Science Inspires Series

The Kopchick College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics' Science Inspires Series (SIS) is offered in collaboration with IUP's Sigma Xi chapter, an honor society of scientists and engineers that rewards excellence in scientific research and encourages a sense of companionship and cooperation among scientists in all fields.

SIS presents lectures by prominent researchers on topics interdisciplinary in nature and of interest to faculty and students from a variety of academic fields and to the general public. Every semester, the series schedules three talks by KCNSM researchers and renowned speakers.

The fall 2021 Science Inspires Series kicked off with the following talk:

"From Fulbright to Full Lockdown - Two Years of Research, Outreach, and Quarantine in Honduras"

Abstract: Join Dr. Josiah Townsend as he chronicles an experience that began as a Fulbright Scholar on one-year sabbatical abroad in Honduras, conducting herpetological research and collaborating in conservation and educational initiatives, and quickly morphed into something very different as the COVID-19 pandemic led to closed borders and martial law. From fieldwork in montane cloud forests, to research resulting in new species discovery, to life on a rural homestead under government lockdown, this two-year odyssey provides a glimpse of how truly “remote” the pandemic-driven shift to remote work ended up being, and how adversity can provide opportunity under even the most difficult circumstances.

The Science Inspires Series continues through the fall semester with the following lectures:

"Maximizing Value Through Collaboration: Lessons From Academia, Corporations, Government Labs, Small Companies, and Startups"

  • Friday, October 22, at 11:30 a.m.
  • Dr. Sumanth Swaminathan, co-founder of Vironix in Austin, TX
  • Humanities Building, Room 225 or Zoom

Abstract: Collaboration across semi-autonomous organizational functions is a regular and necessary activity in industry. In this talk, Dr. Swaminathan, himself a product of a highly interdisciplinary education, discusses several examples of successful collaborations in academia, government labs, large/small industrial organizations, and startups. Specific aspects of each example to be discussed include: 1) the process of forming a collaboration, 2) the value add of team units, 3) the diverse set of value propositions that could emerge from collaboration, 4) the unexpected and sometimes serendipitous learning opportunities inherent in collaboration, and 5) the long-term career benefits of collaborating often and early.

Student vouchers will be provided at the end of the presentation for those attending in person. Unfortunately, we cannot provide vouchers for any remote viewers.

The lecture series concludes with the final talk for the semester:

"The Search for Our Missing: Forensic Archaeology at a WWII Aircraft Crash Site in Germany"

Thursday, November 4, at 11:30 a.m.

Abstract: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency’s (DPAA) mission is to bring home our country’s lost service members from past U.S. conflicts. In this talk, Drs. Palmiotto and Chadwick talk about their experience partnering with the DPAA and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation to bring students abroad and conduct forensic archaeological field recovery on a B-24 aircraft crash site in Germany during WWII. Through the use of geophysical methods, such as ground penetrating radar, they were able to confirm the location of the crash site and strategically excavate the area in their search for personal effects or human remains.