Arts and Sciences Seminar Series


The College of Arts and Sciences is proud to sponsor an ongoing seminar series designed for both faculty and students. These special presentations cover a wide range of topics and are intended for a general audience. The format is a 45-minute presentation followed by questions and discussion, typically scheduled on Tuesdays or Thursdays beginning at 12:30pm. Everyone is welcome! Lunch is provided for all attendees.   



A&S Seminar Series Steering Committee:
Dr. Nicole Villeneuve, Dr. Jason Barrett, and Dr. Guang-Chong Zhu (chair)

For additional information please contact Dr. Zhu at 248.204.3654 or send e-mail to

About Lawrence Tech

Lawrence Technological University is a private, accredited university focused on providing superior education through cutting-edge technology, small class sizes, and innovative programs. Lawrence Tech offers more than 60 academic programs through the Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management.

Nearly 5,000 students are enrolled in undergraduate, master's, and doctoral programs conveniently offered for full or part-time students, with day, evening, and weekend courses. Lawrence Tech's 125-acre wireless laptop campus offers a complete range of academic, residential, and recreational facilities.

Previous Arts & Sciences Seminar Series Presentations:









October 18, 2011
Jonathan Cohen (Manager of Emerging Applications, NVIDIA)
How to Design and Program a GPU? And Why You Don’t Want to! 
A graphics processing unit (GPU) is a specialized circuit designed to rapidly manipulate and alter memory to accelerate the building of images for output to a display. GPUs are used in embedded systems, mobil phones, personal computers, and game consoles. NVIDIA's CUDA architecture for GPU Computing is capable of delivering performance comparable to supercomputers. In this talk I will discuss the engineering trade-offs that led to its design and show some recent work that demonstrates the power of GPUs for tackling computationally demanding applications such as fluid simulation and ray tracing.  


February 1, 2011
Rose O'Hara (Actuarial Analyst, AAA)
What Does an Actuary Actually Do? 
Find out what the day-to-day life of an actuary is like and tips on how to be a successful actuary.




October 14, 2010
Prof. Sara Lamers
The Patron Saint Poems: A “behind the scenes” look at my recent publication
Poet Sara Lamers will read from Applause: The Patron Saint Poems, a chapbook of poetry, and discuss the inspiration for the collection and individual poems.


September 23, 2010
Dr. Lior Shamir
The Bright Future of the Light Microscope
It is an invention which has drastically widened our view of the microscopic world, resulting in countless discoveries in biology, medicine, and biomedical engineering, etc. What’s next?


April 22, 2010 
Dr. Scott Schneider
General Relativity with Paper,and Scissors, and Tape – oh my! 
Ok, Einstein’s General Relativity is really hard to understand, isn't it … not if you do it with paper and scissors and tape, my friends! Come explore spacetime in the safety of a classroom! 


February 11, 2010
Paul Downen
Opening the Black Box:Profiling Computer Memory 
In this talk, we will explore how programs use data and methods for examining the actual behavior of memory in computers. 





October 22, 2009
Dr. David Huntsperger
Populist Crane
In this presentation, Dr. Huntsperger, an assistant professor of English, will discuss Crane's complex use of both realist and melodramatic imagery to depict the frustrations and aspirations of the industrial poor.


Oct. 8, 2009
Corey Perlman
eBoot Camp Presents: Creating a Web Presence around Your Brand: YOU!
No matter which career path you’re on, having a strong presence on the Web can help you build credibility and strengthen your reputation as an expert in your field. When you apply these easy-to-do strategies, you’ll be in complete control of what shows up when someone searches your name on Google.


September 24, 2009
Dr. Patrick Nelson
Can Mathematics Cure AIDS and End Diabetes and Cancer?
Dr. Nelson will present some success stories of how math is leading to a better understanding of disease, why he believes mathematical biology is the “math physics” of the 21st century, and how a student or faculty can seriously begin their adventure into this area.


April 28, 2009
Prof. Rick Liddy
Introduction to Reliability Engineering
Did you ever want to know what a Reliability Engineer does or how Reliability is integrated into engineering? Come to this seminar and discover how reliability bridges Mathematics and Engineering. The concept and application of the hazard function, Weibull distribution and Failure modeling will be introduced. The human life cycle and alternative fuels are two examples of applying these reliability disciplines.


