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School of Science and Engineering

The Harrington STEM Lectures

Location:  Virtual (click on the title of each lecture listed below for the Webex link) 
Lecture: 5:00 p.m. 

The School of Science and Engineering hosts this series of lectures on major topics of current scientific interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). These lectures, each designed for a general scientific audience, are given by recognized scholars from around the country. The public is cordially invited to these lectures at no charge.  

John Harrington was the founding dean of the SUNY New Paltz School of Science & Engineering. This lecture series honors his years of dedication to science, education and collaboration across the STEM disciplines.

For further information, including sponsorship opportunities, please email lavaller@newpaltz.edu or call 845-257-3784.

2020 - 2021 Virtual 
Harrington STEM Lectures:

September 29, 2020 
Building a Data-driven Government Focusing on Citizen Services

Robin Thottungal
Chief Technology Officer/Chief Data Scientist, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Webex Event Password: m7S43y2udhP

Data science is key to addressing national challenges with greater agility.  Thottungal will discuss how this digital transformation has become the driver behind a better understanding of the complex interdependencies between our air, water, land and public health. By embracing emerging technology strategies such as microservices-based architecture and user-centered design, we can better capture the relationships and detect anomalies in the terabytes of data that we intake each year.

October 20, 2020 
The Tangle Method: A Mathematical Model for Protein DNA Interactions
Dr. Candice Price
Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Smith College

Topological techniques applied to DNA topology have thrived in the last 50 years with the characterization of 2-string rational tangles, the discovery of new knot invariants, computer software such as KnotPlot, which provide access to high-quality visualizations and new ways to verify experimental and analytical results. The characterization of 2-string rational tangles led to the development of the tangle method, which models the mechanism of the action of certain proteins on DNA. In this presentation, we will take a journey together through the description of the tangle method and apply it to an example of protein action on DNA in order to discover the mechanism of this protein.

November 10, 2020 
Primordial Black Holes, Dark Matter, and the Post-Inflationary Universe
Dr. Scott Watson  
Associate Professor of Physics, Syracuse University

LIGO has detected several gravity wave signals from black holes with masses around 30 times the mass of the sun. Whereas, direct and indirect dark matter detection experiments have so far failed to detect any sign of dark matter particles. In this talk, we will explore whether the primordial formation of black holes — with properties like those detected by LIGO — could be part or all of the cosmological dark matter. It turns out the prediction of such black holes could be intimately connected to addressing the puzzle of a quantum theory of gravity and the end of cosmological inflation. That is, string theory may predict exactly such a dark matter candidate.

Click here to view past Harrington STEM Lectures.