Welcome back to Science Fair, Bwog’s weekly roundup of science events happening around campus. As always, email science@bwog.com if you want your event featured.

Bringing Time and Social Space into Natural Language Processing

  • Monday, April 24, 11 am to 12 pm.
  • Online (register here) and in-person (Milstein LL018).
  • “Human languages have extremely large vocabularies, and by assembling words into sequences, humans can express complex and novel ideas to each other. The likelihood of selecting any given word at any point in time varies greatly as a function of the context. Understanding and formalizing these contextual influences is essential for building robust and adaptable NLP systems.  This talk will focus on two sources of variability: variation over time, and variation across speakers. I will first consider the how individual words behave as a function of who is speaking and what the topic of discussion is.  I will explain how vector space representations of words (also known as word embeddings) make it possible to investigate the abstract concepts that underpin the use of groups of semantically related words. Finally, using social networks defined from social media posts, I will illustrate how graph neural networks can be used to investigate the structure and dynamics of opinions in the social space.” More information here.

Chasing Men on Fire: Pain, Pain Genes, and Pain Resilience Genes

  • Monday, April 24, 12 pm.
  • 601 Fairchild.
  • “Pain usually has a protective and instructive role. However, it can take on a life of its own and become chronic, in many cases due to hyperexcitability of neurons along the pain-signaling pathway. Chronic neuropathic pain and inflammatory pain represent immense unmet medical needs. In this talk I will summarize molecular genetic studies — including studies on a human genetic model of neuropathic pain, inherited erythromelalgia or the “man on fire syndrome — that capitalize on new techniques such as dynamic clamp and IPSC modeling, that have pinpointed ion channels that are key players in pain and pain resilience. I will also summarize recent efforts at translation including new drug development and pharmacogenomics guided by atomic-level modeling.” More information here.

Bootstrapping Inflation

  • Monday, April 24, 12:30 pm.
  • Center for Theoretical Physics (Pupin Hall, 8th floor).
  • “The large-scale correlations that we observe in the distribution of matter in the universe have their origins in primordial perturbations produced prior to the hot big bang—likely during a period of inflationary expansion. Interestingly we do not directly observe the inflationary epoch, but instead infer its dynamics from correlations residing on the late time boundary of the inflationary spacetime where the universe reheats. This motivates us to ask whether we can understand things directly on this asymptotic boundary, without making explicit reference to bulk time evolution. I will describe progress in this direction, including some aspects of how bulk time evolution is encoded in observable quantities.” More information here.

The power and precarity of knowledge co-production in environmental research

  • Monday, April 24, 1 to 2 pm.
  • Online (Zoom link here) and in-person (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory).
  • “In this talk, I share findings and insights about co-production that continue to emerge from collaborative work with the SakKijânginnaniattut Nunatsiavut Sivunitsangit (Sustainable Nunatsiavut Futures project) project. The SakKijânginnaniattut Nunatsiavut Sivunitsangit project is an ongoing knowledge co-production effort among Labrador Inuit, academics, and practitioners centered on climate change and marine spatial planning in Nunatsiavut, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. By using this case study as an anchor for reflection, synthesis, and forecasting, I draw from co-produced research and experience to show how the power and precarity of co-production extend from the willingness and ability of project partners to iteratively conduct research and build relationships together.” More information here.

Social Memory in an Unpredictable Climate

  • Monday, April 24, 4:30 to 6 pm.
  • 513 Fayerweather, register here.
  • “In this talk, Kristina Douglass addresses questions about human adaptations to climate change by analyzing an oral history archive from southwest Madagascar, and integrating its evolutionary logic into the development of a model of human niche construction… Our theoretical model highlights the central role of social memory in facilitating community mobility, social networking and shared resource use among groups of foragers, farmers, herders and fishers in the region. Using Niche Construction Theory, she argues that social memory, its maintenance and perpetuation contribute to a niche that makes human lifeways possible under the hypervariable conditions of southwest Madagascar. This work demonstrates the importance of preserving and engaging local, Indigenous and descendant (LID) knowledge to promote sustainability and develop robust and inclusive evolutionary theories of human adaptation to climate change.” More information here.

