Four faculty to present next Scientia Oct. 8

The next Scientia colloquia will be Oct. 8 at 4 p.m. and will feature a set of five-minute talks by faculty on the ideas that have most powerfully influenced or engaged them in their careers and intellectual lives.

ScientiaThe colloquium, which is free and open to the public, will be in Ray Courtyard, Rice Memorial Center, with a reception afterward. In case of rain, the colloquium will be held in Duncan Hall’s McMurtry Auditorium.

The speakers and their topics are:

Andrea Ballestero, assistant professor of anthropology, on “Pacts.” In her abstract, she wrote: “Public promises, private pledges, secret commitments. How do people devote themselves to the political good against the grain of history? Experts working for the human right to water in Brazil show us some possibilities.”

Caleb McDaniel, assistant professor of history, on “Open Notebook Research.” “A new movement among some scientists advocates the sharing of research data through open, online lab notebooks,” he wrote. “What would happen if scholars in other fields, like history, also began keeping open notebooks?”

Emilia Morosan, associate professor of physics and astronomy and of chemistry, on “Cooking with Metals.” “Nature offers a finite and yet generous pantry of ingredients,” she wrote. “Materials synthesis often leads to serendipitous discoveries, many of which make their ways into applications — smartphones, maglev trains. The versatility of materials design comes from the challenges and surprises inherent in cooking with metals.”

Hadley Wickham, adjunct assistant professor of statistics, on “Foundations.” He wrote, “Building your personal foundations is unobvious and unsexy, but investment in your infrastructure pays off cumulatively. I’ll talk about why I think foundations are so important, how I’ve invested in my personal and research infrastructure and how it’s paid off.”

Scientia is an institute of Rice University faculty founded in 1981 by the mathematician and historian of science Salomon Bochner. The lecture series provides an opportunity for scholarly discussion across disciplinary boundaries; its members and fellows come from a wide range of academic disciplines. For more information on Scientia, visit



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