April 27 – May 1

Monday, April 27

Physics Seminar: Grad School Panel
Two recent alums who are studying at the U of MN will be joined by a senior physics major.  They will talk about their experiences and answer questions about grad school.
Elliot Schmidt ’12, Lauren Snyder ’12 & Lucas Sletten ’15
7:30 pm, RNS 208

Joint Neuroscience and MSCS Seminar:
Breaking the Speech Code: A Neuroinformatic Approach
Chris Boven, UIUC
Neurophysiologists have long relied on a standard set of visualization and statistical techniques for the analysis of neural spike trains. With the rise of so-called machine learning algorithms and the availability of more powerful hardware, new approaches tothis problem are being explored which have the potential to enhance our understanding of speech and the auditory system.
3:30 pm, RNS 310

Tuesday, April 28

Mathematical Biology Senior Showcase:
6:30 pm, RNS 2nd Floor Atrium – Poster session and dessert. Senior Mathematical Biology concentrators that will be presenting are: Emily Berry, Ben Liska, Elaine Rood, Martha Sudermann, Amy Waananen and Julia Wolter.
7:00 pm, RNS 290 – Speaker: Claudia Neuhauser, University of Minnesota
The Role of Big and Small Data in the Life and Health Sciences: Big and small data are ubiquitous in the life and health sciences: We use genomics data to diagnose and treat diseases, sensor data to measure physiological variables, satellite data to track land use changes.To generate the data, we develop novel technologies. The data are probed with a variety of computational tools. Mathematical models are used to uncover mechanisms and make predictions. Mathematics and statistics provide the foundation for the models and tools. They are also a way of thinking. We will discuss a number of application areas to illustrate how mathematics and statistics play an important role in gaining a greater understanding in these various applications. Furthermore, we will discuss the importance of communicating the knowledge extracted from the data and will introduce some principles from design to facilitate communication.

Wednesday, April 29

Physics Colloquium: Guiding Cracks with Geometry
Noah Mitchell ’12, Ph.D. Candidate at University of Chicago, Department of Physics
2:00 pm, RNS 210

MSCS Game Night: St. Olaf and Carleton faculty and staff with join together for a fun, challenging epic game night!
7 – 10 pm, RMS 6th Floor Lounge

The World of the Elephant: Behavior, Ecology and Conservation – Dr. Raman Sukumar

RNS 150 4:00 PM

Elephants emerged in Africa about 6 million years ago and spread to most continents of the globe. The remarkable feature of elephants is not their large body size, but also the evolution of their complex sociality and intelligence. This has also brought them into conflict with people, which poses a major challenge to the conservation of elephants in Asia and Africa. Dr. Sukumar’s talk will cover the major ecological features of elephants in relation to their habitats, their complex social organization and behavior, their interactions with people, the exploitation of elephants for the ivory trade, and conservation dilemmas of the 21st century.

Thursday, April 30

Chemistry Distinction Seminars:
Dain Brademan ’15
The Differentiation of Cotton, Silk, and Wool Cloth Fibers via Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry
Zach Rolfs ‘15
Fiber Analysis Via Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry
William Wertjes ’15
Pending title.
6:30 p.m. in RNS 310 Refreshments will be served

“Climate Change and the Resilience of Tropical Dry Forests” – Dr. Raman Sukumar

RNS 150 4:00 PM – reception to follow 2nd floor atrium

Based on long-term research on forest ecology in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, in particular in Mudumalai, which is located in southern India, Dr. Sukumar’s talk will show how tropical dry forests have maintained their levels of tree diversity and continued to sequester carbon in spite of stresses such as fire, drought, and herbivory by large mammals such as elephants. This has implications for the stabilizing role of dry forests in a world subject to global warming and climate change.

Friday, May 1

MSCS Seminar: Raina Robeva – Sweet Briar College
Boolean Approximations of Differential Equations Models that Capture Bistability
Boolean Notwork (BN) and Finite Dynamical System (FDS) models of complex biological interactions have recently emerged as viable companions to differential equations (DE) models. Unlike DE models, FDS models do not require detailed knowledge and information about the reaction kinetics of the system. This makes them better suited in the modeling of large biological networks where many important details about the individual interactions and reactions may be unknown. FDS models provide “coarse-grained” approximations of the system’s dynamics and are qualitative in nature. Thus, it is not immediately clear whether such models are capable of capturing the multi-stability behavior exhibited by many biological systems, a feature that would generally depend on the specific values of the model parameters.  The talk will present some background on FDS models, then use the lactose (lac) operon in E. coli as a model system to introduce BN approximations of delayed DE models. The focus will be on the ability of BN models to capture the well-known bi-stability behavior of the lac operon.
3:00pm, RNS 204

Natural Science and Mathematics Honors Day Poster Session: A Celebration of Student Research

May 1st – 4:00-5:30 PM Regents 4th Floor. Posters on display all day.