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Math Makes the World Go Round
June 11, 2020 @ 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
Moderator: Clarence Rowley ’95, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Head of Rockefeller College
Zuwei Thomas Feng *97, Director of Quantitative Research, Graham Capital Management LLC
Steven Strogatz ’80, Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics, Cornell University
Jill Broder Steinberg ’85, Managing Director and Partner, Beacon Pointe Advisors
Kristin Abkemeier ’90, Data Scientist, Improvix Technologies
Andrew Piper ’95, Professor of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, McGill University
Clarence Rowley ’95
Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Head of Rockefeller College
Clarence Rowley ’95 is a professor in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, an affiliated faculty member with the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics, and the Head of Rockefeller College. His research interests lie at the intersection of dynamical systems, control theory, and fluid mechanics. The broad theme of his work is to obtain simple mathematical models for complex systems (particularly those involving fluids), using data from simulations or experiments. He teaches courses in control theory, dynamical systems and applied mathematics.
Zuwei Thomas Feng *97
Director of Quantitative Research, Graham Capital Management LLC
Thomas Feng has worked in quantitative finance for over 20 years. He started his career at Greenwich Capital Markets and was a portfolio manager at Fortress Investment Group. Currently at Graham Capital Management Thomas oversees systematic trading strategies investing in global macro markets. Thomas and his team employ various modeling techniques ranging from econometrics, factor analysis to machine learning.
Steven Strogatz ’80
Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics, Cornell University
Steven Strogatz is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics at Cornell University. He loves finding math in places where you’d least expect it—and then using it to illuminate life’s mysteries, big and small. For example: Why is it so hard to fall asleep a few hours before your regular bedtime? When you start chatting with a stranger on a plane, why is it so common to find that you have a mutual acquaintance? What can twisting a rubber band teach us about our DNA? An award-winning researcher, teacher and communicator, Strogatz enjoys sharing the beauty of math though his books, essays, public lectures and radio and television appearances. He has spoken at TED, the Aspen Ideas Festival, and the World Government Summit, and is a frequent guest on Radiolab and Science Friday. In the spring of 2010, he wrote a weekly blog about mathematics for The New York Times; the Harvard Business Review described these columns as “a model for how mathematics needs to be popularized.” His honors include the AAAS Public Engagement with Science Award (2013), whose previous winners include Carl Sagan, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and E.O. Wilson; and the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science (2015), which honors “the scientist as poet” and whose previous awardees include Freeman Dyson, Oliver Sacks, and Atul Gawande. His latest book, Infinite Powers, was a New York Times bestseller and was shortlisted for the 2019 Royal Society Science Book Prize. Follow him on Twitter at @stevenstrogatz.
Jill Broder Steinberg ’85
Managing Director and Partner, Beacon Pointe Advisors
Jill Broder Steinberg began her career working in corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions at two investment banking firms. Realizing she preferred to combine finance with her interest in educating and helping individuals realize their life dreams, she entered the field of wealth management 26 years ago. After working at two registered investment advisory firms, Jill founded her own firm, Walden Capital Advisors, in 2006. In 2017, she merged Walden into Beacon Pointe Advisors, where she is now a Managing Director and Partner and head of the firm’s Philadelphia office. Jill provides comprehensive financial planning and investment management to her high net worth clients.
She enjoys making financial matters more accessible to all (especially couples, people going through life transitions such as divorce and loss of a spouse, and young professionals) so that people stay on track for financial success. She is very passionate about empowering women both personally and professionally and is an active member of Beacon Pointe’s Women’s Advisory Institute. She serves on boards and investment committees for several local Philadelphia nonprofits (including Live Like Blaine, a nonprofit founded in her daughter’s honor, and the Princeton Club of Philadelphia). She graduated cum laude from Princeton with a degree in Economics and earned an MBA with distinction in Finance and Real Estate from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Kristin Abkemeier ’90
Data Scientist, Improvix Technologies
Kristin Abkemeier earned a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago with every intention of becoming a physicist. Fortunately, a frustrating graduate school career sent her in a different direction (literally, west to San Francisco), to become successively a software developer, art student, illustrator, science writer, and analyst of emerging technologies such as nanomaterials and energy storage at Lux Research. Getting laid off in the recession of 2009 led to a move to Washington, DC, to support the U.S. Department of Energy program managing research into advanced batteries for electric vehicles. A desire for a midcareer switch to data science led her back to working as a software developer while learning R and Python via online coursework, and she has been working as a data scientist as a contractor at the U.S. Department of State since 2018. She practices flamenco dancing and makes laser-cut acrylic jewelry, including a necklace of Euler’s identity.
Andrew Piper ’95
Professor of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, McGill University
Andrew Piper is Professor and William Dawson Scholar in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at McGill University. His work focuses on using the tools of data science, machine learning, and natural language processing to study literature and culture. He is the director of .txtLAB, a laboratory for cultural analytics and editor of the Journal of Cultural Analytics. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including Book Was There: Reading in Electronic Times (2012), and most recently, Enumerations: Data and Literary Study (2018). His work has appeared in The Atlantic, The New Republic, The Guardian, Slate, and on the CBC. His vision is to promote an educational environment where literacy and numeracy are thought of in more holistic ways.