Click here for 2019- 2020 Season Schedule
Galaxies come in many shapes and sizes, but what causes this variety? We’ll discuss the different life stories, including some of the faintest galaxies which defy most currently explanations. Current research suggests that these faint galaxies may hold clues to the nature of dark matter, the elusive substance that makes up 90% of the matter in our Universe.
Jason Young is a visiting professor at Mount Holyoke College, his research focuses on star formation in a wide variety of galaxies, ranging from active quasar host galaxies to quiet low surface brightness galaxies. He’s also taught a variety of astronomy and physics courses at Mount Holyoke, Amherst College, and Penn State.
He received a bachelor’s degree in Astronomy and Physics at the University of Arizona in 2005, and a PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Pennsylvania State University in 2012.
Charlie Doret is a physics professor at Williams College who is interested in applications of simple atomic systems. His laboratory uses lasers and electric fields to control the quantum states of individual trapped atomic ions which can be used both to test our understanding of the laws of physics and to emulate the behavior of more complicated physical systems which are difficult to manipulate in their native form. SciTech Cafe events are open all those with curious minds regardless age and background. Our events, prizes and snack are free, but donations are appreciated.
Prof. Patricia Brennan is interested in the morphological evolution of genital morphology in vertebrates, and the mechanisms that drive genital diversification, sexual conflict in particular. She has a BSc in Marine Biology from her native Colombia, where she studied cardiac physiology of marine mammals. She went on to work in the Galapagos Islands aboard a research vessel (R/V Odyssey). Brennan completed her Ph.D. dissertation at Cornell University, where she studied the breeding biology and reproductive system of the Great Tinamou (Tinamus major), a basal bird from South America related to the ostrich. During this time she developed an interest on post-copulatory selection in birds, and went on to do her post-doctoral work on genital and sperm traits in ducks. Her current interests have expanded to understanding genital evolution in vertebrates, in particular examining female genital morphology and coevolution. She worked as a research professor at Umass Amherst before joining the faculty at Mount Holyoke College.
Prof. Jeremy Cone received his Ph.D in Social Psychology from Cornell University in 2012. He spent a year as a visiting assistant professor at Williams in 2012-201, followed by a post-doc in the Human Cooperation Lab at Yale University from 2013-2015. He rejoined the faculty at Williams as an assistant professor in 2015. His research focuses on understanding the nature and operation of implicit processes, including especially implicit attitude change.
Prof. Jeremy Cone’s lab studies the science of first impressions — how quickly you develop an opinion about someone and how easily that opinion can be changed as you learn new things about them. We study, in particular, a type of impression that we call “implicit” — ones that are spontaneous, unintentional, and they happen really, really fast (literally the blink of an eye). Importantly, they’re often quite different from how you consciously feel about someone — what you say when I ask you whether you like or dislike someone. You can consciously like someone and yet have a strong implicit negative reaction to them, and you can also consciously dislike someone and yet still feel implicitly positively towards them. We try to understand where those automatic gut-level reactions come from, what kinds of information can shape them after they’ve become well-established, and how they differ from conscious impressions.
“The Shape of Space.”
Patrica Cahn is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Smith College. Before coming to Smith, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in Bonn, Germany, and a Hans Rademacher Instructor at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research is in geometric and low-dimensional topology. She will be answering questions such as: How do mathematicians classify shapes? How is a donut the same as a coffee cup? How can we describe different three-dimensional worlds, including, but not limited to, the one we live in? What about four-dimensional worlds?
“Imprinting, X-inactivation, and Epigenetics – how your DNA remembers history.”
Prof. Jesse Mager performed his doctoral work at UNC Chapel Hill graduating with a PhD in Genetics. He then continued with short postdoctoral training stints at MIT and UPenn before starting his own research group at the University of Massachusetts in 2004, where he has recently been promoted to full professor. Prof. Mager’s research interests lie in understanding epigenetic regulation of mammalian genomes using the earliest stages of mouse development as a model to understand humans.
The Future of Polymers: from single-use plastics to life-saving medicine
Todd Emrick earned a Ph.D. Chemistry, University of Chicago and his research interests include: Synthetic organic/polymer chemistry, functionalization of nanoscale and 2-D materials, aqueous polymer assembly and the preparation of polymer-based therapeutics.