April 9, 2009
Dr. Marvin Stern
Short Stories and Essays 
In this presentation, Dr. Stern will hope to present some of his creative goals. 


February 5, 2009
Prof. Sara Lamers
Shaping the Scribbles: Poetry and the Creative Process
Poet Sara Lamers will read from her current poetry manuscript and discuss the evolution of a poem from draft to polished piece.






November 11, 2008
Dr. Chuanwu Xi
How Safe Is Our Drinking Water?
Have you read some recent articles on "Drugs in Drinking Water"? What is in your drinking water? Have you switched to bottled water? Let’s find out.


May 1, 2008
Dr. Shi-Ping Hsu
Touching and Interacting with Data
The exciting future of computers was discovered during Touching and Interacting with Data, featuring Shi-Ping Hsu, director of Northrop Grumman Futures Lab in California. During this fascinating lecture, Hsu talked about new applications and products, such as the Terrain-Table, an interactive, three-dimensional topographical map. He also presented the TouchTable, a high-tech computer that allows geographical data to be controlled in real time by the user’s hand movements.

April 17, 2008
Major Robert Frazer
Storytelling: Therapy in Images
Using storytelling techniques to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in combat soldiers. Major Frazer (LTU'07) discussed the journey of his graduate thesis in Technical and Professional Communication, and summarized his findings and the protocol he developed to train lay leaders.
April 3, 2008
Dr. Emmanuel Dissake
Do we have to believe in science?
Are we bound to believe in something if we want to have any chance to practice science? What is the relation of science to reality? Does experience not guarantee the objectivity of science? Science and faith are opposed concepts, aren't they? Does science remain rational if it is thought of as closely linked to beliefs? Surprising answers inspired by the philosophy of science of Michael Polanyi.
March 27, 2008
Dr. Lisa Porter
Mice to Men: Steps toward a Cancer-Free Future
In this short talk, Dr. Porter highlighted some of the primary hurdles that cancer researchers face in trying to find “a cure” for cancer as well as some of the big advancements that have been made which provide tremendous hope in the face of these staggering statistics. Importantly, she provided some examples of some basic cancer research projects that are ongoing in her own laboratory and demonstrated how the questions that we are asking can contribute toward furthering our ability to detect and treat cancer.
February 26, 2008
Dr. Scott Schneider
Leap Year, Shmeep Year! What's the big deal?




April 19, 2007
Dr. Evelyn M. Goldfield
Hydrogen in carbon nanotubes: quantum sieving and extreme confinement
This seminar was sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences and the Student Affiliate of the American Chemical Society.

April 10, 2007
Dr. Chris Cartwright
Solve this Math Problem and You Could Win One Million Dollars!
How do we tell if a math problem is hard or easy? This question is important enough that someone is willing to pay a million dollars to find out the answer! At this lecture, find out what you need to do win the prize.


March 27, 2007
Dr. Scott Schneider
Two Sunrises on Mercury - Count 'em! TWO!
You would think you'd only have one sunrise a day, right?  Not on Mercury!  And, you would think that a "solar day" must be far shorter than a year, right?  For Earth, it is 1/365th of a year...but not for Venus...and not for Mercury!  If you want to find out what it would be like to live on Mercury or Venus (from the point of view of sunrises and "length of the day" - not from the "I can't breath" or "Yikes, what am I breathing?" points of view), come to this talk!

March 20, 2007
Dr. Julie Zwiesler-Vollick
On the trail of Cereal Killers - towards an understanding of apoplast-infecting fungieasons
Two different pathosystems, Mycosphaerella graminicola on wheat and Septoria lycopersici on tomato, and research into their infection strategies will be presented.

February 20, 2007
Dr. Lawrence D. "Skip" Favro (Professor Emeritus, Wayne State University Department of Physics)
SONIC IR IMAGING: How to find cracks in airplanes (or almost anything else!)
The talk will explain both passive and active infrared imaging. Emphasis will be on finding cracks in aircraft, but examples of the application of infrared imaging to biological systems, to crime detection, and to detecting hidden defects in art will be shown. Contained within the talk will be a brief discussion of acoustic chaos. This is true mathematical chaos that occurs in a real physical system, and that has important practical applications. Click here to view the seminar flyer.





