Friday, April 4, 2014

Late Addition to Chem Seminar Schedule!

Marcus Trygstad, Ole class of 1978, will be speaking this afternoon on
From Beakers to Barrels and Power Points to Patents: Applying Chemistry to Automate Industry

Trygstad is a Business Development Manager at Advanced Analytical Solutions in Houston, Texas. RNS 310, 3:00 treats, 3:15 seminar

Thursday, April 3, 2014

"Big Data" Science Symposium Schedule

Chemistry majors can earn seminar credits for each talk on Friday.  Look for a faculty member with seminar cards as you enter the room.  

Thursday, April 10

7 p.m. Panel Discussion

Getting Started With Big Data: A Conversation with Four Innovators

Many of us don’t have a clue what “Big Data” really means, but fortunately we have four innovators in the field of Big Data who can help us learn more about it. The panel discussion will be moderated by Professor of Computer Science Dick Brown.


  • Katherine Yelick, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California–Berkeley and Associate Laboratory Director for Computing Sciences at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • George Djorgovski, Professor of Astronomy at the California Institute of Technology
  • Stephanie Hampton, Director of the Washington State University Center for Environmental Research, Education, and Outreach (CEREO) and Professor, School of the Environment, Washington State University
  • Francis Harvey, Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Minnesota

Friday, April 11

2:45 p.m. Music by Musika Nova

3 p.m. Introduction and Welcome

Anne Walter, Professor of Biology, and the Paul and Mildred Hardy Distinguished Professor of Science at St. Olaf

3:15 p.m. “Big Data and the Future for Ecology”       

(Chemistry majors can earn 1 seminar credit for this talk)

Stephanie Hampton, Director of the Washington State University Center for Environmental Research, Education & Outreach, Professor, School of the Environment, Washington State University
The need for sound ecological science has escalated alongside the rise of the information age and “big data” across all sectors of society. Big data generally refers to massive volumes of data not readily handled by the usual data tools, and presents unprecedented opportunities for both advancing science and informing resource management through data-intensive approaches. The “Big V’s” of big data are Volume, Velocity, and Variety. There is no question that ecology is a poster child for the “Variety” that presents both challenges and opportunities in data-intensive science. Ecological data are highly heterogeneous and widely dispersed. These scattered data capture many of the details of natural history and the ecological process that are not represented in the higher volume data streams more commonly included in big data discussions. Our collective ability to successfully overcome these diverse data challenges is critical to providing sound scientific advice that promotes sustainable human societies.

4:30 p.m. “Evolving Science in Cyberspace”

(Chemistry majors can earn 1 seminar credit for this talk)

George Djorgovski, Professor of Astronomy at Caltech
Science, scholarship, and education are being profoundly transformed by advances in computation and information technology. Much of the scholarly work, including gathering of data, tools for exploration and theoretical modeling, literature, and collaboration tools, are now moving to virtual environments. The exponential growth of data volumes and the simultaneous increase in data complexity offer new scientific opportunities as well as new challenges for knowledge discovery in massive and complex data sets and data streams that are common to all sciences. These challenges are not simply technological: many aspects of this shift are deeply intellectual, striking at the core of how we discover and understand natural phenomena. We are thus now developing new methodologies for the scientific research in the 21st century. At the same time, we see an accelerated co-evolution of science, technology, and society.

7:15 p.m. Music by Musika Nova

7:30 p.m. “More Data, More Science, and … Moore’s Law?”

(Chemistry majors can earn 1 seminar credit for this talk)

Katherine Yelick, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of California–Berkeley and Associate Laboratory Director for Computing Sciences at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
The terms “high-performance computing” and “computational science” have become nearly synonymous with modeling and simulation, and yet computing itself is as important to analyzing experimental data as it is to evaluating theoretical models. Due to the exponential growth rates in detectors, sequencers, and other observational technology, data sets are outstripping the storage, computing, and algorithmic techniques available to individual scientists. Along with simulation, experimental analytics problems will drive the need for increased computing performance, although the types of computing systems and software configurations may be quite different. I will describe some of the opportunities and challenges in extreme data science and its relationship to high performance modeling and simulation. My favorite challenge is the development of high performance, high productivity programming models. In both simulation and analytics, programming models are the “sandwich topic,” squeezed between application needs and hardware disruptions, yet often treated with some suspicion, if not outright disdain. But programming model research is an exemplar of interdisciplinary science, requiring a deep understanding of applications, algorithms, and computer architecture in order to map the former to the latter. I will use this thread to talk about my own research interests, how I selected various research topics and the importance of teams and even complete communities of researchers when addressing one of these problems.

