Academic Presentations 2017

Saturday, October 28


10 a.m.–10:50 a.m.

Betsy DeVos and the US Dept of ED want school choice!  What could this mean for public schools?
by Marya Levenson, Olin-Sang 101
This session will focus on the shifting roles among local school districts and state and federal governments.  Since Betsy DeVos has a long history of advocating for choice (including for-profit charter schools and vouchers), we’ll look a little at research about how effective choice has been in improving schools.  We'll also think about the impact the federal government and private funds/regulations can have on different school districts.

Alien Technology 101
by Jane Kondev, Gerstenzang 123
The inside of a living cell is bustling with activity. Many different protein machines perform a variety of functions such as the reading of genetic information, or the transport of molecules between different parts of the cell. Protein machines in cells are very different from man-made ones as Brownian motion, the constant agitation of proteins by water and other small molecules, plays a critical role in the way they function. Brownian motion makes protein machines behave randomly and unpredictably, which can produce random behavior of the cell as a whole. In this presentation, based on the material we cover in my first year seminar “Nature’s Nanotechnology” I will discuss recent discoveries on this exciting frontier of science, which straddles physics, chemistry and biology.

Hamilton: The Politics of Default, Bailouts and the Power of the Purse in the Aftermath of the American Revolution
by George Hall, Schwartz Auditorium
You've seen the musical (OK -- maybe you've just listened to the soundtrack). Now learn about the economics behind how Alexander Hamilton solved a fiscal crisis, kept our nation from coming apart, and created a financial system that set the U.S. on its path to becoming a superpower.


11 a.m.–11:50 a.m.

An excursion into the strange world of singular geometry
by Ruth Charney, Olin-Sang 101
Have you noticed when walking down the street that a gradual rise or dip in your path causes no problems, but a sudden, jagged one can lead to trouble?  The same is true in mathematics!  In this talk, we take a peek at the mind-bending geometry of singular spaces and their applications.

The Good News About Climate Change
by Sabine von Mering, Mandel G03
The news about climate change tends to be gloomy. In this presentation we will take a look at the upside and focus on solutions to the climate crisis that are not only already being implemented, but also have an abundance of positive side-effects. More importantly: You can join in and become part of the solution yourself!

A Short History of the Universe
by Jim Bensinger, Golding 110
A review of our current understanding of how the Universe evolved including a description of Brandeis' work at the Large Hadron Collider and how that relates to the story.


11:50 a.m.–1 p.m.

Lunch, Mandel Atrium

2 p.m.–2:50 p.m.

Spiritual and Religious Life at Brandeis
by Rabbi Liza Stern, Olin-Sang 101
In today's climate, the need for a spiritual center and moral compass is greater than ever, even as students are less inclined to identify as religious. During their years at Brandeis, the multi-faith chaplaincy is dedicated to enabling students to develop into their best selves with confidence and clarity. Come learn about the evolving nature of religion and the chaplaincy at Brandeis.