Nobel Laureate In Chemistry To Speak At GVSU Ott Lecture: The 2003 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry is the featured speaker for the Grand Valley State University Arnold C. Ott Lectureship in Chemistry. Roderick MacKinnon is a John D. Rockefeller Jr. Professor at The Rockefeller University in New York and an investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He will give a public lecture on Tuesday, March 13 and a seminar for students on Wednesday, March 14. MacKinnon runs the Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology and Biophysics at Rockefeller and is known for his research with molecular mechanisms of a class of integral membrane proteins known as ion channels. Ion channels control the pace of the heart, regulate hormone secretion and generate the electrical impulses underlying information transfer in the nervous system. On March 13, the topic is “Electricity and Biology.” The public event begins with a reception at 5 p.m. and the lecture at 6 p.m. in the Loosemore Auditorium of the DeVos Center at GVSU’s Pew Grand Rapids Campus. The March 14 student lecture is on “Potassium Channels” and takes place at 1 p.m. in Room 123 of Manitou Hall on the GVSU Allendale Campus. The Arnold C. Ott Lectureship in Chemistry was created and endowed by a gift from Arnold C. Ott and Marion Ott. Arnold Ott received his doctorate in 1943 from Michigan State University in chemistry, physics and bacteriology and is a leading chemist and entrepreneur in West Michigan. He is one of the co-founders of Grand Valley State University and served on the GVSU Board of Trustees for 28 years. For more information, contact the GVSU Chemistry Department at (616) 331-3317.
Wayne State To Host Astronaut For Talk On ISS: Wayne State University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy will host the 2012 Vaden W. Miles Memorial Lecture on March 29 at 3:30 p.m. in the General Lectures Building, room 100, located at 5045 Anthony Wayne Drive. Guest speaker Colonel Terry Virts, NASA astronaut, will present “Space Shuttle Mission STS-130 and Scientific Exploration on the International Space Station.” Virts will present a compelling lecture about his role as STS-130 pilot and lead robotic operator of Space Shuttle Endeavour in 2010. Space Shuttle Mission STS-130 was the final assembly mission of the International Space Station (ISS) program. Tranquility and Cupola — two important modules — were carried aloft and assembled on the ISS, providing a primary living complex and spectacular panoramic views of planet Earth. As riveting as science fiction, Virts describes the mission in terms of complex spacewalks and robotics. He discusses scientific research opportunities on board the ISS, namely the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer-2, a particle physics instrument, and the basic fields of research being conducted: human health and technology testing for future exploration, life and physical sciences, and Earth and space science. The Vaden W. Miles Memorial Lecture is free and open to the public; however, registration is required. To register, please visit http://events.wayne.edu/2012/03/29/vaden-w-miles-memorial-lecture-nasa-astronaut-colonel-terry-virts-space-shu-38609/.
MSU To Host Spartan Vex Robotics Challenge Tournament: Michigan State University will host the Spartan Vex Robotics Challenge Tournament for high school students on Saturday, Feb. 25, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the IM Circle Building on campus. More than 40 Vex Robotics teams from high schools across Michigan, including 13 teams sponsored by MSU’s College of Engineering, will vie for the right to advance to the world championship in April in Anaheim, Calif. Using the Vex Robotics Design System, students build innovative robots and then compete on a 12-foot by 12-foot playing field. The Vex Robotics Competition is designed to inspire students to pursue careers in the science, technology, engineering and math fields. “MSU’s VEX Robotics program for middle and high school students is a direct response to the national shortage of future engineers and scientists working on innovative technologies,” said Bob Watson, K-12 outreach/robotics coordinator for the College of Engineering. added Drew Kim, assistant to the dean for recruitment, scholarship and K-12 outreach in MSU’s College of Engineering: “Recent funding from the Motorola Solutions Foundation has allowed us to expand our engineering outreach efforts—like VEX Robotics— into the Detroit and West Michigan schools.” These MSU-sponsored teams match up engineering students from MSU with students from these underrepresented high schools to help them learn principles of engineering while designing and building their robots for competition. In addition to learning about science and engineering principles, a VEX Robotics project encourages teamwork, leadership and problem solving among groups. For more information about the Feb. 25 event, go to http://spartanyouth.msu.edu/Resource.aspx?ResourceID=531. To learn more about VEX Robotics competitions, visit www.vexrobotics.com/competition/vex-robotics-competition.