UMass Amherst

Course Information

A Presentation on the Cutting-edge Research on Computer Vision

Subhransu Maji (Computer Science)

As humans, we have a remarkable ability to perceive the world around us in minute detail purely from the light that is reflected off it – we can recognize objects and manipulate them, identify people and interact with them, estimate the 3D layout of surroundings and navigate. Such seemingly trivial tasks are actually one of the core challenges of Artificial Intelligence. I will describe the latest attempts in the scientific community in trying to teach computers to see and understand the visual world. These technologies drive a number of applications from face detection on your cameras, to Microsoft's Kinect sensor for interactive gaming, to Google's self driving cars.

Demo: Bernoulli Magic

Guy Blaylock (Physics)

Daniel Bernoulli (1700-1782) discovered that the pressure in a rapidly moving fluid (or gas) is reduced compared to fluid that is sitting still. This simple and somewhat surprising principle explains how airplanes stay in the air, how sailboats sail upwind, and how a hurricane can blow the windows out of your house. In this lecture, we will use Bernoulli's principle to demonstrate how to levitate a beach ball, inflate a 50-liter balloon, build a rocket out of a teabag, and blow a smoke ring 20 meters!

Demo: Funtastic Food Science!

Julie Goddard (Food Science)

Have you ever wondered how your food is made? Funtastic Food Science will give you a chance to explore food science through hands-on demonstrations and experiments… that you can also eat! During Funtastic Food Science, we will explore how to make color-changing drink mixes, learn about how edible gels are formed, play a “guess that flavor” game, and so much more!!! After the hands-on demo, you will understand how science can be applied to the food you eat every day, and have a funtastic time doing so. See you there!

Demo: You Can Be a Nanotechnologist (One morning session only, 11:00-11:50am)

Rob Snyder & Mort Sternheim (Nanoscience)

Nanotechnology involves manufacturing very small structures. The dimensions of those structures are measured in nanometers. A nanometer is 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair or the thickness of a sheet of paper. In this session, you will use your science lab skills to make a very thin film. You will then use your calculating skills to learn if you have made a nanoscale thin film. You also learn that there are many practical applications of nanotechnology and many nanotechnology career opportunities.

Lab tour: Teeny-Tiny: Making Things at the Nanoscale

Mark Tuominen (Physics)

This lab tour will show you how nanoscale devices and materials are made. Some techniques involve ultrasmall electron-beams to "write" tiny patterns that can be used as a stencil to make interesting magnetic, electronic or optical devices. Other methods involve directed self-assembly, in which we use nature's natural tendency to organize molecules or nanoscale objects into useful structures.

Mini-course and Demo: Arsenic Around the World

Julian Tyson (Chemistry)

This class is an introduction to the environmental, analytical, and bio-geo chemistry of arsenic and arsenic compounds that are now widely distributed in the environment and are detectable in drinking water and food. The issues surrounding the arsenic contamination of ground water (the greatest mass poisonings in history) currently facing many countries, including the USA, will be examined, and strategies for remediation of contaminated drinking water and agricultural land will be discussed. Class members will (a) measure arsenic in water, pressure-treated wood, and rice and (b) examine a method for the removal of arsenic from contaminated water.

Mini-course: Unveiling the Hidden Universe

Grant Wilson, Ryan Cybulski (Astronomy)

For the past 50 years Astronomy has undergone a continuous revolution as new, powerful, telescopes have been built and novel cameras have been developed. New discoveries have reshaped our view of the Universe while careful interrogation of known objects have (almost) allowed us to put together a coherent picture of how the Universe works. In this talk I will describe some of the most promising and most exciting new capabilities in astronomy with a special focus on how a small group of researchers at UMass will once again revolutionize astronomy by pulling back the veil on one part of the hidden universe.

Mini-course: Dark Matters

Steve Schneider (Astronomy)

Studies of galaxies and the remnant radiation of the Big Bang reveal that the universe is mostly made up of Dark Matter and Dark Energy, neither of which has ever been detected in a laboratory. We will examine the astronomical evidence for these exotic substances, and what their existence implies about the fate of the universe.

Mini-course: Fluorescence Flow Cytometry – An Advanced Way to Look at Your Cells

Amy S. Burnside (Veterinary & Animal Sciences)

Several features allow you to distinguish plant cells from animal
under a microscope. Scientists are increasingly discovering that cells that look alike do not necessarily act alike. Since one body can
contain more cells than can be viewed on a microscope in a lifetime, a more efficient way is needed. Thus, the development of flow cytometry: a faster way to observe and distinguish/categorize cells. This exercise will examine how scientists are able to distinguish seemingly similar cells from each other using flow cytometry techniques.

Mini-course: The Challenges of Siting Offshore Wind Farms

Erin Baker, Andrew Allyn, Micah Brewer, Bob Darrow (NSF IGERT Offshore Wind Energy Program)

Where would YOU put a wind energy farm? Would your decision change if you were a famous celebrity who only visited your beach house for a week during the summer? What about if you were a commercial fisherman? What other considerations are there besides wind levels? In this mini-course, students will learn about several factors involved in siting off-shore wind energy farms, and also have the opportunity to determine for themselves which site is best based on using maps, special data, available resources, and consideration of marine life and habitat. U.S. coastal states and national energy policies are increasingly identifying offshore wind energy to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower our dependence on fossil fuel energy. The technological capabilities and offshore wind resource are available, but operational wind farms have yet to be developed in U.S. waters. We will discuss the technical, political, and ecological issues related to siting off-shore wind energy farms, and the apparent mismatch between wind energy opportunities and wind energy development in U.S. waters.

Mini-course: The Energy Crisis: Where are the Renewable Solutions?

Scott Auerbach (Chemistry)

Renewable energy is often touted as a solution to our long-term energy needs, yet we still pump fossil fuels into our cars and burn coal for electricity. Various reports in the popular press on biofuels, solar energy and fuel cells claim these technologies have vast potential, so where are they now? Prof. Auerbach, who performs federally-funded research in these areas at UMass Amherst, will explain in accessible terms why biofuels, solar energy and fuel cells are so attractive. Prof. Auerbach will also discuss the technological and political reasons why the impact of these technologies remains relatively low today. The presentation will be informal with plenty of opportunity for questions and discussion.

Presentation and Demo: From Capillary Origami to the Lotus Effect – Some Fascinating Interactions Between Liquids and Solids

Jonathan Rothstein (Mechanical Engineering)

Through a short presentation and a series of demos, we will explore some fascinating and beautiful interactions between liquid drops and solid surfaces. First, we will see how the surface tension of a drop of water can be used to self-assemble complex three-dimensional structures from two dimensional films – Capillary Origami. Next, we will see how adding micron and or nanometer scale roughness to an initially smooth surface can dramatically affect its wettability, increase the mobility of drops on the surface and reduce the drag on the surface as it moves through water – The Lotus Effect.

Presentation and Demo: Polymers All Around Us

Ryan Hayward, Joel Sarapas (Polymer Science and Engineering)

Take a look around you, what do you see? Your skin? The tires on your car? How about the shirt you are wearing? All of these things are made from a particular type of material--polymers. Polymers are found in nearly every aspect of life from biology, to technology, to engineering materials. Polymers All Around Us is an interactive presentation that educates students on the role of polymers in everyday lives and conveys the excitement of scientific research in this interdisciplinary field. Participants will take part in a variety of hands-on experimental demonstrations that illuminate the basic principles of polymer science and the underlying concepts of chemistry, physics, and engineering.