Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturers, 2018–2019

Potential hosts should contact lecturers directly to book events. In making arrangements, hosts should be specific about dates, lecture topic, scope of the lecturer's visit and any special accommodations that may be called for.

Each lecturer has designated his or her topic(s) for three different types of audiences. Where more than one level is shown, the lecture can be adjusted to the needs of the audience:

  • P (Public)
    Aimed at presenting scientific issues of general concern to a public audience.
  • G (General)
    Intended for a normal Sigma Xi audience of both scientists and other scholars representing a broad range of disciplines.
  • S (Specialized)
    Aimed at scientists and students in fields that are closely related to that of the lecturer.

Paul T. Anastas

AnastasTeresa and H. John Heinz III Chair of Chemistry and the
Environment School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University 

Phone: 203-432-6165

  1. Designing a Sustainable Tomorrow (G,P)
  2. Green Chemistry and Transformative Innovation (G,P)
  3. Earth Abundant Catalysts for Water Oxidation and Lignin
    Degradation (S)

Paul T. Anastas is the Teresa and H. John Heinz III Professor in the Practice of Chemistry for the Environment. He has appointments  in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Department of Chemistry, and Department of Chemical Engineering. In addition, Prof. Anastas serves as the Director of the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale. Anastas took public service leave from Yale to serve as the Assistant Administrator for the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Agency Science Advisor from 2009-2012. From 2004 -2006, Paul Anastas served as Director of the ACS Green Chemistry Institute in Washington, D.C. He was previously the Assistant Director for the Environment in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where he worked from 1999-2004. Trained as a synthetic organic chemist, Dr. Anastas received his Ph.D. from Brandeis University and worked as an industrial consultant. He is credited with establishing the field of green chemistry during his time working for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the Chief of the Industrial Chemistry Branch and as the Director of the U.S. Green Chemistry Program. Dr. Anastas has published widely on topics of science through sustainability including eleven books, such as Benign by Design, Designing Safer Polymers, Green Engineering, and his seminal work with co-author John Warner, Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice.

Kristen Averyt (American Meteorological Society) 

President, Desert Research InstituteAvery

Lecture titles are forthcoming

Kristen Averyt, PhD serves as the eighth President of the Desert Research Institute – a recognized world leader in investigating the effects of natural and human-induced environmental change and advancing technologies aimed at assessing a changing planet. 

An active member of the international science community and an accomplished environmental scientist, Dr. Averyt comes to DRI from the University of Colorado, Boulder where she served as the Associate Director for Science for the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), which is a joint institute between NOAA and the university. 

Dr. Averyt completed her undergraduate degrees in marine science and chemistry at the University of Miami. She was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship for study in New Zealand, so subsequent to graduation, she moved to the University of Otago. There, she studied the inorganic chemistry of New Zealand freshwater lakes, earning a Master of Science (with distinction) in chemistry in 1999. 

Upon returning to the U.S. in 2000, Dr. Averyt began graduate school in the Geological and Environmental Sciences Department at Stanford University. Inspired by her experience in New Zealand, she focused her research on understanding the interplay between climate and ocean chemistry. She developed a novel geochemical proxy and used it to reconstruct ocean chemistry during significant climatic events over the last 120 million years. 

In 2003, Dr. Averyt was awarded a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellowship at the National Academies. It was during this time, while embedded within the Polar Research Board in Washington D.C., that she realized her desire to help connect science with society. Thus, after successfully defending her Ph.D. in late 2004, Dr. Averyt applied for and was awarded the prestigious NOAA Knauss Sea Grant Fellowship, which brought her back to Washington to work in the U.S. Senate. 

In late 2005, Dr. Averyt took on a new, international science leadership role, moving to Boulder, Colorado to begin working as part of a small team supporting Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). As a member of this team, she was one of many scientists who shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the IPCC. 

After completion of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report process, she shifted her focus toward connecting science with society at the regional scale. In 2008, she was hired as a research scientist with the Western Water Assessment (WWA), a program within CIRES. Soon after beginning her term, Dr. Averyt became the Deputy Director of the program. It was during her time with WWA that she began to develop her energy-water nexus research portfolio. 

In March 2012, Dr. Averyt was asked to step in as the Acting Associate Director for Science of CIRES. She accepted the position permanently several months later and served in that role in the CIRES Senior Administration until July 2017. Dr. Averyt also served as the Director of WWA from early 2013 until October 2014. 

