March 2-6

Monday, March 2


Title: Diversity and flexibility of visual processing in the retina

Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences  Washington University School of Medicine
Vision begins in the retina. Photoreceptors translate changes in photon flux into changes in glutamate release, the language of neurons. This signal is then processed by a diverse array of neural circuits, which parse information into spike trains of ~20 retinal ganglion cell types (RGCs). RGCs are the only output neurons of the eye and the sole source of visual information for the brain. Research in my lab is trying to decipher what RGC spike trains tell the brain about the visual world and how circuits in the retina detect the features encoded in RGC spike trains.

I will discuss three studies from my lab, which highlight the remarkable diversity of computations in the retinal circuits and reveal unexpected flexibility in their output in different lighting conditions.
RNS 410 4:00pm

MSCS Colloquium: Celebrating Women’s History Month
A showing of the documentary “Top Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of World War II”
In 1942, when computers were human and women were underestimated, a group of female mathematicians were recruited to complete secret research for the US Army. This documentary shares the little known story of the women and technology that helped win the war and usher in the modern computer age.
3:30 p.m., RNS 310 (cookies and welcome at 3:15p.m.)

Tuesday, March 3

No Seminar:

Wednesday, March 4

Physics Seminar: C3PO: Customizable Computer Coaches for Physics Online
Evan Frodermann, ’02, University of Minnesota
2:00 pm  RNS 210

Thursday, March 5

Chemistry Seminar: Natural Biomarkers for Monitoring Bioenergetics in Living Cells
Dr. Ahmed A. Heikal, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Swenson College of Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota-Duluth
Reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) is a key cofactor in energy metabolism pathways and a myriad of oxidation-reduction reactions in living cells. NADH is naturally fluorescent and its emission is rather sensitive to protein binding. As a result, NADH autofluorescence would allow for noninvasive and ultimately quantitative monitoring of energy metabolism in living cells. In this seminar, I will highlight our efforts in establishing NADH as a natural biomarker for cellular energy metabolism, mitochondrial anomalies and related health problems. Macromolecular crowding effects on enzyme binding reactions with NADH will also be discussed using a combination of both fluorescence microscopy and spectroscopy methods.
3:00 p.m. refreshments, seminar to begin at 3:15 p.m., RNS 310

Psychology Speaker
Derek Peterson, Founder and CEO of the Institute for Community & Adolescent Resiliency. ICAR-US offers education, materials, and support to individuals (adults and youth), schools, agencies, communities, and statewide organizations in their youth development related work. And specializes in three areas:

  • Creating measurable supports for each individual youth
  • Increasing caring and connection within school environments — THE critical component to ANY systemic school reform effort
  • Working to support caring and connected communities

6:30 p.m., Buntrock 143

Friday, March 6

No Seminars


Feb 16-20

Monday, February 16

Seminar: Biology in South India

Detecting leprosy, observing chital, finding coliforms, spotting a tiger, combating anemia, diabetes, and much much more…

Presented by: Angela Amoako, Eva Carlson, Tiffany Eisenbach, Lisa Koetke, Dylan Leonard, Charles Ligget, Kristen Rudberg, Ruth Wittington.

Monday February 16th
4pm in RNS 410
cookies at 3:45

Every Fall term, students from St. Olaf travel to South India to explore aspects of environmental and human health through lectures, excursions, and especially two significant research projects with local organizations active in these areas. Highlights of this semester will be presented including some of these challenging applied research projects and their outcomes. The photographs will transport us to India and its vast cultural and biodiversity.

Interested in the Program ? Please come and hear first-hand from the students. Further information provided by Anne Walter and Mike Swift, Program Advisors after the seminar.

