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July 30, 2006

Dr. Cyrus Mody, Program Manager for Nanotechnology and Innovation Studies in the Center for Contemporary History and Policy at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, 7-26-06


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Dr. Cyrus Mody is the Program Manager for Nanotechnology and Innovation Studies in the Center for Contemporary History and Policy at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia, PA. His knowledge of nanomaterials is grounded in an A.B. in mechanical and materials engineering from Harvard University. His current research on the history of nanotechnology and corporate–academic relations in American science is an extension of his Ph.D. dissertation in Science and Technology Studies at Cornell University. He has published ethnographic and historical studies of nanotechnology, science pedagogy, and the commercialization of academic research in a variety of journals and edited volumes. His research has been sponsored at various times by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the National Science Foundation, the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at the University of California at Santa Barbara, the American Institute of Physics, the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

The Center for Contemporary History and Policy at the Chemical Heritage Foundation carries out projects at the interface of contemporary chemical and molecular sciences and technologies, industry, and science policy. The center is built on the core principle that history and policy are domains that should inform one another. The center is structured around a group of programs that draw upon diverse historical and contemporary source materials to provide knowledge and advice to stakeholders from industry, academia, government, and citizen groups. The center’s programs record, characterize, and analyze the economic, health, and environmental changes associated with advances in science, technology, and medicine.

Posted by David Lemberg at 12:03 PM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

Dr. Michael Arbib, Fletcher Jones Professor of Computer Science, University Professor, Professor of Biological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Southern California, 7-26-06


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Dr. Michael A. Arbib is the Fletcher Jones Professor of Computer Science, as well as a Professor of Biological Sciences, Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Southern California, which he joined in September of 1986. He has also been named as one of a small group of University Professors at USC in recognition of his contributions across many disciplines.

Professor Arbib grew up in Australia (with a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Pure Mathematics from Sydney University), and received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from MIT in 1963. After five years at Stanford, he became chairman of the Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1970, and remained in that Department until his move to USC in 1986.

The thrust of his work is expressed in the title of his first book, Brains, Machines and Mathematics (McGraw-Hill, 1964). The brain is not a computer in the current technological sense, but he has based his career on the argument that we can learn much about machines from studying brains, and much about brains from studying machines. His research has long included a focus on mechanisms underlying the coordination of perception and action. This is tackled at two levels: via schema theory and through the detailed analysis of neural networks, working closely with the experimental findings of neuroscientists on mechanisms for eye-hand coordination in humans and monkeys. Professor Arbib’s group prepared the first computational model of mirror neurons and conducted some of the key initial imaging studies of the human mirror system. He is now developing further insights into the monkey brain and using them to develop a new theory of the evolution of human brain mechanisms which support language.

In addition to his research in artificial intelligence, brain theory and cognitive science, Professor Arbib has been actively involved in theory of computation and system theory. His concern for the social implications of computer science was given textbook expression in Computers and the Cybernetic Society. In 1983 he and Mary Hesse delivered the Gifford Lectures in Natural Theology at the University of Edinburgh, since published as The Construction of Reality, extending schema theory to provide a coherent epistemology for both individual and social knowledge. Professor Arbib was also a founding member of the board of the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities at the University of Massachusetts.

Professor Arbib has published 322 scholarly articles and the author or editor of 38 books. His edited volume, The Handbook of Brain Theory and Neural Networks (The MIT Press, Second Edition, 2003) is a massive compendium embracing studies in detailed neuronal function, system models of brain regions, connectionist models of psychology and linguistics, mathematical and biological studies of learning, and technological applications of artificial neural networks. Neural Organization: Structure, Function, and Dynamics (The MIT Press, 1998), co-authored with Peter Érdi and the late John Szentágothai, provides a comprehensive view of the working of the brain. Most recently, Jean-Marc Fellous and he have edited Who Needs Emotions: The Brain Meets the Robot (Oxford University Press, 2005), and Professor Arbib has edited Action To Language via the Mirror Neuron System (Cambridge University Press, 2006, in press).

Posted by David Lemberg at 11:58 AM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

Marcus Chown, Award-Winning Science Writer, 7-26-06


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Marcus Chown is an award-winning writer and broadcaster. Formerly a radio astronomer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, he is now cosmology consultant of the weekly popular science magazine New Scientist. His latest book, The Quantum Zoo, was published in March by Joseph Henry Press.

Marcus's first popular science book, Afterglow of Creation, was published to much acclaim in 1994. In Britain, it was runner-up for the prestigious Rhone-Poulenc science book prize and liked enough by the magazine Focus to buy 180,000 copies for its readers, making it the most-read popular science book after Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time.

Marcus's second popular science book, The Magic Furnace, was published in Britain in the Fall of 1999. In Japan, it was chosen as one of the Books of the Year by Asahi Shimbun, the world's biggest newspaper. His third popular science book, The Universe Next Door, was published in Spring 2002. "An exuberant book—a parallel universe where science is actually fun," said the UK’s Independent newspaper.

Posted by David Lemberg at 11:52 AM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

July 22, 2006

Dr. Chris De Pree, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy, and Director, Bradley Observatory, Agnes Scott College, 7-19-06


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Dr. Chris De Pree received his B.S. in Physics at Duke University, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research is focused on radio frequency observations of star-forming regions, and most of his observational data comes from the Very Large Array (VLA) located in Socorro, NM.

Dr. De Pree teaches at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA where he is Associate Professor of Physics & Astronomy and Department chair. His activities during the semester include teaching, research, public outreach, and popular science writing.

