, we present initial solutions and discuss remaining open questions.”
  • Women in Sustainability: Navigating Your Career” (Tuesday, February 27, 5-6pm, Faculty House) – RSVP at link
    • “This event focuses on how women navigate careers in sustainability, exploring the female perspective on professional development and advancement in this growing field. The panel features an impressive group of women working in diverse sustainability roles, including sustainable finance, corporate sustainability, and green building.”

But wait, there’s more!

Feb

18

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are you a generation 2 up-type quark? cause you’re quite the charmer! ;)

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:

  • “Playing with Anger: Racial Literacy and Health Interventions for Black Boys and Men,” presented by Columbia’s Center for Justice
    • Thursday, February 22, 4-6pm, The Heyman Center for the Humanities, 2nd Floor Conference Room, RVSP at link
    • “Dr. Howard Stevenson, Professor of Urban Education at the University of Pennsylvania, will discuss “the challenges and ramifications of culturally relevant interventions for men of color… Understanding how the unique life experiences of Black boys and men can be integrated into the intervention protocols and measurement of randomized and quasi-experimental trials is the focus of this talk. Two mental health research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health examine the benefits of racial literacy.”
  • Student Townhall With The Hon. Catherine McKenna, Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change
    • Wednesday, February 21, 1-2pm, Faculty House, RSVP at link
    • “Like many nations around the world grappling with climate change and threats to the natural environment and public health, Canada is taking action to address these challenges, including ratification of the Paris Agreement and a pledge to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions by thirty percent in 2030 from 2005 levels… Minister McKenna will offer brief remarks focused on Canada’s work in climate change, but most of the time will be devoted to answering students’ questions.”
  • Extreme Engineering – Astronaut Appearance: Peggy A. Whitson
    • Thursday, February 22, 6:30-8:30pm, Davis Auditorium, 412 CEPSR
    • Attend this talk, given by Dr. Peggy A. Whitson, a NASA astronaut! “Whitson completed two six-month tours of duty aboard the International Space Station, the second as the station commander for Expedition 16 in April 2008. This was Whitson’s second long-duration spaceflight. She has accumulated 377 days in space between the two missions, the most for any woman. Whitson has also performed a total of six career spacewalks, adding up to 39 hours and 46 minutes.”

Click here for Columbia Astronomy Outreach and a science-themed musical!

Feb

16

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if you found this article helpful and get published in nature one day, please cite bwog in the acknowledgments section! k thanks!

This week in Science 101, we’ll be talking about reading scientific literature, a crucial skill for any science student. Biology major, Alex Tang, and astrophysics major, Briley Lewis, are here with some advice for tackling those articles with intimidating-sounding titles.

Scientific research is conducted by a broad international community, a network of university labs, research institutes, and industrial companies around the world. Like any community, scientists have to communicate with each others, in this case via published articles in scientific journals. These papers document the latest experiments, methods, and advances in a given area, and are critical for staying on top of current research in any scientific field.

If you are working or volunteering in a research lab on campus, or enrolled in a research seminar, you’ll have to delve deep into the scientific literature of your field. Oftentimes, the articles you’ll find are dense and filled with terms or concepts you aren’t quite familiar with. Here are some tips and strategies that a budding scientist could use when initially tackling published science articles.

Focus on the abstract, figures, and conclusions.
Research papers vary in length, but some of them can be quite long and difficult to wade through. The abstract is a paragraph-long summary that will give you the purpose and results of a paper, and is useful to skim over quickly when looking to find papers that are relevant to your objectives. When you do find a paper that you want to read carefully, pay particular attention to the figures and conclusions sections. Together, these sections will give you the data and experimental results, the most important part of any research project.

Circle recurring words and concepts that you don’t know.
Chances are, if you see a certain phrase repeated over again, it’s important. Each area in science uses a specialized language that will take time to get acclimated to. A few quick Google searches can clear up a lot of confusion when understanding a paper. If you find a paper that seems particularly significant to you, make sure you understand the experimental methods used in the project. It’s always a good idea to learn about the latest and most significant procedures and methods in your field.

Think big picture.
Everyone tends to notice the huge breakthroughs in science (think CRISPR or Higgs boson), but most of science happens in small increments of progress. Lots of papers tend to be extremely specific, dealing with particularly narrow projects that focus on a manageable scientific inquiry. Make sure to search for the broader significance of every research project you’re engaged in, as well as the projects of the papers you read. For example, ask how the project is contributing to humanity overall, and how the science could be applied to something that could be of practical use in the long run. Thinking big picture is a great way of maintaining your enthusiasm for science, and for asking the important research questions.

More tips and tricks below!

Feb

11

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Let’s make Earth our valentine forever and always! (stop global warming)

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. (Also, if you’re part of a student-led STEM club at Columbia and want your event advertised on Science Fair, let us know at science@bwog.com!)

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

EIA Annual Energy Outlook 2018

  • Tuesday, February 13, 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM, Pulitzer Hall (World Room), register at the link above
  • “Please join the Center on Global Energy Policy for a presentation by John Conti, Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, of the EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2018. The Annual Energy Outlook provides modeled projections of domestic energy markets through 2050, and includes cases with different assumptions of macroeconomic growth, world oil prices, technological progress, and energy policies. CGEP Fellow John MacWilliams will moderate the discussion following the presentation.”

Data Science Institute Talk: “Data For Good,” presented by Dr. Sharyn O’Halloran, Columbia University

  • Friday, February 16, 12:00-1:30pm, CEPSR 750 (Costa Engineering Commons)
  • “For all the hype, “big data” and machine learning do hold immense promise to better people’s lives, whether in education, energy, healthcare, or the environment. But data-driven decisions can be bad decisions, and many people are developing and applying data analytics with little consideration of the ethical implications. This spring, we invite you to join us for a series of one-hour talks in which distinguished speakers will grapple with the challenge of ensuring data science serves the public good.”

“The Politics of Search and Rescue Operations: A View from the Mediterranean,” presented by Dr. Craig Spencer, Columbia Medical Center

  • Thursday, February 15, 12:15 PM – 1:30 PM, IAB 1219
  • “Craig Spencer MD MPH is the Director of Global Health in Emergency Medicine at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. He divides his time between providing clinical care in New York and working internationally in public health. He has worked as a field epidemiologist on numerous projects examining access to medical care and human rights.”

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