December 12, 2006
Dr. Jeff Morrissette
Hot Headed and Cold Hearted: The Physiology of Endothermic Fish
This talk will explain how the cellular and tissue traits of bluefin hearts can be linked to the species' cold tolerance and higher metabolic rates. Funded by NSF, AHA, Pew Foundation, and Monterey Bay Aquarium.


November 14, 2006
">Dr. Jason Barrett
Submission and Consent: the Rational Will of Jeffersonian Evangelicalism
This discussion will focus on the way those models of authority were reflected in, and modified by, early national religious practices. Political consent was premised on individuals' rational agency; Evangelical submission required the surrender of individual agency. From this conflict we may understand the significance of  Jefferson's 'wall of separation' between church and state.


September 12, 2006
Dr. David Field (General Motors Research Lab)
Manufacturing, Robotics, and Computational Geometry
This SIAM Visiting Lecture features examples of geometry's dominating influence in the automotive manufacturing process. The lecture begins with the design and manufacture of sheet metal components that motivated advances in mathematical applications for Computer Aided Design. After discussing the mathematics developed for the geometric aspects of this manufacturing process, the lecture examines an application of the same mathematics to robotics. The next topic relates the previous geometric constructions with the analysis of automotive components for fatigue, stress and strain. The lecture ends with the award winning video tape "Ballet Robotique".


April 11, 2006
Prof. Ruth Favro
Gaspard Monge in Paris 
(A photo history spanning the time from the French Revolution to Napoleon)
The talk traces the French mathematician Gaspard Monge from his education in Beaune through his career in Paris:  a founder of the Ecole Polytechnique, a confidante of Napoleon, the developer of differential geometry. So why were his students not allowed to go to his funeral?


March 21, 2006
Dr. David Bindschadler
Computer Games: Something for Everyone
In this talk for a general audience, I will explain what games are and how they are developed, motivate why there are games, summarize their impact, and indicate the directions they are taking.

March 9, 2006
Dr. Gonzalo Munevar
Venus and the End of the World
An interesting hypothesis about Venus that connects life with plate tectonics is supported by the large ratio of deuterium to hydrogen in Venus’ atmosphere.  But this evidence has been challenged by a probabilistic argument analogous to John Leslie’s paradoxical argument, itself based on the Anthropic Principle, to the effect that the growth of the human population makes it highly probable that the end of humanity is near.  I argue that Leslie’s view of probability is wrong and that the challenge to the evidence from Venus is also wrong.
February 21, 2006
">Dr. Scott Schneider
Seasons, Retrograde, and Alignments, Oh My!
Do the lengths of the Earth's seasons vary?
...You bet - want to know when?
Does Mars ever "back up" in the sky?
...You bet - want to know how?
Can we ever have all the planets line up together?
...Nope - want to know why?
You seem to have a lot of Astronomy questions - maybe you should check out this Astronomy talk!  And, we'll find out if Marvin the Martian has the right to be upset with the Earth!

February 14, 2006
Prof. Corinne Stavish
The Story of...The Glory of...LOVE
Adam and Eve, Orpheus and Eurydice, and Romeo and Juliet all knew what makes the world spin.  Sometimes tragic, sometimes humorous, but always intriguing—love is the force that Einstein said cannot be blamed on gravitation nor explained by chemistry or physics.  Join us as this gifted storyteller shares traditional and offbeat stories of the only force more powerful than death.





December 1, 2005
Dr. Marvin Stern
Readings from My Writings
Dr. Stern will read selections from his writings in four areas. These reflect the author's interests as a scholar, a teacher, and a former resident of New York City.  The materials include scholarly work, essays on contemporary issues, a critique and guidebook on higher education in America, and short-stories.
November 1, 2005
Prof. Matthew Cole
The Analysis of Behavioral Data Across Time Using Latent Growth Models
Growth models examine the development of individuals on one or more outcome variables over time, and recent breakthroughs in the analysis of behavior over time include latent growth modeling. We will review some of the basic issues and concepts of this analytic approach.

October 20, 2005
Dr. Guang-Chong Zhu
Recent Breakthroughs in Digital Communication, and What's Behind Them
Two recent breakthroughs have completely revolutionized the theory and the design of digital communication systems, making impossible goals possible...