Thursday, February 28, 2013

PHYS 216 / SIS 216 Science and Society Spring 2013

Instructor: Vladimir (“Vladi”) Chaloupka
Professor of Physics
Adjunct Professor, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
Adjunct Professor, School of Music

An informed, educated citizen ought to know enough about science to be able to appreciate the breathtaking potential benefits, intellectual and practical, as well as the possible dangers which science presents. In this course, we explore the current status and developments in Physics, Nanotechnology, Biotechnology and Computer Science, and we discuss the implications for society at the local, national and international (global) level.

In the first part of the course, nuclear physics and molecular biology will serve as concrete examples of fields with significant impact on society. This will include some calculations and reasoning, but no previous knowledge is assumed. We will go to considerable detail in our treatment of these two fields – we will use Einstein’s E=mc2 to shed new light on the question “Why is there Something rather than Nothing?” and you will learn how to find a gene hidden in the sequence CCATTCATCTAATCGGAGAACATTTACGGAACG.

In the discussion part of the course, we will have formal debates on the Basic Problem in Science, Technology and Society, and on Intelligent Design vs. Evolution, as well as informal discussions of many other topics. In connection with the UW Common Book for 2011/2012, we will dedicate significant time to the work and life of Richard Feynman. Examples of contemporary issues discussed will include the prospects for the proposed Brain Activity Map research, the Twitter/Facebook phenomenon, Science (and Culture) in the Sultanate of Oman, and nuclear weapons in Pakistan, North Korea and elsewhere, including, eventually, Iran?
Recent work by the Instructor on “Freedom of Will in the Quantum Universe” will be discussed, and we will not hesitate to address also the general issues of Science and Religion. There will be both exuberance and humility in our treatment of the issues, and both feelings will often be illustrated using the playground of Music. Class will go on two “field trips”: to hear J.S.Bach’s fugues played on the UW pipe organ, and to see the Universe in the new UW digital Planetarium.

This course is offered jointly by the Physics Department and by the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, and either of the two identical options (PHYS216 or SIS216) can be taken to satisfy either the NW or the I&S requirement. The two options are considered completely equivalent by the University, so for example PHYS 216 can be taken to satisfy the SIS core course requirement, etc. In the past, Honors students were able, for additional work, to take this class as an ad-hoc Honors course (again: either science or humanities requirement).
The enrollment is not limited to the students of the two sponsoring Departments – the goal is to achieve a truly transdisciplinary mix of science- and non-science students with diverse backgrounds, so that students learn not just from the Instructor but also from each other. There are no pre-requisites on previous math or science knowledge. In the past, the English/Drama/political science/… majors were not lost, and the physics/chemistry/biology/… majors were not bored (and the grades of both groups were remarkably similar).
There will be two 2-hour lectures weekly, and a 1-hour section on Fridays. The grade will be based on participation in class and in the Friday section, several short response papers, term project/paper on a topic of student’s choice, and a final exam.

Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society Info E-mail and Upcoming Events

Greetings from Phi Eta Sigma!

This is John Franco, President of Phi Eta Sigma at UW. I hope your quarter is going well, finals are almost here! I wanted to contact you today to give you more information about who we are and what we do here at Phi Eta Sigma. Phi Eta Sigma is the nation's oldest and largest honor society for first-year college and university students in all disciplines. Approximately $285,000 in scholarships is awarded annually by the national organization, and local chapters award many additional thousands in scholarships. On a local level, we maintain an active presence on campus here at UW, and we are proud to have an outstanding relationship with the University. We have had presentations from the Undergraduate Research Project, the Center for Experiential Learning and Diversity, and the Study Abroad Program. As a society we also have social events, such as attending husky volleyball games and, recently, having a Valentine’s Day party. If you aren’t already aware, membership requirements include committing to 10 or more hours of club activity time (meetings, service events, social nights, etc) and achieving a GPA of 3.5 during any of your first three quarters here at UW. Even if you don’t meet the GPA requirements, you are still welcome to attend meetings and learn more about what the University has to offer. Our year far from over, as we have a few more opportunities to get involved over the remainder of winter quarter.
This upcoming Thursday, the 28th, we will not be having our regularly scheduled meeting. Instead, on that Saturday, March 2nd, we will be volunteering as a society in Queen Anne through Northwest Center Kids. We are helping them renovate the playground! It should be a fantastic opportunity to impact our community, learn some valuable life lessons (like how to rip-up and replace rubber mats), and meet new people! We will be meeting in front of the Burke Museum at 9:00 AM on Saturday, and bussing down to Queen Anne. From there we will volunteer until lunchtime, when we finish up and grab lunch as a team. Feel free to text/call me at 650-346-0404 if you have any questions about meeting time or place.
On the 14th of March, for our last general meeting of the quarter, we will be having a panel of seniors from various disciplines who have extensive school, community, and leadership experience give a presentation on their time here at UW. You are welcome to come, bring your friends, and enjoy some free food! Again, if you have any questions, feel free to email me at Thanks, and I hope to see you soon!

