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:

“Designing Algorithms for Social Good,” Computer Science Department lecture by Rediet Abebe (Harvard Society of Fellows)

  • Monday, January 27, 11:40 AM – 12:40 PM, 500 W. 120th St, room 451, click here for more information
  • “In this talk, we develop and analyze algorithmic and computational techniques to address these issues through two types of interventions: one in the form of allocating scarce societal resources and another in the form of improving access to information. We examine the ways in which techniques from algorithms, discrete optimization, and network and computational science can combat different forms of disadvantage, including susceptibility to income shocks, disparities in access to health information, and social segregation. We discuss current practice and policy informed by this work and close with a discussion of an emerging research area — Mechanism Design for Social Good (MD4SG) — around the use of algorithms, optimization, and mechanism design to address this category of problems.”

“The peculiar trajectory of global warming,” Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics lecture by Stephan Fueglistaler (Princeton University)

  • Thursday, January 30, 2:45 PM – 3:45 PM, Mudd Hall room 214, click here for more information
  • “How much global warming due to fossil fuel burning should we expect? The climate sensitivity to increasing CO2 is difficult to measure directly, and estimates of expected global warming largely rely on climate model calculations. With now 40 years of satellite observations, the observational record may be sufficiently long and qualitatively high enough to constrain model results, in particular also the largest uncertainty: the cloud radiative feedback. Unfortunately – or intriguingly – it appears that in this best observed period climate follows a peculiar trajectory that stands out compared to the previous ~100 years of the instrumental record, and to model projections of future climate. Open questions regarding the observed warming “hiatus”, the “hot spot controversy” and the impact of clouds on climate sensitivity have a common denominator in the question what sets the tropical maximum surface moist static energy relative to the average.”

“Columbia Astronomy Outreach Presents: Art and Time – Axial precession, archeoastronomy, and making a desert nuclear waste site (WIPP) for the next ten millennia”

  • Friday, January 31, 7:00 PM, Pupin Hall, room 301, click here for more information
  • The positions of the stars appear to rotate through a 26,000 year cycle, making this an excellent language-free way to communicate the passage of long time spans. Join a contemporary artist for a discussion of sky mapping across cultures, and how she combines future stars, remote sensing maps, linguistic drift, and indigenous species in the oil-painting series Ten Thousand Year Mystery. Her series draws upon the Teams A and B Marker Project reports (DoE, Sandia National Labs, 1992) for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico. Photo shows detail of Hot Summer Night, a painting combining a false-color mineral map of New Mexico with horizon-view star positions in 12,000 C.E. Letters of the nuclear waste warning message mark the locations of brighter stars.

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

“CSCI Columbia Stem Cell Initiative Seminar Series with Dr. Thomas Rando,” Columbia Stem Cell Initiative seminar by Thomas Rando (Stanford)

  • Thursday, January 30, 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM, Hammer Health Sciences Center, 701 W. 168 St., room 401, click here for more information
  • “Molecular regulation and functional dynamics of stem cell quiescence”

“Model-Based Design of Novel Therapies for Heart Disease,” Columbia Biomedical Engineering seminar by Jeffrey Holmes (University of Virginia)

  • Friday, January 31, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM, Mudd Hall, Room 833, click here for more information
  • “The mechanics of healing myocardial infarcts are a critical determinant of left ventricular function and the risk of an array of post-infarction complications including catastrophic rupture and progression to heart failure. Yet it has proven remarkably difficult to devise therapies to improve post-infarction prognosis by manipulating scar properties. This failure is largely due to the difficulty of predicting the outcome of interventions in such a complex system. Recently, computational models that harness rather than ignore this complexity have begun to provide novel insights into post-infarction mechanics and function, scar formation, and growth and remodeling of the heart, and to suggest new and unexpected therapeutic approaches.”

The cold, artless (but maybe not for long) expanse via Bwarchives