Learn how machines are teaching themselves about atoms, hear why termites are overturning theories of personality and speciation, and hear a bit on the history of the banjo in America and follow its recent worldwide invasion.
The Banjo in America, The European Invasion, and How to Play (A Little)
Like a strange invasive species that has finally breached foreign shores and borders, the twangy banjo, a peculiar American creation, is proliferating with frightening speed through the rest of the world. Learn a bit of the history of this confounding instrument, with a backstory as darkly nuanced as that of its origin country, and the different types of string music finding popularity throughout Europe. Plus, get a little dose of live banjo music, and hear about the cultural confusion that happens when banjos start going through customs in France, long known for its passionate love of the accordion.
Speaker: Eric Yates, Musician
What Termites Teach Us About Insect Personalities & Gut Bacteria
Millions of tiny termite mouths full of dirt work together to create huge home mounds, but after decades of failed behavior modeling by roboticists, new research shows that termites are not a massive mindless monolithic superorganism. Instead, termites behave as occasionally selfish and sometimes wacky individuals with unique personalities. Learn how the power of insect individuality is harnessed towards the common good, and how the five hundred species of microbes in termite guts have, conversely, given away most of their own autonomy by losing large portions of their DNA and revealed a radical new way of thinking about microbes and species.
Speaker: Lisa Margonelli is the author of UNDERBUG: An Obsessive Tale of Termites and Technology.
Connecting Atoms to Aircraft Using Machine Learning
The interactions of atoms control the behavior of everyday objects like airplanes, computers and people, but we still don’t know precisely how. Learn how problems like predicting air turbulence that have remained unsolved for centuries are being reevaluated with novel approaches to machine learning. Plus discover how physicists are beginning to understand the small scale atomic motions that give rise to specific large motions. and how machine learning algorithms are being taught the basic laws of physics.
Speaker: Jeremy Templeton, Sandia National Labs.
Website: Click to Visit
Cost:$8 Advance, $10 at door
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