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Undergraduate Advising and Research
Parker House, HB 6201
Hanover, NH
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Speakers' Bios

 2013 Guest Speakers


Rebecca Fiebrink, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, and Affiliated Faculty in Music at Princeton University

Rebecca Fiebrink is on the faculty of the Computer Science department and Music department at Princeton University, where she works at the intersection of human-computer interactions, applied machine learning, and music composition and performance. She completed her PhD dissertation, "Real-time Human Interaction with Supervised Learning Algorithms for Music Composition and Performance," in December 2010 and co-developed the software program The Wekinator for using machine learning to build real-time interactive systems.


Sylvester James (Jim) Gates, Jr., the John S. Toll Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland, Director of the UMD Center for String and Particle Theory and a member of President Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)

Known for his work on supersymmetry, supergravity, and superstring theory, Dr. Gates uses mathematical models to explore the elementary particles and fundamental forces
of nature. Dr. Gates is a member of the board of trustees of Society for Science & the Public and of the board of advisors for the Department of Energy's Fermi National Laboratory. In October 2011, he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has been featured extensively in many science documentaries on physics, most notably The Elegant Universe in 2003. In 2006, he completed a DVD lecture series titled Superstring Theory:The DNA of Reality for The Teaching Company to make the complexities of unification theory comprehensible to laypeople. During the 2008 World Science Festival, Dr. Gates narrated a ballet, The Elegant Universe, with an on-line resource presentation of the art forms (called Adinkras) connected to his scientific research.The NOVA/PBS fall 2011 presentation of the science documentary The Fabric of the Cosmos prominently features Dr. Gates.



Kristen Hawkes, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the University of Utah

Kristen Hawkes is known for her studies of human ecology and the evolution of human behavior among hunter-gatherers in Africa and South America. She is working on human life history evolution, guided by the hypothesis that grandmothering is a fundamental shift in our genus underlying a suite of key features that distinguish humans from other great apes. . She is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,
and serves on the scientific executive committee of the Leakey Foundation. Recently, Hawkes has been developing collaborative projects to measure aspects of aging in captive chimpanzees. Results of a systematic quantitative observation had suggested that, contrary to long-standing expectation, men's hunting was aimed more at status competition than at provisioning mates and offspring.




Andrea Hayes-Jordan, M.D., Director of Pediatric Surgical Oncology and Associate Professor of Surgical Oncology and Pediatrics at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas


Dr. Hayes-Jordan graduated from Dartmouth College in 1987 and earned her M.D. from Dartmouth Medical School in 1991. She became the first African-American female pediatric surgeon in North America, and one of a handful of pediatric surgical oncologists. Her specialized training after medical school included
a focused fellowship in melanoma and sarcoma at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center,
as well as training at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, and Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children. She has dual board certification in both adult and pediatric surgery. As a pediatric surgical oncologist her special interests are in pediatric tumors throughout the body including lung, kidneys, intestines and muscle surgery.



Sarah Parcak, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham


Sarah Parcak is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and is the Founding Director of the UAB Laboratory for Global Observation. She pioneers the young field of satellite archaeology, using futuristic tools to unlock secrets from the past and transform how discoveries are made. She is the first Egyptologist to use multispectral and high resolution satellite imagery analysis to identify previously unknown archaeological sites.

Sarah has written Satellite Remote Sensing for Archaeology (Routledge 2009) and numerous peer-reviewed scientific articles. She has discovered over 3,100 previously unknown archaeological settlements in Egypt, thousands of tombs, and 17 possible pyramids. Her remote sensing work has been the focus of two BBC 1 specials on the use of satellite remote sensing in Archaeology: Egypt's Lost Cities (2011), and Rome: What Lies Beneath (2012). Sarah is a co-Director of the Survey and Excavation Projects in Egypt with her husband, Dr. Greg Mumford.

Sarah is a National Geographic Fellow, a Fellow in the Society of Antiquaries,a 2012 TED Fellow, and a 2012 National Geographic Emerging Explorer. She spoke on the TED main stage at TED in Long Beach in 2012. Her work has appeared in hundreds of newspapers, radio, and online news media outlets across the globe. Sarah been called "The 21st century Indiana Jones," and was recently profiled on CNN's "The Next List," hosted by Sanjay Gupta.




Aniruddh D. Patel, Associate Professor of Psychology at Tufts University


Dr. Patel's work focuses on music cognition: the mental processes involved in making, perceiving, and responding to music. Two areas of special interest are the relationship between music and language (the topic of his 2008 book, Music, Language, and the Brain, Oxford Univ. Press) and the processing of musical rhythm. A wide variety of methods are used in this research, including brain imaging, behavioral experiments, theoretical analyses, acoustic research, and comparative studies with nonhuman animals. Dr. Patel has served as President for the Society for Music Perception and Cognition (2009-2011) and received the 2009 Music has Power Award from the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function in New York City.



David Spergel, Charles A. Young Professor of Astronomy on the Class of 1897 Foundation, and Chair, Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University

David Spergel is an award winning theoretical astrophysicist and his interests range from the search for planets around nearby stars to the shape of the Universe. He is part of the new Princeton Center for Theoretical Science and is a co-founder of the Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (IPMU) in Tokyo. He is working with others to develop new technologies that may enable the direct imaging of earth-like planets. Over the last decade, the main focus of his research has been the WMAP Satellite, which was successfully launched in 2001. He is the author of over 225 refereed papers with over 45,000 citations. His first author 2003 and 2007 WMAP papers are the two most cited papers in astronomy and physics. He was elected in 2012 to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and currently chairs the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Committee on Astronomy and Astrophysics.



Gary Weber, Neurocientist and Entepreneur

Gary Weber has a Ph.D. in physical sciences and worked in national labs, industry, and academia in R&D and management. Simultaneously, he completed over 20,000 hrs of self-inquiry and yoga, culminating with the sudden falling away of the "I" and the loss of self-referential thought, desires and fears. Since then, he has taught, authored "Happiness Beyond Thought: A Practical Guide to Awakening", a blog and several articles and made many presentations on nonduality and neuroscience at various conferences and universities. He has been a subject and collaborator in cognitive neuroscience and meditation studies at Baumann Institute, IONS, CSNSC, Yale and NYU.*

*Courtesy of


Last Updated: 9/24/13