Topical Lectures

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.


Space Domain Prediction and Awareness

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.


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.


Beyond Complacency: Renewing America’s Endless Frontier

Dr. Diane L. Souvaine, Professor of Computer Science and Adjunct Professor of Mathematics, has been a member of the Tufts University faculty since 1998. She served as Vice Provost for Research from 2012-2016, Senior Advisor to the Provost from 2016-2017, and Chair of the Department of Computer Science from 2002-2009.

Elected Chair in 2018 and Vice Chair in 2016, Dr. Souvaine is in her second term on the National Science Board to which she was appointed in 2008 and 2014. She has chaired NSB’s Committee on Strategy and Budget and its Committee on Programs and Plans, and served on its Committee on Audit and Oversight, all of which provide strategic direction, as well as oversight and guidance on NSF projects and programs.


John P. McGovern Award Lecture in the Behavioral Sciences

Variation is the Norm: Darwin’s Population and the Science of Emotion

Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD, is University Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Director of the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Laboratory (IASLab) at Northeastern University, with research appointments at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)/Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on the nature of emotion from both psychological and neuroscience perspectives. Dr. Barrett has been called “the most important affective scientist of our time” and “the deepest thinker on since Darwin.”

She has published over 230 peer reviewed scientific articles and she received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award that supports exceptionally creative scientists pursuing highly innovative research, and a Lifetime Mentor Award from the Association for Psychological Science. Dr. Barrett is an elected fellow in numerous scientific societies, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Society of Canada. Her popular science book, How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain, was described as “brilliant and original”, “mind blowing”, and “a delight to read.” It was chosen as a Best Book of 2017 by Kirkus Reviews and was a semi-finalist for the 2018 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. Dr. Barrett’s next book, Seven and a Half Lessons about the Brain, to be published in November, 2019, is supported in part by a generous grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. She is currently serving as president of the Association for Psychological Science. Her TED talk has been viewed almost 5 million times.

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.


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.

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