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Stony Brook University

University Libraries STEM Speaker Series: Fall 2017

First Lecture

Guest Speaker: Dr. Chang Kee Jung, SUNY Distinguished Professor in Physics

Title: Capturing Innovations and Underlying Physics in Sports (Selected Topics: Basketball, High Jump, Gymnastics and Swimming)

Date: Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Time: 1pm-2pm

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




















Second Lecture

Guest Speaker: Dr. Krishna Veeramah, Department of Ecology and Evolution

Title: Ancient European Dog Genomes Reveal Continuity Since the Early Neolithic

Date: Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Time: 1pm-2pm

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
















Third Lecture

Guest Speaker: Dr. Ming-Yu Ngai, Department of Chemistry

Title: Visible-Light-Driven Artificial Photo-synthesis in Organic Synthesis

Date: Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Time: 1pm-2pm

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



First Lecture: Dr. Chang Kee Jung, SUNY Distinguished Professor in Physics

Title: "Capturing Innovations and Underlying Physics in Sports"

(Selected Topics: Basketball, High Jump, Gymnastics and Swimming)


Sports occupies an important part of American life as well as other parts of the world. It is often difficult to flip through the TV channels without encountering sports shows. Surprisingly, large fraction of the intriguing and often spectacular sports actions and feats can be explained using relatively basic physics concepts. In this talk Professor Jung will explain the physics behind some remarkably creative innovations in popular sports (basketball, high Jump, gymnastics and swimming) using basic concepts in college entry level classical physics. The talk will feature exquisite and exclusive videos created by the New York Times graphics/multimedia team for sports that capture innovative feats of athletes like Simone Biles, Derek Drouin and Ryan Lochte.

This presentation was initially created in collaboration with Bedel Saget, a New York Times graphics/multimedia editor for sports. Bedel Saget received a 2nd place award for his team's work, titled, "The Fine Line: Simone Biles Gymnastics" at the prestigious 2017 World Press Photo Digital Storytelling contest in the Immersive Storytelling category.




Prof. Jung came to State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook in 1990 from Stanford University. He participated in various particle physics experiments based on high energy particle accelerators at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (FNAL). In 1991, recognizing the importance of the neutrino physics in the coming decades, he started a research group called Nucleon decay and Neutrino (NN) group at Stony Brook to study neutrino properties and search for proton decays. Since then, he and the NN group have been participating in the Super-Kamiokande experiment that made a historic discovery of the neutrino oscillation phenomenon resulting in Nobel Prize in Physics 2015; the K2K, the first accelerator-based long baseline neutrino oscillation experiment; and the T2K long baseline neutrino experiment that discovered appearance of electron neutrinos from a muon neutrino beam. He shared the 2016 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics with his collaborators in the Super-Kamiokande, K2K and T2K experiments. He also led an effort to build a deep underground science and engineering laboratory as well as a next generation nucleon decay and neutrino experiment in Colorado. Since 2014, he has shifted his research effort to the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) in the US. DUNE is expected to discover charge-parity symmetry violation in the lepton sector, which will provide an important clue for us to understand the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe along with proton decay and neutrinos from supernova explosions.


Prof. Jung introduced and developed two new courses at Stony Brook: "Light, Color and Vision" and "Physics of Sports" for non-science major students. In particular, his "Physics of Sports" is the first such course in the U.S. and most likely in the world. He has been interviewed numerous times by various media for his expertise in particle physics as well as physics of sports. He truly loves sports, and follows all major sports and sports events.


He is SUNY Distinguished Professor in physics.


Second Lecture: Dr. Krishna Veeramah, Department of Ecology and Evolution


Title: "Ancient European Dog Genomes Reveal Continuity Since the Early Neolithic"


Dogs were the first animal to be domesticated by humans, with all current evidence pointing to grey wolves as the likely ancestral species from which they descend. The oldest dog fossils that can be clearly distinguished from wolves are found in Germany around ~15kya, but the archaeological record is notoriously ambiguous, with contentious claims for much older specimens as far east as Siberia. More recently, analysis of genetic data from modern dogs has proved even more puzzling, with different groups suggesting Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and South Asia all as possible origins of dog domestication. This is in part a result of the confounding effect of the extreme bottlenecks introduced by Victorian breeding.


To understand the genetic relationship of ancient and modern dogs and the origins of dog domestication, Dr. Veeramah and his research team analysed whole genome sequences from the remains of two Neolithic dogs found at archaeological sites in Germany (aged around 7,000 years old and around 4,700 years old) and a third, previously described dog from Ireland (around 4,800 years old). They showed that ancient dogs and modern European dogs have common genetic roots, and there is a genetic continuity of domesticated dogs over the past 7,000 years from the Early Neolithic period to today. Based on these data, they propose that dog domestication took place between 20,000 and 40,000 years ago with a single geographical origin. In addition, they have begun to find evidence that selection for genes involved neural crest development were key for the process of dog domestication.



Krishna Veeramah joined the faculty in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook as an Assistant Professor in January 2014 as part of the new initiative in human evolutionary biology. Krishna is a primate genomicist and population geneticist, who received both his B.Sc. in 2003, and Ph.D. in 2008 from University College London. His Ph.D., conducted under the supervision of Mark Thomas, examined the distribution of genetic variation in Africans. He then moved to UCLA as part of John Novembre’s lab where he looked at the genetic architecture of European population isolates. In 2010 he joined Michael Hammer’s lab at the University of Arizona in order to lead a project comparing patterns of genomic variation on the autosomes and X chromosome in apes. At Stony Brook his research is focused on using genomic-scale data to understand the evolutionary genetics of human and non-human primates, contemporary evolution in Three-spined stickleback, the paleogenomics of Migration Period Europe and the evolutionary genetic basis of epilepsy.


Third Lecture: Dr. Ming-Yu Ngai, Department of Chemistry

Title: “Visible-Light-Driven Artificial Photo-synthesis in Organic Synthesis”

Visible light, one of the most abundant renewable energies, has been used to enable a broad range of transformations in nature. Photosynthesis, a visible-light-driven conversion of carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrate and oxygen under ambient conditions, is undoubtedly one of the most critical processes on earth. Drawing inspiration from this elegant process, Dr. Ngai’s lab focuses on the discovery and development of artificial photo-synthetic reactions for the synthesis of complex and value-added functional molecules from simple chemical building blocks using visible light. In this seminar, Dr. Ngai will describe their progress and future directions in the design and development of novel visible-light-driven chemical transformations.



Dr. Ming-Yu Ngai is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at Stony Brook University. He obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin and worked as a Croucher post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University and as a post-doctoral associate at Harvard University. His research focuses on the development of chemical transformations that harvest visible light for the synthesis of novel functional molecules.

Event Organizer: Clara Tran, Science Librarian