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In the Works – Potential Topics

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We'd like your thoughts on these and other topics you are interested in seeing or maybe presenting. Send your thoughts via email to or contact John Rudy, Peter Albin, Bob Primak, or Steve Isenberg directly – Thank you.
This list last changed 2021.08.04 11:27

Note -- numbering is for reference only and it has no other meaning. Numbers were assigned in the order topics were added to the list.

  1. Search for life on other planets Ian Crawford, April 2018 (36min)
  2. (Dick Wagner) most recent Nobel Prizes in Physiology & Medicine, Physics, and Chemistry - maybe a half hour on each with discussion. I have a background in Physics, Chemistry and Molecular Biology so the topics are not foreign to me. I could also discuss the Economics Prize, since I've recently become interested in economics, but someone else in the group may be more knowledgeable about this prize which was on auction theory. Another topic I could talk about is the discovery of the platinum containing compound that has been used for decades in chemotherapy of cancer. This talk would be from the same perspective as our last speaker (Harry?) in the sense that I was there as the discovery was made. This discovery is a great example of how basic science research really happens.
  3. (Peter to fup with Jonathan Goode) Actual accomplishments of things in the Frontiers of Science.
    a) has quantum computing ever solved a problem?,
    b) has blockchain produced a cost effective solution for anything?,
    c) has the Large Hadron Collider advanced science or provided the real confirmations the string theorists were looking for? (John Rudy knows someone named Harvey might fit)
  4. (Peter to fup with Jonathan Goode) A revised explanation, in an intuitively satisfying way, why do airplanes fly? This was presented earlier using incomprehensible equations that seem unsatisfying and suspicious. Can planes really achieve level flight upside down?
  5. (GeorgeB to fup) Recycling (what happens when you put trash out; computer or lightbulb return to BB or Staples) (Bodoin/Harvey & What Lex Does? How to separate recyclables?) (need speaker. (HarryF to fup) Chris Barnett, theory of recycling (GeorgeB to followup); Chris Barnett, VP waste mgmt
  6. (Peter to fup) A NOVA on DaVinci (Peter- I’d love to get Nancy Alimansky to participate and comment on it –John Rudy)
  7. Women in Science, Scientists in Other Cultures (Charlie ask Dan for suggestions; GeorgeG to ask CAAL; Harry to ask Indian Association; for speaker possibilities) (Need contact with Black Americans – Harry to search)
  8. Advances in Surgery (interesting but need speaker); past, present, future
  9. Solar Panels, Solar Technology. Mark Sandeen (Select Person); Cindy Ariens?; Frank van Mierlo, owner of solar technology company, explains science of solar panels. (Harry email to Mark & Cindy cc:PeterA)
  10. Discussion of Blockchain (enhanced from earlier presentation; including encryption; and uses) (SteveI)
  11. iRobot and associated technologies (Peter to investigate)
  12. idea: Telescopes (JohnR; huge telescope being decommissioned. Rich Ralston has contacts at Lincoln Lab & MIT, possible talks on optical, ground, space, x-ray in space, large bodies in space, etc)
  13. idea: ISO-NE webinar being presented by the Attorney General's office; JohnBrown to see if it is recorded and if it's good for the group [20201125 email b/JohnRudy & JohnBrown]
  14. BBC Horizon video, “Pluto: Back from the Dead” 1hr (PeterA)
  15. BBC Horizon video, “Britain's Next Air Disaster? Drones.” 1hr (PeterA)
  16. Other Mark Rober youtube videos (he did Squirrel vid)
  17. Chris Hess: Musicians record themselves at home on their phones. They send me their files and I build virtual video performances in software. We've done a couple dozen virtual ensemble pieces at First Parish since the lockdown started. I work on a PC, with tools in the Adobe Creative suite. If that's of interest, I could do an introduction to the process and tools and then do some Q&A. Zoom isn't directly relevant, although we do stream the stuff I make over Zoom at virtual Sunday services at First Parish.
  18. Revisit Cloud Storage Options (update from December 2019, steveI)
  19. The first LASER of 2021 explores the relationship between humans, DNA, and data, featuring media artist and TED speaker Refik Anadol in conversation with Dr. Robert Grass from ETH Zurich, and Christine Choirat from Harvard and the Swiss Data Science Center. (90 min)
  20. Count Rumford (Supplemental to Dan's, but emphasis is on history). Howard Cohen; talk is prepared
  21. Automatic Bucks meeting: Programmed Trading and Internet Fastlanes
  22. Approach LHS Grad Brandeis, MD, now at Penn; re Moderna technology Harry
  23. Weather modeling tools: Stella. (Jay Foreester?) Modeling a dynamic system. Harry
  24. Meandering Rivers (proposed by John Rudy) Concord River is a good example. e.g.,
  25. Virus package update; both real-time (e.g., Defender) and off-line (e.g., Malware Bytes). Consider Windows, but also Mac/OSX.
  26. Al Sherman: “Everything” from (John Rudy to contact, where is he, when can he speak)
  27. Al Sherman: “Advanced Renamer” from (NOTE Al can be recorded off-line for replay on Weds.)
  28. Shelly Lowenthal: Total Commander, Irfanview
  29. Linux. Compare to Windows. Use on old computer equipment. Different varieties. (BobP, SteveI, maybe others)
  30. LAGEOS (Laser Geodynamic Satellite) launched 5/4/1976 with message plaque. (Howard Winkler, via PeterA)
  31. Security Update – Lex Liby presentation on security by Bruce Schneier link (1h7m)
  32. Margaret Geller: “Caught in the Cosmic Web”. Margaret made the first and several recent maps of the distribution of galaxies in the universe, showing that they are not distributed randomly in space but form interesting patterns that repeat on the largest scales. (Margaret is the wife of Scott Kenyon.) ANY WEDNESDAY IN SEPTEMBER 2021.
  33. Bretislav Friederich of the University of Berlin where he Professor of Physical Chemistry. He is also a highly accomplished historian of science. He has just published a chapter in a book on the history of chemical warfare, germ warfare and other such technologies. His article is on Fritz Haber and his role in inventing chemical warfare during WW1. Friederich will be at Harvard for the year on sabbatical. He is an excellent speaker. (He is a colleague of Daniel Kleppner who recommended him) click to see the abstract of the talk
  34. The Glide “no-code” Application Development Environment (Harry Forsdick)
    Harry can't give talk till December or first week in January 2022
    This is an illustrated talk about and demonstration of the Glide “no-code” application development environment. Glide is representative of the possible future for (some) software development activities presented by a survivor from the early days of computer programming. read abstract

YouTube Video Possibilities

Rich Ralston suggested topics

Website for MIT Lincoln Lab: Surf this yourselves to see if areas of R&D or system development would be of interest to you and the LCTG. LL develops technology which, as it matures, is incorporated into a prototype subsystem or system to demonstrate new capabilities for transfer to industry for government use. Intellectual property can be licensed by MIT for commercial applications

Some topics I propose within the next year, including the August 21 meeting.

  1. Low-noise and large-area visible and x-ray focal planes in space- and ground-based telescopes. (~90 minutes)
  2. Flash LIDAR (LADAR) with single-photon sensitivity for rapid 3-D imaging with applications from look-through-foliage military surveillance to self-driving vehicles. (~90 minutes) – not to be recorded for later viewing
    Dr. Simon Verghese, head of Waymo’s (Google) sensor development for self-driving cars. In their 5th generation, the sensors are designed to meet the challenging requirements of moving people and goods safely and efficiently in dense cities and on highways. The goal is to make them affordable while meeting the performance needed for driverless operation in various applications and weather conditions. The talk will review some history of the project and describe a few use-cases for sensors and machine learning on Waymo vehicles.
  3. High-sensitivity passive IR focal planes for wide-area surveillance. (Copious Imaging, a spin off in Lexington from LL). (~45 minutes)
  4. Bio-agent warning sensor with single aerosol particle sensitivity. (~45 minutes)
  5. Nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamond for quantum sensing. (~45 minutes)
  6. Development of Terminal Doppler Weather Radar for Airports. (LL developed, manufactured by Raytheon.). (~90 minutes)
  7. NOVA video on the Secret of Tuxedo Park. (Culminates in UK bringing magnetron to US during WWII). Rent $3.99 on Amazonk. (60 minutes)
  8. Radar that looks for downdrafts at airports
    Dr. Jim Evans, leader of the work at MIT Lincoln on the “Terminal Doppler Weather Radar and its Deployment for the FAA to Avoid Microbursts at airports”. This work was started about 25 years ago and has proven successful at many US airport sites. The talk will review the development lessons learned in deployment, including human factors in communication between controllers and pilots.

Topic ideas needing speakers

  1. home theater, camera monitor, media player
  2. Linux or other O/S
  3. Headsets and cameras for Zoom; auxiliary microphones?
  4. Your experience with Raspberry or other tiny computer
  5. Troubleshoot your Internet connectivity
  6. Utilities, for a utilities meeting
  7. Construction of the new Suez Canal
  8. Railway Car identification (George Burnell; Greg Sheehan)
  9. “Book Review” of Walter Isaacson’s book Code Breaker about the competing CRISPR teams. Maybe we can bring back Allan Kleinman

===Orphaned (scheduled, but couldn't be presented then)===

  1. Computational Photography - changing what's used as a camera. link e.g., replacing DSLR with cellphones; more (Jonathan Goode?, Harry Forsdick?) (needs a lead)
  2. How one builds a web application (e.g., using spreadsheets) (Harry Forsdick)
  3. (Harry) Getting Streaming Programming Into Your TV (what to do when your TV just isn't smart enough)
  4. [resched from 6/2/21] Eli Brookner would like to present to the group “Fun Family Talk on Contributions of Radar to Winning WWII”. Abstract from Eli:
    Radar was in its infancy at the start of World War II. The British were using radar effectively along their coastline with a network of antennas on very tall towers to warn of approaching German aircraft, but they needed an invention that would allow radars to be small enough to fit on ships and aircraft. They came up with the cavity magnetron. However they looked to American manufacturing know-how and resources to mass produce this device in a hurry. After turndowns by all the major US firms, a small Boston newcomer, Raytheon Company, came up with a solution and ended up making 85% of all magnetrons used by the allies in the war, and changed the course of the war.
  5. [orig sched 7/28/2021] CERN and the Hadron Collider. History, Why It Was Built, Hoped Outcomes, Discovery of Bison, What is Next (Harvey Newman, professor Cal Tech). Harvey will introduce the status and outlook for the LHC, its past and present and near term outlook, and provide a panorama of the future including some of the leading programs. (John Rudy)
  6. [orig sched 8/11/2021] Retrospective on election security, allegations, concerns, why is it so hard to have a closed and secure system? Securing mail-in voting; how states got it to happen. Involve Town clerk or rep to participate? (George Burnell)

visits: 5/3/133 since 20210323

lctg_in_the_works.txt · Last modified: 2021.08.04 11:27 by Steve Isenberg