Throughout her career, Dr. Averyt has received several awards and honors and she is very active in the science community on numerous boards and committees. She was a lead author on the Third U.S. National Climate Assessment, and was recently named a lead author for the coming Fourth Assessment. She is a non-resident Senior Policy Fellow of the American Meteorological Society, and engages regularly with stakeholders interested in bringing science to bear on societal issues from the local to national to international scales. 

Robbin Chapman 

Associate Provost and Academic Director of Diversity and InclusionRobbin Chapman Photo
Wellesley College
Phone: 781-283-3511

  1. STEM and non-STEM Disciplines: Are They Mutually Exclusive? (P, G)
  2. Diversity and Inclusion in the Learning Enterprise: Implications for Learning Technologies (G)
  3. Rendering the Invisible Visible: Student Success in Exclusive Excellence STEM Environments (G, S) 

Dr. Robbin Chapman is Associate Provost and Academic Director of Diversity and Inclusion, and Lecturer, Education Department at Wellesley College. Her designed-based course, EDUC/CS 322: Learning and Teaching in a Digital World, is where students reimagine learning in partnership with computational technologies. Her students have presented at various conferences, including the College’s Digital Scholarship Day. Dr. Chapman earned her S.M. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research interests include designing computational tools for learning in public spaces and culturally-responsive pedagogy. Publications include the book, The Computer Clubhouse: Constructionism and Creativity in Youth Communities, and chapters in Social Capital and Information Technology, Communities of Practice: Creating Learning Environments for Educators, Wiley Handbook of Learning Technology, and the forthcoming Injecting Multidisciplinary Perspectives of Race and Gender for Diversification in STEM. Dr. Chapman is regional liaison, Ford Foundation Fellowship Program, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 

Andrew Cleland 

ClelandJohn A. MacLean Sr. Professor for Molecular Engineering Innovation and Enterprise, University of Chicago
Phone: 773-834-9182

  1. Mechanical Systems in the Quantum Regime (G)
  2. Building a Quantum Computer (G)
  3. Transitioning Scientific Research to a Startup Company (P)

Andrew Cleland is an expert on experimental quantum systems. His focus is on the application of superconducting circuits to quantum computation and quantum measurement; the development of nanoscale devices integrating electronic, mechanical and optical fields, with a goal for operation at the quantum limit; and the development of microfluidic technology for practical applications, with a focus on high-throughput nanoparticle analysis. Among his notable accomplishments are: Putting a mechanical system in its quantum ground state, and then performing quantum control experiments that created a single quantum excitation as well as an entangled state; placing and then measuring an electromagnetic resonator in a and controlled quantum state, including the digital synthesis of complex photon superpositions; building a nanomechanical electrometer; and the experimental implementation of surface codes, which may form the basis for a fault-tolerant quantum computers. He also is a founder of Spectradyne LLC, a startup company pioneering the microfluidic-based detection and measurement of nanoparticles in fluid. Prof. Cleland completed his undergraduate and graduate studies in Physics at the University of California at Berkeley, pursued postdoctoral studies at the Centre D'Etudes of Saclay France as well as at the California Institute of Technology, then joined the faculty at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He is now the John A MacLean Professor at the University of Chicago, the Director of the Pritzker Nanofabrication Facility, and Staff Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory.

James P. Collins


Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Natural History and the Environment
Arizona State University
Phone: 480-965-4578

  1. Extinction in our times: Global amphibian decline   (P, G, S)
  2. Altering nature with gene drives—We can. But should we?   (P, G, S)
  3. Science education in a rapidly changing political, cultural, and economic landscape   (G, S)

Professor Collins’s B.S. is from Manhattan College and his Ph.D. is from the University of Michigan. He studies host-pathogen biology and its relationship to the decline and extinction of species, the intellectual and institutional factors that have shaped Ecology's development as a discipline, as well as Ecological Ethics. Dr. Collins was chair of ASU’s Biology Department, Director of the Population Biology and Physiological Ecology program at NSF, and head of the Biological Sciences Directorate at NSF. He is a Fellow of AAAS, a Fellow of the Association for Women in Science, and Past President of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. Professor Collins served as chair of the Board of Directors for the Association of American Colleges and Universities. He is currently chair of the Board on Life Sciences of the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Dr. Collins is the author of numerous peer reviewed papers and book chapters and co-author with Martha Crump of Extinction in Our Times. Global Amphibian Decline.

