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January 25, 2007

Richard M Hansen, Director of Engineering and Division Manager, DMJM H&N, 1-25-07

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Richard Hansen completed a part time M.B.A. in 1996 while working full-time which was shortly followed by a 2-year posting to Singapore for Oscar Faber, where he established a successful MEP practice along side the existing structural practice. While in Singapore Richard was involved in the design and delivery of system-integrated buildings (intelligent buildings) which were designed to optimize occupational usability and environmental performance. He returned to the UK in 1999 and later that year transferred to the London office becoming Business Unit Director in 2002. In this role he was responsible for the administration, management and technical standards for a multi-disciplinary group of engineers and specialists engaged on the design of environmental systems on a range of projects largely centered around the commercial office and media sectors. He also had responsibility for the integration and coordination of the engineer practices with the Sustainable Development Group. He completed another part-time Masters Degree in Property Valuation and Law in 2005 to gain a wider understanding of the financial structure of the property industry.

In 2006 Richard transferred to DMJM H&N in the U.S. where he is now Division Manager for the Orange office with responsibility for an architectural and engineering production team of over 70. He also is Director of Engineering with responsibility for the coordination of the national engineering capability for the company and the adoption of holistic and integrated approaches to building design. The role included responsibility for the adoption and coordination of global best practices in engineering and building design.

DMJM H&N was formed in 2000 by the merger of two AECOM companies (Daniel, Mann, Johnson, & Mendenhall and Holmes & Narver) to create one of the most powerful design organizations in the world. DMJM H&N provides a broad range of planning, architectural, engineering, and construction services through our professionals stationed worldwide. Firm headquarters are located in Los Angeles with operating offices in Orange, San Francisco, San Diego, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Houston, Miami (Coral Cables), Chicago, Columbus, New York, Washington D.C., Denver, Colorado Springs, Fort Worth, Dallas, Detroit, Los Alamos, Richland, and Kuwait City.

Posted by David Lemberg at 11:59 AM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

Dr. Virginia Trimble, Professor of Physics & Astronomy, University of California, Irvine, and Staff Member, Las Cumbres Observatory (Santa Barbara), 1-25-07

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Dr. Virginia Trimble is a native Californian and a graduate of Hollywood High School (1961), UCLA (B.A. in Physics & Astronomy 1964), Caltech (M.S. 1965, Ph.D. 1968 in astronomy), and Cambridge University (M.A. 1969).

Dr. Trimble’s current scientific interests include structure and evolution of stars, galaxies, and the universe, and of the communities of scientists who study them, incorporated, so far, in about 500 publications. She is Professor of Physics & Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine, and a staff member of Las Cumbres Observatory (Santa Barbara).

In recent years, Dr. Trimble has served in governance positions and on committees and boards of directors for the American Astronomical Society, the American Physical Society, the International Astronomical Union, the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, the Peter Gruber Foundation, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

The UCI physics department opened with the campus in 1965 with fewer than a dozen faculty, concentrated in three areas — particle physics, plasma physics, and condensed matter physics (then called solid state physics). A fourth concentration, in astrophysics, was intended from the beginning, although the first hire was in that area was not made until 1971 (Dr. Trimble), and the second in the mid 1980s (Dr. Gary Chanan).

Posted by David Lemberg at 11:42 AM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

January 22, 2007

Scott Molony, Steven Arcangeli, and Scott Horton, Oak Ridge High School, Oak Ridge, TN — Gold Medal ($100,000) National Team Scholarship, 2006-2007 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology — 1-26-07

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The Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology has become the nation’s premiere math, science and technology research competition for high school students. The Competition, which is administered by the College Board, provides high school students and schools an opportunity to achieve national recognition for original math, science and technology research projects.

National individual and team winners receive scholarships ranging from $10,000 up to a top prize of $100,000. Schools receive a $2,000 award for each individual or team project selected as a regional finalist.

Scott J. Molony, a senior, is a member of his high school cross-country team, editor-in-chief of the school literary magazine, and a varsity member of the Scholar’s Bowl Academic Team. His favorite subjects include Calculus II and Modern European History. Possible college majors include philosophy/theology, Japanese and mathematics.

Steven Arcangeli, a senior, was a finalist in the National Chemistry Olympiad last year. His high school team finished 20th nationally in the National Science Olympiad. Mr. Arcangeli is a member of the National Honor Society, Math Club and Science Club. He expects to major in materials engineering in college.

Scott Horton, a senior, became interested in science because of his parents, who both work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He was a member of the second place regional team in the Physics Bowl and plans to major in engineering in college.

Posted by David Lemberg at 10:33 AM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

January 10, 2007

Dr. Andrew Z. Fire, 2006 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, and Professor, Departments of Pathology and Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine, 1-11-07

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Dr. Andrew Fire is the 2006 Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine. The award honors work in RNA interference — gene silencing by double-stranded RNA

Dr. Fire received training at UC Berkeley (Mathematics BA: 1975-1978), MIT (Biology Ph.D.: 1978-1983), and the Medical Research Council Laboratory in Cambridge UK (Postdoctoral: 1983-1986). From 1986 to 2003, Dr. Fire was on the staff of the Carnegie Institution of Washington's Department of Embryology in Baltimore Maryland. During his time in Baltimore, Dr. Fire assumed the position of Adjunct Professor of Biology at Johns Hopkins University. In 2003, Dr. Fire joined the faculty of the Departments of Pathology and Genetics at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Dr. Fire’s lab studies the mechanisms by which cells and organisms respond to genetic change.

