The Academic Minute for 2015.5.11 - 5.15

May 15, 2015

Catch up with The Academic Minute from 5.11- 5.15

Monday, May 11
Jeff Sovern - St. John's University
Consumer Knowledge
Jeff Sovern is a Professor of Law at St. John’s University in New York City where he teaches Civil Procedure, Consumer Protection and Introduction to Law.  The New York Times has called him “an expert in consumer law,” a statement echoed by the Chicago Tribune, and Mother Jones.
Professor Sovern writes for three overlapping audiences. For the public, he has published numerous op-eds, including essays in The New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the American Banker, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The New York Daily News, The Hill,, Politico, Commonwealth, and a variety of blogs.  Professor Sovern can be heard on public radio’s The Academic Minute and discussing privacy issues during an hour-long interview on the University of California-Irvine’s radio show “Privacy Policy” initially broadcast on July 26, 2006.  

Tuesday, May 12
Ryan Schacht - University of Utah           
Sexual Ratios
Ryan Schacht‘s research explores variability in behavior within and between groups. Currently, Ryan is studying how people make reproductive decisions and how individual and contextual differences influence behavior. For example, what are the traits people look for in partners? What types of relationships do people pursue? How do social norms influence these decisions? Through his work, he questions generalizations about human behavioral universals that have arisen from research conducted primarily on Western populations and conventional assumptions regarding gender differentiated behavior. His dissertation research was conducted over a sixteen-month period across eight Makushi communities in Guyana, South America where he used a combination of surveys and ethnographic methods to assess partner choice preferences, relationship styles, parental investment and social norms driving expectations of men and women within a relationship.

Wednesday, May 13  
Heidi Newberg - Rensselaer Polytechnic University
The Size of the Galaxy
Dr. Heidi Newberg has worked in many areas of astronomy over the course of her career. She did her Ph.D. with the Berkeley Automated Supernova Search, which measured the supernova rates as a function of supernova type in Virgo-distance galaxies; and the Supernova Cosmology Project (SCP), which is measured the cosmological parameters Omega and Lambda using the light curves of distant supernovae. She shared the Gruber Cosmology Prize for her work with SCP.  She helped to build the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), which imaged ~10,000 square degrees of the sky in five optical filters, and obtained over a million spectra of galaxies. She initiated the Sloan Extension for Galactic Understanding and Exploration (SEGUE) project in SDSS II, which obtained spectra for 250,000 Galactic stars.

Thursday, May 14
Georgiana Bostean - Chapman University    
Caregiver Crises
Georgiana Bostean is an Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department and Environmental Science and Policy Program at Chapman University. She is a demographer and sociologist by training, with a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Irvine, and postdoctoral training in cancer prevention and control research at UCLA. Broadly, her research is in the area of population health and health disparities, focusing on the social determinants of health. Dr. Bostean’s research has examined selective migration and family relationships as contributors to the Latino epidemiological paradox, and the role of socioeconomic factors in explaining nativity differences in health behaviors and outcomes. Her work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and UC Office of the President, and published in journals including Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health and Annals of Epidemiology.

Friday, May 15
Susan Schneider - University of Connecticut                 
Artificial Alien Intelligence
Dr. Susan Schneider is a professor of philosophy at UCONN. Her work is on the nature of the self and mind, in which she examines from the vantage point of issues in metaphysics, philosophy of mind/cognitive science, philosophy of science, and applied ethics. The topics she’s written about most recently include the software approach to the mind, artificial intelligence, how the mathematical nature of physics undermines physicalism, astrobiology, and the nature of the person.  For a brief overview of some of my work see this interview with 3AM Magazine.