Lisa D. Cook

CookAssociate Professor, Department of Economics, Michigan State University
Phone: 517-432-7106

  1. The Idea Gap in Pink and Black: Explaining Differences in Patenting Outcomes (G,S)
  2. Where Did All the African American Inventors Go? (P,G)
  3. Violence and Economic Growth: Evidence from African American Patents, 1870–1940 (P,G,S)

Lisa D. Cook is an Associate Professor of Economics and International Relations at Michigan State University. She was the first Marshall Scholar from Spelman College and received a second B.A. in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from Oxford University. She earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley with fields in macroeconomics and international economics. Prior to this appointment, she was on the faculty of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and was a National Fellow at Stanford University. Dr. Cook is the author of a number of published articles, book chapters, and working papers. Among her current research interests are economic growth and development, innovation, financial institutions and markets, and economic history. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Bureau for Economic Research, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Economic History Association, among others. She is currently Co-Director of the American Economic Association Summer Program and was President of the National Economic Association from 2015 to 2016. During the 2011-2012 academic year, she was on leave at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and has had visiting appointments at the National Bureau of Economic Research, the University of Michigan, and the Federal Reserve Banks of New York and Chicago. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation of the Smithsonian Institution, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is a guest columnist for the Detroit Free Press and a regular contributor on MSNBC. She speaks English, French, Russian, Spanish, and Wolof.

James T. Costa

CostaExecutive Director, Highlands Biological Station, and Professor of Biology,
Western Carolina University

  1. Origin of the Origin: A Primer to Charles Darwin’s ‘One Long Argument’ (P, G)
  2. Indefatigable Naturalists: Wallace and Darwin On the Evolutionary Trail (P, G)
  3. The Consilient Mr. Wallace: Evolutionary Insights from Alfred Russel Wallace's 'Species Notebook' of 1855-1859 (G, S) 
  4. Beyond Selfish Herds: A Caterpillar’s-Eye-View of Social Evolution (G, S)
  5. Social Evolution in Arthropods: Lessons from the Other Insect Societies (P, G, S)

    James T. (Jim) Costa has served as Executive Director of the Highlands Biological Station in the Blue Ridge Mountains since 2005, prior to which he was full time faculty in the Biology Department at Western Carolina University beginning in 1996.  Jim earned his BS in biology at SUNY Cortland, and completed his graduate work in entomology and population genetics at the University of Georgia.  He is a long-time Research Associate of Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology, where he was a Postdoctoral Fellow, has held the H. F. Robinson Chair in Biology at Western Carolina University, and has been awarded Fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (Harvard) and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Germany) among other awards.  His research interests include social evolution and the history of evolutionary thinking.  As an entomologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science, Jim has authored dozens of research papers and five books.  The Other Insect Societies (HUP, 2006) is Jim's homage to the lesser-known weird and wonderful forms of social life found among insects and their ilk.  His work in the history of evolutionary biology includes The Annotated Origin (HUP, 2009) and two books on the naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, the renowned tropical explorer, founder of modern biogeography, and co-discoverer with Darwin of evolution by natural selection.  On the Organic Law of Change (HUP, 2013) is an annotated transcription of Wallace's Species Notebook, documenting the naturalist's evolutionary speculations and explorations of the Indonesian archipelago in the 1850s.  The companion volume Wallace, Darwin, and the Origin of Species (HUP, 2014) traces Wallace and Darwin's parallel quests to solve the mystery of species origins, and examines the complex relationship between these giants of evolutionary biology.  Jim's forthcoming book Darwin's Backyard: How Small Experiments Led to a Big Theory is due to be published by W. W. Norton in 2017.  Jim lectures widely in the US and Europe, for many years co-instructed Harvard’s Darwin summer program at the University of Oxford, and is a regular leader-lecturer with the Harvard Alumni Association / Harvard Museums of Science and Culture travel program.

