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Symposium Speakers

2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005

2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997


Boris Baer
The University of Western Australia

Ray Beausoleil
HP Laboratories

Emily Brodsky
University of California Santa Cruz

Keith Devlin
Stanford University

Sonke Johnsen
Duke University

David Liu
Harvard University

Alice Shapley
University of California Los Angeles

Howard Stone
Princeton University




Edward Burger
Francis Christopher Oakley Third Century Professor of Mathematics
Williams College / President Elect, Southwestern University
"Thinking Through the Natural Numbers: A Rational and Irrational Look at 1, 2, 3, 4, ..."

John Dabiri
Professor of Aeronautics & Bioengineering
California Institute of Technology
"So Swimming Animals Mix the Ocean?"
Kevin Laland
Professor of Biology
University of St. Andrews, UK
"Cause and Effect in Biology Revisited"
Seth Putterman
Professor of Physics
University of  California, Los Angeles
"Spontaneous Energy Focusing Phenomena"
Scott Ransom
National Radio Astronomy Observatory &
The University of Virginia
"Millisecond Pulsars: Nature's Gifts that Keep on Giving"
Pamela Ronald
Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and the Genome Center
University of California,  Davis
"Plant Genetics and the Future of Food"
Julie Theriot
Professor in the Departments of Biochemistry, Microbiology and
Immunology, Stanford  University
"New Directions in Cell Motility: Dynamics and Mechanics of Cell Turning and Pathfinding"
George Whitesides
Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor
Harvard University
"'Simplicity' as a Component of Invention"




R. Tom Baker -
University of Ottawa

“Carry that Weight: Enabling Catalysis Studies of
Amine-Borane Dehydrogenation towards Renewable Transportation Fuels”


Carl Bergstrom - University of Washington

“Dealing with Deception in Biology”


Steve Cowley - Culham Centre for Fusion Energy

“Fusion Power—the Scientific and Technological Challenge”


Peter Olson - Johns Hopkins University

“When Earth’s Magnetic Field Reverses Itself: How, Why and So What?”


Kristin Scott - University of California Berkeley

“Taste Recognition: Food for Thought”


Tom Seeley - Cornell University

“Swarm Intelligence in Honey Bees”


Jack Szostak - Harvard University

“The Origin of Life and the Emergence of Darwinian Evolution”




Ronald Breaker
- Yale University
“The Expanding Diversity of Noncoding RNA in Bacteria"


 Naomi Halas - Rice University

"Plasmonics: Nanoscale Manipulation of Light"


Greg Laughlin- UC Santa Cruz

"The Galactic Planetary Census”


Claire Max- UC Santa Cruz

"Black Holes in Colliding Galaxies seen with Adaptive Optics


Corrie Moreau - The Field Museum, Chicago

"Evolution and Diversification of the Ants”


James Nelson - Stanford University

"Evolution of a Polarized Epithelium: not just for Animals”


Taylor Ricketts - World Wildlife Fund Conservation Science Program

"Natural Capital: Quantifying the Economic Benefits Provided by Nature”





Michael Brenner - Harvard University

“Linear Algebra and Darwin's Finches”


Bruce Buffett - UCB

“The Origin of Earth’s Magnetic Field”


Scott Emr- Cornell University

“Using Cell Biology to Understand Diseases like Cancer, AIDS,
and Neuro-degeneration”


Neil Gershenfeld - MIT

“Programming Bits and Atoms”


Debbie Jin - University of Colorado - Boulder

“Fun with Ultracold Atoms”


Lisa Kewley - University of Hawaii

“The Star Formation and Chemical History of Galaxies”


Gero Miesenböck - University of Oxford

“Lighting Up the Brain: Imaging and Control of Genetically Targeted Neural Circuits”


David Nelson - Harvard University

“Gene Surfing and Survival of the Luckiest”





John Bush - MIT

“Surface Tension in Biology”


 Alyssa Goodman - Harvard University

“Astronomy as I ‘See’ It”


 Hopi Hoekstra - Harvard University

“What Darwin Didn’t Know: The Genetic Basis of Adaptation”

 Paul McEuen - Cornell University

“Nano Carbon: From String Theory to Atomic Drums”


 Jerry Mitrovica - University of Toronto

“Solving the Enigma of Global Sea Level Rise”


 Paul Sherman - Cornell University

“Darwinian Medicine?”


 Chris Somerville - UC Berkeley

“Development of Cellulosic Fuels”


Avi Wigderson - Institute for Advanced Studies

“The ‘P vs. NP’ Problem: Efficient Computation, Internet Security,
and the Limits to Human Knowledge”





Michael Manga - UC Berkeley

"Why do volcanoes only sometimes erupt explosively?”


Avi Loeb - Harvard University

"The Past and Future of our Universe"


 Susan Lindquist - MIT

"Extraordinary Surprises from Protein Folding in Biology"


Nima Arkani-Hamed - Institute for Advanced Study

"Fundamental Physics, Cosmology, and the Large Hadron Collider”


 Joshua Jortner - Tel Aviv University

“Dynamics at Extremes”


 David Chandler - UC Berkeley

“Dynamics on the way to forming glass, the past, present, and future”


 Haynes Miller - MIT

“Knots & Numbers”


 Terrie Williams - UC Santa Cruz

“The Carnivore Conundrum: How environmental perturbation is
leading to a small, snarling, smelly world"





 Bruce Ames - UC Berkeley

“Delaying (or Accelerating) the Degenerative Diseases of Aging”


Joe DeRisi - UCSF

“Bugs, Drugs, and Microarrays”


Phillip Geissler - UC Berkeley

“Emergence of Glassy Disorder in Biological Systems”


Christian Körner - University of Basel

“Change in cash flow or capital? Plants in a CO2-rich world”


Charlie Peskin - NYU Courant Institute

"Muscle and Blood and Valves, and Electricity, too: Fluid-Structure Interaction in the Heart”


Harry Swinney - University of Texas Austin

“Emergence of Order in Physical, Chemical, and Biological Systems”


Lonnie Thompson - Ohio State University

“Glaciological Evidence of Abrupt Tropical Climate Change:  Past and Present”




Karen De Valois - University of California, Berkeley

"A New Understanding of Color Vision”


Chris Dobson - Cambridge University

"Protein Folding, Molecular Evolution and Human Disease”


 L. Mahadevan - Harvard University

"Shape, Flow and Movement: the Science of Everyday Life”


Akkihebbal Ravishankara - University of Colorado/NOAA

"Chemistry and Its Role in Climate”


Paul Steinhardt - Princeton University

"A Tale of Two Universes”


Steven Strogatz - Cornell University

"Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order”


Irving Weissman - Stanford University

"Stem Cells”


Xiaowei Zhuang-Harvard University

"Tracking Individual Virus Particles in Live Cells”





Bonnie Bassler-Princeton University

"Tiny Conspiracies: Cell-to-Cell Communications in Bacteria”


Carolyn Bertozzi-UC Berkeley

"Chemistry in Living Systems: New Tools for Probing the Glycome


Paul Chaikin - New York University

"Colloids and Candies”


Arup Chakraborty - UC Berkeley

"Intercellular Communication in the Adaptive Immune System”


Michael Malin - Malin Space Science Systems

"The 'New' Mars"


Lord Robert May - University of Oxford

"Hard Choices for Tomorrow's World”


David McLaughlin - New York University

"Modeling of Spatial Temporal States in Primary Visual Cortex”


Eliot Quataert - UC Berkeley

"The Big Black Hole in the Center of the Milky Way”





Charles Bennett - IBM Research

“Quantum Information Processing”


Jennifer Chayes - Microsoft Research

“Phase Transitions in Computer Science:
How Do You Melt A Resource Allocation System”


George Lauder - Harvard University, Museum of Comparative Zoology

"Fishes, Submarines, and Robots: Moving About in the Underwater World”


Chung-Pei Ma - University of California, Berkeley, Dept. of Astronomy

"What's the Matter with Dark Matter?”


Geoff Marcy - University of California, Berkeley, Dept. of Astronomy

"New Planets, Old Yellowstone, and Life in the Universe”


Sally Otto - University of British Columbia, Dept. of Zoology

"Why Have Sex? The Population Genetics of Sex and Recombination”


JoAnne Stubbe - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Chemistry

"Ribonucleotide Reductases: Radical Enzymes with Suicidal Tendencies”


David Weitz -Harvard University, Dept. of Applied Physics

"What Makes Soft Materials Soft”






Sir Michael Berry - Bristol University, United Kingdom, H. H. Wills Physics


"Making Light of Mathematics”


Louis Brus - Columbia University, Dept. of Chemistry

"Chemistry and Physics of Semiconductor Nanocrystals


David Helfand - Columbia University, Dept. of Astronomy & Astrophysics

"Nuclear Physics at a Distance:  Seeking Quarks at 10,000 Light Years”


Sidney Nagel - The University of Chicago, Dept. of Physics

"Shadows and Ephemera: A Post-Modern Photographic Exploration of Our Singular World”


Dianne Newman - California Institute of Technology, Geobiology & Environmental Science

"Microbe - Mineral Interactions”


Fred Nijhout - Duke University, Dept. of Biology

"The Control and Evolution of Polyphenic Development of Insects”


George Oster - University of California, Berkeley, Dept. of Molecular & Cell

Biology, Dept. of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management

"The Mysterious Meanderings of Myxobacteria


Steve Wofsy - Harvard University, Dept. of Chemistry

"Forests, The Global Carbon Cycle, and Climate Change”





Philip Anfinrud - National Institutes of Health,

Laboratory of Chemical Physics

"Watching a Protein as it Functions: Real Time Observations Using

Time-Resolved Spectroscopy and X-ray Crystallography”



Persi Diaconis - Stanford University, Dept. of Statistics

"The Problem of Thinking Too Much”


Michael Dickinson - University of California, Berkeley, Dept. of Integrative


"The Eponymous Fly”


Ursula Goodenough - Washington University, Dept. of Cell Biology & Biochemistry

"Sex and Speciation at a Molecular Level”


Harry Gray - California Institute of Technology, Dept. of Chemistry

"The Currents of Life: Electron Flow Through Biological Molecules”


David Jewitt - University of Hawaii, Institute for Astronomy

"The Solar System: Bigger & Better”


Lawrence Krauss - Case Western Reserve University, Dept. of Physics

"Life, The Universe, and Nothing: Life and Death in an Ever-expanding Universe”


Chris McKay - NASA Ames Research Center

"Life on Mars”





Steven Chu - Stanford University, Dept. of Physics

"Biological Processes, One Molecule at a Time”


            Christopher Garrett - University of Victoria, Dept. of Physics & Astronomy

"From Millimetres to Megametres:  the Interacting Scales of Ocean Physics”

David Haig - Harvard University, Botanical Museum
"The Divided Self”


Susan Kieffer - S. W. Kieffer Science Consulting

"Geological Nozzles:  The Rapids of the Colorado River, Old Faithful Geyser, Mount St. Helens, and Planetary Volcanoes”


Dan Kleppner - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Physics

"Future Knowledge”


George Whitesides - Harvard University, Dept. of Chemistry



Gregory Wray - Duke University, Dept. of Biology

"Ants, Urchins, and the Hox Paradox:  The Evolution of Gene Networks”


Peter Sarnak - Princeton University, Dept of Mathematics

“The Riemann Hypothesis”





Fred Adams - University of Michigan, Dept. of Physics

"Into the Dark: The long term fate and evolution of astrophysics objects in a dying universe”



Jackie Barton - California Institute of Technology, Dept. of Chemistry

"A Different View of the DNA Double Helix: A Conduit for Charge Transport”


Ann Burke - Wesleyan University, Dept. of Biology         

"Evolution and Development: Exploring intrinsic mechanisms in the evolution of morphology”


Ingrid Daubechies - Princeton University, Dept. of Mathematics   

"Surfing with Wavelets”


Jack Horner - University of Montana, Museum of the Rockies        

"Dinosaur debates; sorting out science from opinion”


Leo Kadanoff - University of Chicago, Depts. of Physics & Mathematics         

"Making a Splash; Breaking a Neck: Physics and Complexity”


            Tom Koob - Shriner's Hospital Tampa, University of South Florida, Skeletal Biology

"Biomimetic Fibers: Bridging the Gap”


            Walter Pitman - Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University,
Dept. of Earth/Environmental Science      

"Noah's Flood”





Eric Cornell - University of Colorado JILA, Dept. of Physics

"The Day the Gas Stopped: Physics within a Millionth of a Degree of Absolute Zero”


Alex Filippenko - University of California, Berkeley, Dept. of Astronomy

"Einstein's Biggest Blunder? Evidence for Cosmic Antigravity”


Hiroo Kanamori - California Institute of Technology, Dept. of Geophysics

"Chaos and Order in Earthquakes”


Mary-Claire King - University of Washington, Dept. of Molecular Biology,

Division of Medical Genetics

"The Limits of Genetic Omnipotence”


Mimi Koehl - University of California, Berkeley, Dept. of Integrative Biology

"Feeding, Smelling and Swimming with Hairy Little Legs”


Daniel Nocera - Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Dept. of Physical Inorganic Chemistry

"After the Oil Runs Out, then What?
Harnessing the two-Electron Bond as the Fuel Source of the Future”


Baldomero Olivera - University of Utah, Dept. of Biology

"Learning Drug Design from Venomous Cone Snails”


Steve Smale - City University of Hong Kong, Dept. of Mathematics

"On the Limits of Intelligence”





Steven Block - Princeton University, Biological Sciences

"Biophysics of Single Molecules”


Vaughan Jones - University of California, Berkeley, Dept. of Mathematics

"Noncommutative Geometry”


            William Kahan - University of California, Berkeley,
Depts. of Mathematics and Computer Science      

"How Java's Floating-Point Hurts Everyone Everywhere”


            Dan Rokhsar - University of California, Berkeley, Dept. of Physics

"Modeling Protein Folding”


            Sherwood Rowland - University of California, Irvine, Dept. of Chemistry

"Atmospheric Chemistry”


            Dan Simberloff - University of Tennessee, Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

"Nonindigenous species, biological control and biodiversity”


            Mike Turner - University of Chicago, Dept. of Astronomy and Astrophysics

"Cosmology and background anisotropies”


            Nature Walk with Bill Dietrich & Mary Power - University of California,

Berkeley, Depts. of Earth & Planetary Science and Integrative Biology




Charles Alcock
- Lawrence Livermore National Lab,
Dept. of Astronomy Dark Matter


Walter Alvarez - University of California, Berkeley,
Dept. of Earth & Planetary Science


Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction Joe Felsenstein-

University of Washington, Dept. of Genetics Population Genetics


Robert Kirshner - Harvard University,
Dept. of Astronomy Supernovae


James Randi - James Randi Educational Foundation

Science and Pseudoscience


Carla Shatz - University of California, Berkeley,
Dept. of Molecular & Cell Biology (Neurobiology) Brain Wiring


Chuck Stevens - Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Dept. of Neurobiology

Coding in the Brain


Richard Zare- Stanford University, Dept. of Chemistry

“Is There Life on Mars”




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