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Science Fair: We Love Earth Edition

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!)

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.”

For more advanced students of the given subject (but still open to all students):

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, February 15, 4:30pm – 5:30pm, 209 Havemeyer Hall
  • “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… [The] discussion will concentrate on the newfound ability of super-resolved single protein spectroscopy to inform theoretical parameters via quantification of adsorption-desorption dynamics, protein unfolding, and nano-confined transport.”

Physics Colloquium: “From Hot Superconductors to Cold Atoms: Quantum Matter with Strong Correlations,” presented by Dr. Antoine Georges, Simons Foundation

  • Monday, February 12, 4:15pm, 428 Pupin Hall
  • “Materials with strong electronic correlations such as transition-metal oxides, rare-earth compounds or molecular conductors have focused enormous attention over the last three decades… After an overview of some aspects of this broad field, I will argue that the `standard model’ of condensed-matter physics, which views electrons in a solid as a gas of wave-like quasiparticles, must be seriously reconsidered for strongly correlated materials. I will also outline some of the theoretical and computational challenges raised by quantum matter with strong correlations.”

Computer Science Faculty Candidate Colloquium: “Scaling Up Robot Learning By Discovering Deep Control Hierarchies,” presented by Sanjay Krishan

  • Monday, February 12, 11:30am – 12:30pm, CEPSR 750
  • “Planning over long time horizons is an important challenge in robotics. A crucial piece is representing skills at multiple levels of temporal abstraction, e.g., short-term motion primitives v.s. high-level behaviors composed of other skills. This talk describes my work on learning such hierarchies of skills from data with applications to surgical robotics, program synthesis, and self-play in Atari games.”

our home via NASA 

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