The genetic landscape faced by a living cell is constantly changing. Developmental transitions, environmental shifts, and pathogenic invasions lend a dynamic character to both the genome and its activity pattern. The Fire Lab studies a variety of natural mechanisms that are utilized by cells adapting to genetic change. These include mechanisms activated during normal development and systems for detecting and responding to foreign or unwanted genetic activity. At the root of these studies are questions of how a cell can distinguish “self” versus “nonself” and “wanted” versus “unwanted” gene expression.

The Fire Lab primarily makes use of the nematode C. elegans in experimental studies. C. elegans is small, easily cultured, and can readily be made to accept foreign DNA or RNA. The results of such experiments have outlined a number of concerted responses that recognize (and in most cases work to silence) the foreign nucleic acid. One such mechanism (“RNAi”) responds to double-stranded character in RNA: either as introduced experimentally into the organism or as produced from foreign DNA that has not undergone selection to avoid a dsRNA response. Much of the current effort in the lab is directed toward a molecular understanding of the RNAi machinery and its roles in the cell. RNAi is not the only cellular defense against unwanted nucleic acid, and substantial current effort in the lab is also directed at identification of other triggers and mechanisms used in recognition and response to foreign information.

Posted by David Lemberg at 04:17 PM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

Dr. Alex Vilenkin, Professor of Physics, and Director, Tufts Institute of Cosmology, Tufts University, 1-11-07

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Dr. Alex Vilenkin has been doing research in cosmology for more than 25 years and has introduced a number of novel ideas to the field. He has published over 170 research papers, a monograph on “cosmic defects”, and a popular book, Many Worlds in One: the Search for Other Universes. Dr. Vilenkin is best known for his theories of eternal cosmic inflation, creation of the universe from nothing, and for his ground-breaking work on cosmic strings. He has also studied the implications of the possible existence of multiple universes.

Born in the former Soviet Union, Dr. Vilenkin got his undergraduate degree in 1971, but was denied employment requiring any level of education, because he was blacklisted by the KGB. He was drafted in the army and then worked some menial jobs, including a night guard in a zoo, living below poverty level and doing physics research in his spare time. He immigrated to the US in 1976 and got his Ph.D. from SUNY Buffalo the following year. After spending another year as a post-doc at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, he joined the faculty of Tufts University where he is currently a Professor of Physics. Dr. Vilenkin also serves as Director of the Tufts Institute of Cosmology.

Posted by David Lemberg at 04:14 PM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

Dr. Kimberly Tanner, Assistant Professor of Biology, and Director, Science Education Partnership and Assessment Laboratory, San Francisco State University, 1-11-07

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Kimberly Tanner, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Biology at San Francisco State University (SFSU). Trained as a neuroscientist, Dr. Tanner received her doctoral degree from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in 1998 for her work investigating changes in sensory neuron physiology and temporal coding following nerve injury. During her doctoral years, Dr. Tanner was also actively involved in science teaching and learning as a participant in partnerships with local K-12 educators through the UCSF Science & Health Education Partnership (SEP).

In collaboration with the UCSF SEP, the Stanford School of Education, and the San Francisco public schools, Dr. Tanner studied the impact of scientist-teacher partnerships as a mechanism of K-20+ science education reform, studies which continue in her laboratory today. Subsequent to this postdoctoral research, she returned to the staff of the UCSF SEP in a senior position in which she designed, implemented, and evaluated grant-funded science education partnership programs. In January 2004, Dr. Tanner accepted a tenure-track position as a faculty member at SFSU in the Department of Biology with a concentration in Biology Education. This was, and continues to be, the only such discipline-based education research position in the science departments at SFSU.

Since joining the SFSU faculty, Dr. Tanner has established as her laboratory SEPAL: The Science Education Partnership and Assessment Laboratory to increase collaborative efforts between SFSU and SFUSD and to improve and articulate K-20+ science education. SEPAL engages undergraduates, graduate students, and K-12 teachers in research studies on two main lines of inquiry. First, SEPAL researchers are interested in systematically understanding the role of partnerships between scientists and teachers in influencing K-12 science education and promoting articulation between the K-12 and the college/university branches of the US educational system. Second, SEPAL researchers are interested in understanding how novices — including young children, non-science majors, and elementary school teachers — think about biological concepts and living things. Through her professional training and experience, Dr. Tanner has over a decade of experience in crafting District-wide partnerships between university students and K-12 teachers and students. Dr. Tanner is a founding member of the Editorial Board for Cell Biology Education: A Journal of Life Sciences Education, sits on the Advisory Board of the Math-Science Network for Gender Equity, and regularly serves on committees for the National Science Foundation, the National Research Council, and the Society for Neuroscience.

Posted by David Lemberg at 04:07 PM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index