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Stony Brook University

University Libraries STEM Speaker Series: Spring 2017

First Lecture

Guest Speaker: Dr. Dan Davis, Chair of Department of Geosciences

TitleMapping the Geology of Long Island Through Time at and Below the Surface”

Date: Thursday, February 9, 2017 (canceled due to snow)

Rescheduled Date: Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Time: 1pm-2pm

Location: Special Collections Seminar Room, E-2340, second floor of the Melville Library







Second Lecture

Guest Speaker: Dr. Anurag Purwar, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Title: "Innovating and Inventing Mechanical Motion Generating Devices" 

Date: Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Time: 1pm-2pm

Location: Special Collections Seminar Room, E-2340, second floor of the Melville Library

First Lecture: Dr. Dan Davis, Chair of Department of Geosciences


Title: “Mapping the Geology of Long Island Through Time at and Below the Surface”

The landforms of Long Island are young and dynamic, shaped by glaciers, wind, tides, and storms.  This makes them ideal targets for study using a combination of recent and historical maps and aerial images along with geophysical techniques such as GPR (ground-penetrating radar) and, in some cases, resistivity.  This combination of surface and subsurface mapping allows us to decipher how the hilly Stony Brook campus was shaped by the last advance of the most recent ice age.  It allows us to understand better the remarkably rapid changes that have taken place in the barrier island system that protects the south shore as it responds to storms, human intervention, and climate change.  The combination of historical maps and GPR also makes it possible to map out in 4-D (3-D, plus time) the evolution of the Walking Dunes of Napeague over the past few centuries.  That, in turn, sheds light on the much older parabolic dunes of the Grandifolia dunefield of Baiting Hollow, which formed in response to winds blowing from the glaciers shortly after their retreat from Long Island.  Each of these insights into the history of our area depends critically upon a combination of geophysical techniques for exploring the subsurface with historical map resources.


Dr. Dan Davis has been a member of the faculty at Stony Brook since 1986, and he is now Chair in the Department of Geosciences.  His research in structural geology and tectonics has focused on theoretical and laboratory studies related to the mechanics mountain building.  Other areas of research include geological aspects of nuclear test ban monitoring and the application of geophysical techniques to glacial and post-glacial geology.  This latter area of research has branched out into the study of glaciotectonics – how glaciers shape the land in a way similar to the processes in the frontal parts of mountain belts.  His public outreach spans astronomy as well as geology, and includes co-authorship of the book Turn Left at Orion, published by Cambridge University Press.

Second Lecture: Dr. Anurag Purwar, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Title: "Innovating and Inventing Mechanical Motion Generating Devices"

This talk will present a confluence of research in task-driven mechanical motion generation of mechanisms and robots and applied work in developing technologies in healthcare and education. The current paradigm of mechanism research is predicated on first assuming the topology (joints, links, and their pattern of interconnection) of a mechanism followed by the computation of dimensional synthesis. This talk will illustrate the deficiencies of this approach and show that it is possible to "compute" both the topology and the dimensions simultaneously. This is enabled by creating unified design equations. An application in a low-cost rehabilitation and ambulation therapy device slated to arrive in the market will be presented. In addition, I will demonstrate a mobile app and present modular robotics kit for enabling students and designers to virtually and physically realize their motions.


Dr. Anurag Purwar is a Research Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering. He received his Ph.D. from State University of New York at Stony Brook and his B. Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, both in Mechanical Engineering. His research interests are in machine design area with a focus on kinematic design of robots and mechanisms, CAD/CAM, and application of Computational Geometry, Virtual Reality (VR), Computer Graphics and Visualization in Design Engineering.


Dr. Purwar's research has been funded by National Science Foundation (NSF), NY-state SPIR, NY-state Center for Biotechnology, Sensor-CAT, SUNY Research Foundation, industry, Stony Brook University, and SUNY Office of Provost. He is the recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching by Stony Brook University and his work on the interactive dimensional synthesis of planar 6R mechanisms won him a best paper award at the 2009 ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences (IDETC).


He has been twice elected as a member of the ASME Mechanisms and Robotics committee and served as the Program Chair for the 2014 ASME Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, as the Conference Chair for the 2015 ASME Mechanisms and Robotics Conference and has served as symposium and session chairs for many ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences. He is the general Conference Co-Chair for the 2016 ASME International Design Engineering Technical Conferences (IDETC/CIE).


Dr. Purwar is also the department’s representative to the NY state-funded Strategic Partnership for Industrial Resurgence (SPIR) program. As the SPIR representative, he identifies and coordinates projects between the department and Long Island based industries. SPIR projects include joint proposals for federal funding, manufacturing and quality assurance improvements, research and development, and testing and evaluation.

He won a SUNY Research Foundation Technology Accelerator Fund (TAF) award, which enabled him to develop a multifunctional Sit-to-Stand-Walker assistive device ( for people afflicted with neuromuscular degenerative diseases or disability. The technology and the patent behind the device has been licensed to Biodex Medical Systems for bringing the device to institutional market. Dr. Purwar gave a TEDx talk on Machine Design Innovation through Technology and Education ( which focused on enabling democratization of design capabilities, much needed for invention and innovation of machines by uniting the teaching of scientific and engineering principles with the new tools of technology.

Event Organizers: Clara Tran, Science Librarian and Bob Tolliver, Head of Science and Engineering