PRISMS Speaker Series

Each year we invite bold, successful and inspiring individuals from all fields of interests to speak with our school community in an intimate setting where conversation and questions are encouraged.


December 13, 2017. Dr. Zahn (Rutgers University)

Dr. Zahn presented an interdisciplinary field of microfluidics appealing to students across science and engineering disciplines. Dr. Zahn completed his Chemical Engineering training at MIT, then his Bioengineering PhD jointly at University of California, San Francisco and Berkley, and Post Graduate training in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Carnegie Mellon. He is now a professor at Rutgers University.

December 6, 2017. Dr. Goldfarb (CERN): Teleconference

The European Organization for Nuclear Research known as CERN (derived from the French name, Conseil Europeen pour la Recherche Nucleaire), based in Geneva, uses the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter. Dr. Goldfarb, a scientist from ATLAS experiment at CERN, presented the work going on at CERN. The teleconference recording can be found on CERN website

December 1, 2017. Dr. Lettow Vorbeck Materials

Dr. Lettow shared his entrepreneurial story about building Vorbeck Materials - a company focused on the development of Graphene products and devices. Students learned about inner-workings of commercialization and industry application of the hard sciences.

November 15, 2017. Dr. Zhou Qiangjun

After receiving his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, China, Dr. Zhou spent 4 years as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He shared with students at PRISMS his work on SNARE-synaptotagmin-1 complex.


December: Dr. Hadley Wickham: Data Science with R

Dr. Hadley Wickham is the Chief Scientist at RStudio, and an Adjunct Professor of Statistics at the University of Auckland, Stanford University, and Rice University, one of the leading experts in Data Science. Teleconference.

November: Florence Tan: Mars Rover

Florence Tan is a NASA Engineer involved in the Mars Rover project at Goddard Space Flight Center. Ms. Tan is the lead of the Electrical team working on the SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) instrumentation, on the Rover Curiosity. Teleconference.

October: Dr. Christopher Janetopoulos: Cell Motility

Dr. Janetopoulos, from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, is an expert on cell motility whose work has been published in many of the top journals in his field, including Science.

September: Dr. Larry Bacow: Life

Dr. Bacow is one of the most experienced and highly respected educators in the US, having served as Chancellor at MIT, President at Tufts University, Fellow and then Leader-In- Residence at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He has served on Presidential Committees through the White House and sits on many Boards. Dr. Bacow received a BS in economics at MIT, a law degree at Harvard Law School, a MPP and a PhD at the Kennedy School of Government.

April: Dr. Anne Jaskot: Astrophysics

Dr. Jaskot is a post-doctoral researcher at Smith College where she studies the formation of stars.

TBD: Dr. Susan Schneider: Artificial Intelligence and Consciousness

Dr. Schneider is Associate Professor of Philosophy at University of Connecticut, specializing in cognitive science. She did a TEDx Cambridge talk on AI consciousness called “Can a Robot Feel?”


May: Agatha Ruiz de la Prada: Fashion Design

Ms. Ruiz de la Prada is a Spanish noble and world famous fashion designer with stores in Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, Milan, New York, Mallorca, and exhibits in Tokyo, Paris, New York, Moscow and Bucharest. She has a well-known line of women’s, men’s and children’s fashions as well as home goods and perfumes.

April: Dejan Atanackovic: Art

Mr. Atanackovic is an artist who teaches in Florence and Siena and has exhibited his work in Italy, Serbia, US, Bosnia, Canada, Albania, Slovenia, Germany, Switzerland and Mexico.

April: Dr. Raquel Marta e Silva: Human Rights

Dr. Marta e Silva is currently an assistant professor at the College of Staten Island where her research interests are in creativity, human rights, environmental sustainability, human development, and ethics. She has been the Vice Coordinator at the European Anti-Poverty Network in Lisbon, Portugal.

March: Dr. Vladimir Shiltsev: Physics

“Five Mysteries: Unsolved Puzzles of Big Science”

Dr. Shiltsev is the Director of the Accelerated Physics Center at Fermi National Laboratory where his research focuses on beam-beam effects and their compensation.

March: Valery Ray and Evan Slow: Scanning Electron Microscopy

Mr. Ray is a focused ion beam and particle beam systems technologist from the Advanced Imaging and Microscopy Lab of the University of Maryland at College Park Nanocenter and MEO Engineering Co, Inc. Mr. Slow works for Angstrom Scientific, Inc. They did a demonstration of a scanning electron microscope.

February: Dr. Andi Shehu: Physics

Dr. A Shehu obtained Ph.D. degree from the City University of New York and has worked to optimize information extraction from quantum states and find new solutions to quantum cloning. He spoke about ways to go around a "non-cloning theorem".

January: Jennifer Khan: Science Writing

Ms. Kahn is a highly regarded science writer, contributing to the New York Times Magazine and a feature writer for Wired, the New Yorker, National Geographic and Outside magazine. She teaches at the UC Berkeley School of Journalism and Stanford University. Her work has been selected for the Best American Science Writing series four times and she’s also featured in the Best American Sports Writing series.

November: Dr. Bruce Lipton: Epigenetics

Dr. Lipton is a world famous cell biologist from University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin and Stanford University. His seminal research revealed that the environment surrounding the cell, operating through the cell membrane, controls the behavior and physiology of the cell and turns genes on and off. This finding was in opposition to the established scientific view at that time that life is controlled by the genes. It laid the groundwork for the field of epigenetics. Dr. Lipton speaks around the world and is the NYT best selling author of “The Biology of Belief”.