    Aaron Dominguez

    Dean, School of Arts and SciencesDominguez
    The Catholic University of America

    Phone: 202-319-5115

    1. The Higgs Boson (P, G, S)
    2. Science, Technology, and Faith (P, G)

    Dr. Aaron Dominguez joined the School of Arts and Sciences from his previous position as the Associate Dean for Research and Global Engagement and a Full Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Dr. Dominguez, whose area of research is experimental high energy physics, has a strong history of research and grant activity, including a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER grant, continuous funding for the past twelve years, and a recent cooperative agreement with the NSF for $11.5 million. As part of this award, Dr. Dominguez led a team that included researchers from ten universities in the construction of the next generation of particle detectors for the group’s Compact Muon Solenoid experiment at the Large Hadron Collider operated by the CERN Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland.

    Lola Fatoyinbo


    Earth Scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
    Phone: 202-746-1794

    1. Global Forests and Earth’s Climate: 4-Dimensional Data from New Satellite Constellations (G,S)
    2. Tree-hugging Meets Rocket Science: Space-age Estimation of Forest Carbon Stocks (G,P,S)
    3. Swamps, Sea level Rise, and Climate: Insights from High Resolution Remote Assessment of Coastal Carbon (G,S)

    Lola Fatoyinbo received the Ph.D. degree in environmental sciences from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA, in 2008. From 2008 to 2009, she was a Postdoctoral Candidate in Radar Remote Sensing with the California Institute of Technology/NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Since 2010, she is a Research Scientist with the Biospheric Sciences Laboratory, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, USA. Her research interests include applications of synthetic aperture radar polarimetry, interferometry, and fusion with optical data for ecosystem science applications. She is the Principal investigator of the EcoSAR P-band airborne system, Lead scientist for the NASA AfriSAR campaign and member of the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) science team. In addition, she is the Principal or Co-Investigator of several NASA projects focusing on ecosystem structure and function. Dr. Fatoyinbo is the recipient of the 2011 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

    Tomás Jiménez

    JimenezAssociate Professor, Department of Sociology, Stanford University

    1. The Other Side of Assimilation: Immigration and the Changing American Experience (P,G,S)
    2. Immigration and the Making of Mexican America (P,G,S)

    Tomás Jiménez is Associate Professor of Sociology and Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. He is also Director of the undergraduate program in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity and Director of graduate studies in sociology.  His research and writing focus on immigration, assimilation, social mobility, and ethnic and racial identity. Prof. Jiménez's most recent book, The Other Side of Assimilation: Immigration and the Changing American Experience (forthcoming, University of California Press) examines how established individuals in the United States with no recent family history of immigration adjust to immigration driven change. His first book, Replenished Ethnicity: Mexican Americans, Immigration, and Identity (University of California Press, 2010) draws on interviews and participant observation to understand how uninterrupted Mexican immigration influences the ethnic identity of later-generation Mexican Americans. The book was awarded the American Sociological Association’s Sociology of Latinos/as Section Distinguished Book Award. Professor Jiménez has also published this research in the American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, International Migration Review, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Social Science Quarterly, DuBois Review, and the Annual Review of Sociology.

    Clifford V. Johnson

    Professor, Department of Physics and AstronomyJohnson
    University of Southern California, Los Angeles
    Phone: 213-821-1772

    1. Beyond Space and Time: Suggestions From String Theory About the Underlying Nature of Spacetime (P, G, S)
    2. Graphic Physics: Exploring Contemporary Physics with Comic and Sequential Art (P, G)
    3. Black Holes as Heat Engines: New connections between black holes and thermodynamics (G, S)

    Dr. Clifford V. Johnson is a professor in the Physics and Astronomy Department at the University of Southern California. His research (as a member of the Theory Group) focuses on the development of theoretical tools for the description of the basic fabric of Nature. Dr. Johnson has been awarded the National Science Foundation's CAREER Award (1997), the Institute of Physics' Maxwell Medal and Prize (2005), and a Simons Foundation Fellowship (2016),

    Dr Johnson spends a lot of time talking about science with members of the public in various venues. He loves helping artists, filmmakers, writers, and other shapers of our culture include science in their work in some way. He has a personal blog called Asymptotia, and writes regularly there about his research and other work.

    Isaac Krauss


    Associate Professor, Brandeis University
    Phone: 781-736-2574

    1. Combining Organic Synthesis and Directed Evolution to Design Carbohydrate HIV Vaccines (S)
    2. Designing Carbohydrate HIV Vaccines Using Molecular Evolution (G)
    3. Seeking an HIV Vaccine: What do Sugars Have to Do with It? (P)

    Isaac Krauss was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, and did his undergraduate and Ph. D. training in chemical synthesis at Stanford and Columbia University. Subsequently, he moved to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for a postdoc, where he became interested in carbohydrate vaccines against HIV. In 2008, he joined the faculty of Brandeis University and initiated research programs in synthetic organic chemistry and the use of directed evolution as a tool to design improved carbohydrate vaccines. Krauss is the recipient of an NSF CAREER award and the Waltzer Teaching prize.

    Patricia McAnany

    McAnanyKenan Eminent Professor of Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    Phone: 919-259-2702

    1. Leaving Classic Maya Cities: Investigating the Fragility of Political Structures (P,G)
    2. Maya Cultural Heritage: How Archaeologists and Indigenous Communities Engage the Past (P,G)
    3. The Archaeology of Hybridity at Tahcabo, Yucatán, México (P,G)

    Patricia A. McAnany is Kenan Eminent Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, external faculty at the Santa Fe Institute, and a senior fellow of the Pre-Columbian Program at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C. She has been the recipient of research awards from the National Science Foundation and the Archaeological Institute of America, and of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Radcliffe Center for Advanced Study at Harvard University, Dumbarton Oaks, and the Institute for the Arts & Humanities at UNC, Chapel Hill. A Maya archaeologist, she is principal co-investigator of Proyecto Arqueológico Colaborativo del Oriente de Yucatán, a community archaeology project focused on the Preclassic through Colonial community of Tahcabo, Yucatán. As Director of a UNC Program called InHerit: Indigenous Heritage Passed to Present (, she works with Indigenous communities throughout the Maya region to provide opportunities to dialogue about cultural heritage and to participate in heritage conservation. She is the author/co-editor of many journal articles and several books including Maya Cultural Heritage: How Archaeologists and Indigenous Communities Engage the Past (2016); Ancestral Maya Economies in Archaeological Perspective (2010); Questioning Collapse: Human Resilience, Ecological Vulnerability, and the Aftermath of Empire (2009) co-edited with Norman Yoffee; and Living with the Ancestors: Kinship and Kingship in Ancient Maya Society (2014, revised edition). 

    Tatyana Polenova

    Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry Polenova
    University of Delaware
    Phone: 302-831-1968

    1. Understanding Structural Biology of HIV-1 Protein Assemblies by Integrating Experimental and Computational Approaches  (G, S)
    2. The Critical Role of Natural Sciences and Science Education in Sustainable Society (P, G, S)

    Tatyana Polenova is a Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Delaware. She received her B.S. degree from Moscow State University (Russia) in 1992, and a Ph.D. degree from Columbia University in 1997. After postdoctoral position at Columbia, in 1999 she joined the faculty of CUNY-Hunter College, and in 2003 relocated to the University of Delaware. Her research focuses on understanding structure, dynamics and function of biomolecular assemblies, using magnetic resonance and computational methods. Of particular interest are i) microtubule/motor protein assemblies whose malfunction is associated with multiple diseases; ii) HIV-1 protein assemblies whose function is important in the virus pathogenicity; iii) biotechnologically relevant vanadium-containing enzymes. Her research involves development of new NMR techniques. She served as the Chair and organizer of a number of international conferences and is an Editor and editorial board member of several journals in the fields of magnetic resonance and structural biology.

    Federico Rosei 

    Professor, Director and UNESCO Chair federico_Rosei__0132
    INRS Centre for Energy, Materials and Telecommunications
    Phone: 514-228-6906

    1. Energy and Society: What type of Energy for the Future of Humanity? (P)
    2. Survival Skills for Scientists (G)
    3. Multifunctional Materials and Their Applications in Emerging Technologies (G, S)

