Here are our most recent 2018 speakers!

Itai Cohen

Itai Cohen

Controlling Flapping Flight

Professor Itai Cohen is obsessed with matter in motion. At Cornell, his research has focused on investigating the behavior of microscopic and nanoscopic particles suspended in a fluid, exploring the mechanics of materials ranging from biological tissues to origami inspired metamaterials, discovering the mechanisms used by insects during flapping flight, and determining how Tango dancers and audiences at heavy metal concerts coordinate their movement. Understanding the out-of-equilibrium behaviors of these systems remains one of the biggest challenges in physics.  

Susan Fleming

Susan Fleming

What You Can Do to Reduce Gender Bias, and Why You Should

Dr. Susan Fleming is a Senior Lecturer at Cornell’s Hotel School. After a successful career on Wall Street, she earned a PhD focused on understanding why there are so few women in leadership positions in U.S. society. In addition to her work researching and advocating for women’s advancement, Susan is an active angel investor and corporate director, with experience serving on the boards of six public companies as well as numerous private company and non-profit boards. Susan’s TEDx talk will focus on why both men and women should care about reducing gender bias in our society and offer specific suggestions on how to do that. 


Drew Margolin

The Social Structure of "Maybe"

The internet, and social media in particular, have made individual and institutional discourse visible like never before. Yet the mechanisms that shape the production of discourse — what leads individuals or institutions to speak up, whom do they address, what do they say — is not yet well understood. Margolin's research focuses on understanding these dynamics through the quantitative aggregation of collective communication behavior. In particular, his approach emphasizes the role that accountability, credibility, and legitimacy within social networks and communities play in shaping observable discourse.

Shimon Edelman

Shimon Edelman

The Brain's Virtual Reality Engine and a Case for Humanist Ethics

Shimon Edelman holds degrees in electrical engineering and in computer science and is trying to understand the brain/mind through behavioral, neurophysiological, evolutionary, and computational studies of vision, language, happiness, and consciousness. His books include "Computing the Mind: How the Mind Really Works", "The Happiness of Pursuit", and, most recently, "Beginnings", a psychological-philosophical science fiction (psy-phi sci-fi) anabasis. His TEDxCornell talk shows how the realization that the brain is a virtual reality engine can help us make a case for humanist ethics.



Ifeoma Ajunwa

Controversies of Ethics and Technology in Modern Workplace Management

Professor Ajunwa researches the organizational behavior of organizations, particularly in relation to stigma/social evaluation, diversity, and the adoption of new work technologies. Her research has been mentioned in major media outlets such as, the New York Times, the Harvard Business Review, the Atlantic, the Guardian, Nature Biotechnology, etc. Professor Ajunwa has served as a keynote speaker or panelist at international conferences such as SXSW and has presented her work before governmental agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the CFPB) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the EEOC).


Renee T. Alexander

Campus Climate: "Breaking Bread"

As Associate Dean of Students/Senior Advisor to the Dean, “Dr. Renee” focuses on campus climate issues. Through her work with student communities, Renee Alexander’s efforts improve dialogue, collaboration, and understanding. Under her leadership, the Breaking Bread initiative – which brings participants together for a special meal and facilitated conversation – won the highly acclaimed Perkins Prize (2017) for its significant impact toward furthering the ideal of university community while respecting the values of racial and cultural diversity. Her contributions also include facilitating Town Hall meetings, convening the Leadership Roundtable of campus student leaders, working within and between groups to foster community and confront complex issues, mediation, resolving conflicts, advising students, and supporting students as they engage across the spectrum of Cornell communities.


T. Colin Campbell

Why is the Science of Nutrition Ignored in the Field of Medicine?

Professor Campbell is a well-established researcher and author. His popular book (co-authored with his son, a physician) titled The China Study (2005), has been translated into more than 50 foreign languages and has sold well over 2 million copies. His second book, Whole (2013), was a New York Times best seller.

Campbell has conducted experimental research on the effect of food and nutrition on the development of cancer and related diseases. His research program was relatively large, and his findings were published in more than 300 peer reviewed professional papers. He also participated as a member of several expert panels on health of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Institutes of Health and related public agencies. He has been in his professional career for more than 60 years.


David Pizarro

The Strange Politics of Disgust

David Pizarro is a research psychologist and associate professor at Cornell University. His primary research interests are in moral judgment and he is particularly interested in moral intuitions (especially concerning moral responsibility, and the permissibility or impermissibility of certain acts), and in biases that affect moral judgment. He also has a general interest in the influence of emotional states on thinking and deciding with particular interest in specific emotions (anger, disgust, fear, etc.) and their differential impact on how we process information, how we remember events, and how these emotions impact our moral judgments of others.