Go to Content
Columbia College Chicago
Science and Math Colloquium Series
Print this PageEmail this Page

Science and Math Colloquium Series

The Science and Mathematics Colloquium Series invites distinguished speakers from science and mathematics disciplines to present current, exciting scientific research to Columbia College faculty, staff, and students, as well as Chicago's South Loop community. Talks are intended to introduce a general audience to a wide variety of important advances in science and math, their potential applications, and public policy implications. Reflecting the arts emphasis at Columbia College, select talks examine the intersections among science, math, art, and the media.

All lectures are free and open to the public. A brief reception will precede each talk in the Ferguson Auditorium Lobby.

Spring 2014


 

Wednesday March 12, 2014
5:00 – 6:00 P.M.
Ferguson Auditorium
600 S. Michigan Ave., 1st Floor

Dr. Michael Coates, Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, University of Chicago

“The Incompleat Angler: Fishing in the Paleozoic”

The vast majority of living vertebrates are gnathostomes: jawed fishes of one kind or another including ourselves.  Today’s gnathostomes can be divided into the bony fishes (spanning Rahm Emanuel, Asian carp, and all points in between), and the cartilaginous fishes (sharks, rays, and ratfishes).  The last common ancestor that you, me, and major Chicago political figures, shared with a great white shark lived more than 423 million years ago.  What was it like?  Furthermore, at what point did some more recent ancestor emerge on land?  The aim of this talk will be to introduce some of the more recent data and methods used to investigate our deep evolutionary past, and how this sheds light on a number of issues ranging from genomics to the historical influence of extinctions on modern biodiversity.


Wednesday April 9, 2014
5:00–6:00 P.M.
Ferguson Auditorium
600 S. Michigan Ave., 1st Floor

Dr. Ruth Ann Armitage, Department of Chemistry, Eastern Michigan University

“Colors of the Past: Archaeological Chemistry of Natural Dyes ”

Color fascinates us, and has for millennia.  From the vibrant mineral colors of Paleolithic rock art to the development of mauvine, chemistry and color are inseparable.  Archaeological evidence indicates that humans may have used plants as much as 30,000 years ago to give color to fibers.  Ancient dyers were the earliest experimental chemists, preparing natural dyes from plants, shellfish, and insects.  These dye sources can often be identified by their telltale molecules.  The Armitage group at Eastern Michigan University works in collaboration with museums and archaeologists to identify these molecules today in textiles, lake pigments, and manuscripts using mass spectrometry methods.


Wednesday April 23, 2014
5:00–6:00 P.M.
Ferguson Auditorium
600 S. Michigan Ave., 1st Floor

Dr. Timothy McCaskey, Department of Science & Mathematics, Columbia College Chicago

“Education as a two-way information highway:  how research helps physics instructors and students learn from each other”

Students often see their learning in high school or college (especially lectures) as a process where the knowledge of the instructor is transmitted to their heads or notebooks in a one-way fashion.  The push for interactivity in instruction is growing, as is the need to know what information and attitudes students bring into the classroom.  Many scientific and mathematical fields now have discipline-based researchers dedicated to the study of learning.  Physics education research (PER) practitioners assess student learning in physics and use that data to design engaging and effective labs and activities.  In this talk, I will show how the study of student surveys, interviews, and even “cheat sheets” informs instructors on how best to promote conceptual learning and positive beliefs about science.  I will also show off some interactive demonstrations informed by PER, so come prepared to watch and discuss them!