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Monday, August 22, 2016

153 Conservative Academics Come Out Of The Closet | The Federalist

"Conservatives are less well-represented in the American professoriate than all current targets of affirmative action. A new book tells stories of conservative academics ‘coming out.’" according to Joseph Larsen, journalist based in Tbilisi, Georgia. 

Photo U.S. Navy / Wikimedia


Passing on the Right: Conservative Professors in the Progressive University” by John A. Shields and Joshua M. Dunn Sr. is a short book surveying the experiences of right-wing social science and humanities professors in the United States. Conservative discomfort with the American academy and its leftward biases has been a fixture of American politics at least since the 1950s. However, research shows that leftward bias within the university system has grown significantly since the 1980s.

Passing on the Right:
Conservative Professors in the Progressive University
Shields, a professor at Claremont McKenna College, and Dunn, a professor at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, engage with this growing political homogeneity. Their book documents the experiences of 153 right-leaning professors in the social sciences and humanities (spoiler: they find conservatives getting less than a fair shake).
Read more...

Source: The Federalist


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Is It OK to Teach Grown-Ups? | Chronicle of Higher Education


Check Emily Toth Ms. Mentor out, who never leaves her ivory tower, channels her mail via Emily Toth at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge below.
 
Photo: Tim Foley for The Chronicle Review

Question (from "Daisy"): After a tough swim through sharks, I finally got tenure at "Jekyll Community College." I’ve now been offered another opportunity — or at least I think it’s one. The college’s Golden Adult Enrichment Program has invited me to teach a course in my specialty, modern American history, for students over 50. The program’s letter was so full of praise that for awhile I thought my mother wrote it.
 
I’m a very good teacher of traditional-age college students, but am I — at 35 — too young to teach a room full of adults over 50? And will teaching in the noncredit Golden Program mean I’ll be giving up my chances ever to find a job at a research-oriented university?

Answer: First, Ms. Mentor cheers and whoops. In our barbarous times, talented teachers are so rarely lauded and wooed. What a splendid moment.

And now it’s your chance to be selfish. What will the Golden Program do for you?

You’re obviously a classroom star at Jekyll, and the good word has gotten around town ("Psst! Take Daisy’s courses!"). Now that you have tenure, it’s the moment to ask existential questions — like "What is the meaning of life?" and "What do I hate?"

Most newly tenured faculty members are exhausted. They’re like successful job seekers, who want to rejoice but are often overwhelmed with post-victory depression and survivor’s guilt. Academe is supposed to be about the lofty life of the mind, but most academicians also have big, burbling emotions. (You’re supposed to pretend they don’t exist.) So in between taking long naps (you’ve earned them), let your psyche tote up all of the things you’ve learned that you didn’t know a few years ago, when you got on the tenure track.

For instance, you know much more about teaching now. You know how to create a syllabus to cover assignments, contingencies, late papers, and plagiarism. You know about having a hook — an opening gambit that starts the class. You know how to organize lecture notes and slides. You know how to grade tests and papers fast, and how to structure questions that are gradable. You’ve learned to establish authority in class and to speak loudly enough to reach the last row. You know how to encourage the eager puppies and how to cajole the unmotivated who want only to text or sleep.

Evidently you project warmth — the major quality students look for when evaluating women as teachers (see RateMyProfessors, which will probably depress you). And you know much, much more about modern American history than you ever knew in grad school, because you’ve had to teach it to people who often, well, couldn’t care less.
 
A lot of that will change in the Golden Program, should you decide to take that mission.
 
You won’t have students with youthful energy, twitching and trying to divert you from noticing that they’re not quite prepared for class. Adult students are, well, more adult. Now they want to learn bigger stuff.
Read more...

