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School of Science and Engineering

Colloquium Series

The School of Science and Engineering sponsors a series of lectures on major topics of current scientific interest. These lectures, each designed for a general scientific audience, are given by recognized scholars from around the country who will be available to meet faculty and students on the days of their visits. The public is cordially invited to these colloquia at no charge. For further information call (845) 257-3728 or follow the links below.

Location: SUNY New Paltz, Coykendall Science Building Auditorium (note change for 9/19)
Time: Selected Thursdays at 5:00 PM, preceded by a reception at 4:30 PM in the CSB lobby.

2013-2014 lectures:

  • Dr. Charles Van Loan, Professor, Department of Computer Science, Cornell University
    Sept. 19, 2013
    "If Copernicus and Kepler had Computers: An Introduction to Model-building and Computational Science" NOTE CHANGE in location: LC 102 at 5:00pm, reception outside LC102 at 4:30pm
  • Dr. Alain C. Diebold, Empire Innovation Professor of Nanoscale Science. University at Albany, College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering 
    Oct. 17, 2013 
    "The impact of Nanoscale Dimensions on Optical Properties"
  • Dr. Charles A. Ver Straeten, Sedimentary Geologist, & Curator of Sedimentary Geology, NY State Museum/Geological Survey
    Nov. 21, 2013
    "Explosive Volcanism in Eastern North America: What the Rocks Tell Us"
  • Dr. Marcus Weck, Molecular Design Institute and Department of Chemistry, New York University
    Feb. 20, 2014
    "Learning from Nature: Functionalizing Synthetic Polymers for Tomorrows Applications"
    • Abstract: How can we use nature's design principles to solve today's major scientific problems including the search for highly efficient renewable energy sources and materials for the health sector? Synthetic polymer science is capable of translating principles developed by nature over the past billions of years to realize these goals. The lecture will introduce functionalization and folding strategies in synthetic polymers, motivated by nature's biomaterials, DNA and proteins, and will outline applications of these materials in the energy sector, electronics, colloidal science, and for bone tissue engineering.
  • Dr. Matthew Gould, Professor Emeritus, Department of Mathematics, Vanderbilt University
    March 13, 2014
    "The Life of Pi"
    • Abstract: From antiquity to the most recent Pi Day (3/14 of course), the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter has evoked fascination and calculation. Because its definition relates to the circle, Pi is found in many formulae in trigonometry and geometry, especially those concerning circles, ellipses, or spheres. It is also found in formulae from other branches of science, such as cosmology, number theory, and statistics. The ubiquitous nature of Pi makes it one of the most widely known mathematical constants, both inside and outside the scientific community. For thousands of years, mathematicians have attempted to extend their understanding of Pi, sometimes by computing its value to a high degree of accuracy (modern algorithms were used to compute 10 trillion digits in 2011). Some highlights of this long story will be discussed.
  • Dr. Melissa K. Fierke, Assistant Professor, Forest Entomology Department of Environmental & Forest Biology SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
    April 17, 2014
    "Girdling, Peeling and Rearing to Know: Insights Into NY Forest Invaders"
    • Abstract: A combination of basic and applied science is critical to understand and manage introduced invasive species. Often, little is known about a forest invader as they are seldom of concern in their native habitats. However, where they are introduced, tree mortality ensues as their novel hosts lack an evolutionary history with them. Our invasive species of interest includes two wood-boring insects discovered within the last 20 yrs. Emerald ash borer (EAB, Coleoptera: Buprestidae), is threatening 100% mortality of the genus Fraxinus (ash) in North America. The other invader is a woodwasp, Sirex noctilio (Hymenoptera: Siricidae), which has a history of causing tremendous economic losses ~20 yrs after discovery. Discerning the long term implications of this invasion requires an in depth knowledge of the biology and life history of the invader as well as our native siricids and parasitoids. Though this insect does not currently appear to be causing undue mortality, it is critical to develop a comprehensive understanding of host selection, within-tree interactions, and parasitism to inform efforts as this insect moves into the economically important southern and western pine forests.

2012-2013 lectures:

2011-2012 lectures:

2010-2011 lectures:

2009-2010 lectures:

  • Lois Pollack, Cornell University
    Sept. 24, 2009
    "Using Physics to Learn about Biology"
  • Ann McDermot, Columbia University
    Oct. 19, 2009
    "The Secret Lives of Molecules: Probing the Motions of Enzymes"
  • Yi Li, University of Connecticut
    Feb. 18, 2010
    "Making Beautiful Plants Non-Invasive"
  • Wayne Knox, University of Rochester
    March 25, 2010
    "Optics from 3000 BC to 3000 AD"
  • Robert Titus, Hartwick College
    April 29, 2010
    "A Geological History of the Catskills"

2008-2009 lectures:

2007-2008 lectures:

2006-2007 lectures:

2005-2006 lectures:

2004-2005 lectures:

2003 - 2004 lectures:

  • Dr. Phaedon Avouris, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center
    Oct. 16, 2003
    "Carbon Nanotube Electronics and Opto-Electronics"
  • Dr. Gene E. Likens, Institute for Ecosystem Studies Studies
    Nov. 20, 2003
    "Acid Rain: An Unfinished Environmental Problem"
  • Dr. David M. Clark, SUNY New Paltz
    Feb. 12, 2004
    "Quantum Theory Challenges Reality: the EPR Experiment"
  • Dr. Yervant Terzian, Cornell University
    March 11, 2004
    "Dark Matter, Dark Energy and the Luminous Universe"
    (Informal Discussion in CSB 110 at 2:00p.m.: "The Nature of Time")
  • Dr. Charles Ver Straeten, New York State Museum
    April 15, 2004
    "Seas, Sand and Mountains: Deep Time in New York 400 Million Years Ago"

2002 - 2003 lectures:

  • James M. Wilson, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
    Oct. 17, 2002
    "Science and Clinical Potential of Human Gene Therapy"
  • Dr. Ronald Miller, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
    Nov. 14, 2002
    "Is it hot enough for ya? - the human contribution to global warming"
  • Dr. David DiVincenzo, IBM Watson Research Center
    Feb. 6, 2003
    "Introduction to Quantum Computing"
  • Dr. John Harrington, SUNY New Paltz
    March 6, 2003
    "Blood Substitutes: Can nature show us the way?
  • Dr. Jefferson W. Tester, MIT Laboratory for Energy and Environment
    April 24, 2003
    "Our Energy Policy"

2001 - 2002 lectures:

  • Dr. Neil Cornish, NASA and Montana State University
    Oct. 12, 2001
    "Measuring the Size and Shape of the Universe"
  • Dr. Richard Bopp, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Nov. 30, 2001
    "Timing is everything: PCBs & Other Contaminants in the Hudson"
  • Dr. David O. Carpenter, Institute for Health and the Environment, SUNY Albany
    Feb. 13, 2002
    "Cell Phones & Power Lines: What are the health effects of electromagnetic fields?"
  • Dr. Michael Novacek, American Museum of Natural History
    April 3, 2002
    "Dinosaurs and Fossil Mammals of the Flaming Cliffs: The Gobi Expedition"
  • Mr. Brian McConnell, Trekmail, Inc.
    April 29, 2002
    "Communicating with Extraterrestrial Civilizations"