Study and Research Scholarships in the UK and Ireland: Churchill, Gates Cambridge, Marshall, Mitchell, and Rhodes Scholarships

Study and Research Scholarships for Graduate Study in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales
The Churchill, Gates Cambridge, Marshall, Mitchell and Rhodes scholarships all provide funding for students interested in attending graduate school in the United Kingdom and Ireland. 

Applicants must meet the following requirements to be eligible for campus nomination:
•             Have obtained a baccalaureate degree between now and August of 2014,
•             A U.S. Citizen at time of application.  (International students may apply for the Gates Cambridge and the Rhodes Scholarships), 
•             Have a 3.7 GPA,
•             Have a record of leadership and participation in extra-curricular activities (academic, research, internships, service, study abroad),
•             Age requirement as of October 1st:  Mitchell (29 or younger), Rhodes (23 or younger).

Winston Churchill Scholarship:  The Churchill supports one year of research in mathematics, science and engineering at Churchill College at Cambridge University.
Gates Cambridge:  The Gates Cambridge supports one to three years of study in any discipline at Cambridge University.  Students must apply directly and be accepted to the University before consideration.
Marshall Scholarship:  The Marshall provides one to two years of support to fund study at an institution of higher education in England, Scotland, Whales or Northern Ireland.
Mitchell Scholarship:  The Mitchell provides funding for one year of study at any institution of higher education in Ireland.
Rhodes Scholarship:  The Rhodes Scholarship supports funding for two to three years of study at Oxford University in England.

The campus nomination application can be accessed from the procedures section on each scholarship pages on the OMSFA Website’s National Scholarship --    . 

Campus Application Deadline: 
        Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Upcoming Information Sessions:
        Tues., March 5 at 12:30-1:20 pm, 171E MGH, Multipurpose Room
        Wed., March 6 at 1:30 – 2:20 pm, 171E MGH, Multipurpose Room
        Thurs., March 7, 1:00 – 1:50 pm, 224 MGH, Dean’s Conference Room
        Mon., March 11, 4:30 – 5:20 pm, 171R MGH, EXPD Conference Room
        Thurs, April 4, 2:30 – 3:20 pm, 171R MGH, EXPD Conference Room

For additional information, please see the Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships and Awards website:  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Part Time Position with Pillar Product Design

My Name is Bob Carrasca and I own a local product design studio in West Seattle. I am looking for a junior electrical engineer to assist us on some up and coming part time projects. I would be able to pay hourly / contract basis for or his or her services. I likely pay somewhere around $15 to $18 hour pending their qualifications. I am really looking for someone with experience in programming with layout chip design. This individual needs to have strong mechanical engineering background, we work a lot with motors, drive units, linear screws and optical motion sensors. I am looking for someone passionate to learn more about the product development process. Hours would like range from 16 to 24 hours a week starting in the next 2 to 3 weeks.