Source: Chronicle of Higher Education


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Friday, August 19, 2016

National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) Launches "Significant Figures," New Math Series for Seniors Designed to Keep the Mind Active and Alert

"New MoMath Program to Keep Seniors' Mind Agile inform PR Web

Free Admission for Grandparents who Bring a Grandchild Along

In Celebration of National Grandparents Day
During The Weekend of Saturday, September 10th & Sunday, September 11th



The National Museum of Mathematics, (MoMath), the only museum in North America dedicated to math, has announced a new initiative to bring math – and all its wonders – to older adults. First, MoMath celebrates the special relationship of grandparent to grandchild in recognition of Grandparents’ Weekend – Saturday, September 10 and Sunday, September 11th. During this special weekend, any grandparent who brings a grandchild to the Museum is welcome to attend the Museum free of charge; each grandparent can bring up to two grandchildren free of charge.

Visitors to the museum during Grandparent Weekend are also welcome to attend a sneak preview of Significant Figures – a new series designed to engage the mind with creative and entertaining mathematical activities. Led by MoMath’s education staff, this unique weekend session is aimed at seniors and can be enjoyed together with grandchildren. Sessions will be held at 11:30 am and 2 pm on both Saturday and Sunday; advance registration is required; $8/person session fee. Space is limited. Registrants will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, please visit grandparents.momath.org.

Grandparents Weekend is followed by the debut of Significant Figures, a series of weekly educator-led workshops offered to seniors on Wednesday afternoons from September 2016 through December 2016. Significant Figures will include different puzzle activities, word play, and state-of-the art interactive exhibits to stimulate brains, minds, and in some cases, even the bodies of older adults. Workshops are held from 3:45 to 4:45 pm each Wednesday. On the first Wednesday of each month, full-session registrants are invited to enjoy reserved priority seating for the series, Math Encounters with a special opportunity to meet the presenter just before the program begins.

Kicking off Significant Figures on Wednesday, September 14 at 3:45 pm will be special guest, Will Shortz, New York Times crossword puzzle editor. For more information, see significantfigures.momath.org.

“Since the launch of the Museum almost four years ago, we have been thrilled with the overwhelmingly positive response we’ve received from students, teachers, kids, and families.” stated Cindy Lawrence, Executive Director and CEO of MoMath. “By expanding our programs with engaging math content directed at seniors, we can help keep their minds agile, sharp, and fresh, building upon our mission to make math exciting, fun, and accessible to young and old alike. Each week we will present new and innovative ways for the older adult population to not only experience the wonders of math, but to also take part in mental health exercises for their brains.”

About the National Museum of Mathematics
The National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath) strives to enhance public understanding and perception of mathematics in daily life. Since it opened in December 2012, more than 500,000 New Yorkers and visitors from around the world have come to the Museum. Another 500,000 have experienced MoMath exhibitions and content in seven countries, including the United States, Singapore, Brazil, Germany, Russia, Spain, and Sweden.

The only math museum in North America, MoMath fulfills an incredible demand for hands-on math programming, creating a space where those who are math-challenged – as well as math enthusiasts of all backgrounds and levels of understanding – can revel in their own personal realm of the infinite world of mathematics through more than 37 state-of-the-art interactive exhibits. MoMath was awarded the bronze 2013 MUSE Award for Education and Outreach by the American Alliance of Museums.

Location:
MoMath is located at 11 E. 26th on the north side of popular Madison Square Park in Manhattan.


Hours:
Open seven days a week, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, visit momath.org.

Source: PR Web (press release)


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The Mysterious History of the Ellipsis, From Medieval Subpuncting to Irrational Numbers | Slate Magazine (blog)


Photo: Cameron Hunt McNabb
Cameron Hunt McNabb, assistant professor at Southeastern University, where she specializes in medieval and early modern literature summarizes, "The punctuation mark of the ellipsis is perhaps the most unusual mark in the English language, for punctuation marks are designed to convey meaning by indicating relationships between ideas, but the ellipsis does the exact opposite." 

In medieval manuscripts, we find a mark—sometimes called subpuncting or underdotting—that is used to indicate the omission of a word or phrase.
Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

It simply indicates that something has been omitted. Sometimes, this omission is poignant, as in J. Alfred Prufrock’s lament “I grow old...I grow old…” which invites the reader to imagine what has happened to the him in the spaces between him growing old. Sometimes, it is simply a placeholder, as happens when a fellow messager is typing on the other end of the line. (Personally, my favorite example of the ellipsis is Seinfeld’s infamous “yada yada yada,” but I digress.)

