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Thank you to all who contributed their time and effort in making our speakers series so successful.
 
2014 SYMPOSIUM SCHEDULE

  

March 7, 2014

Dr. Tim Hesterberg
Google, Senior Ads Quality Statistician

Statistics and Big Data at Google

April 29, 2014

Dr. Patricia Tavormina
Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology

Bacterial Methane Oxidation in Deep Ocean Waters

April 1, 2014

Dr. John Brophy
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Electric Propulsion Technology Specialist

NASA’s Dawn Mission, Asteroid Retrieval, and the Future of Solar Electric Propulsion
 
 

May 5, 2014

Ms. Cheryl Will
Supervising Criminalist, LAPD SID Valley Narcotics Unit

The Science of Forensics

April 17, 2014

Dr. Walter Metzner
University of California, Los Angeles
Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology

Bats' Tale From the Crypt

May 13, 2014

Dr. Paul Weiss
UCLA, California NanoSystems Institute and Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and Materials Science & Engineering

The Ultimate Limits of Miniaturization: Exploring and Controlling the Nanoscale World in Science, Engineering, and Medicine

April 22, 2014

Dr. Skip Newhall
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Technical Staff Member

Special Relativity and Star Travel

 

 

Friday, March 7, 2014

12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

BYKH-105

 

Dr. Tim Hesterberg

Google, Senior Ads Quality Statistician

 

 
Statistics and Big Data at Google
 
Abstract
Google lives on data.  Searches, Ads, YouTube, Maps—they all live and depend on data.  Dr. Hesterberg will share stories about how Google uses data and statistics, how Google is always experimenting to make improvements, and how Google adapts statistical ideas to do things that have never been done before.  No statistical background is required to understand this presentation.
 
Biography
Dr. Tim Hesterberg is distinguished by his productivity in both business and academic environments. Since earning his Ph.D. in Statistics at Stanford University in 1988, Dr. Hesterberg is Senior Ads Quality Statistician at Google and has written some 65 technical articles in statistical theory and application, and is coauthor of a recent textbook, Mathematical Statistics with Resampling and R, published by John Wiley & Sons. He is also recognized for his outreach to engage the public in a shared understanding of data, and its impact on daily lives. He has written about streams and earthquakes, electric demand forecasting, web traffic, the media, clinical trials, display ads, computer vision, and spiders walking around spaceships.  Dr. Hesterberg is a member of the American Statistical Association (ASA) and is actively engaged with ASA educational committees.
 

 

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

BYKH-105

 

 

Dr. John Brophy

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Electric Propulsion Technology Specialist


NASA’s Dawn Mission, Asteroid Retrieval, and the Future of Solar Electric Propulsion
 
 
Abstract
The ongoing Dawn mission has as its goal the exploration of the two most massive main-belt asteroids, 4 Vesta and the dwarf planet 1 Ceres. This mission is enabled by an on-board, solar powered, ion propulsion system that will provide a total velocity change to the spacecraft of 11 km/s using 425 kg of xenon propellant. Launched in 2007, Dawn has already completed its investigation of Vesta and is now on its way to a 2015 rendezvous with Ceres. Its ion propulsion system is ten times more fuel efficient than the best chemical systems, and it has already operated for more than 30,000 hours, making it the most advanced propulsion system ever flown in deep space. Building on the success of Dawn, NASA has been investigating the feasibility of using a high power solar electric propulsion system to enable the capture and retrieval of an entire small near-Earth asteroid with a mass of approximately 1,000 metric tons, ultimately placing the asteroid in a stable orbit in trans-lunar space. Astronaut missions to the captured asteroid using the Space Launch System and Orion, both currently under development, would result in the first human missions beyond low-Earth orbit in 50 years. It would result in putting astronauts in contact with only the second celestial object in human history. This presentation will discuss the Dawn mission, asteroid retrieval, and why in-space transportation technology based on solar electric propulsion is the key to unlocking the inner solar system for human exploration.
 
 
Biography
John Brophy is a JPL Fellow and a specialist in electric propulsion technology for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he has worked since 1985. He received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1978, an M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Colorado State University (CSU) in 1980 and 1984, respectively. He led the 1991 evaluation in Russia of the SPT-100 Hall thruster developed by the Soviet Union. He helped initiate the NSTAR project to develop a 30-cm diameter ion thruster for flight and then got it included in NASA’s New Millennium Deep Space 1 flight test. He was responsible for the development and delivery of the ion propulsion system for NASA’s Dawn mission, and more recently pioneered the asteroid retrieval concept under study by NASA.
 
 
 
 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

BYKH-105

 

 

Dr. Walter Metzner

University of California, Los Angeles
Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology
 
 
 
Bats' Tale From the Crypt
 
 
Abstract
Although bats rarely come to man's attention, they belong to one of the most abundant groups of mammals. More than 1200 species of bats are distributed over nearly the entire world, except for the most extreme desert and polar regions, amounting to approximately 20% of all living species of mammals. By exploiting the nocturnal three-dimensional space, bats gained access to the rich resources of nocturnal aerial life, while almost completely avoiding competition from the other main group of flying predators, birds.
 
