We are excited to be presenting our fall Science Forum talks virtually! Science Forum is an opportunity for faculty and special guests to present their latest research to the campus community. This semester, our guests will be presenting on a wide range of research topics in the sciences. Continue reading to learn more about each speaker and details for the events! 

Wednesday, October 7, 2020 – 12:00-12:50 PST
“The Social Context of the Educational Experience” with Dr. Bryan Dewsbury from University of Rhode Island
Event details here!  

Schmid College welcomes Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Dr. Bryan Dewsbury from the University of Rhode Island. In this discussion, Dr. Dewsbury will explore the demographic data of students in an introductory biology course and the relationship between this data and their academic performance. He will also discuss how classroom strategies particularly inclusive practices can mediate that relationship in specific ways. Ideas for context-specific adjustments and long-term planning will also be explored. 



allegra liberman-martinWednesday, November 11, 2020 – 12:00-12:50 PST
“Metal-Free Catalysts for Organic and Polymer Synthesis” with Dr. Allegra Liberman-Martin, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Event details here!  

Schmid’s own Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Allegra Liberman-Martin will share her current research! Chemical catalysis is involved in over 80% of industrial chemical production, and many current catalytic processes rely on expensive and rare metal catalysts. Dr. Liberman-Martin’s research group explores new metal-free compounds as inexpensive and earth-abundant catalysts for the synthesis of organic molecules and polymers. In this talk, her investigation of catalysts based on carbon or germanium in unusual oxidation states will be discussed. Insights into the mechanisms of catalysis and the relationship between a catalyst’s structure on its activity will be presented.


matt leiferWednesday, December 2, 2020 – 12:00-12:50 PST
“Fine-tuning in quantum theory” with Dr. Matt Leifer, Assistant Professor of Physics and Co-Director of the Institute for Quantum Studies
Event details here!

Schmid’s own Assistant Professor of Physics and Co-Director of the Institute of Quantum Studies Dr. Matt Leifer will share his current research about quantum theory! You have no doubt heard that quantum theory is weird.  Ideas like multiple parallel universes, instantaneous faster-than-light influences, things that do not exist until you look at them, and cats that are both dead and alive at the same time abound in popular accounts of quantum theory and are taken seriously by some researchers as well.  In light of this, can we pinpoint the fundamental feature of quantum theory that leads to its departure from the commonsense notions of classical physics?  In this talk, Dr. Leifer will argue that the answer is fine-tuning.  A theory is fine-tuned if it only agrees with the experiment for a very special choice of parameters and there is no explanation for why the parameters must take those particular values.  Problems with fine-tuning have long been recognized in cosmology and particle physics, but the idea of fine-tuning in the foundations of quantum theory is a more recent development.  He will give examples from all three fields and explain why, or whether, we should think of them as problematic. Although the ideas in this talk are quite abstract and mathematical, he will explain them in a way that requires nothing beyond high school mathematics.