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Smith students talk about their work to Smith faculty at 2017 Collaborations, Smith College

Each academic year the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty offers a variety of lectures, luncheons and faculty development workshops that feature Smith faculty and visiting professors.

Martha Merrow

Martha Merrow

Martha Merrow joined the Smith College community as the 2019–20 William Allan Neilson Professor. Videos of her lectures will be available on the Kahn Institute website following each lecture.

Martha Merrow is an American chronobiologist. She chairs the Institute of Medical Psychology at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Her career focuses primarily on investigating the molecular and genetic mechanisms of the circadian clock. Since joining the Ludwig Maximilian University in 1996, Merrow has investigated molecular and genetic mechanisms of the circadian clock as well as daily human behavior and medical psychology.


Lecture Dates and Titles

October 8, 2020, 5 p.m.
“Chronobiology and COVID-19: Can Your Biological Clock be Used to Fight the Pandemic?”

An online lecture and panel with 2020 Neilson Professor Martha Merrow, chair, Institute of Medical Psychology, University of Munich. The biological clock controls a multitude of functions, from the timing of sleeping and waking to how the immune system functions. In this last lecture of the series on chronobiology, we’ll discuss how the SARS CoV2 virus may interact with the circadian system. Following the lecture, two expert panelists will join Martha Merrow and Mary Harrington to take your questions and discuss their views on the subject. Merrow will be joined on a panel following her lecture by Tariro Makadzange ’97, director of biology and external innovation, Gilead Sciences; and Rachel Herz, neuroscientist, Brown University, author of The Scent of Desire. Please register to attend.

Chaired Professor Lectures for 2020–21

There are no lectures currently scheduled for the 2020–21 academic year.

Kennedy Lectures for 2020–21

There are no Kennedy lectures currently scheduled for the 2020–21 academic year.

Katharine Asher Engel Lecture 

Information about the Katharine Asher Engel Lecture for 2020–21 is forthcoming. 

Liberal Arts Luncheons

Liberal Arts Luncheons are sponsored by the Committee on Academic Priorities (CAP) and in 2019-20, the LAL series joins with Sigma Xi to offer alternating presentations on Tuesdays in McConnell Auditorium, unless otherwise noted.  Talks begin at approximately 12:10 p.m., a complimentary lunch is offered in McConnell Foyer (first come, first served). 

Date Lecture Presenter(s)
February 4 Sigma Xi  
February 11

"You must become Caligari!": One-Hundred Years of Cinematic Madness
February 26, 2020 marks the hundredth anniversary of a milestone in cinematic history: the premiere of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. It's been called the first horror movie and the first cult film, and today, a hundred years later, it continues to cast its shadow over cinema historiography. This talk explores the strange role played by this bizarre Expressionist nightmare in our understanding not only of German cinema, but of German culture as a whole.

Joel Westerdale, German Studies
February 18 Sigma Xi  
February 25

A folklorist and a computational scientist walk into a math institute...
In this talk, John Laudun and Katherine Kinnaird will share this interdisciplinary work in computational humanities. Laudun studies crawfish boats, and Kinnaird studies music information retrieval. So naturally their co-authored work investigates TED talks. Their research collaboration began during a residency at the Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics (IPAM) at UCLA, and is an example of how a folklorist and a computational scientist can leverage their respective trainings to address interesting questions.

Katherine Kinnaird, Statistical & Data Science and Computer Science with John Laudun, English, University of Louisiana
March 3 Sigma Xi  

March 10

Can Mathematics Be Antiracist? Can mathematics be antiracist? Does the question even make sense? In Fall 2019 I developed the special topics course Inequalities: Numbers and Justice, as a second iteration of a previous class I had taught in Brooklyn College in 2013. In this talk I will discuss the development of these ideas, and reflections on the interaction between social justice and mathematics. Tian An Wong, Mathematics & Statistics
March 17 Spring Break, no presentation  
March 24
Sigma Xi  
March 31
Climate 101: Carbon Neutrality in US Higher Education - What Does Leadership Look Like? The most important number in climate policy is zero – we need to achieve zero net emissions as quickly as possible to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Academic institutions have both the mission and the capacity to be leaders in the transition to a decarbonized society. A handful of schools have already announced carbon neutrality. I'll discuss college and university commitments to carbon neutrality in the context of the broader climate policy ecosystem – highlighting how the current rules risk behaviors that fall short of leadership and how academia might do better. Alex Barron, Environmental Science & Policy Alexander Barron, Environmental Science & Policy
April 7 Sigma Xi  
April 14
Creating a Season at Chester Theatre Company
How does a theatre season get created? I'll discuss briefly the history and identity of Chester Theatre Company, then talk about my work planning the 2020 Summer Season. How are plays selected and developed? How are artists chosen and artistic teams put together? How does season planning respond to the current social, cultural, and political moment?
Daniel Kramer, Theatre
April 21 Sigma Xi  
April 28
Lessons and Life in the Academy: One Dean's Observations of the Status of our Faculty
This talk will describe the arc of my work and observations over the last three years serving as Dean for Academic Development, tying them to the broader landscape of higher ed and Smith's future.
Patty DiBartolo, Associate Dean of the Faculty and Dean for Academic Development

Sigma Xi Luncheons

Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, meets regularly for talks and a complimentary lunch throughout the year. Talks are open to all faculty, staff and students.

Talks begin at approximately 12:10 p.m. in McConnell Auditorium. A complimentary lunch is offered in McConnell Foyer. Please visit the Sigma Xi website for the schedule.

Faculty Development Events

The Office of the Provost offers a variety of faculty development workshops and events throughout the year. Please visit the office’s Faculty Development webpage for the schedule.