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Science Colloquium Lectures

Spring Series 2014

Science colloquium: Nuclear science and technology

All talks in Murdock 105, 4:10 pm, except as noted.
Refreshments available starting at 3:45 pm.

February 20, 2014  Mini-colloquia-- Introduction to science research at Linfield College:

  • How do we use our genomes? Experimental approaches to understanding gene silencing   Dr. Catherine Reinke
  • Competitive graph coloring   Dr. Chuck Dunn
  • Graphene as a gas sensor   Dr. Michael Crosser
  • Symbiosis in the Sea: Examining bacterial interactions with marine sponges   Dr. Jeremy Weisz

February 27, 2014  From radioactivity to quark-gluon plasma: an overview of nuclear physics.  Dr. Joelle Murray, Physics Department, Linfield College
Abstract: Nuclear technologies span many areas of modern life, such as warfare, energy, and medicine. But where did all of these technologies and more originate? Beginning with the discovery of radioactivity through current areas research, nuclear physics has a long history of surprising, fundamental, and useful discoveries. This history provides a convenient framework for understanding what we know about nuclear physics, how that knowledge was developed, and the open questions being asked today.

March 6, 2014  Legal and not-so-legal highs: emerging designer drugs.  Graham Rankin, Professor of forensic science, Marshall University
Abstract: Hallucinogenic products sold as “herbal incense” and “bath salts” have been the focus of news media and law enforcement in recent years. The composition of these products rapidly changes as legislation is enacted to limit or control their sale and distribution. This creates challenges to forensic chemists and toxicologists who are called upon to analyze such materials. Attendees will learn about these analytical and legal challenges and research underway to find solutions using a variety of instrumental techniques. Emphasis will be on 1) the analysis of such compounds as seized by law enforcement and submitted for forensic analysis; 2) recommendations of the draft SWGDRUG document on Analogs  and NIST/DEA workshop on Emerging Drugs as to definition of “analog” and testimony in court.

March 13, 2014  Science Colloquium: Evaluation and optimization of radiation doses for liver cancer patients. Kevin Kauweloa, PhD candidate, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio (Linfield ’08).
In radiation therapy, it is very complicated to destroy the whole tumor without damaging nearby healthy organs. Many radiation oncologists base their radiation-prescriptions on the patient’s unique circumstances (e.g., tumor location, size, type, etc.) and also dose tolerances for nearby healthy organs. Currently, most radiation oncologists still use the physical dose (PD) instead of the biological effective dose (BED) within their prescriptions due to the PD still being used in dose tolerances tables. This complicates treatment plan evaluation of multi-phase liver treatments when there are two or more tumors at different locations. If the BED were used, the evaluation of the effectiveness of the treatment plan would be easier, even creating possible optimizations, as will be shown in my work.

April 3, 2014  Radioactive Releases from Fukushima: Human Health and Environmental Impacts in Japan and Beyond.  Dr. Kathryn Higley, Professor of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Physics, Oregon State University
It has been three years since an earthquake and tsunami caused the accident at the Fukushima Diiachi nuclear plants.  The media has presented widely varying estimates of human health and ecologic impact.  This talk will provide an overview of the accident, the magnitude of  radioactivity released into the environment, how radiation doses are determined, and the tools used by health physicists, Radioecologists, and epidemiologists to assess impact.

April 10, 2014  Nuclear weapons dismantlement verification, Graf 100.  Dr. Glen Warren, Nuclear Physicist, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Radiation detection and nuclear sciences group.
Abstract: Nuclear weapon dismantlement verification presents a set of interesting challenges.  One needs to A) ensure personnel safety, B) ensure physical and information security, C) confirm that the weapon has certain properties, D) confirm that the weapon has been dismantled and E) have confidence in the measurement results.   The need to maintain security and have confidence in the results drives the design of the verification process.  In this talk, I will share my experience working on a project to design a system that is capable of verifying nuclear weapon dismantlement, and I will attempt to convince the audience that the successful design is less focused on the technologies of the measurements and more focused on satisfying the security and verification challenges.

Saturday Apr 19, 2014   Fourth annual Willamette-Linfield senior thesis symposium, Murdock 105, 8:30am-3 pm

April 24 2014  Next-Generation Muon g-2 Jarek Kaspar, University of Washington
Abstract: The Brookhaven muon g-2 experimental result—now more than 3 standard deviations greater than the Standard Model prediction—continues to generate significant interest. It represents one of the strongest hints of new physics.  What could this be, and perhaps more importantly, is it real? To answer this, an even more precise experiment is being constructed at Fermilab using the unique complex of accelerators associated with the so-called Intensity Frontier campaign. The E989 experiment will re-employ the original storage ring, but otherwise much of the measurement equipment, beam delivery, and key elements related to muon storage, will be new. I will describe this exciting effort, the experimental techniques, and status of the experiment.

May 1, 2014  Panel Discussion -  The Ethics of Science: Using wartime innovations in a post-war setting.
Panel members: Jeremy Weisz (biology), Brian Gilbert (chemistry), Joelle Murray (physics), Patrick Cottrell (Political Science)
Abstract: War often drives new scientific innovations, as the immediate need for both new weapons and new ways to protect ourselves, stimulates investment in scientific research.  However, the legacy of these innovations can have both positive and negative impacts on society.  For example, the Haber process for producing ammonia was instrumental in gunpowder production during World War I, and drove the significant agricultural improvements following the war.  Yet, the input of fertilizer has had major ecological impacts.