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Calendar of Events
Tuesday, January 29, 20133:30 pm Physics Colloquium
"Survival of the Driest: A Visual Adventrue Into the Wet-dog Shake and Other Marvels of Nature" David Hu Harvard University Refreshments served at 3 PM in 1st floor lounge
Tuesday, January 29, 20135:30 pm Religion at the Smithsonian
The next lecture in our year-long series on American Material Culture will be on Tuesday January 29, 5:30pm in CAS 200, when Stephen Prothero, Professor of Religion at Boston University, will present Religion at the Smithsonian. In this talk, Prof. Prothero will recount his recent contributions to the Smithsonian’s Immigration/Migration Initiative entitled Americans All, including his work on the National Museum of American History’s forthcoming exhibition Routes/Roots, about immigration, migration and settlements in U.S. history .The event will be followed by a reception with food and drinks.
Wednesday, January 30, 201312:00 pm Gastronomical Archaeology:Food, materiality, and the Aesthetics of Dining
Boston University Department of Archaeology Chair, Mary Beaudry to give Brown Bag Lecture.
Wednesday, January 30, 201312:30 pm The Arab Spring & the Arts
Two years after the Arab uprisings began; the process of political change in the region remains messy, unfinished, and at times downright ominous. At the same time, the Arab arts scene has flourished. Some works—graffiti, vernacular poetry, popular music, and video documentary—developed as an integral part of the protests. Other revolution-based art, such as theater and prose fiction, strives to reflect on the protests and perhaps establish some critical distance from the political. Join Margaret Litvin, assistant professor of Arabic and comparative literature, as she introduces significant art work from post-Mubarak Egypt —and what it means for the future of the Arab arts scene. Cost is $10. The Castle is not wheelchair accessible.
Wednesday, January 30, 20132:00 pm Condensed Matter Theory Seminar
"Description of phase fluctuations in atomic quasicondensates via the Ornstein-Uhlenbeck stochastic process" Dr. Igor Mazets Vienna Center for Quantum Science and Technology, Atominstitut, TU Wien and Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Wednesday, January 30, 20134:15 pm East Asian Archaeology Forum (EAAF) Lecture
Prof. Yangjin Pak (Department of Archaeology Chungnam National University, Daejeon, South Korea) will present: "Contested Heritage: Archaeological Research and Issues of Ethnic Identity in NE China." We hope to see you there! **Support for the EAAF Lecture Series is provided by the Boston University Center for the Humanities.**
Wednesday, January 30, 20134:15 pm Contested Heritage: Archaeological Research and Issues of Ethnic Identity in NE China
The East Asian Archaeology Forum (EAAF) talk by Prof. Yangjin Pak, Department of Archaeology Chungnam National University, Daejeon, South Korea. **Support for the EAAF Lecture Series is provided by the Boston University Center for the Humanities.**
Wednesday, January 30, 20135:00 pm Book Talk: Muslim Nationalism and the New Turks - Jenny White
* This event will be followed by a lite reception and a book signing. <br /><br /> Turkey has leapt to international prominence as an economic and political powerhouse under its elected Muslim government, and is looked on by many as a model for other Muslim countries in the wake of the Arab Spring. This book reveals how Turkish national identity and the meanings of Islam and secularism have undergone radical changes in today’s Turkey, and asks whether the Turkish model should be viewed as a success story or cautionary tale. <br /><br /> Jenny White shows how Turkey’s Muslim elites have mounted a powerful political and economic challenge to the country’s secularists, developing an alternative definition of the nation based on a nostalgic revival of Turkey’s Ottoman past. These Muslim nationalists have pushed aside the Republican ideal of a nation defined by purity of blood, language, and culture. They see no contradiction in pious Muslims running a secular state, and increasingly express their Muslim identity through participation in economic networks and a lifestyle of Islamic fashion and leisure. For many younger Turks, religious and national identities, like commodities, have become objects of choice and forms of personal expression. <br /><br /> This provocative book traces how Muslim nationalists blur the line between the secular and the Islamic, supporting globalization and political liberalism, yet remaining mired in authoritarianism, intolerance, and cultural norms hostile to minorities and women.
Wednesday, January 30, 20135:00 pm Abigail Jacobson on Ihsan Tourjman’s Diary and Jerusalem During World War I
This talk will focus on the diary of Ihsan Tourjman, a Muslim Arab resident of Jerusalem, a soldier in the Ottoman Army, written in Jerusalem during World War I. The talk will focus on the analysis of the diary and its significance, and will also address the question of a diary as a historical source.
Thursday, January 31, 20133:00 pm Kamiar Rahnama Rad - Columbia University
Title: High dimensional information processing with limited resources in neural systems. Abstract: As is the case in many information processing systems, in the nervous system information processing is performed by multiple neuronal networks each having access to different types and amounts of information. To understand information processing in the brain, we should thus study learning approaches that are based on computationally efficient information sharing methods. This is the focus of this talk. The first part of the talk will focus on a network of observers making local observations concerning an unknown vector. Each node faces a local identification problem, in the sense that it cannot consistently estimate the parameter in isolation. Employing a novel local message passing algorithm, I will show that despite local identification problems, local estimates can be as efficient as any ideal global estimator. In the second part of the talk, I will discuss optimal decoding, information rates and dimensionality reduction of high dimensional spatio-temporally correlated spiking activities. In particular, I will show that neural populations with strong history-dependent (non-Poisson) effects carry exactly the same information as do simpler equivalent populations of non-interacting Poisson neurons with matched firing rates. Finally, I will present a scalable and robust method for extracting as much information as possible from the simultaneously recorded activity of tens of thousands of neurons. The methodological innovation of our work is to use a regularizer that is robust to occasional discontinuities, and nevertheless if there is enough evidence in the data, enforces similarity between nearby neurons, all in an adaptive fashion.