Arthur Benjamin grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and earned his B.S. at
Carnegie Mellon University in 1983 and his PhD in Mathematical
Sciences at Johns Hopkins University in 1989. Since then he has been a
Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, in Claremont,
California, where he has served as department chair. His research includes Combinatorics, Game Theory, and Number Theory, with a special fondness for the Fibonacci numbers.
He is past Editor of Math Horizons magazine, published by the Mathematical Association
of America (MAA). In 2000, the MAA awarded him its national teaching award (the Haimo Prize) for Distinguished University Teaching. In 2006, he received the Beckenbach Book Prize from the MAA for "Proofs That Really Count". In 2012, he was selected by Princeton Review as one of The Best 300 Professors. In 1997, he applied his mathematical talents to the game of backgammon and won the American Backgammon Tour.
Arthur Benjamin is also a professional magician, and frequently
performs at the Magic Castle in Hollywood. One of his previous TED talks has been viewed over 5 million times, and is among the top 20 viewed.
He is the author of several books, and four DVD courses from The Great Courses series, including "The Joy of Mathematics", "Discrete Mathematics", "The Secrets of
Mental Math" and "The Mathematics of Games and Puzzles."
He has demonstrated and explained his calculating talents to
audiences all over the world and has appeared on numerous television
and radio programs, including The Today Show, CNN, National Public
Radio, and The Colbert Report. He has been featured in Scientific American, Omni, Discover, People, Esquire, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Reader's
Digest. In 2005, Reader's Digest called him "America's Best Math
Jason Alicea grew up on the east coast, first in Brooklyn, NY and then in south Florida. During college he unexpectedly became fascinated by physics and decided to pursue a research career in that field. This decision took him to the west coast, where he earned a physics Ph.D. at UC Santa Barbara and eventually became a professor at Caltech. His research explores new avenues towards "quantum computers" -- machines that have the potential to profoundly revolutionize society.
Paul Steinberg is Professor of Political Science and Environmental Policy at Harvey Mudd College. He has spent the past 20 years studying biodiversity conservation and the human dimensions of global environmental problems. He is the author of three books: Who Rules the Earth? (Oxford University Press), Comparative Environmental Politics (MIT Press), and Environmental Leadership in Developing Countries (MIT Press), which won the Harold and Margaret Sprout Award for the best book in international environmental affairs. He is the director of the Social Rules Project, a multi-media initiative designed to raise public awareness about the importance of changing policies and other binding rules to promote sustainability.
Yolanda Gil is a computer science professor doing research on artificial intelligence systems that can collaborate with people to solve complex problems such as scientific discoveries. She was born in Madrid, Spain, and her family moved to Brussels, Belgium when she was young. Her fascination with math was sparked then, since she did not speak any French and yet she realized she could puzzle out the numbers that the match teacher would write on the board. She decided to become a computer scientist as soon as she realized that programming combines math with extraordinary amounts of creativity. After receiving her PhD from Carnegie Mellon University, she joined the Information Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California.
She works on Discovery Informatics, developing intelligent systems that enable scientists to collaborate better in analyzing data across disciplines. She is also interested in the semantic web, which is the next generation of the web that encodes information and knowledge so computers can understand it and answer complex questions. She has more than 200 publications that span artificial intelligence, distributed systems, high-end computing, trust and provenance, data science, and a variety of scientific disciplines.
She is the current Chair of ACM SIGART, the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Artificial Intelligence. She has served in the Advisory Committee of the Computer Science and Engineering Directorate of the National Science Foundation, and helped establish a standardization effort for digital provenance at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). She was elected Fellow of the American Association of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) in 2012.