Please contact

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Two Analog Integrated Circuit Design Research Assistant Positions

(March 16 – June 30, 2013)
UW EE Silicon System Research Laboratory

UW Silicon System Research Laboratory is looking for two graduate students and a number of undergraduate students who have background and interests in analog integrated circuit design and tape out to join the Optical Receiver Design team.  The analog design tasks will concentrate on state-of-art transimpedance amplifier circuit design, simulation, optimization and tapeout.  The students will work side by side with experienced Boeing circuit designers and researchers.

The Optical receiver project is exploring the use of plastic optical fiber for communication backplane airplane applications.  The focus is to develop an innovative microchip for efficient data transmission across plastic optical fibers to overcome the high attenuation of plastic to optical signals. The project is sponsored by the State of Washington Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation  (JCATI) and the Boeing Corporation.

The initial Phase of this project (Feb 1, 2013 to June 30 2013) consists of three research tasks (1) to model the plastic optical fiber backplanes, (2) to develop and simulate innovative communication digital signal processing algorithms, and (3) to design,  tape out and test a microchip.  This creates three research assistantships available to graduate students and a number of undergraduate research opportunities available immediately.

Required Background and Experience:
(1)  Analog circuit design: operational amplifier design (senior-level analog circuit course), virtuoso schematic design and layout, circuit simulation, analysis and optimization.
(2)  Digital signal processing algorithms and communication is a plus
(3)  Verilog-A modeling is a plus

If interested, please send your resume and transcripts to Professor Richard Shi, Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle WA 98195, USA. Email: cjshi at uw dot edu.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Self-Revising Workshop this Wednesday!

Are you unsure of what to focus on when looking over your rough drafts?  Are you interested in cultivating the skills necessary to revising your own papers throughout your college experience?  If so, the CLUE Writing Center is here to help! 
We’re offering a Self-Revising Workshop this coming Wednesday, February 27th at 7:00 PM in Mary Gates Hall 288.  This workshop will give you the tools to change your rough drafts into polished pieces of writing.
This presentation will help you to:
·      Detect areas in your drafts that need improvement
·      Implement substantial changes to your rough drafts
·      Establish a hierarchy of concerns that will enable you to focus on the most important writing components throughout the revisions process
·      Manage your time more effectively by becoming more acquainted with the expectations of a final paper
We look forward to seeing you there!!
What: Self-Revising Workshop
Date: Wednesday, February 27th
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Mary Gates Hall 288

Get your startup idea funded! Summer @ Highland

Summer@Highland InfoSession
Monday, March 11th
5:30-7:30pm, The Career Center (134 Mary Gates Hall)
RSVP requested – see below for details

Come and learn more about Summer@Highland, a summer startup program built exclusively for student founders. In its sixth year, Summer@Highland is hosted by Highland Capital Partners, a 25-year old, global venture capital firm that has raised over $3 billion in committed capital and backed current technology leaders like 2U, Aereo, Bit9, Leap Motion, LevelUp, Rent The Runway, Rethink Robotics, Violin Memory, and WePay.

Selected teams receive:
  • An $18,000 stipend to cover your expenses.
  • Free workspace in Highland's Boston or Silicon Valley office.
  • A Highland investor mentor, who will help guide you to grow your company.
  • Access to a network of seasoned mentors through the Summer@Highland Speaker Series

Past teams include Cloudflare, Gemvara, Tivli, and Wildfire. In aggregate, some of the 35 alumni Summer@Highland companies have gone on to raise almost $100 million in venture capital and get acquired by tech giants like Dropbox, Google, and Oracle.

Bring your questions about the program, as well as any specific questions about the application process in advance of the application deadline: (Early) March 3, 2013 at 11:59pm PST and (Regular) April 1, 2013 at 11:59pm PST.

Don't miss this great opportunity to build your startup with us this summer! RSVP at and also through your HuskyJobs account:
Log-in to your HuskyJobs account at:

1.      Under the Shortcuts section, click on “Events – Employer Info Sessions”
2.      Find the employer who's event you want to attend
3.      Click on the underlined Information Session date
4.      Read the event information
5.      Scroll down the page and click on the RSVP button to let them know that you plan to attend

And join the Summer@Highland mailing list to stay in-the-loop: