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Events on Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Chaos & Complex Systems Seminar
"Auditory Activation with Electric Hearing: Studies on Auditory Plasticity in Deaf Humans"
Time: 12:05 pm
Place: 4274 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Ruth Litovsky, UW-Madison Department of Communicative Disorders
Abstract: It is not uncommon for individuals who are deaf to undergo surgical treatment whereby they are fitted with cochlear implants (CIs). These devices send electrical stimulation to the auditory nerve in such a way that the brain can learn to interpret the stimulation, and CI users can effectively understand speech and enjoy the auditory world. Until recently, the standard of care had been to implant candidate patients with a single device in one ear. More recently, this standard has shifted such that two devices, bilateral CIs, are being provided to growing number of patients. Being able to hear with two ears affords humans functional abilities such as localization of sounds and segregation of sources from background noise. These abilities depend on binaural brain function, that is, on neural circuits that integrate inputs from the two ears with great precision. Our lab studies the emergence of binaural hearing abilities in children and adults who had experienced various periods of auditory deprivation prior to being activated with electric hearing. Our studies address questions regarding the ability of the auditory system to retain sensitivity to binaural hearing after deprivation. In addition, in children who have never heard with acoustic hearing, but whose brains are wired for acoustics, we study the ability of the brain to respond to electric stimulation such that the children attain age-appropriate abilities in domains of language, speech and hearing.<br>
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Astronomy Colloquium
"Star Formation and Gas in Nearby Galaxies"
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 3425 Sterling Hall
Speaker: Adam Leroy, NRAO
Abstract: I will discuss what recent multiwavelength surveys tell us about why stars form where they do in galaxies and what makes the ISM good at forming stars. The question is an open one, with results in the last few years variously identifying gravitational stability, metallicity, pressure, opacity, and collisions in the ISM as the regulating quantity. From large programs with the IRAM 30m ("HERACLES") and the VLA ("THINGS") we know the distribution of atomic and molecular gas in several dozen galaxies that have also been observed by Spitzer and GALEX (and are now being mapped by Herschel). These data allow us to estimate a range of physical conditions over kiloparsec-sized resolution elements across each galaxy (e.g., the star formation rate, HI mass, H2 mass, stellar mass, kinematics, dust-to-gas ratio). We are using these estimates to push beyond galaxy-averaged scaling relations, testing proposed local drivers for the formation of molecular clouds and stars from diffuse neutral gas. I will summarize these tests and give our current best answers to the basic question: "where is the interstellar medium good at forming stars?"
Host: Prof Snezana Stanirmirovic
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String Theory Seminar
Toric Lego: A Modular Approach to Model Building in String Theory
Time: 4:00 pm
Place: 5280 Chamberlin Hall
Speaker: Inaki Garcia-Etxebarria, UPenn
Host: Shiu
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