Michigan Tech Research Forum

Distinguished Lecture Series

The Distinguished Lecture Series started in Fall 2016 to honor faculty for their research impact. Department chairs, center/institute directors, deans, and Research Advisory Council members nominate highly engaging presenters with broad topic appeal. Distinguished Lecturers are selected for their ability to increase the knowledge of our community by connecting their research with societal and community concerns. Topics are broad, spanning all colleges and schools at Michigan Tech. Nominees are reviewed by committee twice per year and announced at the beginning of fall and spring semesters.

|April 7, 2021|Theme: Simulation of Materials|

portrait of Dr. Odegard

Lecture presented by Richard and Elizabeth Henes Professor of Computational Mechanics, Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics Gregory Odegard: US-COMP: Next Generation of Composite Materials for Crewed Deep Space Missions

Missed the Lecture? A recording is available.
Passcode: O^7HG+@S


Research Statement:

Current state-of-the-art composite materials are not light/strong enough for crewed missions to Mars and beyond. Structural components of deep space vehicles require lighter/stronger materials for fuel efficiency. The NASA Space Technologies Research Institute (STRI) for Ultra-Strong Composites by Computational Design (US-COMP) is focused on developing a new generation of composites for this purpose. US-COMP is using computational simulation to drive the material design in an efficient manner. By developing new simulation tools, experimental methods, and databases of material information, US-COMP is playing a central role in the national Materials Genome Initiative (MGI). The ultimate goals of US- COMP are to design, fabricate, and test composite panels that meet NASA’s requirements; and to train students to enter the advanced composite materials workforce.

Six Questions with Professor Gregory Odegard


|February 25, 2021|Theme: Nanoscale Materials|

University Professor Yoke Khin Yap

Lecture presented by University Professor Yoke Khin Yap, Director of Applied Physics Graduate Program: Positive Use of Negative Properties at the Nanoscale


Missed the Lecture? A recording is available.

Passcode: 3we*mv!Y


|December 9, 2020|Theme: Virus Research

Dr. Caryn Heldt

Lecture presented by Professor Caryn Heldt, Director of the Health Research Institute: Turning Viruses into Therapies


Missed the lecture? You can access the recording here

Passcode: ?Z#&j=5g

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|October 14, 2020|Theme: Direct Measurements|

Timothy J. Schulz

Lecture presented by Timothy Schulz, University Professor,  Electrical And Computer Engineering. Direct Measurement of Coherent Fields

Missed the lecture? You can access the recording here 
Passcode: v&c8YdKD

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|February 12, 2020|Theme: Transdisciplinary Research

Dr. Kathy Halvorsen

Lecture presented by  Distinguished Professor Kathleen HalvorsenHow I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Team Science: Lessons Learned from 25 Years of Transdisciplinary Research 

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|December 5, 2019|Theme: Cloud Chambers|

Raymond A. Shaw

Lecture presented by  Distinguished Professor Raymond Shaw: The Michigan Tech cloud chamber – how does it work and what have we learned?

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October 16, 2019 | Theme: Utilitarian Engineering 

David Watkins

Lecture presented by  Distinguished Professor David WatkinsUtilitarian Engineering: Promoting Equity and Sustainability Under Resource Constraints

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|April 10, 2019| Theme: Surfaces, Material & Metals

Jaroslaw W. Drelich

Lecture presented by  Distinguished Professor Jaroslaw Drelich: Surfaces and Interfaces: Building Blocks of Nature and my Research World

TechTalks presented by inter-disciplinary collaborators: 
    Jeremy Goldman, Biomedical Engineering 
    Feng Zhao, Biomedical Engineering 
    Tim Scarlett, Social Sciences 
    Timothy Eisele, Chemical Engineering 

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| March 20, 2019 | Theme: Organizational Behavior |

Sonia Goltz

Lecture presented by  Professor Sonia GoltzFelt Experience: A Key Bridge Between Research Knowledge and Social Change 

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| February 27, 2019 | Theme: Mathematics |

Image result for Vladimir Tonchev

Lecture presented by  Distinguished Professor Vladimir Tonchev: Coding Theory, Combinatorial Designs, and Finite Geometry
TechTalks presented by the Department of Mathematical Sciences:
    Missy Keranen ,  Mathematical Sciences 
    William Keith,  Mathematical Sciences 
    CK Shene, Computer Sciences

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| December 6, 2018 | Theme: Water Resources |

Nancy Langston

Lecture presented by  Distinguished Professor Nancy Langton: Sustaining Lake Superior

TechTalks presented by Great Lakes Research Center affiliates:
    Sarah Green,  Chemistry
    Casey Huckins,  Biological Sciences
    Sarah Fayen Scarlett, Social Sciences
    Don Lafreniere,  Social Sciences

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Fall 2018 Distinguished Lecturer


Alex S. Mayer

The University Professor title recognizes faculty members who have made outstanding scholarly contributions to the University and their discipline over a substantial period of time.

Dr. Alex Mayer selected as the first University Professor in 2018. He presented a lecture, Coping with uncertainty: Water tales from the Wild West and elsewhere, at the Fall 2018 Research Forum as a Distinguished Lecturer on October 25, 2018 in a format encouraging networking and discussions.

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Spring 2018 Distinguished Lecturer

Sarah A. Green

Dr. Sarah Green was nominated by Mike Abbott, director of the Great Lakes Research Center Operations, and was selected from a highly competitive pool of candidates from all colleges and schools on campus.

 Her lecture, Expanding Spheres: Atoms to Earth, Local to Global, Science to Society, was presented on February 15, 2018, in a format encouraging networking and discussions.

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Fall 2017 Distinguished Lecturer

John A. Vucetich

Dr. John Vucetich was nominated by Dr. Terry Sharik, dean of the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science. His lecture, It's Not About Wolves: Interdisciplinary Knowledge for a Sustainable, Just and Prosperous World, was presented on November 7, 2017. 
Sharik writes in his nomination: "John is a world-renowned researcher on predator-prey relations and especially on the role of wolves in regulating ecosystems. John's work also bridges animal population dynamics and ethics. John has given hundreds of presentations spanning the gamut from scientists to ordinary citizens; his delivery style is one of serenity, thoughtfulness and humility."

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Spring 2017 Distinguished Lecturer

Simon Carn

Dr. Simon Carn was nominated by Dr. John Gierke and selected from a highly competitive pool of candidates as the Spring 2017 Distinguished Lecturer. His lecture, about Satellite Remote Sensing of Active Volcanism, was presented in April 2017.

Volcanology – the study of volcanoes – is a truly multidisciplinary endeavor that encompasses numerous fields including geology, physics, chemistry, material science and social science. Arguably, Michigan Tech owes its very existence to volcanic activity, which is ultimately responsible for the area’s rich copper deposits and the development of mining in the Keweenaw.

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Fall 2016 Distinguished Lecturer

Richelle L. Winkler

 Dr. Richelle Winkler gave the inaugural Michigan Tech Research Forum Distinguished Lecture in October 2016. She discussed Making Research Matter: Democratizing Science and Other Lofty Goals. Professor Hugh Gorman nominated Winkler, an associate professor of sociology and demography, for “community engaged scholarship" that extends across the Michigan Tech campus. Examples of Winkler's projects include examining the feasibility—social and technical—of using mine water for geothermal heating systems in Calumet and examining the social, economic, and technical aspects of improving recycling in Houghton County.

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