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Nobel Prize Winning Chemist to Present at COC Speakers Symposium Series

Posted: February 11, 2013 4:00 p.m.
Updated: February 11, 2013 4:00 p.m.

SANTA CLARITA — This semester, the College of the Canyons Mathematics, Sciences & Engineering (MSE) Division will host 2005 Nobel Laureate Dr. Robert H. Grubbs as part of the Division’s annual Speakers Symposium Series.

The MSE Speakers Symposium Series is designed to give both students and community members an opportunity to meet renowned research scientists and industry experts currently working in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. In addition to learning more about each speaker’s research and particular area of expertise, attendees will also be able to explore the myriad of career options available in these emerging fields.

Each of the six scheduled speaking engagements will consist of a roughly 60-minute presentation, culminating in an open forum discussion which will allow audience members to ask questions, interact with the speakers and dive deeper into the subject matter.

“Once again, we are happy to offer our students and community the opportunity to learn about a wide range of research and technological advances made in the STEM fields,” said Omar Torres, Dean of the college’s MSE Division. “This year’s symposium promises to offer a variety of enhanced opportunities for guests to learn more about materials science, updates in the current Mars exploration mission, atmospheric and earth sciences, biobehavioral science and chemistry.”

Presentations will take place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday evenings throughout the spring semester, in Boykin Hall, Room 105, located on the College of the Canyons Valencia campus.

As the culminating event in the series, 2005 Nobel Laureate Dr. Robert H. Grubbs (chemistry) will deliver the presentation Fundamental Research to Commercial Products: Applications of Olefin Metathesis Catalysts, from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, in the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center (PAC).

All scheduled events are free of charge and open to the public, however seating may be limited.

The 2013 MSE Speakers Symposium Seriesschedule is as follows:

February 26

Harnessing the Photonic Properties of Silicon Nanostructures for Biomaterials Applications

Dr. Michael Sailor — UCSD, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

Abstract: Silicon is best known for the central role it plays in microelectronic and photovoltaic devices. However, the same electronic and photonic properties that make this semiconductor so useful for solid-state applications can also be useful in biology. This presentation will discuss how the properties of silicon can be harnessed for manipulation and imaging of biological systems. In particular, porous nanoparticles of silicon will be discussed. The use of the photoconductivity, photoluminescence and reflective optical characteristics of this material for in-vitro and in-vivo sensing, imaging and drug delivery will also be highlighted.

March 5

Mars Curiosity Mission

Mr. Matthew Wallace — Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Abstract: On Aug. 5, 2012, NASA landed the one-ton Curiosity rover inside the Gale Crater on the surface of Mars. The landing marked the first use of the ‘sky-crane’ system, as well as the end of an eight month interplanetary cruise from Earth, and the beginning of an exciting two-year surface science mission. Updates from the landing and the ongoing surface mission will be presented.

March 26

The Sun and Global Climate Change

Dr. Dan Lubin— UCSD, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Abstract: The earth’s climate depends on both the sun, which provides the energy input, and on the composition of the atmosphere, which traps radiation and maintains a habitable temperature regime. Consequently, the sun is often a source of confusion in the climate change issue. It is common for climate change deniers to ‘blame the sun’ for the increasing global temperatures and changing weather patterns that have been seen. This presentation will clarify how the sun has actually influenced climate change over the historical record.

April 16

Fossil Treasures of Santa Clarita Valley

Dr. Richard Squires — CSUN, Department of Geological Sciences

Abstract: Rocks and their fossil contents are vastly different between the southern part (Eastern Ventura Basin) and northern part (Soledad Basin) of Santa Clarita Valley. The reason is primarily the San Gabriel Fault, which bisects the valley. Movements along this fault, as well as along the associated San Andreas Fault, juxtaposed marine (ocean) deposits in the southern part of the valley against mostly non-marine (river and lake) deposits in the northern part. Even though the two basins were created at approximately the same time, they have had very different geologic histories, which will both be examined at this presentation.

April 23

Reward, Interrupted: Inhibitory Control and its Relevance to Addictions

Dr. J. David Jentsch — UCLA, Department of Psychology

Abstract: Addiction is a disease. It is defined medically and scientifically as a clinically impairing pattern of compulsive and inflexible reward seeking. All addictions involve the pursuit of rewards (whether they be drugs, food, sex or thrill) that almost all humans find pleasurable, but which only a small proportion of people become addicted to. The research used in this presentation focuses on a number of important questions, while examining why, biologically, it is so hard for some to resist the attraction of drugs, even when they are trying hard to do so. A discussion of the brain mechanisms that contribute to vulnerability and resilience to addiction, along with an understanding about how brain molecules contribute to addiction will also be included. This presentation will address an assortment of issues and attempt to show how neuroscientific research can inform the social understanding of a long misunderstood disease.

April 30

Fundamental Research to Commercial Products: Applications of Olefin Metathesis Catalysts

Dr. Robert H. Grubbs, Nobel Laureate (2005) in Chemistry — California Institute of Technology, Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Abstract: The olefin metathesis was discovered in the 1960s as a method for the inter-conversion of hydrocarbons. The nature of the catalysts and the mechanism of the reaction was unknown. Fundamental studies of the possible mechanisms of the transformation led to the development of well-defined catalysts that would promote the transformation. Evolution of the catalyst structures resulted in the formation of a family of catalysts, based on ruthenium, that promote the reaction under practical conditions and in the presence of a variety of functionality. The availability of a catalyst that promotesscrambling of the fragments of carbon-carbon double bond by a metathesis reaction in the presence of a variety of fucntional groups, and under normal reaction conditions, has opened a variety of applications that range from the production of tough polymers that are seeing a variety of uses, from the production of highly functionalized pharmaceuticals. The catalysts facilitate synthesis of olefinic materials and have few side reactions. Part of their use in “green” chemistry has been their application to the conversion of renewable materials to useful chemicals.

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