Dr. Metzner will briefly present some of the amazing adaptations of bats that allow them to successfully exploit all those different habitats, and then zoom in on some of the behavioral and neurobiological adaptations that allowed them to do so.
 
Biography
Dr. Walter Metzner graduated with his M.S. degree in 1984 and later Ph.D. in 1989, both from the University of Munich in Germany, where he first become interested in the neurobiology of echolocation in bats.  His graduate studies focused on field research on the echolocation behavior of bats in Sri Lanka as well as behavioral and ecological studies on local bat species in Bavaria under Dr. Klaus Richarz.  He then conducted postdoctoral research under Dr. Walter Heiligenberg at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD, performing neurophysiological, neuroanatomical, and neuropharmacological studies on the neural mechanisms controlling electrolocation and communication in weakly electric fish.  He then became Assistant and later Associate Professor at the University of California, Riverside Department of Biology.  Currently, he is a Professor and Vice Chair for the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology at UCLA.
 

 

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

BYKH-105

 

Dr. Skip Newhall

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Technical Staff Member

 

 

Special Relativity and Star Travel

 

Abstract

Attempts to travel to nearby stars in the galaxy seems to be in the future of humankind. Once we have identified a star with a planet having at least some slight possibility of harboring life, humans will have the incentive to try to go there. But it will not be easy. The requisite technology is hopelessly beyond anything that we can presently imagine. In this presentation, we will derive and apply the basic mathematics and physics needed to determine the fuel and time requirements of any contemplated star trip.

This presentation will include the derivation of Einstein’s equations of Special Relativity. It will employ only the hyperbolic functions from elementary calculus and will use a technique not found in many texts. The results will take only a few minutes to obtain and will be more intuitive than those derived using standard methods. The focus will then be to apply the mathematics to the problem and to interpret the results. We will learn the amount of fuel required, the travel times involved, the rocket power needed, and perhaps most surprisingly, that there are three speeds defined by relativity, two of which are not limited by the speed of light. There will also be a brief description of the phenomena associated with traveling at relativistic speeds: The Doppler shift of starlight, the apparent displacement of star positions due to stellar aberration, and the effect of interstellar hydrogen on a spacecraft.

 

Biography

Dr. Skip Newhall graduated with Distinction from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and minor in Physics in 1960.  He later received his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics in 1972 from California Institute of Technology.  From 1961 to 1997, Dr. Newhall was a Member of the Technical Staff for Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  His areas of work and research included spacecraft trajectory calculation, spacecraft mission operations, and spacecraft orbit determination along with planetary ephemeris development (creating a mathematical model of the motion of solar-system bodies), radio astronomy and very-long-baseline interferometry, as well as solar system astronomy and lunar laser ranging.

 

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

BYKH-105

 

 

Dr. Patricia Tavormina

Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology

 

Bacterial Methane Oxidation in Deep Ocean Waters

 

Abstract

Deep sea methane seeps and vents are of significant geochemical and ecological importance; yet, the microorganisms that consume methane emanating from these sources are largely uncultivated and poorly characterized. We have used a variety of molecular techniques to enumerate and characterize the microorganisms that consume methane in these habitats to form the basis of the deep-sea food web. This community represents a unique trophic system that provides clues into how complex life can establish in naturally-occurring extreme environments and also provides a launch point for understanding the microbial response to massive petroleum spills, such as that in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. In this presentation, Dr. Tavormina will give an overview of the bacterial methane oxidizers that are fundamental to methane seep systems and describe how these lineages participate in natural environments as well as during unnatural large scale petroleum spills. In addition, the presentation will describe recent successes in cultivating one of these methane consuming microorganisms and share insights gained from studying this methane consuming microorganisms in pure culture.

 

Biography

Dr. Patricia Tavormina earned her Ph.D. in classical bacterial genetics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where she took a mutational analysis approach to study transcriptional regulation in E. coli. Dr. Tavormina subsequently spent several years identifying and studying human disease genes at the University of California at Irvine in collaboration with Cedars Sinai Medical Center. Through this work, she identified a number of different mutations in the fibroblast growth factor receptor family that lead to human skeletal dysplasias, and she began studies on how these altered receptors cause abnormal cell signaling. Currently, Dr. Tavormina studies the methane cycle in deep ocean waters through her work at the California Institute of Technology. She uses her classic training in bacterial genetics to study the ecology of marine methane-consuming microorganisms and to elucidate the mechanisms by which these microorganisms consume methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases directly involved in our planet's current warming.