Pursuing Transparency and Accountability in Data and Decision Processes

  • Tuesday, April 25, 11 am to 12 pm.
  • Online (register here) and in-person (Milstein LL016).
  • “Organizations and agencies do not have strong incentives to explain and clarify their decision processes; however, stakeholders are not powerless and can strategically combine their efforts to push for more transparency. I will discuss the results and lessons learned from such an effort: a parent-led crowdsourcing campaign to increase transparency in the New York City school admission process. This work highlights the need for oversight and AI governance to improve the trust of stakeholders who have no choice but to interact with automated decision systems.” More information here.

The Neglected Minority: The Science of Asians’ Bamboo Ceiling

  • Tuesday, April 25, 12:30 to 1:30 pm.
  • 640 David Geffen Hall, register here.
  • “Well-educated and prosperous, Asians are known as the “model minority” in the U.S. On average, Asians have the highest educational achievement, highest median income, lowest unemployment rate, and lowest crime rate. However, they appear disproportionately underrepresented in leadership positions, a phenomenon known as the “Bamboo Ceiling.” While there are various speculations about why this happens, the present research systematically investigates the science behind it.” More information here.

CU Physics Round table: Year of Open Science Extravaganza!

  • Tuesday, April 25, 12:30 to 2 pm.
  • Center for Theoretical Physics (Pupin Hall 8th floor).
  • “The physics department will welcome a whole host of visitors for this very special of the Community Round Table, which will answer questions like What is open science?, What does open science look like for me?, What resources are available to help me participate in open science?, and more!” More information here.

Samuel George Morton and the Afterlife of Scientific Racism in Philadelphia

  • Tuesday, April 25, 12 pm.
  • Online event, YouTube link here.
  • “Some of the deepest roots of scientific racism in the United States trace to the same city that birthed the nation’s independence. In this lecture, anthropologist and historian Paul Wolff Mitchell will discuss how Philadelphia became a center for the formation of racial science in the middle of the 19th century through a focus on the skull collector Samuel George Morton. Contextualizing Morton’s cranial race science within the structures of settler-colonialism, enslavement, and medical racism across the United States, and within transatlantic discourses about race, brains, skulls, and human origins, points to the persistent legacies of scientific racism in and beyond Philadelphia today.” More information here.

Just Transition or Just a Transition? The Importance of Power, Organizing, and Framing in Decarbonization

  • Tuesday, April 25, 4:15 to 6:15 pm.
  • Online (register here) and in-person (Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room).
  • “While a rapid and dramatic reduction in fossil fuel use is necessary to stave off the worst impacts of the climate crisis, there will be negative socio-economic consequences for workers and communities in fossil fuel regions, in addition to the ongoing pollution from fossil activity that is disproportionately borne by marginalized communities. Addressing and mitigating these consequences is not incompatible with an equitable energy transition, yet a just energy transition is far from guaranteed. Who and what is covered by “just transition” is increasingly unclear as the term becomes popularized and co-opted. This talk will explore what is meant by “just transition,” the importance of “just,” and how to advance a just energy transition.” More information here.

New Probes of Astrophysics and Cosmology with Line-Intensity Mapping

  • Wednesday, April 26, 4:05 to 5:05 pm.
  • Pupin 1402.
  • “Line-Intensity Mapping (LIM) is a technique that is poised to dramatically increase the reach of cosmological surveys. With LIM, one creates a map of the sky by averaging the total line emission over coarse pixels rather than by resolving individual astrophysical objects. This enables highly efficient 3D surveys of our Universe that cover unprecedentedly large volumes and open up new portions of our cosmic timeline to observations. In this talk, I will highlight several recent results in LIM as well as some future opportunities for the technique.” More information here.

Mamie Phipps & Kenneth B. Clark Distinguished Lecture: Fabrice Olivet

  • Wednesday, April 26, 4:10 to 5:30 pm.
  • Schermerhorn Hall.
  • “Fabrice Olivet is the executive director of Autosupport des Usagers de Drogues (ASUD), the leading organization in France promoting harm reduction and alternatives to the war on drugs. He is also a historian and has published multiple books on the influence of race in France. His most recent book, ‘Au risque de la race,’ has received critical acclaim for its unflinching examination of how racism continues to plague French society. This event is in collaboration with the Psychology Department, the African American and African Diaspora Studies Department and the Executive Vice President and Dean of Arts and Sciences.” More information here.