Bosiljka Glumac is a professor in the Department of Geosciences at Smith College. She is sedimentary geologist whose research focuses on carbonate rocks such as limestone. She is not only interested in how limestone forms and what can we learn from it about landscapes, sea level, climate and life in the past, but also in how humans have been using this stone throughout history. Her research has taken her along the Appalachians from Tennessee to Vermont, the coast of Texas, to the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Micronesia, Italy, as well as back to her home country of Croatia.
We are in the midst of an unprecedented era of rapid scientific and technological advances that are transforming the way our foods are produced and consumed. Professor Julian McClements will be discussing how food architecture is being used to construct healthier, tastier, and more sustainable foods. Functional foods are being created to combat chronic diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
These foods are fortified with nutraceuticals or probiotics to improve our mood, performance, and health. The dissimulation of foods inside our guts and assimilation by our bodies is being controlled to increase their healthiness. Precision nutrition is being used to tailor diets to person’s unique genetic profile, microbiome, and metabolism. Gene editing, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence are being used to address challenges such as feeding the growing global population, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving sustainability. This presentation highlights some of the interesting scientific advances being made in the food area and the role of structural design to create a better food future.
Situated at the intersection of physics and philosophy, Dr. Kaća Bradonjić’s research is focused on foundational questions of the physical interpretation of the mathematical formulations of gauge theories of gravity, and particularly on the role of conformal and projective structures. Kaća’s artistic work explores the use of metaphor as means of understanding the relations among physical, intellectual, and emotional spaces. A project of note is Projections, a series of paintings based on impressions of academic talks. She received her B.S. in philosophy and physics from Northeastern University and her Ph.D. in physics from Boston University. Prior to coming to Hampshire College, she taught at Wellesley College and Boston University.
Dr Katherine (Katie) Mack is a theoretical astrophysicist who studies a range of questions in cosmology, the study of the universe from beginning to end. She currently holds the position of Assistant Professor of Physics at North Carolina State University, where she is also a member of the Leadership in Public Science Cluster. Throughout her career she has studied dark matter, the early universe, galaxy formation, black holes, cosmic strings, and the ultimate fate of the cosmos. Alongside her academic research, she is an active science communicator and has been published in a number of popular publications such as Scientific American, Slate, Sky & Telescope, Time.com, and Cosmos Magazine, where she is a columnist. You can find her on Twitter as @AstroKatie.
Ken Colodner is an assistant professor of Neuroscience and Behavior at Mount Holyoke College. His research has focused on understanding how communication between the two major cell types in the brain, neuronal and glial cells, is disrupted in neurodegenerative diseases. He is particularly interested in understanding the disease process of Alzheimer’s disease and related tauopathies, a class of diseases characterized by the pathological buildup of the protein, tau.
Megan Dobro, assistant professor of human biology at Hampshire College. Her research has focused on the structural biology of important macromolecular complexes, using techniques such as cell culture, electron microscopy, and 3D modeling.
Michelle J. Markley, Associate Professor of Geology at Mount Holyoke College, likes to study mountains, specifically how they were formed. Her research looks at rock deformation, at their folds and faults and how they get their texture, or fabric.
Jenny Greene is an assistant professor of astrophysics at Princeton University. Her research focuses on supermassive black holes and the galaxies that they live in. She also teaches algebra in NJ state prisons through the Prison Teaching Initiative.
Salman Hameed, aka “Mr. Universe” on Monte Belmonte’s WRIS radio program, is Charles Taylor Chair and associate professor of integrated science & humanities in the school of Cognitive Science at Hampshire College. His primary research interest focuses on understanding the reception of science in the Muslim world and how Muslims view the relationship between science & religion.
Luke Remage-Healey is a professor of psychological and brain sciences at UMass. Research in the Healey lab is focused on the neural basis of natural behavior. They study songbirds as their research model for understanding vocal learning and brain plasticity.
Kristen Dorsey, Assistant Professor of Engineering at Smith College, focuses on the fabrication and characterization of micro-scale sensors and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). She likes to understand “why things go wrong” by investigating device reliability and stability. Her current and previous work has had applications in actuation, gas chemical sensing, and inertial sensing.
