Topical Lectures

Friday, February 14 at noon


ASTRIAGraph: A Crowdsourced Knowledge Graph for Space Domain Awareness and Prediction

Moriba Jah is the director for Computational Astronautical Sciences and Technologies (CAST), a group within the Oden Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. He is also the Lead for the Space Security and Safety Program at the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law. Moriba came to UT Austin by way of the Air Force Research Laboratory and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory prior to that, where he was a Spacecraft Navigator on a handful of Mars missions. Moriba is a Fellow of multiple organizations: TED, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), American Astronautical Society (AAS), International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS), Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). He has served on the US delegation to the United Nations Committee On Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN-COPUOS), is an elected Academician of the IAA, and testified to the U.S. Congress.


The Second Antibiotic Era

Maryn McKenna is an independent journalist who specializes in public health, global health and food policy. She is a columnist for WIRED, a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Human Health at Emory University, and the author of the 2017 bestseller BIG CHICKEN: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats, which received the 2018 Science in Society Award and was named a best book of 2017 by Amazon, Smithsonian, Science News, WIRED, Civil Eats, and other publications (and is published in the UK and other territories under the title Plucked.) Her earlier, award-winning books are Superbug and Beating Back the Devil. She appears in the 2019 German documentary Resistance Fighters and the 2014 U.S. documentary Resistance, and her 2015 TED Talk, “What do we do when antibiotics don’t work any more?” has been viewed 1.7 million times and translated into 34 languages. She writes for The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Mother Jones, Newsweek, NPR, Smithsonian, Scientific American, Slate, The Atlantic, Nature, and The Guardian, among other publications. She was a 2018 Poynter Fellow in Journalism at Yale University and has received the 2019 John P. McGovern Award for Excellence in Biomedical Communication, the 2014 Leadership Award from the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics, and the 2013 Byron H. Waksman Award for Excellence in the Public Communication of Life Sciences. She lives in Atlanta.


Sarton Memorial Lecture in the History and Philosophy of Science

The Indigenous/Science Project: Collaborative Practice as Witnessing

Wylie is a philosopher of science whose abiding interest is in how we know what (we think) we know in fields that operate under non-ideal circumstances. Her philosophical analyses are case-based, chiefly concerned with archaeological practice and feminist research in the social sciences, and address such questions as what counts as evidence, how we should understand ideals of objectivity given the role of values and interests in inquiry, and how we make research accountable to the diverse communities it affects. Recent publications include Material Evidence (2015) and Evidential Reasoning in Archaeology (2016), articles on feminist standpoint theory, cultural appropriation, and the ethics and politics of collaborative research practice. She is past president of the American Philosophical Association (Pacific Division) and current president of the Philosophy of Science Association, and she holds a Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of the Social and Historical Sciences.

Saturday, February 15 at noon


AI Advances and Aspirations

Dr. Eric Horvitz is a technical fellow and director of Microsoft Research Labs. His lifelong curiosity about brains and minds has fueled his pursuit of principles of computational intelligence. Beyond theory, he has worked to field AI advances in the open world, with the joint goals of exploring the behavior of systems in realistic settings and of developing applications that can enhance the quality of peoples’ lives. He received the Feigenbaum Prize and the Allen Newell Prize for contributions to the field of artificial intelligence and has been elected fellow of the AAAS, National Academy of Engineering (NAE), Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has served on advisory committees for the NSF, NIH, and National Academies of Science. He earned PhD and MD degrees at Stanford University.


Baby Brains and our Neuro-Futures

Dr. Patricia Kuhl holds the Bezos Family Foundation Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning and is Co-Director of the UW Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences. She is internationally recognized for her research on early language and brain development, for pioneering brain measures on young children, and studies that show how young children learn. She presented her work at the Clinton White House, the Bush White House, and the Obama White House. Dr. Kuhl is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Rodin Academy, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, and is a Fellow of the AAAS. Dr. Kuhl was awarded the Silver and the Gold Medal of the Acoustical Society of America, the Kenneth Craik Research Award, the IPSEN Foundation’s Jean-Louis Signoret Neuropsychology Prize, the William James Lifetime Achievement Award from APS, the George A. Miller Prize in Cognitive Neuroscience, and the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award.


Seas the Day: Science Driving Ocean and Climate Solutions

Jane Lubchenco, University Distinguished Professor, Oregon State University, is a marine ecologist with expertise in the ocean, climate change, and interactions between the environment and human well-being. She served as Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of NOAA (2009-2013) and the first U.S. Science Envoy for the Ocean (2014-2016). A member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and others, her awards include 23 honorary doctorates, NAS’s Public Welfare Medal, and NSF’s Vannevar Bush Award. She co-founded three organizations that train scientists to communicate and engage effectively: COMPASS, Leopold Leadership Program, and Climate Central. She promotes the importance of scientists embracing their social contract. She earned a B.A. from Colorado College, a M.S. from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Sunday, February 16 at noon


Quantum Cloud Computing

Kashefi is Professor of Quantum Computing at the University of Edinburgh School of Informatics and Director of Research at CNRS, Sorbonne University. She has pioneered a trans-disciplinary research environment, investigating all aspects of quantum computing and communication from application all the way to actual implementation and industrial exploitation. She is the associate director of the EPSRC Networked Quantum Information Technologies Hub and executive team leader for the Flagship Quantum Internet Alliance in charge of application development. She is co-Founder of VeriQloud, a quantum startup in security. She has been awarded the UK EPSRC established career fellowship.


Geoengineering and our Climate Future

David Keith has worked near the interface between climate science, energy technology, and public policy since ’91. He took first prize in Canada’s national physics prize exam, won MIT’s prize for excellence in experimental physics, and was one of TIME Magazine’s Heroes of the Environment. David is Professor of Applied Physics at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and founder of Carbon Engineering, a Canadian company developing technology to capture CO2 from ambient air to make carbon-neutral hydrocarbon fuels. Best known for his work on the science, technology, and public policy of solar geoengineering, David led the development of Harvard’s Solar Geoengineering Research Program, a Harvard-wide interfaculty research initiative. His work has ranged from the climatic impacts of large-scale wind power to an early critique of the prospects for hydrogen fuel. David’s hardware engineering work includes the first interferometer for atoms, a high-accuracy infrared spectrometer for NASA’s ER-2, the development of Carbon Engineering’s air contactor and overall process design, and the development of a stratospheric propelled balloon experiment for solar geoengineering. David teaches science and technology policy, climate science, and solar geoengineering. He has reached students worldwide with an edX energy course. David is author of >200 academic publications with total citation count of >13,000. He has written for the public in op-eds and A Case for Climate Engineering. David splits his time between Cambridge, Massachusetts and Canmore, Alberta.


Transgender Children

Dr. Kristina Olson received her BA from Washington University in St Louis in 2003 and her PhD from Harvard University in 2008. She began her faculty career at Yale University before moving to the University of Washington where she is now a professor of psychology. Dr Olson studies early social cognition, with a recent focus on early gender development in transgender, gender nonconforming, and intersex youth. Her work has been supported by the National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, and the Arcus Foundation. She was a 2018 winner of the National Science Foundation’s Alan T Waterman Award and is a current MacArthur Fellow.

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