But where did the ellipsis come from and how did it end up being so unusual? The Guardian’s article on the history of the ellipsis draws on Anne Toner’s fascinating book Ellipsis in English Literature: Signs of Omission to explore ellipses all the way back to the drama of the 16th century. Both the article and the book do an excellent job of analyzing these earliest print records of the modern ellipsis.

But that story may not be the whole story, for the dot dot dot of an ellipsis was no stranger to English texts before the plays of Shakespeare and Jonson. It might have just been serving a slightly different function.

In medieval manuscripts, we find a mark—sometimes called subpuncting or underdotting—that is used to indicate the omission of a word or phrase, usually when that word or phrase has been copied erroneously. This omission mark involves placing a series of dots under the word that is to be omitted. The image below shows an erroneous word, blotted out and subpuncted:

The British Library Board, Harley MS 6258 fol. 45r
 A scholar of medieval manuscripts, David Wakelin, conducted a study on how popular various methods of omission and correction were based on a sample of 9,000 manuscripts at the Huntington Library. He found that “crossing out, subpuncting, or erasure” accounted for 25% of the corrections he found. He does not provide a percentage of subpuncting alone, but it does occur in a variety of manuscripts, particularly those in the 14th and 15th centuries. Wakelin notes that subpuncting begins to die out in the early 16th century, and Toner picks up on the rise of the ellipsis in the late 16th century.
Read more...

Source: Slate Magazine (blog)


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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Don't call me a prodigy: the rising stars of European mathematics | Sci-Tech

Follow on Twitter as @helenakaschel
"Scientists from 80 countries flocked to Berlin this week to attend the European Congress of Mathematics. One main takeaway: some of the continent's leading mathematicians are surprisingly young - and very down-to-earth." inform Helena Kaschel, Berlin.

Photo: Peter Scholze

Time is a precious resource for Peter Scholze (pictured above). Despite his constant lack of it, he's agreed to a short interview on the steps near the main auditorium at Berlin's Technical University. Scholze is polite, but you can tell he's more comfortable speaking to an audience of mathematicians than an audio recorder.

Since the 28-year-old became Germany's youngest professor at the age of 24 and the youngest ever Leibniz laureate at 27, both the academic and the media world have taken notice of him.

Now, five years on, the European Mathematical Society (EMS) has honored Scholze for his groundbreaking research in the field of arithmetic algebraic geometry. With two key lectures, he's one of the heavy weights at this year's European Congress of Mathematics, which saw 1,300 mathematicians from all around the world attend.

'I don't believe you always have to understand everything in mathematics'
"I can't even make mathematicians understand what I'm currently working on," Scholze laughs. After finishing his lecture on the opening day, he tells me, quite a few colleagues told him that they had given up trying to follow his trail of thought halfway through the lecture. Does this bother him? Scholze shrugs. "I don't believe you always have to understand everything in mathematics," he says.

"Gerd Faltings, the only German to have been awarded the Fields Medal, regularly holds a lecture on arithmetic geometry at Bonn University. I used to go there as a student and I would never understand anything. But in hindsight I feel like I learned so much during that time. There's this misconception that certain parts of lectures are pointless if you don't get it straight away."...

'There are just some things I would like to understand'
 It's Monday, the first day of the congress. Peter Scholze strides across the stage of the packed main auditorium, clutching a laser pointer, his dark curls tied back like a professional soccer player. He explains the connection between his recent findings and the 1968 Fontaine-Winterberger theorem.
Read more...

Additional resources
Peter Scholze - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Peter Scholze and the Future of Arithmetic Geometry | Quanta Magazine

Source: Deutsche Welle


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The Scout Report: Research and Education - August 12, 2016

Check out these highlights from The Internet Scout Project.