8:30 p.m. Closing Remarks

Anne Walter

Friday, May 2

Formal Poster Session

Tomson Hall Atrium
Students will present project results from work covering a variety of subjects in the natural sciences and mathematics.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Contest for Students Who Have Experience Conducting Basic Research

PBS NewsHour contest running through March 14 asks students to share their reasons for spending hours in the lab. What excites you? What frustrates you? What keeps you up all night? Share your story of conducting basic research with a short video—on  Vine, Instagram or YouTube. PBS will post some of the best on their website and they might even visit your lab to learn more. Tweet the link to your entries using #chem_amb and drop a note on the Chemistry Ambassadors Facebook page!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

"Tackling Problems in Sustainable Energy", Melanie Sanford Ph.D.

"Tackling Problems in Sustainable Energy" by Professor Melanie Sanford.  

Dr. Sanford  is currently both the Moses Gomberg Collegiate and the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Chemistry at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and is the recipient of the 2011 MacArthur (genius) Award. 

Her talk is aimed at a general audience and should be of interest to anyone who would like to learn more about how questions of sustainability intersect with fundamental questions in chemistry.  Dr. Sanford will address some of the most important global challenges in sustainability, with a particular focus on sustainable sources of energy. Specifically, she will describe her own efforts toward the development of (1) methods for more efficient utilization of fossil resources, (2)  methods to recycle carbon dioxide such that it can serve as a raw material for the production of fuels and chemicals, and (3) electrical energy storage devices that maximize grid scale utilization of solar and wind resources.

To learn more about Dr. Sanford's career please visit her webpage at:

Event details:
Leraas Lecture: Tackling Problems in Sustainable Energy
                Date: March 6th
                Time: 6:45 pm
          Location: RNS 150
An informal reception with refreshments will be held after the lecture from 8:00-9:00 pm

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Job opportunity

Become an Environment America Fellow: Fight for a green future. Learn what it takes to win.

My name is Hanna Terwilliger.  I’m the Clean Energy Associate at Environment Minnesota.  We’re a statewide citizen based environmental advocacy group.  We’re about clean energy, clean air, clean water, and protecting open spaces – for example, right now we’re working hard to stop industrial agricultural pollution from harming our rivers and lakes. And, we’re hiring!

To learn more and apply, visit Our early application deadline is Sunday, March 2nd. We’ll also be at the Minnesota Private Colleges Jobs and Internship Fair on February 19th!

Environment Minnesota is part of the Environment America federation, a federation of 29 state-based groups with nearly 100 professional staff and more than 1 million members, activists and allies across the country.

Each year, we hire graduating seniors with the passion, the commitment and the talent it takes to stand up to polluting industries, fight for a green future and do what it takes to win.

Our Fellowship Program is a two-year crash course in the nuts and bolts of environmental activism, organizing, advocacy and the type of institution-building that can sustain long-term battles.

As a fellow, you’re not just learning how to make an impact; you’re making one. If you want to hear more straight from our current fellows, we put together a short video for you. You’ll find it on our website here.

After two years as a fellow, you’ll have learned the ropes, gained invaluable hands-on experience and you’ll have made a real difference for the environment.  Hear from two former fellows about the work they're doing now to fight fracking here.

To learn more and apply, visit Our early application deadline is Sunday, February 16th.

And if you’re not graduating this year, you should apply to be an Environment Minnesota intern – you’ll learn how to make an impact on critical environmental issues, and there’s no better way to get the experience to launch your career with us.

I look forward to hearing from you!

-Hanna Terwilliger ‘13

PS- you can help us protect Minnesota waterways right now by signing our petition to Governor Dayton to limit pollution from big agribusiness.  

Friday, February 7, 2014

Summer Undergraduate Internships in Computational Systems Biology

University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute

We are looking for up to two Interns for the summer of 2014 to help with an NSF-funded project developing a computational and bioinformatics workflow framework for systems biology data analysis, with an emphasis on data derived from mass spectrometry-based proteomics. We are seeking applicants with an interest in working at the interface between biology and computation. Some experience in computer science is preferred, but not required. Interns will receive a stipend to cover living expenses. Internships are envisioned for 8-10 weeks, starting in June, 2014, although exact start and end dates are flexible. All work will be conducted at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus. More information on the project can be found at:
Interested applicants should send: 1) A short (2-page maximum) personal statement describing their interest in computational biology; 2) at least one letter of recommendation; and 3) an updated copy of their transcript to

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Texas Marine Science Institute REU Summer Research Opportunity

           The program directors are looking for eight talented undergraduates who are dedicated, detail-oriented, hardworking and interested in marine science. The program includes ten weeks of research, seminars and workshops, culminating in a symposium where the students will present their research and accomplishments. It runs from June 2nd - August 8th, 2014.
Students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. and its possessions. Students will receive a stipend of $5,000 for the ten-week program, full room and board, a research allowance and a travel allowance.
            Applications will be accepted March 7, 2014. Required application materials include an online application, unofficial transcripts, professor recommendation forms and recommendation letters from two professors. Interested applicants can check out our website at, or contact Dr. Deana Erdner or Dr. Ben Walther at