    Federico Rosei has held the Canada Research Chair (Junior) in Nanostructured Organic and Inorganic Materials between 2003 and 2013. He is Professor and Director of Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, Énergie, Matériaux et Télécommunications, Université du Québec, Varennes (QC) Canada. Since January 2014 he holds the UNESCO Chair in Materials and Technologies for Energy Conversion, Saving and Storage and since May 2016 he also holds the Canada Research Chair (Senior) in Nanostructured Materials. He received MSc and PhD degrees from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” in 1996 and 2001, respectively. Dr. Rosei’s research interests focus on the properties of nanostructured materials, and on how to control their size, shape, composition, stability and positioning when grown on suitable substrates. He has extensive experience in fabricating, processing and characterizing inorganic, organic and biocompatible nanomaterials. He has published over 250 articles in prestigious international journals (including Science, Nature Photonics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Advanced Materials, Angewandte Chemie Int. Ed., Journal of the American Chemical Society, Advanced Functional Materials, Nanoletters, ACS Nano, Biomaterials, Small, Physical Review Letters, Nanoscale, Chem. Comm., Applied Physics Letters, Physical Review B, etc.), has been invited to speak at over 260 international conferences and has given over 200 seminars and colloquia, over 50 professional development lectures and 35 public lectures in 42 countries on all inhabited continents. His publications have been cited over 8400 times and his H index is 50. He is Fellow of numerous prestigious national and international societies and academies, including: the Royal Society of Canada, the European Academy of Sciences, the World Academy of Art and Science, the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, SPIE, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, ASM International, the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK), the Institute of Physics, the Institution of Engineering and Technology, the Institute of Materials, Metallurgy and Mining, the Engineering Institute of Canada, the Australian Institute of Physics, Honorary Fellow of the Chinese Chemical Society, Foreign Member of the Mexican Academy of Engineering, Senior Member of the IEEE, Member of the Global Young Academy and Member of the Sigma Xi Society. He has received several awards and honours, including the FQRNT Strategic Professorship (2002–2007), the Tan Chin Tuan visiting Fellowship (NTU 2008), the Senior Gledden Visiting Fellowship (UWA 2009), Professor at Large at UWA (2010–2012), a Marie Curie Post-Doctoral Fellowship from the European Union (2001), a Canada Research Chair (2003–2013), a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Award from the Alexander von Humboldt foundation (2011), the Rutherford Memorial Medal in Chemistry (Royal Society of Canada 2011), the Herzberg Medal (Canadian Association of Physics 2013), the Brian Ives lectureship award (ASM international / Canada Council 2013), the Award for Excellence in Materials Chemistry (Canadian Society for Chemistry 2014), the NSERC EWR Steacie Memorial Fellowship (2014), the José Vasconcelos Award for Education (World Cultural Council 2014), the IEEE NTC Distinguished Lectureship 2015, the Lash Miller Award (Canada Section, Electrochemical Society 2015), the Chang Jiang Scholar Award (Government of China), the Khwarizmi International Award from the Iran Research Organization for Science and Technology (IROST), the Recognition for Excellence in Leadership from the American Vacuum Society, the Selby Fellowship from the Australian Academy of Sciences, the John C. Polanyi Award (Canadian Society for Chemistry 2016), the Outstanding Engineer Award (IEEE Canada 2017) and the Sigma Xi Distinguished Lectureship (2018–2020).

    Richard Schwartz

    SchwartzChancellor’s Professor of Mathematics, Brown University
    Phone: 401-245-0026

    1. 5 Points on a Sphere (P,G,S)
    2. The Mathematics of Slicing and Reassembling (P,G)
    3. Lucy and Lily (P)

    Richard Schwartz grew up in Los Angeles. He attended UCLA from 1984-87, earning a B.S. in Mathematics. He attended Princeton University from 1987-91, earning at Ph.D in mathematics. He has been an N.S.F. Postdoctoral Fellow, a Sloan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, a Simons Fellow, and a Clay Research Fellow. He was a speaker at the 2002 International Congress of Mathematicians. He has worked in geometric group theory, discrete subgroups of Lie groups, geometric dynamics, and energy minimization. He likes to explore simply stated unsolved problems often with the aid of the computer. In his spare time, he likes drawing comic books, listening to music, cycling, programming, and spending time with his family.

