Spring Break is over—time to get back to the books! This is Science Fair, Bwog’s weekly roundup of science events happening around campus. As always, email science@bwog.com if you want your event featured.

Unleashing the Green Giant: Africa’s Potential For Transformation Through Climate Action

  • Tuesday, March 21, 4:00 to 6:00 pm.
  • Online and in-person (Faculty House), register for both here.
  • “James Irungu Mwangi is the founder of the Climate Action Platform for Africa, which he launched alongside Carlijn Nouwen in 2021, to help unlock Africa’s potential to transform its economies while playing a leading role in effective climate action. Prior to that, he spent 20 years at the Dalberg Group which he helped found; leading the firm’s expansion into Africa in 2007, serving as Global Managing Partner of Dalberg Advisors, and most recently as Executive Director of the Dalberg Group. During his tenure, James led the growth, incubation or acquisition of many of the entities that today constitute Dalberg’s operational footprint in over 25 countries on 6 continents.” More information here.

Black Hole Accretion at the Galactic Center

  • Wednesday, March 22, 4:05 to 5:05 pm.
  • Pupin 1402.
  • “At the center of our Milky Way Galaxy lives a supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) with a mass of 4 million solar masses. Sgr A* is a prototypical low-luminosity black hole with a very low mass accretion rate. Radiation from Sgr A* is best explained by a model in which the accreting gas is a two-temperature plasma with proton temperature approaching 10^12 K near the black hole and electron temperature exceeding 10^10 K. Event Horizon Telescope observations of Sgr A* have confirmed the key features of this model. Many low-luminosity black holes have relativistic jets, though surprisingly not Sgr A*. Computer simulations indicate that jets should form easily in hot accretion flows, provided the plasma is threaded by a strong magnetic field and the black hole spins rapidly.” More information here.

Climate Resilience: How the Histories of Trees and Peoples Can Help West Africa Plan for the Future

  • Wednesday, March 22, 4:30 to 6:00 pm.
  • Fayerweather 513, register here.
  • “Planning a development pathway that is resilient to climate requires understanding both the expected range of climatic conditions and how climate affects people’s choices. We present two early-stage projects that address the link between drought and the movement of people in the present and the past. The common thread is a preliminary, centuries-long, tree-ring-based drought atlas. The atlas provides (i) an observational-based estimate of natural variations in drought severity to use in games assessing the adaptation strategies of transhumant herders, and (ii) a history of drought patterns that can be compared to population-level migrations in pre-colonial times to compare the effects of environmental pressures against other societal drivers.” More information here.

Upstream Approaches to Help Seniors Age at Home

  • Thursday, March 23, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm.
  • Online event, register here.
  • “While new technologies and Artificial Intelligence have changed how we live, how we work, and how we socialize – little has changed in health and healthcare. Yet promising technologies will facilitate aging at home, improved access to care, and reduced disparities, along with nascent opportunities to improve prevention and healthcare at scale. This talk presents a framework for identifying, selecting, and implementing such supporting structures for healthy longevity.” More information here.

Deep learning reveals moisture as the primary predictability source of MJO

  • Thursday, March 23, 1:30 to 2:30 pm.
  • Mudd Hall.
  • “The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) is the dominant mode of tropical intraseasonal variability that interacts with many other Earth system phenomena. The prediction skill of the MJO in many operational models is lower than its potential predictability, partly due to our limited understanding of its predictability source. Here, we investigate the source of the MJO predictability by combining machine learning (ML) with a 1200-year-long Community Earth System Model version 2 (CESM2) simulation.” More information here.

Material Landscapes

  • Friday, March 24, 9:30 am to 8:00 pm.
  • Online (live-streamed here) and in-person (Avery 114).
  • “In the one-day symposium Material Landscapes, scholars investigate histories of architectural materials at the intersection of the geographies and sites of their extraction, accumulation, and waste, the conditions of labor, and environmental histories.” More information here.

Fireworks produced by extreme plasmas near neutron stars and black holes

  • Friday, March 24, 3:00 to 4:00 pm.
  • Mudd Hall (for remote attendance, email cr2090@columbia.edu ahead of the event).
  • “Astrophysical compact objects, neutron stars and black holes, are powerful sources of broad-band non-thermal electromagnetic emission, including coherent radio and high-energy radiation. The collective behavior of relativistic plasmas that produce these emission signatures is still poorly understood. In this talk I will describe a few examples of modeling the observed light coming from these remarkable objects using first-principles numerical simulations.” More information here.

Header image via author