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Presidential Lecture Series

Presidential Lecture Series

Attn: Emily Zwick and Annie Jewell
New Student Services
Kansas State University
177 Berney Family Welcome Center
705 N. 17th Street
Manhattan, KS 66506





Science and the Environment

Antimicrobial Resistance and the Food System

Dr. Sara Gragg, Assistant Professor of Food Science

This lecture describes the various categories of antimicrobials and how bacteria develop resistance to their bactericidal or bacteriostatic effects.  A discussion of how and why antimicrobials, particularly antibiotics, are used in agriculture will encompass a large portion of the time.  Students will be asked questions and prompted for discussion throughout the lecture.  Comparisons will be made concerning antibiotic usage in human medicine vs. agriculture.  The epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance in the food system will also be reviewed.

A Universe of Light 

Dr. Chris Sorenson, Cortelyou-Rust University Distinguished Professor

We live in a universe of light! All the non-luminous objects we see, including this screen and the faces of friends, we see through a process of light scattering. We will explore simple ways to understand light scattering. Questions to be addressed are: what are the effects of scattering on the polarization of light? Why is the sky blue and the clouds white? What determines the magnitude of the scattering and its distribution relative to the incident direction? What is the explanation of rainbows, glories, and sundogs? My goal is to both enhance our physical intuition for the light scattering process and to awaken us all to the universe of light around us.

Earthquakes and Tsunamis – Japan, 2011 & Indian Ocean, 2004

Dr. Don Von Bergen, Head of Arts, Sciences, & Business at Kansas State Polytechnic Campus

An overview of the geology behind earthquakes and the resulting tsunamis.  Much of the talk will focus on the devastating earthquakes and resulting tsunamis that occurred in Japan (2011) and Indonesia (2004).  The format of the talk is an interactive PowerPoint slideshow.  Questions and discussion is encouraged.  No prior knowledge is needed.  This talk can be adapted to any age group.

From Molecular Sociology to Smart Materials

Dr. Christer Aakeroy, University Distinguished Professor of Chemistry       

How do molecules communicate with each other?  Why do some molecules like each other and others do not?  Any biological system relies on molecular recognition, binding and function, and if we could improve our understanding of these processes we would be able to build new materials that are faster, smarter or cheaper than current alternatives. This lecture will (a) present some strategies for how we can begin to build new molecular architectures and (b) describe how these structures can be used for materials applications including molecular filters that will selectively capture and destroy a variety of toxins.

How Scientific Discoveries in Kansas Impact the World

Dr. David Poole, Professor of Kinesiology, Anatomy and Physiology 

No summary available

How  We Know What We Know   

Dr. Chris Sorenson, Cortelyou-Rust University Distinguished Professor of Physics

Science is much less a body of knowledge and much more a way of knowing. With science we have a method to interact with and develop an understanding of the world around us. Science is neither esoteric nor dogmatic; scientists are neither wizards nor “mad”. In this lecture we will describe some great scientific works that demonstrate how science can, from systemic, quantitative observational gleanings, find profound truths. How simple curiosity with an open mind can reveal unanticipated insights. In short, this lecture will demonstrate how we know what we know.

“Just what is “Fracking?” Energy from the Earth: Hydraulic fracturing and other principles behind Exploration, Drilling, and Production of Oil and Natural Gas 

Dr. Don Von Bergen, Department Head of Arts, Sciences and Business at Kansas State Polytechnic Campus

This is an overview of the geology and operations involved in the process known as “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing. It is designed to give the audience a better understanding of the methods used to find oil/natural gas, major steps and technology involved in safely drilling an oil well, and the steps taken to safely and efficiently produce it. Some of the discussion will focus on the factors that led to the “blow-out” and subsequent explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, resulting in the “infamous” April, 2010 oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The format of the talk is an interactive power point slide show. Questions and discussion are encouraged. No prior knowledge is needed. The talk can be adapted to any age group.

Lasers: The Light Fantastic

Dr. Chris Sorensen,Cortelyou-Rust University Distinguished Professor of Physics

In this lecture we will study the physics of lasers, i.e. what they are and how they work. To do this we demonstrate a number of interesting physical phenomena including the physics of color, light emission, feedback, and resonance. The lecture concludes by taking a laser apart and explaining all the pieces.

Tips for Safe Food Preparation

Dr. Sara Gragg, Assistant Professor of Food Science

Food safety is important because “everyone has to eat,” and how we handle and prepare our foods plays a critical role in preventing foodborne illness. Knowledge is power; therefore, for consumers to have a solid understanding of how they can take an active role in reducing their risk for foodborne illness is critically important.  This lecture is designed to walk participants through a typical kitchen to discuss the risks for foodborne illness associated with improper cooking temperatures, improper storage and holding of food products, cross-contamination, importance of sanitizing and handwashing, etc.  Time allowing, this lecture can also become quite interactive with demonstrations on cross-contamination and surface swabbing to rapidly determine bacterial contamination.

Up-Cycle Your Life: Going Green through Re-purposing, Re-cycling, and Re-Using

Dr. Donita Whitney-Bammerlin, Instructor, Department of Management

At a time when society has concerns about the ozone layer, footprints, and global warming, appreciation and awareness for our environment is higher than before in history.  The mass media utilizes words such as ‘accountability’ and ‘responsible use’ as a means for emphasizing the fact conscientious consumption of our natural resources and recycling is everybody’s business.  Individuals or groups can not participate in this effort unless they are aware of the need and know some strategies for integrating environmental awareness in their daily lives.  Many organizations do not reinforce or reward environmental awareness.  There are few formal trainings that teach reuse and recycling and much of society views these activities as something that is everyone else’s responsibility.  This workshop will share ways your entire organization can be a part of these efforts without a huge budget, hiring on extra staff, or implementing time consuming programs.  

The Hidden Benefits of Landscapes

Ms. Jessica Canfield, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Regional & Community Planning

Designed landscapes offer more than visually pleasing experiences; they engender many social, environmental, and economic benefits as well. Trees within a park, for example, can sequester carbon, intercept storm water, cool adjacent streets and buildings, increase property values, and reduce stress levels. An amenity such as a neighborhood trail can potentially increase walkability, while lessening vehicle trips and carbon emissions. This presentation explores a range of easy-to-use tools and methods, useful for identifying, assessing, and communicating the hidden benefits of designed landscapes

Understanding Your Historic Place

Dr. Bryan Orthel, Assistant Professor of Apparel, Textiles, and Interior Design

This presentation will talk about the ways we understand and use history in the environment around us.  The presentation can address interior environments, communal spaces and rural communities.  The presentation is based on a nation-wide research project that has examined the ways and reasons people value history in places that are historic and contemporary.  The discussion will frame the information in the context of present-day ideas and policies.