Introducing the Simons Foundation Presidential Lectures

Beginning this year, the Simons Foundation invites mathematicians, scientists and science lovers in the New York City area to its relaunched weekly lecture series, the Simons Foundation Presidential Lectures. These curated, high-level lectures are free to attend, and feature leading scientists and mathematicians discussing their work at the frontiers of research. The lectures aim to foster discourse and drive discovery among the local research community.

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The Presidential Lectures focuses on four subjects: physics; mathematics and computer science; biology; and neuroscience and autism science. For 2022, lectures in each subject area will center on a particular theme:

Physics: The Many Faces of Imaging

Observations and imaging — from microscopes observing cells and neurons to telescopes peering at planets and galaxies — have propelled the scientific frontiers of physics, biology, engineering and medicine. The sophistication of modern imaging techniques requires equally advanced computational methodologies to ensure the quality of the collected data and extract insights from the measurements. The Presidential Lectures on “The Many Faces of Imaging” will bring to the Simons Foundation world-leading scientists to discuss the modern state of computation and imaging across many fields of study.

Mathematics and Computer Science: Algorithmic Fairness

Big data is transforming our society. Increasingly, data analysis is responsible for critical determinations such as deciding whom to hire or whether someone is likely to commit a crime. In many cases and for various reasons, though, algorithms produce unfair outcomes for certain subpopulations. Algorithmic fairness is the systematic, mathematical study of fairness across scenarios and situations. The Presidential Lectures on “Algorithmic Fairness” will introduce the audience to this dynamically developing field.

Biology: Genomes — The Language of Life

The human genome is the set of instructions encoded in the DNA of each and every cell. The genome guides our development from single-cell embryos to the trillions of specialized cells that make up the human organism. Unraveling this genetic code is fundamental to understanding the biological mysteries of development and evolution. A deeper understanding of genomics is key to better medical diagnosis and treatment. The Presidential Lectures on “Genomes — The Language of Life” will focus on the promise and the challenges of understanding our genome, from biological to technological to ethical. The series will feature lectures presented by leading geneticists, technology researchers, biophysicists and computational biologists.

Neuroscience and Autism Science: The Neuroscience of Decision-Making

We constantly make decisions, integrating multiple types and sources of information to guide our actions. Decision-making is the foundation of complex cognition. Understanding the neural basis of decision-making will likely provide insight into even more complex cognitive processes such as problem-solving and abstract reasoning. The Presidential Lectures on “The Neuroscience of Decision-Making” features researchers investigating the neural basis of decision-making from many different angles using diverse experimental and computational approaches.

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