 

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Monday, May 5, 2014

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

BYKH-105

 

 

Ms. Cheryl Will

Supervising Criminalist, LAPD SID Valley Narcotics Unit

 

 

The Science of Forensics

 

Abstract

Established in 1923, the LAPD laboratory was the first crime lab in the country. The laboratory provides forensic services to the criminal justice system with the highest degree of quality and ethical standards.  Criminalists, question document examiners, firearm examiners, and laboratory technicians use established scientific methods, instrumentation, and other tools to examine physical evidence.  Capillary electrophoresis, STR, and PCR technology is used for DNA typing in the forensic testing of biological evidence.  Gas and liquid chromatography, FTIR, ELISA, and ESDA are scientific instruments used in testing drugs, fire debris, poisons, body fluids, and documents.  Microscopy is used throughout the lab to examine gunshot residue, bullet and cartridge case impressions, fibers, sperm cells, and blood spatter.  In addition to laboratory analysis, criminalists assist investigators with crime scene evidence collection and documentation, and provide expert testimony in criminal trials and other legal proceedings about all facets of their work.  Modern law enforcement and prosecutorial efforts lean heavily on the unbiased work performed by the forensic scientists in all disciplines.

 

Biography

Ms. Cheryl Will moved to California after graduating from high school in Wisconsin and spending five years in the Air Force as an enlisted Law Enforcement specialist.  Her interest in police-related work in addition to a love of science throughout middle and high school were instrumental in leading her to a career in forensics.  Ms. Will took forensic-related classes while stationed in Italy starting in 1978 and continued her education at Cerritos College, where she later transferred to California State University, Long Beach.  In 1991, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry with a minor in Criminal Justice from Long Beach State.  Ms. Will continued her education in graduate school at California State University, Los Angeles, where she received a Master’s degree in Criminalistics in 1999.  In 1994, she was hired by the LAPD crime lab as a criminalist and assigned to the narcotics section to analyze illegal drugs.  A year-and-a-half later, she was reassigned to the trace evidence laboratory and worked for 5 years analyzing hair, shoeprint, and fiber evidence before being promoted to a technical lead position and reassigned to the field investigation section.  In the field section, she coordinated criminalists’ field responses to crime scenes.  She taught evidence collection in the Department’s detective, burglary, and homicide in-service schools for 15 years.  Currently, Ms. Will is one of the laboratory’s two narcotics supervisors and is assigned to the laboratory that analyzes evidence for drugs cases in the San Fernando Valley.

 

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

BYKH-105

 

 

Dr. Paul Weiss

UCLA, California NanoSystems Institute and Departments of Chemistry & Biochemistry and Materials Science & Engineering

 

 

The Ultimate Limits of Miniaturization: Exploring and Controlling the Nanoscale World in Science, Engineering, and Medicine

 

Abstract

Since we have learned to measure the precise structures, environments, interactions, and functions of molecules at the nanoscale, we are now learning to direct molecules into desired positions to create nanostructures, to connect functional molecules to the outside world, and to serve as test structures for measurements of single or coupled molecules. Interactions within and between molecules can be designed, directed, measured, understood, and exploited. We examine how these interactions influence chemistry, dynamics, structure, electronic function, and other properties. Such interactions can be used to advantage to form precise molecular assemblies, nanostructures, and patterns, and to control and to stabilize function. By understanding interactions, function, and dynamics at the smallest possible scales, we hope to improve synthetic systems at all scales. We are also using these strategies to control and to understand interactions, function, and structures of biological systems. Dr. Weiss will discuss upcoming opportunities to make inroads into refractory problems in biology and medicine and will discuss initial results and approaches in these areas.

Biography

Dr. Paul Weiss is director of the California NanoSystems Institute, Fred Kavli Chair in NanoSystems Sciences, and distinguished professor of chemistry & biochemistry and of materials science & engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemistry from MIT in 1980, and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 1986. He was a postdoctoral member of technical staff at Bell Laboratories from 1986-88 and a visiting scientist at IBM Almaden Research Center from 1988-1989. Before coming to UCLA in 2009, he was a distinguished professor of chemistry and physics at the Pennsylvania State University, where he began his academic career in 1989. His interdisciplinary research group includes chemists, physicists, biologists, materials scientists, mathematicians, electrical and mechanical engineers, and computer scientists. Their work focuses on the atomic-scale chemical, physical, optical, mechanical, and electronic properties of surfaces and supramolecular assemblies. He and his students have developed new techniques to expand the applicability and chemical specificity of scanning probe microscopies. They have applied these and other tools to the study of catalysis, self- and directed assembly, and molecular and nanoscale devices. They work to advance nanofabrication down to ever smaller scales and greater chemical specificity in order to connect, to operate, and to test functional molecular assemblies, and to connect these to the biological and chemical worlds.

Dr. Weiss has been awarded multiple awards that include the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award (1991-1996), the Scanning Microscopy International Presidential Scholarship (1994), the B. F. Goodrich Collegiate Inventors Award (1994), an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship (1995-1997), the American Chemical Society Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education in Chemistry (1996), a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (1997), and a National Science Foundation Creativity Award (1997-1999), among others.

 

A special thank you is extended to the following faculty/staff members for assisting with the Spring 2014 Series: Roberta Brophy (Math), Jeannie

Chari (Biological Sciences), Monica Dabos (Math), Joe Gerda (Math), James Gilmore (Math), Ann Kressin (Chemistry), Kathy Kubo (Math), Heidi

McMahon (Chemistry), and Elizabeth Hernandez (Biological Sciences/Physics).

 

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