Science Exploration Series

Make science part of your game day schedule and join the College of Science for exciting presentations before Notre Dame home football games. All presentations are open to the public and will be held in the Jordan Hall of Science.


GDPR, Personal Privacy, and Big Data—Friends or Foes? 

September 1 (Michigan, 7:30 p.m. kickoff)
1 p.m.
101 Jordan Hall of Science

Fang Liu

Fang Liu, associate professor of applied and computational mathematics and statistics

Big data and analytics have climbed to the top of the corporate agenda with ample reason. They have been transforming the way many companies do business, and have opened new avenues of competitive advantage. There is, however, a potential darker side to the perceived benefits of big data: the effect on personal privacy. Is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) a welcome guiding light to the benefits of big data, or will it strike a fatal blow to the utility of it, in an attempt to protect our privacy? Learn more about GDPR, how it will affect your personal privacy, and what it means for big data and analytics. 

What's up in the Solar System?

September 8 (Ball State, 3:30 p.m. kickoff)
12 p.m.
100 Jordan Hall of Science, Digital Visualization Theater


Keith Davis, Ph.D., director of the Digital Visualization Theater

Take a spectacularly visual tour of the solar system, starting with this summer's remarkably bright Mars appearance. As you fly virtually through the solar system, you’ll learn how the motion of the planets affects how we see them from Earth. Also, discover why NASA just launched its first-ever probe to the sun.


Finding PFAS with a Particle Accelerator: The Intersection of Science and Policy

September 15 (Vanderbilt, 2:30 p.m. kickoff)
11 a.m.
101 Jordan Hall of Science

Graham Peaslee

Graham Peaslee, professor of physics

The St. Andre accelerator facility in the Nuclear Science Laboratory is now operational, and is being used for several types of societal applications of nuclear science. These range from archaeology, to flame retardants, to tattoos, and to trace element contamination. Learn about how the accelerator is being used to screen for an emerging class of chemicals of concern: Per- and Polyfluorinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS). These are ubiquitous in in our textiles, food packaging, personal care products and various industrial uses. Learn about  interesting recent results, but know that the most significant effects of these findings may be the policy changes that result from public attention surrounding the results.


Searching for the "Wow!": The art, craft, and joy of writing about science

September 29 (Stanford, 7:30 p.m. kickoff)
1 p.m.
101 Jordan Hall of Science


Amy Ellis Nutt

Amy Ellis Nutt, science reporter for The Washington Post

Washington Post reporter Amy Ellis Nutt writes about neuroscience and mental health, and will share how to cultivate the sense of wonder that is at the heart of all great science articles. She’ll also describe the techniques for writing them. Nutt is the author of three books, including two New York Times’ bestsellers, and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing in 2011. She has taught at Columbia and Princeton and was a Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard.

Cracking the Brain's Mysteries: Novel strategies to cure neurodegenerative diseases

October 13 (Pittsburgh, 2:30 p.m. kickoff)
11 a.m.
101 Jordan Hall of Science

Kevin Vaughan

Kevin Vaughan, associate professor of biology

Rare neurological diseases represent a unique challenge for scientists because neurons are notoriously difficult to study, and our understanding of basic neurobiology is incomplete. Using Niemann Pick Type C (NPC) disease as an example, universal mechanisms of neuronal loss can be revealed that suggest fundamentally-new strategies to curing disease.  These new insights provide hope for a panel of lysosomal storage diseases that lack an effective therapy or cure. 

Envy-Free Division

November 10 (Florida State, 7:30 p.m. kickoff)
1 p.m.
101 Jordan Hall of Science

David Galvin

David Galvin, associate professor of mathematics

Can a group of friends cut up a cake, so that no one is envious of someone else's portion? Can three people who’ve just leased a three-bedroom apartment assign rooms and rent, so that no one feels like someone else has gotten a better deal? These questions have many hard-to-quantify factors. Learn an envy-free division process that’s easy to implement, and answers these and many related questions. It was discovered by Forest Simmons and Francis Su about 20 years ago, but has its roots in a 90-year-old result in topology.

Science Alumni Tailgate (by invitation)

Jordan Hall of Science

November 10 (Florida State, 7:30 p.m. kickoff)
3-6 p.m. 
Jordan Hall of Science galleria

Enjoy snacks and networking, and have your photos taken at our ever-popular photo booth! Other activities to be announced.