The Scout Report -- Volume 22, Number 31 (August 12th, 2016)  

The Open Notebook
 
www.theopennotebook.com

The Open Notebook is a resource designed to help science journalists and journalism students hone their reporting and writing skills. Although targeted specifically to science writers, The Open Notebook provides discussion and advice about pitching stories, reporting, and writing that will be of interest to any journalist. Readers will find insightful interviews with science writers about their craft, an advice column, and a Pitch Database that allows visitors to search for successful article pitches by publication. The Interviews section features conversations with writers on various approaches to reporting and writing. For instance, visitors can read a conversation with Jessica Wapner about how she built rapport and trust with individuals in Austin, Indiana for a story about drug addiction in the region. In another interview, Elizabeth Kolbert describes the challenges of writing a book and her use of intellectual history to explore how scientists have understood species extinction. Another highlight of The Open Notebook is the Storygram series, presenting annotations of award-winning science articles that examine successful rhetorical techniques.
Read more...  

The History Harvest

historyharvest.unl.edu

For the past several years, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Department of History, in partnership with a number of museums and organizations, has hosted a series of history harvests across the state. At each harvest, "community-members are invited to bring and share their letters, photographs, objects and stories, and participate in a conversation about the significance and meaning of their materials." Students and faculty then digitize, curate, and organize these materials into a series of collections and exhibits. The result is a collection of primary documents that reveal the diverse lives and experiences of multiple generations of Nebraska residents and comprise a great resource for any history classroom. Highlights from this digital project include a collection of letters and artifacts from Eugene Sengstake, who served as a pilot during World War II and was tragically killed in action in 1944; a collection about Nebraska's African-American Community; and a moving exhibit about refugee communities in Lincoln, Nebraska. 
Read more...

NOVA Labs: Evolution

www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/labs/lab/evolution
The team behind the popular PBS series NOVA, produced by WGBH in Boston, has created a collection of online Labs that provide interactive learning experiences relating to a number of scientific topics. (The Scout Report featured NOVA Labs in its 07-23-2013 report.) The most recent addition to the series is the Evolution Lab. In this engaging resource, learners can participate in two activities: Build a Tree and Deep Tree. In the Build a Tree activity, students create an evolutionary tree by reading about a variety of species and identifying the traits that connect them to one another. Meanwhile, Deep Tree is an interactive chart that demonstrates the connections between 70,000 species, from algae to bananas to human beings. Visitors can search for any species to learn about their classification and characteristics or to explore how any two species are related to each other. These two interactive activities are accompanied by an educator's guide, which includes lesson plans and worksheets for the classroom. In addition, this page includes Videos, an Evolution Quiz, and a Meet the Experts component.
Read more... 

Dissertation Reviews


dissertationreviews.org
Doctoral dissertations include innovative scholarship, new topics of inquiry, and fresh approaches to longstanding topics in any academic discipline. However, most dissertations do not become available to the general public until the author is able to convert their dissertation into a book manuscript. Dissertation Reviews is designed to "offer readers a glimpse of each discipline's immediate present by focusing on the window of time between dissertation defense and first book publication." On this site, visitors can read reviews of over 1,000 dissertations in the humanities and social science fields from around the globe. In each review, an early career scholar in the field outlines the dissertator's main argument and sources and discusses how the dissertation fits into the field's existing body of scholarship. Visitors to this website can search for dissertation by institution or academic subject. In addition, Dissertation Reviews contains Fresh from the Archives, which reviews the many libraries, archives, and databases used by scholars to complete their dissertations.  
Read more...

Mathplanet

www.mathplanet.com

If you are looking for a resource to help mathematics students complete homework assignments and learn outside of the classroom, you may want to check out Math Planet, an easily navigable online resource for mathematics students and instructors. Designed specifically for American high school students, the majority of Math Planet functions like an online textbook. Users can browse through subjects (Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry) and select specific topics (e.g. linear equations, quadrilaterals, complex numbers) within these subjects. Each topic is accompanied by a written explanation of key concepts and a short Video Lesson that models how to do related math problems. In addition, Math Planet includes 60 ACT practice questions and 70 SAT practice questions. After attempting to solve these questions, visitors then learn the answers and may watch a video explanation.
Read more... 