Tuesday, February 17

No Seminar:

Wednesday, February 18

No Seminar:

Thursday, February 19

No Seminar:

Friday, February 20

Chemistry Seminar:  National Labs and Nanoscience: My rebellious year
Emily Rabe ’14

“So do you want to do industry or academia?” Starting out as a chemistry major, I thought those were my only options, until I heard about the mystical third choice of national labs. Deciding to be a bit of a rebel, I pursued that hidden third option at Argonne National Laboratory and found it to be an interesting mix of industry and academia. Continuing my rebellious streak, I abandoned the traditional branches of chemistry and joined an interdisciplinary group focusing on nanoscience for energy applications. My projects range from magnetic nanotube production and characterization to surface treatment of silica nanoparticles. I take part in the whole process: synthesis, characterization, and materials testing. I see a lot of different fields and work with a lot of different people, but remained convinced that chemists are awesome, and everybody benefits when we’re around.
3:00 p.m. refreshments and 3:15 p.m. seminar will begin  RNS 310

Feb 23-28

Monday, February 23

Seminar: Equatorial Biology / The Peruvian Medical Experience
Equatorial Biology – A group of 19 students and Alyson Center explored the biodiversity of Ecuador during the interim Equatorial Biology course.

The Peruvian Medical Experience - Considering a career in healthcare? So the 18 Oles who traveled to Peru this interim in search of service and learning.

Come hear about their experiences!
4:00 P.M. RNS 410


MSCS Colloquium: Ever wonder what mathematics is good for after college?
This colloquium is being given by the students of this January’s Mathematics Practicum.  The problems are real world problems from three different real world sponsors.  The students will present their problems (from Target, Inc., Tiger Risk, Inc. and the Town of Bridgewater), say something about the mathematical and statistical techniques they used, and be available for questions about the Math Practicum course itself.  After all, it will be offered again next January, and you might want to take it yourself!
3:15pm snack 3:30pm Colloquium, RNS 310

Tuesday, February 24

Women in MSCS: Alumnae Panel Discussion and Dessert
Come meet St. Olaf graduates who majored in mathematics, statistics, or computer science. These women are coming back to campus to share their experiences and advice about their careers. Find out about the many ways they are using their MSCS skills in their current work. Get advice about classes, internships, and everything else! Dessert will be offered!
7:00p.m., RMS 6th floor lounge

Wednesday, February 25


Thursday, February 26

Chemistry Seminar: Exploring Ligand Scaffolds for the Isolation of Stable Alkane Sigma Complexes
Dr. Jessica Demott, Texas A & M
3:00 p.m refreshments, 3:15 p.m. seminar will begin, RNS 310

Friday, February 27


Saturday, February 28

The 23rd Annual Konhauser ProblemFest Mathematics Competition
The is an annual competition for the Pizza Trophy, pitting teams from St. Olaf against teams from Carleton, Macalester, and St. Thomas. This is a really fun contest and is done in teams of up to three.
8:30 a.m. check-in, RNS 150
9:00 a.m. – 12pm, Event, lunch provided afterwards

Feb 9 – 13

Monday, February 9

NO Seminar 

Tuesday, February 10

No Seminar 

Wednesday, February 11

NO Seminar 

Thursday, February 12

No Seminar 

Friday, February 13

Chemistry Seminar: Why Visualize? Not Just a Pretty Picture
Bob Hanson, Professor of Chemistry
3:00 p.m. refreshments, 3:15 seminar will begin in RNS 310

Jan 19-23

Monday, Jan 19

No Seminar

Tuesday, Jan 20

No Seminar

Wednesday, Jan 21

No Seminar

Thursday, Jan 22

“The Making of  a Neurosurgeon or Anyone Else for that Matter!” (Lecture by Dr. Gaylan Rockswold ’62)

Thursday, January 22, 2015 in Viking Theater, Buntrock Commons


3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Lecture 

4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Conversation and Refreshments

Join Dr. Gaylan Rockswold ’62 for a one-hour lecture about his journey from the Hill to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he serves as Medical Director of the Traumatic Brain Injury Center. Dr. Rockswold is one of the country’s foremost experts on traumatic brain injury. His lecture will address how students can achieve elite performance in any field.

The lecture will be followed by a one-hour reception with Dr. Rockswold. Refreshments will be served. Plan to join us for an afternoon with this inspiring alum!

