Thomas Killian, Professor of Physics and Astronomy and Department Chair "The Pursuit for Total Control" - Much of the history of atomic physics over the last century can be described as the pursuit for total control over atoms and light. I will describe how this simple preoccupation led to technological advances like MRI, the laser, and incredibly precise atomic clocks, and how it drives us to explore the bizarre laws of quantum mechanics and create the coldest stuff in the universe.
Elaine Howard Ecklund, Associate Professor of Sociology; Director, Religion & Public Life Program: "Mentoring" - In the academy, what does it mean to be a good mentor in an environment that rewards personal scholarly success? In the sciences, are female scholars more likely to spend time mentoring because of its connection with care work? Does this hurt their careers? How do we all become better mentors and teach our students how to be good mentors?
Paula A. Sanders, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies; Professor of History: "Thinking with History" - A chance encounter with an Egyptian architect in a library in Cairo caused me to reframe a project on the historiography of a medieval Egyptian dynasty as a project on historic preservation of medieval Cairo; reading and re-reading Carl Schorske’s beautiful book, Thinking with History, gave me the vocabulary I needed to reimagine that new project as a critique of the very idea of historic cities.
Mark Embree, Professor of Computational and Applied Mathematics; Director, Rice Center for Engineering Leadershiprnrn"Numerate Citizenship" - When I was seven, my dad brought home an Atari 400 computer and suggested that I learn to program it. Ever since I've been entirely hooked, and now believe that algorithmic thinking and allied mathematical arts are important not only to science and engineering, but also to responsible citizenship.