YouTube: ComputerHistory

https://www.youtube.com/user/computerhistory/video

The Computer History Museum was founded in 1996 in Mountain View, California with the goal of sharing and preserving the "artifacts and stories of the Information Age." The Museum's YouTube channel is a great resource for anyone looking to learn more about the history of computing or gain insights about the future of the field. Here, visitors can listen to oral histories of numerous key figures in information technology and view videos of lectures and educational programs for K-12 students. There are a number of playlists, including Top Picks, Teacher's Resources, and Exhibition: Revolution, the First 2000 Years of Computing. The latter playlist is a fascinating collection of videos about computer history, highlighting the stories of unsung pioneers and early inventions that were critical to modern day computing. Other highlights of this channel include a 1980 video of Steve Jobs and a fascinating discussion about 19th century mathematician Ada Lovelace, who contributed to Charles Babbage's 1832 computer. 

Read more... 


The Juilliard Manuscript Collection

http://juilliardmanuscriptcollection.org/
Classical music fans will want to check out the Juilliard Manuscripts Collection, a spectacular collection of very rare manuscripts. These documents were donated to the school in 2006 by Bruce Kovner, a business professional and philanthropist who served as chair of the board at Juilliard. This collection includes engraved first editions of manuscripts by Johannes Sebastian Bach; an autographed letter from Ludwig van Beethoven; a copy of Beethoven's 9th Symphony - with his own annotations - that may have been used in the symphony's very first performance; and a signed holograph by Claude Debussy. Visitors to this website can search for manuscripts by composer. In addition to the luminaries mentioned above, this collection contains manuscripts by Johannes Brahms, Aaron Copland, Dmitri Shostakovich, Richard Wagner, and more. Each manuscript is accompanied with complete bibliographic information. 
Read more... 

Source: Internet Scout Project


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Articles released by The CITE Journal, Volume 16, Issue 2 (2016)

I hope you would like to read these interesting articles released by CITE Journal as below.
Don't miss these articles.



Students’ Guided Reinvention of Definition of Limit of a Sequence With Interactive Technology
By Alfinio Flores, University of Delaware & Jungeun Park, University of Delaware. 

Abstract  
In a course emphasizing interactive technology, 19 students, including 18 mathematics education majors, mostly in their first year, reinvented the definition of limit of a sequence while working in small cooperative groups. The class spent four sessions of 75 minutes each on a cyclical process of guided reinvention of the definition of limit of a sequence for a particular value, L = 5. Tentative definitions were tested systematically against a well-chosen set of examples of sequences that converged, or not, to 5. Students shared their definitions and the problems they were having with their definitions with their peers through whole class presentations and public postings on a course electronic forum. Student presenters received feedback from their peers both in person and through the forum. The approximation, error, error bound framework was used to help structure students’ thinking. The use of interactive examples with epsilon bands and movable N values, in which students could zoom in to adjust the value of epsilon or zoom out to find a value of N, proved especially helpful in the process. The changes in their tentative definitions show the difficulties students had as well as the learning that occurred.
Read more...

Enabling Collaboration and Video Assessment: Exposing Trends in Science Preservice Teachers’ Assessments
By Mike Borowczak, Erebus Labs and Andrea C. Burrows, University of Wyoming 

Abstract 
This article details a new, free resource for continuous video assessment named YouDemo. The tool enables real time rating of uploaded YouTube videos for use in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and beyond. The authors discuss trends of preservice science teachers’ assessments of self- and peer-created videos using the tool. The trends were identified from over 900 assessments of 170 videos, with over 131 unique users. Included in this data set is a 2-year study focusing on 27 preservice science teachers (from a 5-year study of 76 total science preservice teachers) and their use of the tool. The authors collected both quantitative (numerical scores) and qualitative data (open-ended questions) from the 27 participants. Findings show that (a) rating two metrics had a non-zero bias between the two metrics; (b) preservice teachers found continuous video rating beneficial in enabling video assessment, promoting critical thinking, and increasing engagement; and (c) preservice teacher’s self-assessment was uncorrelated with their peers’ assessment. Additionally, the elements to enable skill improvement were met, including (a) a well defined task, (b) a challenging task, (c) immediate feedback, (d) error correction, and (e) practice. Implications include improvement in preservice teacher reflection and discussions, especially related to STEM content and pedagogy.
Read more... 