Dr. Gaylan Rockswold is Medical Director of the Traumatic Brain Injury Center at Hennepin County Medical Center. He has retired from an active clinical practice of 37 years and has cared for thousands of patients with various neurosurgical problems. Throughout his career, he has been extensively involved in mentoring and educating medical student and neurosurgical residents and has personally trained more than 70 neurosurgical chief residents who have gone on to academic and private practice.

On December 4, 2014, Dr. Rockswold received The Guiding Light Award for Generosity in recognition for his exemplary commitment to the growth of generosity for Hennepin County Medical Center.

Dr. Rockswold is Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School and is concluding a three-year service as Board Chair of the Hennepin Health Foundation. Dr. Rockswold is the foremost authority in the use of hyperbaric oxygen in traumatic brain injury and has received three prestigious National Institutes of Health grants to conduct the most advanced traumatic brain injury research.  He has been recognized by his peers as one of America’s Top Doctors in US News and World Report.

Friday, Jan 23
No Seminar

Dec 8 – 12

Monday, December 8

Chemistry Distinction Seminars
Jorden Johnson ‘15
Functionalization of silicon nitride membrane for protein immobilization

Emily Reeves ‘15
Synthesis of Hybrid PVP-Cysteine Coated Silver Nanowires
3:00 p.m. refreshments, seminar will begin at 3:15 RNS 390

MSCS Mega Menger Build-a-thon
St. Olaf will play its part in a world wide Mega- Menger Project by bringing a Level 2 Menger Sponge to life here on campus. Menger Sponge is a common example of a fractal and can be generated with a handful of simple functions, yet it is a fascinating object with infinite surface area and zero volume. In this participatory colloquium you will be introduce to the Menger Sponge, and then help build one out of paper.
3:30 p.m., RMS 6th Floor Lounge

Biology Seminar: Development and Flexibility in Wild Birds: An Eco-Immunology Approach
Biology Department Faculty Candidate
4:00 p.m., RNS 410

Tuesday, December 9

MSCS Game Night
Enjoy a fun night of playing one of your favorite games or choose a game you have not played before from the large selection, with friends and faculty.
6 p.m. – 9 p.m., RMS 6th Floor Lounge

Wednesday, December 10

Biology Seminar
Biology Department Faculty Candidate
4:30 p.m., RNS 410

Thursday, December 11

No Seminar

Friday, December 12

Biology Club Christmas Party
Take a break from your end-of-the-semester studies to enjoy some hot chocolate and cookies and the holiday spirit!
Sponsored by the Tri-Beta Officers
3:00 p.m., RNS 4th Floor Central Atrium

Dec 1 – 5

Monday, December 1

Chemistry Seminar
3:00 refreshments, 3:15 seminar will begin
RNS 390

MSCS Colloquium: CaMP
Olaf Hall-Holt Associate Professor, St. Olaf College; Eileen King, ’13; Stephen Akers, ’17
What do the Google search algorithm, Lego robots, and real-life role models have in common?  All have been part of a middle school camp here in Northfield that provides younger students with exposure to topics in mathematics and computing.  In this colloquium, everyone will get a chance to learn about the PageRank algorithm (which involves simple probability and graphs), consider paths that can lead to MSCS majors, and interact hands-on with robots! Accessible to all students.
3:30 p.m., RNS 310

Biology Seminar
Biology Department Faculty Candidate
Understanding the Role of Neurovascular Dysfunction in Cognitive Impairment and Dementia
4:00 p.m., RNS 410

Tuesday, December 2

No Seminar

Wednesday, December 3

Physics Colloquium  
Eric Hazlett, Professor of Physics, Carleton College
What’s Colder Than Cold?  
Dr. Hazlett will explain how lasers are used to take atoms at temperatures greater than 500 Kelvin, down to within billionths of a degree from absolute zero!  He will also describe the research he has done to characterize quantum interactions shifts that will allow for more precise atomic clocks, the simulation of condensed matter systems, and the prospects for trapping atoms in a hollow laser beam.
2:00 p.m., RNS 210

Thursday, December 4

No Seminar

Friday, December 5

No Seminar