Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Science will host its 2020 “Frontiers in Science” series with seven different lectures on Fridays, beginning Jan. 17 through April 3. All lectures are free and open to the public.

‘How Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are Redefining Neuroscience’ with Michael Smirnov, Ph.D.
Friday, Jan. 17 at 4 p.m.
FAU General Classroom North, Room 102 

Michael Smirnov, Ph.D., is a neutral data scientist at the Max Plank Florida Institute. Over the past decade, new image analysis tools have emerged for studying the networks, circuits, and synaptic connections in the brain. As data volume grows exponentially, manual analysis becomes an impossible task on researchers looking to shed insight on the structure and function of subcellular brain regions. In order to tackle this big data struggle, novel analyses leveraging the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning are being developed and applied around the world.


‘The Secret Lives of Glaciers’ with M Jackson, Ph.D.
Friday, Jan. 24 at 6 p.m.
FAU General Classroom North, Room 102
*Ticket registration required*

Geographer, glaciologist, National Geographic Emerging Explorer and TED Fellow M Jackson, Ph.D., studies and writes about glaciers, people and climate change. In this talk, Jackson will explore the fascinating geography of glaciers on this planet. Based on more than a decade of research in the Arctic, she shares many localized stories of what happens to an Icelandic community as their local glaciers disappear. Jackson’s talk shows how ice influences people just as much as people influence ice – and what all of us can do to move into a future with healthy glaciers and healthy communities.

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‘From Fast to Ultra-Fast: The Biological World of Extreme Movement’ with Sheila Patek, Ph.D.
Friday, Feb. 7 at 4 p.m.
FAU General Classroom North, GN 102

Sheila Patek, Ph.D., is a biologist who works at the interface of evolution and physics. Many mantis shrimp end their raptorial strikes with nanosecond-scale, imploding cavitation bubbles that emit heat equivalent to the surface of the sun. However, in order to get to that energetic feat, they begin their raptorial strike with a slow and forceful muscle contraction that lasts hundreds of milliseconds. Each stage of energy transformation – from muscle contraction to implosion – span durations equivalent to the order of magnitude difference between one year and one second.  The extraordinary cascade of energy flow and control in mantis shrimp strikes has accompanied their evolutionary diversification to capture fish and crush snails, as well as their ritualized behaviors to ensure non-lethal fights. The biomechanical, behavioral, and evolutionary insights from these strikes have stimulated a vibrant interdisciplinary field of materials and robotics, as well as considerable interest from the public because of the dynamism of these animals.  This talk will address the intersection of biological discovery with interdisciplinary and accessible research and foster general discussion about the impacts and adventures of discovery science.

‘Digital Dinosaurs and Diseases’ with Ryan Carney, Ph.D.
Friday, Feb. 21 at 4 p.m.
FAU General Classroom North, GN 102

Join us as professor and National Geographic Explorer Ryan Carney, Ph.D., shares his work using innovative 3D technologies to research and teach about dinosaurs and diseases, from Archaeopteryx to Zika. Carney’s work brings flying dinosaurs “back to life” using X-ray imaging, computer animation, and virtual and augmented reality. His lab also develops digital tools for predicting and preventing outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases. Stick around after the talk to check out some exciting items like the HoloLens AR headset and a slide of mummified dinosaur skin.

‘Mathematical Modeling – From Combating Cancer to Mixing Materials’ with Suzanne Weekes, Ph.D.

Friday, March 6 at 4 p.m.
FAU General Classroom North, GN 102  

Mathematical and computer modelling play an important role in many fields that we may not readily think about. Suzanne Weekes, Ph.D., takes us behind the curtain to peek at interesting ways that mathematical and computer modeling are used in the real world – from making computer animation more art-directable to experimenting with theories of cancer growth to designing materials that can be later engineered.

‘Understanding the Big Bang: The Universe and Beyond Einstein’ with Ivan Agullo, Ph.D.
Friday, March 20 at 4 p.m.
FAU General Classroom North, GN 102

Our current understanding of the history of the universe rests on Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. It traces the origin to the Big Bang, where space-time ends, and physics comes to a halt. But Einstein himself recognized that the Big Bang is an artifact of applying general relativity outside its domain of validity. Learn about exciting research on how to combine general relativity with quantum mechanics to probe what really happened in the early universe, and ways to test this fascinating new paradigm using the cosmic microwave background.

‘Capturing Molecular Movies of Nanomachines with Ultrafast Spectroscopy’ with Chong-Fang, Ph.D.
Friday, April 3 at 4 p.m.
FAU General Classroom North, GN 102

Join Chong-Fang, Ph.D., for a special look inside nanomachines on molecular timescales. Using an emergent laser technology, Fang and his team have captured molecular movies during “bright” fluorescence and “dark” relaxation events like never before. We can now engineer the green fluorescent protein of jellyfish to emit from blue to red in various environments, and as a biosensor to light up fleeting calcium ions in living systems. Such ultrafast findings have propelled us to peek into the excited states and discover new molecular design principles.

For more information, contact Zach Greathouse at 561-297-3524 or