Science Inspires Series

  • The 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 two talks by NSM researchers and one renowned speaker.

    The fall 2018 Science Inspires Series wraps up with the following distinguished lecture:

    “Gaining insight into natural and engineered systems with mathematical inverse problem”

    • Thursday, November 8, at 4:30 p.m.
    • Humanities Building, Room 225
    • Dr. Matt Parno, US Army - Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory


    Measurements of physical systems are often derived indirectly from the way the physical system interacts with environment around it.  Examples include the measurement of sea ice thickness through the strength of an electromagnetic field or the measurement of forces acting on a lock gate given observations of how the steel deforms with a changing water level. Mathematically, this type of problem can be naturally formulated as an inverse problem and can be tackled with mathematical tools from optimization and statistics. Tackling these problems statistically also allows uncertainty in the measurement to be rigorously quantified. In this talk, Dr. Parno will provide an overview of statistical inverse problems and will discuss applications in a variety of disciplines including the measurement of sea ice and the monitoring of lock gates. The presentation will be high level and motivated by real problems faced by the US Army Corps of Engineers.