Innovation Speaker Series

Summer App Space hosted a speaker series of inspiring entrepreneurs, investors, programmers and astronomy, aerospace, and astrophysics professionals. These ran weekly on Thursdays 8-9:30am, with two talks per week. Caltech did a fantastic profile of the series and the series has a YouTube playlist.

These talks were for the Summer App Space audience and are also open to the Caltech Community as a whole. The aim of the series was to showcase the myriad opportunities to have a world impact available to those with education in the technology and space sciences.

Dr. Jessica Watkins

Dr. Watkins has been selected by NASA as a member of the 2017 Astronaut Candidate class and is reporting for training at the Johnson Space Center in August.

Dr. Watkins’ website details her bio:

I am a GPS Chair’s Postdoctoral Fellow and a California Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate Postdoctoral Fellow in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences at California Institute of Technology. My current research focuses on using orbital and rover topographic and image data to investigate the stratigraphy, geology, and geomorphology of Mars.  I am also interested in exploring the role of fractures as conduits for fluid flow, both in Gale crater and elsewhere on Mars, as well as constraining the emplacement mechanism(s) of long-runout landslides in Valles Marineris using high-resolution orbital imagery, spectral data, and field investigation of a terrestrial analog. I received a Ph.D. in Geology from UCLA in 2015 and a B.S. in Geological and Environmental Sciences from Stanford University in 2010. My personal interests include playing rugby, coaching basketball, writing short stories, rock climbing, and flying planes.

Dr. Christiansen is an Astronomer at the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute. She will join us to tell us about her scientific work exploring other worlds. Dr. Christiansen works on exoplanet occurrence ratesexoplanet catalogues, and exoplanet systems in general. She has participated in the discovery of thousands of exoplanets, and is working on NASA’s future exoplanet missions to find thousands more. Dr. Christiansen has appeared multiple times on the Discovery Science channel program ‘NASA’s Unexplained Files’ and is a highly praised public speaker.

Prof. Jorge Moreno

Professor Moreno is a theoretical astrophysicist. His area of expertise is galaxy formation theory. He has just begun his appointment as Assistant Professor of Astronomy at Pomona College this July. He is the PI of the Moreno Interacting Galaxies Lab, funded by the National Science Foundation (Award #1516374). Prof. Moreno’s work has received substantial recognition in the field, leading to 70 invited colloquia around the world, plus 11 invited conference talk and 20 contributed conference talks. Prof. Moreno is passionately working to improve equity and inclusion for members of traditionally underrepresented groups in astronomy. He is currently serving as the Chair of the AAS Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy (CSMA).

Dr. Adam Lichtl

Dr. Lichtl is Founder and CEO at Delta Brain Inc. Delta Brain Inc. is a Los Angeles-based AI startup focused on bringing reliable pattern recognition to continuous healthcare monitoring data. Delta Brain’s software enables doctors and nurses to make better decisions more quickly. Adam’s career has spanned fundamental physics research, finance, aerospace and AI.

Dr. Solange Ramírez

Dr. Ramírez is a scientist working at the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExScI), part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Her science interests are related to the Galactic Center of the Milky Way.

Athena Ahmadi

Athena Ahmadi is a Software Engineer at Google. She has extensive experience in designing and implementing systems in C/C++ and Java.-, JSP, JavaServlet, Android sd, SQL, HTML, and Hadoop. 

Zoe Stephenson

Zoe Stephenson is a Mechanical Engineer at Applied Invention, LLC, where according to her LinkedIn:

I do everything from preliminary materials research and product brainstorming to small-first-run manufacture. I use Autodesk Inventor CAD software almost every day, and PTC’s Mathcad almost every week to design giant clocks, robots, and consumer electronics prototypes. I machine parts and fold up sheet metal parts by hand, and I also fabricate with a CNC mill, lathe, wire EDM and waterjet. In my spare time, I build BattleBots.

Andrew Pryor-Miller

Andrew Pryor-Miller is Quality Assurance Engineer Lead at Snapchat, Inc. In the past he’s worked as a software engineer at Microsoft, and as an electrical engineer, mechanical engineer and software engineer at Hewlett-Packard. Andrew has a B.S. in Computer Science from UCLA and has been awarded Top Engineering Recruiter by USC as well as Technology Leadership Select and Bench Program by Microsoft.

Prof. Sean M. Carroll

Prof. Carroll’s website highlights his work in science and scientific outreach:

I’m a theoretical physicist at Caltech in sunny Pasadena, California. I do research on theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, gravitation, and quantum mechanics. I want to learn about fundamental physics by studying the structure and evolution of the universe. These days I’m especially interested in inflation, the arrow of time, and how quantum mechanics intersects with cosmology. I’ve done work on dark matter and dark energy, modified gravity, topological defects, extra dimensions, and violations of fundamental symmetries. See my research page for more details.

I’ve written a couple of popular-level books: From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time, and The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World. I also wrote a graduate textbook, Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity, and recorded lectures for the Teaching Company on Dark Matter and Dark Energy and the Mysteries of Time. I started blogging back in 2004, and keep it up to this day.

Cullen Dudas

Cullen Dudas has a range of specialties spanning interaction/ behavioral design and creative direction, through software architecture and raising capital. During high school he consulted for the Windows division at Microsoft and upon graduating joined the Xbox team. He later went on to found Lumier, co-found Inksy, and currently serves at the head of product at Indais. He’s previously served as an in-house tech advisor for musicians like Lady Gaga, Kanye West, and Beyonce.

D.A. Wallach

D.A.’s website highlights his multidisciplinary approach to art and investing:

D.A. Wallach is a recording artist, songwriter, investor, and essayist who Kanye West and Pharrell Williams discovered while he was an undergraduate at Harvard College. Beyond music, D.A. invests in and advises several start-up technology companies, including SpaceXDoctor On DemandRipple LabsDAQRI, and Spotify, where he was the official Artist in Residence. Forbes selected D.A. as one of its 30 Under 30 and Fast Company named him one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business. In 2015, he launched Inevitable Ventures, an investment partnership with multibillionaire Ron Burkle that supports radical entrepreneurs in areas ranging from health care to labor.