News: UF Event, March 25 – The Humanities and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Fields

Humanizing Conversations: Roundtable
The Humanities and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Fields
25 March 2013, 6:00-7:30 pm, UF Smathers Library (East) 1A
This panel and audience discussion will explore the relationship of research inquiry and teaching in the humanities disciplines and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Participants in the round-table will describe various ways in which advances in history, literature, and philosophy inform and are informed by work in computer engineering, biomedicine, neuroscience, and mathematics. In articulating the relationship of different bodies of knowledge and disciplinary cultures in their own work, the speakers will point to the central role of the liberal arts and sciences in education and innovation at the contemporary and future research university. Following five ten-minute presentations, there will be time for a question and answer period and more broad discussion of these issues.
Willard Harrison, Department of Chemistry; former Dean of CLAS (University of Florida)
Erik Deumens, Department of Chemistry; Department of Physics (University of Florida)
Kevin Knudson, Department of Mathematics; Director, Honors Program (University of Florida)
Joseph Murphy, Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures (Japanese) (University of Florida)
Christopher Sistrom, Department of Radiology (University of Florida)
Betty Smocovitis, Department of History; Department of Biology (University of Florida)
About the Discussants
Erik Deumens (Panelist) is a physicist, mathematician, computational scientist and computer engineer at the University of Florida, with faculty appointments in the Department of Chemistry and Department of Physics. Since 2005, Dr. Deumens has directed the UF High Performance Computing Center and oversees research computing activities across the UF campus. His current research interests include the relationships of religious narrative, digital humanities, and computational biomedical science.
Willard Harrison (Moderator) is Professor of Chemistry at the University of Florida. He served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from 1988-2000. Prof. Harrison’s research interests include analytical optical and mass spectroscopy, and he currently teaches courses on writing in the sciences.
Kevin Knudson (Panelist) has been Director of the University Honors Program and Professor of Mathematics at UF since 2009. His current research interests are in the areas of computational topology, topological data analysis, discrete Morse theory, and the homology of linear groups. He loves mathematics precisely because it lies at the nexus of the sciences and the humanities. Mathematics is beautiful and Dr. Knudson attempts to prove it to his students by folding origami, giving (flawed) logical arguments for the existence of God, or simply blowing their minds with paradoxical constructions.
Joseph Murphy (Panelist) is an Associate Professor of Japanese at the University of Florida. Prof. Murphy is the author of The Metaphorical Circuit: Negotiating the Gap Between Literature and Science in 20th Century Japan (2002), and his teaching and research specialties include Japanese literature and culture, manga, anime, and video games. Prof. Murphy has a BS in mechanical engineering and advanced degrees in modern Japanese literature and film.
Chris Sistrom (Panelist) is Associate Professor of Radiology at the UF College of Medicine. His research interests include the practice and necessity of physician-ordered imaging tests, the evidence-based practice movement, and moral philosophy.
Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis (Panelist) is a Professor of History and Biology at the University of Florida, where she has developed new courses in biology and society and in the philosophy of biology. Her areas of expertise include the history of modern evolutionary biology, genetics, systematics, paleontology and ecology, anthropology and the history of American botany in the twentieth century. She is the author of Unifying Biology: the Evolutionary Synthesis and Evolutionary Biology (1996), and she was named the UF Distinguished Alumni Professor for 2009-2011.
Humanizing Conversations
Following the 2011-2012 speaker series “Rehumanizing the University: New Perspectives on the Liberal Arts,” the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere invites UF faculty, students, and members of the public to join in this series of panel discussions on academic freedom and activism; racial, gender, and ethnic integration; sexual freedom; dialogues between sciences and humanities; and the impact of market forces at the University of Florida (and North Florida more generally).

  • Refreshments will be served.
  • This event is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact