Event: Is Forensic Science an Oxymoron?

Event date: December 7, 2015

Event time: 12:15 p.m.

Location: Heroy Hall 153

An Event with Jonathan Koehler, Professor of Law, Northwestern University

koehler_JJ_PicIn recent years, forensic scientists in some areas have been taken to task for over claiming, failing to test their assumptions, and neglecting to explain to judges and jurors how the risk of error affects the value of reported matches. Jurors also have some misconceptions about forensic science evidence and misunderstand the meaning of the statistics they hear in cases involving DNA evidence. Solutions will be explored.

Lunch Provided. RSVP at lawandstatistics.eventbrite.com

Contact for more information: http://www.smu.edu/Dedman/DCII/Events


Beyond The Two Cultures: a lecture on data and unity

SMU Daily Campus

Originally Posted: November 19, 2015

Tucked away in one of the many lecture rooms inside Heroy Hall, full of professors but lacking in students, was a lecture presented by acclaimed scientist Roger Malina. The lecture was hosted by the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute on Nov. 18 at 4:30 p.m. and centered on the connection between art and science.

Malina, a physicist, astronomer and executive editor of the Leonardo publications at MIT Press, focuses on finding connections between the natural sciences and the arts, design, and humanities. He also has dual appointments as a professor of arts and technology and as a professor of physics at UT Dallas.

The lecture began with this question: Why are human beings so badly designed to understand nature and the universe? In other words, how can we work together to understand each other and the world we live in?

Such questions set the tone for the rest of the presentation, which focused on merging the world of the arts with the world of science. READ MORE

Event: Nov. 18. Beyond Two Cultures: A Crisis in Data Representation?

Event date: November 18th

Event time: 4:30 p.m.

Location: Heroy Hall 153

Roger Malina, founder of the UT Dallas ArtSciLab, which explores the gap between data generation and representation, will present his work with neuroscientists, astronomers, and geoscientists. He will also talk about the new born “digital hybrids” whose existence give lie to the “two cultures” division articulated by C. P. Snow. This lecture is sponsored by the DCII Fellow Seminar, “Beyond Two Cultures: Reconciling the Sciences and Humanities”

Contact for more information: http://www.smu.edu/Dedman/DCII/Events

Harvard professor explains why science is safe to trust

Daily Campus

Originally Posted: October 20, 2015

Society should trust science because it’s a long, time-tested process of accumulated expertise, Harvard University Professor of the History of Science Naomi Oreskes, Ph.D said Thursday night.

Speaking at the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute’s annual Allman Family Lecture, Oreskes explained that some of society’s misconceptions of science exist because most people cannot judge whether or not a scientific finding is true. Most people assume the risk of accepting science is smaller than the risk of rejecting it. Parents vaccinate their children because the risk of precautionary vaccinating is smaller than the risk of not vaccinating and suffering potentially harmful consequences. But society is more skeptical of scientific findings than it was before.

“The larger issue is how to reduce the number of those who deny,” said Caroline Brettell, the institute’s director. “How do we build up the trust?” READ MORE

Do science and partisan politics need to get a divorce?

Dallas Morning News

Originally Posted: October 28, 2015

Well, they’ve been an awkward mismatch, off and on, since the age of Galileo. And if scientific achievements have created better lives for us with, say, antibiotics and vaccines, it’s hard to make the same claim for the political consequences of bigger bombs and better guns.

It’s one thing to debate the utility of scientific fact. But it’s a much more maddening exercise to try to reach people determined to believe that science is a kind of choose-what-you-like cafeteria, where facts are only real if you want them to be.

Several professors at Southern Methodist University are working in their quiet professorial way to urge people here in Dallas to come on down and renew their faith in science. A five-part public lecture series tackling the troubling spread of science denial in America begins Thursday.

They’re starting with a bang: The first lecturer will be Harvard professor Naomi Oreskes, who has written extensively on corporations’ vested interest in and deliberate efforts to undermine widely accepted science regarding climate change.

I know, I know: You can’t even say “climate change” — much less “global warming” — without making everybody go stark raving bonkers. People who don’t know a blessed thing about physics or meteorology or atmospheric system research rocket off to their political encampments and start howling insults at one another.

That’s politics. But when political polarization begins to undermine scientific realities like evolution, the benefits of vaccination or the obvious fact that routine water fluoridation isn’t a mass murder conspiracy, we’re all in trouble.

“The level of scientific literacy is declining,” said Caroline Brettell, University Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and the Ruth Collins Altshuler Director of the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute (yep, her bona fides are excellent), and the key motivator for putting the lecture series together. “It’s ‘I feel’ or ‘I believe,’ but that’s not scientific practice. That’s not how it works.” READ MORE

Substance Over Buzz? A working paper by a group of DCII graduate fellows on interdisciplinary job ad analysis suggests some jobs aren’t truly interdisciplinary.

Inside Higher Ed

Originally Posted: October 27, 2015

Is true interdisciplinary work becoming more common, or is it simply a buzzword — or, perhaps worse, a trumped-up name for flexible academic labor? That’s what a group of graduate students at Southern Methodist University wanted to know, so they took what data were available to them — job ads — and analyzed them for possible answers.
They determined that ads for interdisciplinary academic jobs privilege teaching over interdisciplinary expertise, and that the jobs that appear truly interdisciplinary tend to be at institutions that have dedicated centers for such work. READ MORE

Event: Scientific Research and Public Responses: A Faculty Panel Discussion

Date: November 5th

Time: 5:00 p.m. Reception, 5:30 p.m. Panel

Location: McCord Auditorium, Dallas Hall

science 3Why have we moved from, “I don’t fully understand the science, but I trust the scientists.” to, “I don’t fully understand the science and I don’t trust the scientists to be honest about it.”? Join us for a panel discussion with Louis Jacobs, David Meltzer, Randall Scalise, and John Wise, moderated by Lee Cullum of KERA News. Contact for more information http://www.smu.edu/Dedman/DCII/Events

An event with Laura Fair: Transnational Media, Local Meanings: Kung Fu and Urban Youth in Post-colonial Tanzania

Event date: October 20, 2015

Event time: 3:00 PM

Talk Image

The 1971 release of Bruce Lee’s film, The Big Boss, inaugurated a frenzy of martial arts appreciation across the globe. What was it about Lee’s films and others in the genre that spoke to Tanzanians? And who exactly responded to the call? As Tanzanians appropriated these films how did they transform them?

Contact for more information: http://www.smu.edu/Dedman/DCII/Events



With eloquence and swagger, Andrew Delbanco drops his mic on humanities

SMU Daily Campus

Originally Posted: September 25, 2015

Andrew Delbanco is the Mendelson Family Professor and director of American Studies at Columbia University, and has been distinguished for his work in humanities studies. His book “College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be” was written up in the New York Times Sunday Book Review. Delbanco is a visiting professor that delivered a speech Thursday, Sept.24, in Dedman Life Sciences Building.

He took the classroom, that evening, filled with students and teachers of all ages through the increasingly important question, “What is College for?”

Delbanco shares his historic approach on whether college is a lousy investment or not to a fully packed room, with some standing in the back. In this world of grade inflation and timeliness is college an “expensive dating service for pampered students?”

Grace Hogan is a 24-year-old SMU graduate and teacher at Uplift Heights Preparatory who works with low-income students. Hogan came with her foundations course on the history of higher education. “My students find themselves in a lot of these situations,” she says of the increasingly hostile environment in which kids justify to their parents the need for an education that may leave them in debt.

Delbanco argues for all sides, the institutions-most of which are public and underfunded, as well as the teachers and students. His style of taking concepts apart and arguing for their necessity in education at every level is an effort to cheat death, “to transmit to younger people what we have learned.” READ MORE

EVENT: Should We Trust Science? Perspectives from the History and Philosophy of Science

Event date: October 29, 2015
Event time: 5:30 p.m. reception, 6:00 p.m. lecture

Oreskes headshot sciencectr 2015

Many people are confused about the safety of vaccines, the reality of climate change, and other matters. Doctors tell us that vaccines are safe, and climate change is real, but how do they know that? And how are we to make sense of competing claims? In a recent Presidential Debate, Donald Trump rejected the position of Ben Carson, a doctor, and insisted that vaccines should be more widely spaced. Professor Naomi Oreskes of Harvard University argues that we should trust science, and explains why.

Contact for more information: http://www.smu.edu/Dedman/DCII/Programs/Allman