Commentary: Building Web Research Strategies for Teachers and Students
By Robert W. Maloy, University of Massachusetts Amherst 
 
Abstract  
This paper presents web research strategies for teachers and students to use in building Dramatic Event, Historical Biography, and Influential Literature wiki pages for history/social studies learning.  Dramatic Events refer to milestone or turning point moments in history.  Historical Biographies and Influential Literature pages feature historically prominent people, both real and fictional. As teachers and students research these topics, they practice accessing and assessing online information while expanding web research and digital literacy skills.  They discover how the interactive capacities of wiki technology present people, events and literature in multimodal ways that engage students in deepening history learning. The paper includes sample event, biography, and literature pages hyperlinked to Resources for History Teachers, an award-winning open educational content wiki maintained by the History Teacher Education program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  These model wiki pages incorporate primary and secondary materials, multimedia resources, and multicultural topics for teaching and learning.  Students and teachers can use these model pages to construct their own wiki pages tailored to local and state history/social studies curriculum.
Read more... 

Technological Modeling: Faculty Use of Technologies in Preservice Teacher Education from 2004 to 2012
By Joan E. Hughes, The University of Texas at Austin; Sa Liu, The University of Texas at Austin; & Mihyun Lim, The University of Texas at Austin 

Abstract 
This 7-year, cross-sectional study of a 1:1 laptop teacher preparatory program in the United States examined the nature and change in faculty technological modeling. Using survey methods, preservice teachers (n = 932) reported their faculty’s use of technological activities in coursework. Through descriptive statistics, chi-square tests, and qualitative analysis, researchers found change in the number of faculty members incorporating presentation, word processing, email, learning management systems, and digital video activities in coursework. Emergent activities with low but increasing use included digital audio, social networking, text messaging, and blog activities. Less widely reported activities included social bookmarking, desktop publishing, webpage creation, and games. Overall results indicated all students did not report similar faculty technological modeling, which also meant that students had divergent technological experiences from which to base their future teaching. The discussion outlines an expansion of educational technology integration across teacher education methods/content courses to increase systematic and contemporary coverage of technological advancements in education through codeveloped curriculum and coteaching by educational technology and teacher education faculty.
Read more... 

Enjoy your reading!   


Source: The CITE Journal


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Monday, August 15, 2016

Popular MITx philosophy MOOC introduces instructor grading | MIT News

Photo: Maria Cruz Lopez
"If one of the core philosophies of online learning is to democratize education, then a new verified certificate option for a philosophy course on MITx on edX — the massive open online courses (MOOCs) offered by the Institute — brings the concept full circle." summarizes Maria Cruz Lopez, Office of Digital Learning.

In an MITx Philosophy MOOC, online learners can have their work graded and commented upon by professional philosophers.

Starting Aug. 29, Introduction to Philosophy: God, Knowledge and Consciousness will enable students to obtain a verified ID certificate and have their work graded and commented upon by professional philosophers. Learners from any background, anywhere in the world, can pursue the certificate option to add credibility and value to the accomplishment of completing the course.

“This is a big deal — the first MITx humanities course to offer students the chance to write a paper and have it carefully reviewed by instructors,” says Caspar Hare, who will be running the popular MOOC for the third time. “Listening to lectures and reading books is great, but philosophy is all about taking complex ideas and organizing them in a simple way. You learn by writing, specifically writing to someone.”

By writing philosophy papers and interacting with instructors online, students develop the critical reasoning skills necessary for success in any field or for an advanced degree. In fact, philosophy majors consistently outperform all other majors on the GRE, coming out on top in two of the three components of the grad school exam — Analytical Writing and Verbal Reasoning — while also excelling in Quantitative Reasoning. Philosophy majors also tend to earn more, with mid-career salaries in the 90th percentile when comparing all majors, and way ahead of all other humanities.
Read more...

Source: MIT News


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Chemistry prof fired up by the unexpected | The Straits Times

Photo: Yuen Sin
"Most people prefer it when things go according to plan. But it is precisely the spark of uncertainty in the study of chemistry that holds allure for Dr Leong Weng Kee." notes


Dr Leong was conferred a Doctor of Science degree by Cambridge University in July last year for his significant contribution to his field of research.
PHOTO: GIN TAY FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

 "One of the joys of doing research in this area is that you don't know what the outcome would be. You can plan ahead on a piece of paper, draw things out and think... but it's usually more exciting when the unexpected happens," said the associate professor at Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
The 56-year-old might not have aced his chemistry undergraduate studies at Cambridge University and gone on to do a doctorate right after graduating in 1982.

