The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, as
part of its ongoing program of outreach to the general public, is
organizing a set of four public talks on different aspects of science
at The Music Academy (TTK Auditorium) on Sunday, February 24, between
4:00 pm and 7:30 pm. This is the fourth edition of this flagship event, called Science at
the Sabha, and conducted in February of each year at this venue.
The talks are aimed at anyone with an interest in science,
irrespective of age or background. The event will be accompanied by a panel exhibition outside the Auditorium, highlighting Chennai’s traditions in science, mathematics, education and public service, along with the people and institutions that helped to define them.
Science at the Sabha is free and open to all, although web
registration is required in advance. Details concerning the program,
the schedule and about how to register are available here
The talks are:
1. Sandhya Koushika, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
Traffic rules in neurons
Neurons are long cells within which many different types of cargo move.
Remarkably, traffic movement on man-made roads, the movement of ants,
and cargo transport in neurons all appear to share important features.
I’ll explore the significance of this finding.
[Sandhya P. Koushika obtained her PhD from Brandeis University and did her post-doctoral training at Washington University, St. Louis, USA. After several years as a faculty member at the NCBS-TIFR, Bengaluru, she moved to the Tata Institute for Fundamental Research in Mumbai, where she is currently an Associate Professor. She was the first recipient of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) International Early Career Scientist award. Sandhya studies the long-distance transport of organelles within neurons using genetics, state of the art imaging technologies, and mathematical models. Her research has implications for our understanding of the development of the nervous system as well as for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Her lab works on identifying molecules and mechanisms that regulate the transport of synaptic vesicles and mitochondria and she collaborates widely with scientists in other disciplines. ]
2. Vijay Shenoy, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru
Untwisting Twisted Matter
Behind the many wonderful devices such as your cell phone are the materials that
make them up. These materials owe many of their properties to the different ways
in which their electrons organize themselves. I will explore what electrons can
do collectively, leading up to the recent discovery of materials with “an
[Vijay B. Shenoy obtained his B.Tech from IIT Madras in 1992 and an MS from Georgia Tech. in 1994. He received his PhD from Brown University in 1998 and was also briefly an Adjunct Assistant Professor there. He was on the faculty at IIT Kanpur from 1999 to 2002. In 2002, he joined the Indian Institute of Science as a faculty member. He was awarded the INSA Medal for Young Scientists in 2002, the INAE Young Engineer Award in 2005, the NASI-SCOPUS Young Scientist Award in 2009, the Raja Ramanna Prize Lecture in 2011 and the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for science and technology, the highest science award in India, in the year 2013. He has worked in a number of areas, including soft matter physics and materials science. but currently works in quantum condensed matter physics, aiming to develop an understanding of the role of topology and entanglement in the description of quantum many body systems.]
3. Harini Nagendra, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru
Thinking Ecologically about our Urban Future
India’s cities are on a breakneck path to growth. Cities are engines of
prosperity and promise, but also concentrations of pollution, stress, and
disease. Episodes of flood, drought, heat waves, and smog tell us why we must
begin to think ecologically about our urban future in cities like Chennai.
[Harini Nagendra is a Professor of Sustainability at Azim Premji University, where she anchors the Centre for Urban Ecological Sustainability. Her research focuses on natural resource management in the global south. She is one of the leading researchers in the study of urban sustainability from the perspective of both ecology and social justice. Her awards include the 2009 Cozzarelli Prize from the US National Academy of Sciences, the 2013 Elinor Ostrom Senior Scholar award, and the 2017 Clarivate Web of Science award. She has worked and taught at multiple institutions, including the Indian Institute of Science, Indiana University, and Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. She was also a 2014 Hubert Humphrey Distinguished Visiting Professor at Macalester College. In addition to research publications in journals including Science, Nature, and Nature Sustainability, she writes widely for the public, and engages with undergraduate colleges and urban conservation groups in a number of cities. Her 2016 book “Nature in the City: Bengaluru in the Past, Present and Future” (Oxford) describes the ecological history of one of India’s largest cities. Her forthcoming book on “Trees of Indian Cities” (Penguin, with Seema Mundoli) is a popular account for tree lovers, mixing recipes, games, poems, fun facts, and science.]
4. Sitabhra Sinha, The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai
The whole is more than the sum of its parts
What is common to the power-grid, stock markets, lynch mobs,
and the human brain? They are all complex systems made up of many parts.
Knowing how each part of a complex system works is not enough to tell us how
the whole will behave. We will explore the “emergence” of such unexpected
behaviour which is a feature of all complex systems.
[Sitabhra Sinha obtained his PhD degree from the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, after a Masters in Physics from Calcutta University. Following postdoctoral research at the Department of Physics, Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore and the Division of Cardiology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City, he joined the faculty of the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc) in 2002. He has been an International Fellow of the Santa Fe Institute, USA and a adjunct faculty member at the National Institute of Advanced Studies in Bengaluru. A member of both the physics and computational biology groups of IMSc, his research involves using techniques of statistical physics, nonlinear science and large-scale data analysis to understand a wide range of physical, biological and social complex systems, answering questions such as what makes the uterus contract during childbirth, why some movies become “hits” while very similar ones flop, and whether there are universal patterns inherent in all human languages. He has authored two books in addition to a large number of research publications, some of which have received extensive press coverage. ]
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