When Speech Isn’t Free: Varieties of Metapragmatic Struggle

  • Wednesday, April 26, 4:10 to 6 pm.
  • 963 Schermerhorn Extension.
  • “This talk considers the problem of semiotic transgression, acts that can be attributed directly to signs themselves.  The field includes libel, slander, blasphemy, obscenity, hate speech, threats, and pornography. These are the kinds of acts that may prompt censorship, taboo, euphemism, or legal sanctions.  What is often at stake is a ‘metapragmatic struggle’ over just what is going on, and who has the authority to determine the answer.” More information here.

With and Against Technoscience in the Aftermath

  • Thursday, April 27, 6 to 7 pm.
  • Barnard Hall, James Room, register here.
  • “What relations can technoscience make with radical politics in the aftermaths of environmental violence, racial capitalism, heteronormativity, and settler colonialism? Can epistemologies and practices built out of violence ever be remade towards justice? Does technoscience have a role in remaking our worlds out of the long aftermath? M. Murphy takes up a more than pessimistic and less than optimistic posture towards developing tactics for engaging the politics of technoscience. With Indigenous feminisms and queer leanings, Murphy draws out place-based tactics from environmental justice on Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee territories to navigate towards an Indigenous feminist anti-colonial politics with and against technoscience.” More information here.

Why Is There Confusion About Whether Masks Prevent COVID-19? Public Perceptions, Misperceptions and The Messaging of Science

  • Thursday, April 27, 6:15 to 7:45 pm.
  • Online event, register here.
  • “A recent Cochrane report, purporting to show limited data to support mandates to use masks to prevent COVID-19 has sparked immense controversy, seized by many critics as evidence of failures by public health officials. A panel of national experts will analyze the report, its limitations, its media coverage, and lessons we can learn moving forward.” More information here.

Threshold Cryptography: From Private Federated Learning to Protecting Your Cryptocurrency

  • Friday, April 28, 11 am to 12 pm.
  • Online (register here) and in-person (Milstein 111).
  • “Tal’s research focuses on cryptography and, more specifically, on secure multiparty computation, threshold cryptography, and proactive security and recently adapting these technologies to the blockchain environment. Her works have been instrumental in forming these areas.  She has served as the Program and General Chair of the leading cryptography conferences and as an editor of the Journal of Cryptology.   She has initiated and organizes the Women in Theory Workshop, a biennial event for graduate students in Theory of Computer Science. Tal currently serves as the chair of the ACM SIGACT Executive Board.” More information here.

Feminist Intersectional Science and Technology Studies (F/ISTS) Conference

  • Friday, April 28, 11 am to 4 pm.
  • Barnard Hall, James Room, register here.
  • “The inaugural Feminist/Intersectional Science and Technology Studies (F/ISTS) Conference homes in on the reciprocal relations between techno-scientific knowledge and practices, on the one hand, and gender, race, class, and other intersecting axes of power, on the other. The interplay among technical and social dimensions of science, technology, and medicine is central to addressing many of the most pressing problems of our times, such as climate justice and environmental racism, health in/justice, and digital surveillance.” More information here.

Continuous LWE is as Hard as LWE & Applications to Learning Gaussian Mixtures

  • Friday, April 28, 12:30 to 2 pm.
  • Computer Science Building 453.
  • “In this talk, I will present a direct (classical) reduction from LWE to CLWE, following a series of conceptually simple transformations. This reduction from LWE to CLWE allows us to bring the well-developed machinery of LWE-based cryptography to CLWE and its applications. For example, it allows us to obtain the hardness of CLWE under the classical hardness of worst-case lattice problems. Previously, the hardness of CLWE was known only under the quantum hardness of worst-case lattice problems. Moreover, assuming the polynomial hardness of LWE, this reduction allows us to show the hardness of learning n^\epsilon Gaussian components for any \epsilon > 0, while Bruna et al. show hardness for at least \sqrt{n} Gaussian components under polynomial quantum worst-case hardness assumptions. Under the subexponential hardness of LWE, our reduction implies the hardness of learning roughly \log n Gaussian components in polynomial time.” More information here.

Header via Bwog Staff