Gary Felder is a professor of physics at Smith College and a favorite among the SciTech Café crowd. He has enlightened us with his talks about gravitational waves, dark matter, the Higgs-Boson, and the early universe. This month he will take his talk to the next dimension.
Jared Schwartzer, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Education, and Neuroscience and Behavior at Mount Holyoke College, is a behavioral neuroscientist studying preclinical models of neurodevelopmental disorders including Autism Spectrum Disorders. He is particularly interested in understanding how genetic and environmental interactions alter the development of the brain to produce behavioral and cognitive deficits.
Vinothan Manoharan is a Wagner Family Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Physics at Harvard. In his lab, he and his team use light scattering, optical microscopy, spectroscopy, synthesis and other experimental techniques to understand the physics of self-organization. For most of these experiments they use colloids, suspensions of particles typically about a micrometer in size.
Amos G. Winter is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MIT and the director of the Global Engineering and Research Lab. Join us as he shares his work in engineering science, where his lab is leveraging science and research to solve applied problems, and how engineering reverse innovations led to disruptive insights in Prof. Winter’s research on drip irrigation and water purification.
Joseph Checkelsky is an assistant professor of physics at MIT. His research aims to uncover new physical phenomena that expand the boundaries of understanding of quantum mechanical condensed matter systems and also to open doorways to new technologies by realizing emergent electronic and magnetic functionalities
Kerstin Nordstrom is a Clare Booth Luce assistant professor of physics at Mount Holyoke College where she researches complex fluid flows. Such fluids are commonplace in both nature and industry, yet are still poorly understood, sometimes exhibiting bizarre behavior. Her lab studies a variety of such systems, including avalanching sand, flowing colloids in microfluidic devices, and suspensions of algae.
Joydeep Biswas is an assistant professor of information and computer science at UMass, Amherst. His ultimate research goal is to have self-sufficient autonomous mobile robots working in human environments, performing tasks accurately and robustly.
Thomas Millette is a professor of geography at Mount Holyoke College. His research has included using satellite and GIS data to study the causes, nature, and impact of land-cover change and forest degradation in the Middle Mountains of the Nepalese Himalayas, in the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans of northeast India, and on the Lake Champlain Basin of Vermont, New York, and Southern Quebec.
Gary Felder is a favorite among the SciTech Café crowd and has enlightened us about dark matter, the Higgs-Boson, and the early universe. This month he will take us further into the depths of the uncharted universe. Gary is a professor of physics at Smith College.
Heather Pon-Barry is a professor of computer science and the director of the Interactive Computing Research Lab at Mount Holyoke College where they study spoken language processing in the context of human-robot interaction.
Ben Baumer is a professor of statistics and data sciences at Smith College. His research and teaching is focused on extracting meaning from data. Join us as he shares another reason to be excited about spring training and baseball!
Professor Gary Felder is a favorite among the SciTech Café crowd and has enlightened us about dark matter, the Higgs-Boson, and this month he tells us more about the entire universe! Gary is a professor of physics at Smith College
Professor Susan Roberts is the chemical engineering department head at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where her research focuses on understanding the fundamental complexities in specialized metabolism and development of renewable, engineered plant cell culture systems to synthesize valuable clinical and industrial molecules.
Professor William Wootters is a Barclay Jermain Professor of Natural Philosophy at Williams College, where he has taught since 1982. His research aims at learning more about the fundamental properties of quantum information.
Maria Gomez is a professor of chemistry at Mount Holyoke College
Will solar energy solve the world’s energy crisis?
Alexi Arango is a physics professor at Mount Holyoke College.
How much energy does the U.S. use every year? Where does that energy come from? Can we get all the energy we need from renewable sources?
Scott Auerbach is a chemistry professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Prof. Chris Santangelo, and Prof. Ryan Hayward at UMass, together withProf. Thomas Hull from Western New England University and research teams from Cornell, have been creating soft, micro-scale polymer gels that can fold into remarkably complex origami shapes which could have applications in bio-medical engineering. In this presentation you’ll see the wizardry of origami and how its mysteries are being unlocked and harnessed by researchers in the Pioneer Valley. June 9, 2014
How do astronomers determine the climate on planets dozens of light years away? What are these worlds like? How many are habitable? Professor Nick Cowan of Amherst College will share his research and answer your out of this world questions. September 22, 2014