    Eric E. Simanek

    Robert A. Welch Chair of ChemistrySimenek
    Texas Christian University
    Phone: 817-257-5355  

    1. Shots of Knowledge: The Science of Whiskey (G, P, S)
    2. Whiskey:  A catalyst for social change (G, P, S)
    3. Using Nano to Fight Cancer (G, P, S)
    4. Triazine Dendrimers: Versatile Scaffolds for Medicine and Materials Science (S)

    Raised in the farmland of central Illinois, Dr. Simanek grew up surrounded by corn destined for feed or alcohol.  After completing a degree in chemistry at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in 1991, he pursued graduate work at Harvard University.  Following completion of his PhD in 1996 and a post-doctoral stint at The Scripps Research Institute, Dr. Simanek joined the faculty of Texas A&M University in 1998 rising to the rank of full professor and leading the general chemistry program that serviced approximately 4000 students each semester.  In 2010, he accepted the Robert A. Welch Chair at Texas Christian University where he now serves as department chair and director of the IdeaFactory.  As a synthetic chemist, his research pursues the use of polymers (dendrimers) for drug delivery.  His book, Shots of Knowledge: The Science of Whiskey, was published in 2016 and has garnered praise and international book awards.

    Steven Usselman

    Professor of History and Chair, School of History and Sociology
    Georgia Institute of Technology

    Phone: 404-894-8718

    1. Engineering the Golden State: From Placer Mining to Silicon Valley (P, G)
    2. Technology, Law, and American Democracy: Learning from Lincoln (P, G)
    3. Coming Full Circle: R&D in Historical Perspective (P, G)

    Dr. Steven W. Usselman is Professor of History and Chair of the School of History and Sociology at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Usselman studies technology, innovation, and industrial change, with primary focus on the United States since 1820. Situating engineering and industrial research in political and economic context, his scholarship and teaching offer historical perspectives on contemporary policy issues. Usselman has published over three dozen refereed articles and book chapters, including many pertaining to IBM and the computer industry. He has twice received the Newcomen Prize for scholarship in business history and was awarded the 2004 Harold F. Williamson Medal for mid-career excellence from the Business History Conference. In 2007-2008, he served as President of the Society for the History of Technology (2007-2008). His book Regulating Railroad Innovation: Business, Technology, and Politics in America, 1840-1920 (Cambridge University Press, 2002) received the Ellis W. Hawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians and the Hilton Prize in transport history. Usselman co-edited The Challenge of Remaining Innovative: Insights from Twentieth-Century American Business(Stanford University Press, 2009) and served as senior editor for technology for The Oxford Encyclopedia of the History of American Science, Medicine, and Technology (2014). From 2003 through 2008, he was Associate Director for Research at the Georgia Tech's Sloan Center for Paper Business and Industry Studies (CPBIS). A former Hagley Fellow, Usselman received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Delaware in 1985 and earned bachelor’s degrees in History and in Bioengineering at UCSD. He is currently at work on three projects: a revision of the classic text The Rise of Big Business; an analysis of new business practices associated with changes global transport and logistics since 1945; and a study of hydraulic engineering and California industrialization during the first half of the twentieth century, focused on the centrifugal pump and its spin-offs

    Erica Zell

    ZellWind Analyst, E. ON Climate and Renewables

    1. Initiating a Solar and Wind Resource Monitoring and Mapping Program in the Middle East (G,S)
    2. Boosting International Capacity for Environmental Governance and Climate Resilience (G,S)
    3. The Art of Science Communication-Why Isn't Anybody Listening? (G,S)

    Ms. Zell has twenty years of experience performing environmental, clean energy, and climate change work, both domestically and internationally. The common thread throughout her career has been working at the intersection of science and policy, helping scientists communicate important findings in meaningful ways, and building the capacity of government and industry decision-makers to take science-based actions. Together with her colleagues, she has conducted real-time analysis of scientific data to draw attention to heat waves in India, dust storms in Saudi Arabia, and smog and wildfire events throughout the U.S. Her work has been included in The Economist and in the Scientific American guest blog. She has helped develop online information systems for renewable energy assessment, and environmental indicators to inform air quality policy and build capacity for environmental governance in countries around the world. She spent two years in the Philippines as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer working on water and sanitation, and more recently spent two years in Saudi Arabia, leading a solar and wind resource monitoring project for Battelle in collaboration with the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. She previously served as the Co-Chair of the Climate and Energy Working Group for the Earth Science Information Partnership (ESIP). She has worked with groups in Russia, Ethiopia, Senegal, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, and Thailand, among others, hosting trainings and public outreach sessions. She also has extensive experience leveraging satellite datasets within a geographic information system (GIS) to support decision-making. Ms. Zell has performed projects under contract to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA), among other clients. After obtaining her Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, her career began at EPA Region 9 in San Francisco. She currently lives in Austin, Texas.