November 2 – 6, 2015

Monday, Nov. 02

Seminar: Climate change, seasonal rainfall and plant physiology and fitness in neotropical forests
Visiting Professor Alyson Center, St. Olaf College
RNS 410 4PM

1102 climatechangeneoforests

MSCS Colloquium
: ‘Am I a Data Scientist’?
Alyssa Frazee, PhD in biostatistics from Johns Hopkins, currently with Stripe company in San Francisco
Data science is an exciting field! Most of the job hint at an appealing blend of statistics, math, programming, art, and business. “Data science” is also an ill-defined term: is it simply a tech-world rebranding of applied statistics? Is it data-oriented software engineering? Can you be a data scientist by training in some other field? Does the term even make sense? After all, Science itself wouldn’t exist without data! “The field exploded during my graduate studies in applied statistics, so in this talk, I’ll discuss what that looked like from my perspective. In particular, I will talk about how spending a summer immersed in programming and software engineering affected my mostly-academic perspective and contributed to my struggle with identifying as a “data scientist”.
RNS 310, 3:30pm / 3:15 enjoy a snack and conversation time

Statistics Grad School Night: Three panelists who are currently/recently in graduate programs in statistics or biostatistics will provide insights and answer questions such as: what is graduate school like? How does one choose a program? How does St. Olaf prepare you? What can one do with and advanced stats degree? And, is it true they really pay you to go to grad school?
RNS 206, 6:00pm pizza; Panel discussion 6:30pm – 7:30pm

Tuesday, Nov. 3

No Seminars

Wednesday, Nov. 4

No Seminars

Thursday, Nov. 05

Chemistry Seminar Necessity is the Mother of Invention: Natural Products and the Chemistry they Inspire
Dr. Sarah Reisman, Professor of Chemistry
The chemical synthesis of natural products provides an exciting platform from which to conduct fundamental research in chemistry and biology. Our laboratory has ongoing research programs targeting the chemical syntheses of several natural products, including members of the epidithiodiketopiperazines, the ent-kauranoids, and the acutumine alkaloids. The densely packed arrays of heteroatoms and sterogenic centers that constitute these polycyclic targets challenge the limits of current synthetic methodology. This seminar will describe our latest progress in both our methodological and target-directed synthesis endeavors.
RNS 310, 3:00 p.m. refreshments, seminar will begin at 3:15 p.m.

Math Grad School Night: Are you considering graduate school in pure or applied math?
Are you wondering how to choose a grad program or what the application process involves? Did you know that you can get paid to be a grad student? Come to a panel discussion with three current grad students to hear about their experiences in grad school and ask your questions.
6:30pm – 7:30pm, RMS 6th floor lounge. Pizza will be provided!

Friday, Nov. 06

MSCS Seminar: Topological data analysis of biological aggregation modelsitle
Prof. Chad Topaz, Professor at Macalester College.
Biological aggregations are groups such as bird flocks, fish schools, and insect swarms in which organisms interact socially. These groups are striking examples of emergent self-organization, and simultaneously, they have served as inspiration for the development of algorithms in robotics, computer science, applied mathematics, and other fields. Aggregations give rise to massive amounts of data, for instance, the position and velocity of each group member at each moment in time during an observation. Interpreting this data to characterize the group’s dynamics can be a challenge. To this end, we apply techniques of topological data analysis to the influential aggregation models of Vicsek et al. (1995) and D’Orsogna et al. (2006). We construe position and velocity data from numerical simulations as point clouds of data varying over time. Using a method called persistent homology, we identify topological features that persist over multiple spatial scales, and see that the topological analysis detects dynamical events that are invisible to more commonly used methods. This tutorial-style talk assumes no prior knowledge of topology.
3:30pm, RNS 204