But Dr Leong, who received a doctorate in chemistry from Simon Fraser University in Canada in 1996, was conferred a Doctor of Science degree by Cambridge in July last year for his significant contribution to his field of research.

He is believed to be the first Singaporean to win this honour from Cambridge.

Over the course of his academic career, which also included about 13 years of teaching at the National University of Singapore (NUS), he has authored 180 papers, some of which explore chemical reactions to understand how chemical production can be made more efficient, or how chemical compounds can be used for applications in the biomedical field.

Currently, he is hoping to set up a company that produces diagnostic kits for dengue fever.

The kits may be able to detect dengue fever in patients even at low levels of antibodies, allowing the disease to be detected and fought earlier than can be done under current systems.

Learning to embrace the unexpected has similarly taken Dr Leong, a former Raffles Institution student, to interesting places in his own life.

In 1978, the second child of a carpenter and a housewife made the pragmatic choice of applying to the Public Service Commission (PSC) for a scholarship to study chemical engineering overseas. He was pleasantly surprised when he was granted permission to study the natural sciences, which included physics, chemistry and biology, on the condition that he become a teacher and serve an eight-year bond .

During his days as a "pretty pathetic" undergraduate at Cambridge, which included a year where he shared a room with playwright Tan Tarn How at Peterhouse College, the minefield of distractions posed by the opportunity to live and study overseas proved difficult to resist.

Said Mr Tan: "Weng Kee was not the typical Singaporean scholar who did nothing but study.

"He had a good sense of humour and was always kidding around. He also had a lot of interests - he liked classical music, and bought a lot of vinyl records."

After "disastrous" results in physics in his first year, Dr Leong decided to major in chemistry instead, graduating with a second lower honours degree in 1982.
Read more...

Source: The Straits Times  


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How Machine Learning And Mobile Are Working Together | The Daily Star-Journal

"Machine Learning sounds like something out of an 1980s movie about a deceiving robot we end up fighting against to defend the existence of the planet." continues MoodleNews.
 

Photo: MoodleNews

That may explain the distrust people have with it. How understandable is this distrust? Computers monitoring and absorbing information, learning and adapting to become better? For an unknown end? Add to this distrust the purported technological singularity: the moment when artificial intelligence surpasses the human in any practical competency. Will they write better music than Mozart? The prospect feels grisly… but what if it is beautiful in ways we cannot guess today?

Reality is a lot less dramatic. We are not yet at a level where robots are capable of learning behaviors and emotions the way humans do. Talking about Machine Learning today is a less colorful discussion. It involves programs and functions that take a large heap of information to suit our needs in more useful ways. It is a lot less “AI”, and much more “Big Data.”

Machine learning today might sound not as apocalyptic, but it is still revolutionary. Never before could a system capture our past habits to maximize our satisfaction with such potency. We live in a new age of user experience; not one that thinks for itself, but one that absorbs massive volumes of data, performs operations millions of times per second, test and dismisses patterns according to thresholds set by humans, and incorporates them into the programs and tasks we decide.

The term “machine learning” is used just about wherever a slightly resembling tech comes up. The mobile devices spectrum, with IoT and smartphones, is a prominent example. But mobile, as it turns out, is poised to be the next ecosystem where computer-fueled user experience will evolve. An increasingly prominent place for people to interact with companies, services, products and knowledge, mobile is becoming a key element in all communications strategies. And with machine learning, there is a clear leap forward to a valuable, easier and more user-friendly experience...

Machine Learning and Mobile
Which is why it is no secret mobile is the new king. A category where unmanned vehicles, like drones and cars, also belong. Running learning algorithms, a multi-layered neural network for example, consumes 90 percent less power than what was previously possible. The implications are endless as we consider what we want to accomplish with machine learning. 
Here are some examples:
Read more...

Source: MoodleNews


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