Agnes Scott College, founded in 1889, is an independent, national liberal arts college for women. Located in Atlanta, GA, Agnes Scott College has an endowment of $274.7 million, ranked second among women's colleges, eighth among national liberal arts colleges, and 29th overall in endowment per FTE student. U.S. News & World Report's 2006 rankings place Agnes Scott seventh among nationally ranked women's colleges, best in the South, and among the best values in the country, ranking 22 for "Great Deals at Great Schools".

Posted by David Lemberg at 09:10 AM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

July 20, 2006

Dr. Bruce Dale, Professor of Chemical Engineering and former Chairperson of the Department Of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University, 7-19-06


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Professor Bruce Dale is Professor of Chemical Engineering and former Chairperson of the Department Of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University. He received his B.S. (summa cum laude) in chemical engineering from the University of Arizona (Tucson) in 1974 and his M.S. from that same university in 1976. Dr. Dale then studied under Professor George T. Tsao at Purdue University, receiving his Ph.D. degree in 1979. Dr. Dale’s first academic position was in the Department of Agricultural and Chemical Engineering at Colorado State University, where he rose to the rank of professor in 1988. In that same year he joined Texas A&M University where he became Professor of Chemical Engineering and Professor of Agricultural Engineering. Dr. Dale also directed two large interdisciplinary research centers at Texas A&M.

In 1996 Dr. Dale became Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University, where he also holds an appointment in the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station. In 1996 he won the Charles D. Scott Award for contributions to the use of biotechnology to produce fuels, chemicals, and other industrial products from renewable plant resources. In 2001 he stepped down as chairperson to return to full-time research and teaching.

Professor Dale’s research and professional interests lie at the intersection of chemical engineering and the life sciences. Specifically, he is interested in the environmentally sustainable conversion of plant matter to industrial products—fuels, chemicals, and materials—while still meeting human and animal needs for food and feed. He led a National Research Council report entitled “Biobased Industrial Products: Research and Commercialization Priorities” which was published in May 2000. Dr. Dale has authored more than 90 referred journal papers, is an active consultant to industry and expert witness, and holds thirteen U.S. and foreign patents.

Posted by David Lemberg at 01:24 PM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

July 17, 2006

Dr. Naomi Halas, Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Director, Laboratory for Nanophotonics, and Professor of Chemistry, Rice University, 7/12/06


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Dr. Naomi Halas is the Stanley C. Moore Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Director of the Laboratory for Nanophotonics, and Professor of Chemistry at Rice University. She is best known as the inventor of nanoshells, a new class of multi-layered nanoscale particles that have unique optical properties of wide interest in optics, biomedicine, materials science, and other disciplines. In creating nanoshells, Dr. Halas drew upon her education and training in both the natural and applied sciences.

Dr. Halas joined the faculty of Rice's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1989 and received a joint appointment in the Department of Chemistry in 1999. She is a fellow of the American Physical Society, a recipient of the National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, and a four-time winner of the Rice Engineering Alumni's Hershel M. Rich Invention Award. Dr. Halas was recently named Fellow of the American Physical Society, and she received the "Cancer Innovator" Award from the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs of the U. S. Department of Defense in 2003.

Posted by David Lemberg at 09:03 AM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

July 14, 2006

Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis, Professor, Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, and Director, Center for Rapid Automated Fabrication Technologies, USC Viterbi School of Engineering, 7/12/06


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Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis is Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Director of the Center for Rapid Automated Fabrication Technologies, and Director of the Manufacturing Engineering Graduate Program at the University of Southern California. He is active in CAD/CAM, robotics, and mechatronics related research projects that include the development of novel Solid Free Form, or Rapid Prototyping, processes (Contour Crafting and SIS), automated construction of civil structures, development of mechatronics systems for biomedical applications (e.g., restorative dentistry, rehabilitation engineering, haptics devices for medical applications), and autonomous mobile and modular robots for assembly applications in space.

Professor Khoshnevis routinely conducts lectures and seminars on invention and technology development. He is a Fellow member of the Institute of Industrial Engineers, a Fellow member of the Society for Computer Simulation, and a Senior member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineering.

Posted by David Lemberg at 08:51 AM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

July 12, 2006

Dr. Michael Zyda, Director, GamePipe Laboratory, Information Sciences Institute, USC Viterbi School of Engineering, 7/12/06


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Professor Michael Zyda is the Director of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering's GamePipe Laboratory, located at the Information Sciences Institute, Marina del Rey, CA. From Fall 2000 to Fall 2004, he was the Founding Director of The MOVES Institute, located at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA and a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at NPS as well. From 1986 until the founding of the MOVES Institute, he was the Director of the NPSNET Research Group.

Professor Zyda's research interests include computer graphics; large-scale, networked 3D virtual environments; agent-based simulation; modeling human and organizational behavior; interactive computer-generated story, modeling, and simulation; and interactive games. He is a pioneer in the fields of computer graphics, networked virtual environments, modeling and simulation, and defense/entertainment collaboration.

Professor Zyda holds a lifetime appointment as a National Associate of the National Academies, an appointment made by the Council of the National Academy of Sciences in November 2003, awarded in recognition of "extraordinary service" to the National Academies. He served as the principal investigator and development director of the America’s Army PC game funded by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. He took America's Army from conception to three million plus registered players and hence, transformed Army recruiting.

Professor Zyda was a member of the National Research Council's Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Committee on Advanced Engineering Environments. He was chair of the National Research Council's Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Panel on Computing, Information, and Communications Technology and member of the parent NRC Committee for the Review of NASA’s Pioneering Revolutionary Technology Program. Professor Zyda was a member of the NRC's Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Vehicle Systems Panel that is part of the Committee for the Review of NASA’s Revolutionize Aviation Program.

Posted by David Lemberg at 04:41 PM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index