Humanizing Conversations: Roundtable

The Humanities and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and
Mathematics) Fields

25 March 2013, 6:00-7:30 pm, Smathers Library (East) 1A

This panel and audience discussion will explore the relationship of
research inquiry and teaching in the humanities disciplines and Science,
Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Participants in the
round-table will describe various ways in which advances in history,
literature, and philosophy inform and are informed by work in computer
engineering, biomedicine, neuroscience, and mathematics. In articulating
the relationship of different bodies of knowledge and disciplinary
cultures in their own work, the speakers will point to the central role
of the liberal arts and sciences in education and innovation at the
contemporary and future research university. Following five ten-minute
presentations, there will be time for a question and answer period and
more broad discussion of these issues.

Willard Harrison, Department of Chemistry; former Dean of CLAS
(University of Florida)
Erik Deumens, Department of Chemistry; Department of Physics (University
of Florida)
Kevin Knudson, Department of Mathematics; Director, Honors Program
(University of Florida)
Joseph Murphy, Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures
(Japanese) (University of Florida)
Christopher Sistrom, Department of Radiology (University of Florida)
Betty Smocovitis, Department of History; Department of Biology
(University of Florida)

About the Discussants

Erik Deumens (Panelist) is a physicist, mathematician, computational
scientist and computer engineer at the University of Florida, with
faculty appointments in the Department of Chemistry and Department of
Physics. Since 2005, Dr. Deumens has directed the UF High Performance
Computing Center and oversees research computing activities across the
UF campus. His current research interests include the relationships of
religious narrative, digital humanities, and computational biomedical

Willard Harrison (Moderator) is Professor of Chemistry at the University
of Florida. He served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and
Sciences from 1988-2000. Prof. Harrison’s research interests include
analytical optical and mass spectroscopy, and he currently teaches
courses on writing in the sciences.

Kevin Knudson (Panelist) has been Director of the University Honors
Program and Professor of Mathematics at UF since 2009. His current
research interests are in the areas of computational topology,
topological data analysis, discrete Morse theory, and the homology of
linear groups. He loves mathematics precisely because it lies at the
nexus of the sciences and the humanities. Mathematics is beautiful and
Dr. Knudson attempts to prove it to his students by folding origami,
giving (flawed) logical arguments for the existence of God, or simply
blowing their minds with paradoxical constructions.

Joseph Murphy (Panelist) is an Associate Professor of Japanese at the
University of Florida. Prof. Murphy is the author of The Metaphorical
Circuit: Negotiating the Gap Between Literature and Science in 20th
Century Japan (2002), and his teaching and research specialties include
Japanese literature and culture, manga, anime, and video games. Prof.
Murphy has a BS in mechanical engineering and advanced degrees in modern
Japanese literature and film.

Chris Sistrom (Panelist) is Associate Professor of Radiology at the UF
College of Medicine. His research interests include the practice and
necessity of physician-ordered imaging tests, the evidence-based
practice movement, and moral philosophy.

Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis (Panelist) is a Professor of History and
Biology at the University of Florida, where she has developed new
courses in biology and society and in the philosophy of biology. Her
areas of expertise include the history of modern evolutionary biology,
genetics, systematics, paleontology and ecology, anthropology and the
history of American botany in the twentieth century. She is the author
of Unifying Biology: the Evolutionary Synthesis and Evolutionary Biology
(1996), and she was named the UF Distinguished Alumni Professor for

Humanizing Conversations

Following the 2011-2012 speaker series “Rehumanizing the University: New
Perspectives on the Liberal Arts,”

the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere invites UF faculty,
students, and members of the public to join in this series of panel
discussions on academic freedom and activism; racial, gender, and ethnic
integration; sexual freedom; dialogues between sciences and humanities;
and the impact of market forces at the University of Florida (and North
Florida more generally).

     * Refreshments will be served.
     * This event is free and open to the public.
     * For more information, contact [log in to unmask]
       <mailto:[log in to unmask]>.

Dr. Ann C. Wilkie                          Tel: (352)392-8699
Soil and Water Science Department          Fax: (352)392-7008
University of Florida-IFAS
P.O. Box 110960                         E-mail: [log in to unmask]
Gainesville, FL 32611-0960
Campus location: Environmental Microbiology Laboratory (Bldg. 246).
BioEnergy and Sustainable Technology Society