Speaker Abstracts and Biographies

April 3- Gravitational Waves: From Einstein to a New Science

Barry C. Barish, Nobel Laureate and Distinguished Professor of Physics, UCR


Our understanding of gravity began with Isaac Newton's Universal Gravity, which we all learned as school kids. This was perhaps the most successful physics theory of all time, explaining gravitational phenomena from the apple falling from the tree, to the orbits of planets, and even the ocean tides. Yet, Albert Einstein's Theory of General Relativity - a new theory of gravity, has replaced it. A key prediction of Einstein's theory was the existence of gravitational waves. The quest for gravitational waves, from Einstein's original proposal to detections one hundred years later will be discussed.

About the speaker:

Dr. Barry Barish grew up in Los Angeles, attended public schools, and earned his BA and PhD at UC Berkeley. He is the Linde Professor of Physics, Emeritus at Caltech, and joined the UC Riverside faculty as a Distinguished Professor of Physics this year. Dr. Barish has had a distinguished career in particle physics, before becoming a founder of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory LIGO. LIGO discovered gravitational waves from the collision of two black holes in September 2015, using suspended mass interferometric techniques to measure tiny distortions in spacetime from the passage of a gravitational wave. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and prizes, culminating in his sharing the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics for "decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves.''


April 10- Between Battles: From Civil War to Combatting Plant Disease

Isgouhi Kaloshian, Professor of Nematology and Chair, Department of Nematology, UCR


I study plant immunity to nematode and insect pests to discover ways to improve and boost plant health, control pest infection, and reduce the use of chemical pesticides. In my presentation, I will share with you my journey from a small town in the agricultural heart of Lebanon, to higher education in Italy and the United States. I will touch upon the challenges of growing up in civil war and being a second-generation immigrant in the country I was born and raised in, and a first-generation immigrant in the country I adopted. I will also share with you the joy of scientific discovery and how I came to develop plants with enhanced immunity for healthier food and a healthier planet.

About the speaker:

Dr. lsgouhi Kaloshian is a Professor of Nematology at University of California, Riverside. Dr. Kaloshian received her B.S. in Agricultural Engineering and M.S. in Plant Protection from American University of Beirut in Lebanon. She received her Ph.D. from University of California, Riverside, and postdoctoral training at the National Center for Research (CNR) in Italy and at University of California, Davis.

At UCR, Dr. Kaloshian developed a world-renowned research program in plant-pest interactions. For her scientific contributions, she has received the Syngenta Award for Excellence in Research from the Society of Nematologists. She has served as graduate advisor for the Cell, Molecular and Developmental Biology program and as Director of the Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics graduate program. Currently, she serves as the Chair of the department of Nematology. In recognition for her contribution to training undergraduate students in hands-on research, she received the Chancellor's Award for Fostering Excellence in Undergraduate Research in 2010.


April 17- It’s About I: Invention, Innovation, and Inspiration

Kathryn Uhrich, Professor of Chemistry and Dean, UCR College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences


My research links chemistry with the life sciences and engineering disciplines to create bioactive, biodegradable polymers and devices for use in drug delivery, food safety and personal care. In this lecture, I'll share my personal story - from growing up in the Dakotas with parents who did not attend college to learning how to learn. I'll also share my professional story; specifically, how to leverage curiosity into patents, publications, grants and companies.

About the speaker:

Dr. Kathryn Uhrich is Dean of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and Professor of Chemistry at University of California, Riverside. She received her BS degree from the University of North Dakota, PhD from Cornell University, and then held post-doctoral positions at AT&T Bell Laboratories and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Uhrich began her academic career at Rutgers University with a research program centering on biodegradable and biocompatible polymers. Her research accomplishments have been disseminated in hundreds of publications, as well as tens of millions of dollars in grant funding, multiple industrial collaborations, hundreds of patents/filings, and several start-up companies.

Dr. Uhrich's innovative research in polymer chemistry and biomaterials has trained nearly 200 undergraduate, graduate and high school students as well as postdoctoral scientists in her lab. She served as Dean of Mathematical and Physical Sciences at Rutgers University and was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors. She is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society, the Chemical Release Society, and the National Academy of Inventors of the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office. She serves as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Bioactive and Compatible Polymers.


April 24- Metathesis: A Change-Your-Partner Dance of Carbon-Carbon Bonds

Richard Schrock, Nobel Laureate, UCR Alumnus, and Distinguished Professor, George K. Helmkamp Founder’s Chair of Chemistry, UCR


A catalytic reaction discovered in the 1960s allows one to break carbon-carbon double bonds and form new ones with remarkable ease. This "metathesis dance" began to attract the interest of organic, inorganic, and polymer chemists because of its great potential in manipulating carbon-carbon bonds, which is a fundamental goal of organic chemistry. The metathesis reaction has continued to change how chemistry that involves carbon-carbon double bonds, in particular, is practiced in the laboratory and industry. In 1974, I was in the right place at the right time to make a discovery that helped us understand how this reaction works and have spent my career developing catalysts for it. I will also discuss some recent results and applications of olefin metathesis chemistry today.

About the speaker:

Dr. Richard R. Schrock was born in Indiana, but spent his high school years in San Diego, California, obtaining his Bachelor's degree in Chemistry in 1967 from the University of California, Riverside and his Ph. D. in Inorganic Chemistry in 1971 (awarded 1972) from Harvard University. He was an NSF postdoctoral fellow at Cambridge University and in 1972 was hired by the Central Research and Development Department of E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company. After three years, he moved to MIT where he became a full professor in 1980 and the Frederick G. Keyes Professor of Chemistry in 1989.

Dr. Schrock has received numerous prestigious awards and recognitions. In 2005, he shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Y. Chauvin and R. H. Grubbs and also received the August Wilhelm von Hofmann Medal from the German Chemical Society. He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Royal Society of London. He was Associate Editor of Organometallics for eight years, has published more than 600 research papers, and has supervised over 190 Ph.D. students and postdocs. He is now the Frederick G. Keyes Professor of Chemistry Emeritus at MIT and the Distinguished Professor and George K. Helmkamp Founder's Chair of Chemistry at the University of California, Riverside.

Dr. Schrock was awarded the Nobel Prize for the development of a catalyst for a reaction now used daily in the chemical industry for the efficient and more environmentally friendly production of pharmaceuticals, fuels, synthetic fibers, and many other products.