Akua Asa-Awuku received her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2008. She also earned her M.S in Chemical Engineering at Georgia Tech in 2006. She received her B.S in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2003. In 2008, Dr. Asa-Awuku served as a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies and Chemical Engineering Department at Carnegie Mellon University. Currently, she is an assistant professor in the Chemical and Environmental Engineering department at the University of California Riverside. Dr. Asa-Awuku also has an appointment at the UC Riverside Bourns College of Engineering- Center for Environmental Research and Technology. Dr. Asa-Awuku’s primary research interest is understanding and predicting aerosol-cloud climate interactions. Her research explores the water-uptake of organic particles as it pertains to aerosol hygroscopicity, cloud condensation nuclei activation and droplet growth.
Charu Sharma is a US-based Indian explorer, entrepreneur and author. With 5 National Awards, expeditions to all 7 continents, over 600 stage shows and two books in progress, this prodigy was enlisted as a “Power Woman” alongside such notables as Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Gandhi, Melinda Gates and Devita Saraf by Youth Incorporated magazine in March 2012.
Charu has penned travel memoir Far From Shore inspired by her unexpected encounters with people and cultures around the world, and she is currently working on her second book Don't go with the flow on entrepreneurship. Charu has been involved with startups and VC firms in Silicon Valley and New York City, holds business certificates from the Stanford GSB and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and she has previously worked with NASA Scientists, researchers in Antarctica, Bankers at Wall Street, senior journalists and top politicians. At 21, she is currently studying Astronomy and Economics on a scholarship in Massachusetts at Mount Holyoke College, the first institution in the US where women could get college education.
Dr. Wenli Jen is an educational consultant, motivational speaker, writer, community leader, businesswoman, professor and nonprofit program director. As a second-generation Chinese American woman, Dr. Jen speaks about cultural competency, community collaboration, education and other related topics in national and state conferences. Her expertise in human development, psychology, and education has made her advice valuable to several communities.
Dr. Jen obtained her doctorate in Educational Leadership from USC, master’s degree from Harvard University, and B.A. from UC Irvine. In addition, Dr. Jen is a licensed esthetician and credentialed teacher. She has two published stories in the Asian American anthologies, Pho for
Life and Miso for Life and is a featured speaker for TEDxPCC in November 2013. Dr. Jen can be seen on television as a co-host and producer for Time Warner Cable shows including Heart and Soul, a women’s talk show and Showtime, a film and production review. Dr. Jen is also the 2012 Woman of the Year for the 24th Senate District of California and the 2013 Woman of the Year for the 49th Assembly District of California. Dr. Jen serves on the board of the National Women’s Political Caucus and works with United Nations Global Compact and UN Women – US National Committee.
Miguel Almena is a designer, educator and advisor on education in 3D Printing to government, non-profits, education and art sectors. He was formerly a designer for The Walt Disney Company and brings over a decade of experience to 21st Century Learners. His goal is to help schools and organizations routinely create opportunity for themselves by cultivating their creative identities through emerging cutting edge technologies that increase student/employee performance, motivation, engagement and retention. Currently his work involves a student collaboration on the enhancement between physical and digital environments by applying design principles inspired by nature, and implementing them in emerging digital design technologies. Areas of application include product, architectural design, digital fabrication and construction.
Dr. Talithia Williams is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College. Her professional experiences include research appointments at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the National Security Agency (NSA), and NASA. Dr. Williams develops statistical models that emphasize the spatial and temporal structure of data with environmental applications. She has been recognized for the development of a cataract model used to predict the cataract surgical rate for developing countries in Africa.
In addition to her academic accomplishments, Dr. Williams is also a woman of faith, living out a lifestyle practice infused with bold splashes of servitude that embody the eternal ideals of God. She and her husband, Donald, actively teach and share foundational principles regarding the joys of Christian marriage.
Dr. Williams’ talk will explore how each of us can begin to collect data about ourselves that can provide insight into our personal health.
Project Discover Student Speakers were: Judy Zhou (Mental Ailments), Sharlena Luyen (Stories), Kyle Minshall (Programming Internship), and Carter Robinson, Isaiah Kasten, Hagop Kalbakian (Mincraft)