Bernhard Science Symposium to Feature Women Scientists

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., Jan. 12, 2001 — On January 24-25, the Bernhard Science Symposium will bring to Williams College 11 women scientists to discuss their research, new trends and emerging disciplines, and careers in science and engineering.

They are

electrical engineer Eleanor Baum
computer scientist Lori Clarke
physical chemist Cynthia Friend
neurobiologist Patricia Goldman-Rakic
mathematician Concetta Gomez
biophysicist Suzanne Amador Kane
geoscientist Lynn Margulis
biochemist Julia Miwa
physicist Cherry Murray
mathematician Leanne Robertson
materials scientist Linda Schadler

The symposium will begin with a series of research talks on Wednesday, Jan. 24, in Thompson Chemistry’s Wege Auditorium, followed by a keynote address the same evening on “How to Succeed in Science and Engineering in the New Millennium,” delivered by Eleanor Baum in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall. There will be a reception to follow the keynote address. On Thursday, Jan. 25, from 9 a.m. to noon, in Griffin Hall, room 3, these scientists will participate in two panel discussions focusing on “Careers in Science and Engineering Today” and “New Trends and Emerging Disciplines.”

The keynote speaker Eleanor Baum is dean of engineering at The Cooper Union. Active in engineering education and research, she is a leader in recruitment and retention efforts to increase the number of women and minorities in the engineering profession. In addition to serving as dean of engineering, she is also executive director of the Cooper Union Research Foundation and chair of the Washington Accord, an international group dealing with mutual recognition agreements. She has worked with the National Science Foundation and other national taskforces to explore areas of cooperation and mutual recognition of credentials between American universities and universities in the People’s Republic of China, the former Soviet Union, and Japan. She received her bachelor’s degree from City College of New York and Ph.D. from Polytechnic University.

Featured Science Presentations

Professor of computer science at UMASS-Amherst, Clarke’s lecture “Making Software Safe-Your Life Depends On It!” is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Jan. 24 in Wege Auditorium. Her research focuses on concurrent software, software development environments, testing, and analysis. Her work addresses the growing size and complexity of high assurance systems. Clarke, with three of her colleagues, has developed FLAVERS, a data flow analysis system that can verify a wide range of properties as well as support incremental improvement in accuracy. She received her B.A. from the University of Rochester and her Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Colorado.

Harvard professor of chemistry Friend will discuss “Surface Chemistry and Environmental Catalysis” at 1 p.m. on Jan. 24 in Wege Auditorium. She is recognized for her research on complex reactions important in semiconductor device fabrication and heterogeneous catalysis. She has won a number of honors recognizing her research: the 1991 Garvan Medal of the American Chemical Society, the 1991 Iota Sigma Pi Agnes Fay Morgan Research Award in Chemistry, and the 1990 Distinguished Young Alumna Award from the University of California, Davis. She was a featured host scientist in the “Science in American Life” exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution.

Margulis, professor of geoscience at UMASS-Amherst, will discuss “Fossil and Live Termites: Who’s Eating the Wood,” at 2 p.m. on Jan. 24 in Wege Auditorium. She has worked on Archean and Proterozoic evolution, and her current research concerns the origin of cells and the study of life cycles. She has served as chair of the National Academy of Science’s Space Science Board Committee on Planetary Biology and Chemical Evolution, which helps develop research strategies for NASA. Margulis received her A.B. from the University of Chicago and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Murray, senior vice president of physical sciences research at Bell Labs/Lucent Technologies, will lecture on “Video Microscopy of Colloidal Phases on a Template” at 3 p.m. on Jan. 24 in Wege Auditorium. She joined Bell Labs 20 years ago, and has been director of both the low temperature physics research department and the condensed matter physics department, as well as director of physics research in the semiconductor physics department. Her current research focuses on order-disorder transitions in colloidal crystals. Murray received her B.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from MIT.

Goldman-Rakic, who is professor of neurobiology at the Yale University School of Medicine, will discuss “Opening the Mind through Neurobiology: Neuroscience in the New Millennium” at 4 p.m. on Jan. 24 in Wege Auditorium. Her research is devoted to understanding the neural basis of learning and memory with particular emphasis on the contribution of the prefrontal cortex. The objective of the studies is to elucidate the cellular and molecular basis of cognitive processes in the brain of non-human primates and to relate the findings to human mentation and mental illness, specifically schizophrenia. Goldman-Rakic’s work has been published in numerous journals, including Scientific American, Science, and the Journal of Neuroscience.

Panel Discussions

The scientists listed above will be joined by Gomez, Kane, Miwa, Robertson, and Schadler in the panel discussions “Careers in Science and Engineering Today” and “New Trends and Emerging Disciplines” on Jan. 25.

Gomez is an assistant professor of mathematics at Middlebury College. She was the recipient of the Julia Bowman Robinson Fellowship in Mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley in 1996, as well as the U.S. Department of Education Graduate Fellowship in Mathematics in 1990-91. She received her A.B. and Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of California at Berkeley.

Kane is an associate professor of physics at Haverford College. She is currently using laser tweezers to perform mechanical measurements on the polymer properties of DNA and synthetic peptides. Her work has been published in the Biophysics Journal and Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings. Kane received her B.S. from MIT and her Ph.D. in applied physics from Harvard University.

Miwa is a professor of chemistry at Wellesley College. Her research is in the area of bio-organic chemistry, applying the tools of organic chemistry to the study of biological molecules. Concentrating on proteins and peptides (small pieces of proteins), her work includes the design and synthesis of small molecules to interact with enzymes and other proteins. She received her B.A. from Haverford College and her Ph.D. from MIT.

Robertson is assistant professor of mathematics at Smith College. Robertson was the recipient of the U.S. Department of Education Fellowship at U.C. Berkeley in 1991 and was visiting scholar at University of Besançon in France in 1994. She received her B.A. from Reed College, and her Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley.

Schadler is an associate professor of materials engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her research is primarily in the area of mechanical behavior of polymer composites. Before joining the Rensselaer faculty, she taught at Drexel University, where she received a National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award. She received her B.S. from Cornell University and her Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.


Published January 12, 2001