Roundtable Discussions


Title: Bionics--Will We Live to See Our Brains Wired to Gadgets? How About Today and to Micro-Machines?

Discussion Leaders: Dr. Abraham Lee, Professor, Center for Biomedical Engineering
Dr. Kevin L. Reed, President, HIT Research
Dr. Andrei Shkel, Assistant Professor, Departments of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Dr. Fan-Gang Zeng, Associate Professor, Department of Head & Neck Surgery

Room: Emerald Bay A

Bionics seeks to transcend our biological nature by replacing biological parts with artificial parts, or by translating the human mind into information in a computer. These processes are naturally highly speculative so far, since we are still far from this technological level. However, in the field of connecting artificial limbs, sight/hearing/balance improvements, bio-monitors, and other systems to nerves, some promising advances have already happened or seem probable in the near future. This panel brings academic and industrial researchers in the field of bionics, neuroengineering, and bio-MEMS that are on the cutting edge of such developments.




Title: Who Counts as a Victim of a Hate Crime and Why?

Discussion Leader: Dr. Valerie Jenness, Associate Professor & Chair, Department of Criminology, Law & Society

Room: Emerald Bay B

It has become commonplace to refer to racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-gay violence and vandalism as "hate crime." Fueled by high profile cases, such as the murders of James Byrd, Jr., Matthew Sheppard, and the children at a Jewish daycare center in Los Angeles, California, "hate crime" has achieved unprecedented visibility. Used routinely by activists, policymakers, educators, media-makers, experts, and lay-persons alike, the contemporary pervasiveness of the term "hate crime" belies the fact that it is a concept of relatively recent vintage, even though the conduct it references is as old as humankind. Where did this term and the policy responses it implies come from? And why and how has the term come to denote some types of crimes, such as those against people of color, Jews, gays and lesbians, women, and those with disabilities, and not others, such as crimes against octogenarians, union members, the elderly, and police officers?




Title: Women in Academia: Paths to Success

Discussion Leaders: Dr. Susan Bryant, Professor of Developmental & Cell Biology, Dean of the School of Biological Sciences
Dr. Amelia Regan, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Graduate School of Management
Dr. Debra Richardson, The Ted and Janice Smith Family Foundation Professor and Department Chair, Information & Computer Science


Room: Emerald Bay C

What kinds of opportunities are available in academia? What are the key challenges and rewards of these jobs? Do women face any particular challenges as graduate students or academics? How can we increase the number of women pursuing academic careers, particularly in male dominated fields? Increasingly, women hold key positions in academia including senior administrative positions and lead researchers. Our faculty panelists will discuss their passions, how they began and developed their careers, where they are now and where they expect their careers to take them in the future.



Title: Living Wills, Physician-Assisted Suicide, and the New Realities of Death in America

Discussion Leader: Dr. Peter Ditto, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology & Social Behavior

Room: Monarch Bay A

Advances in medical technology now allow us to keep people alive in conditions in which quality of life is extremely poor. This potential to prolong the dying process has created new challenges for physicians, patients, and loved ones who are increasingly faced with difficult decisions regarding the use of life-sustaining medical treatment. In this session, we will discuss some of the ethical and psychological issues involved in end-of-life medical decision-making including the use of advance directives (i.e., Living Wills) and the controversy surrounding physician-assisted suicide.




Title: Brains & Their Applications

Discussion Leader: Dr. Richard Granger, Professor, Department of Information & Computer Science

Room: Monarch Bay B

Your ability to perform seemingly simple acts like recognizing people, walking on unfamiliar terrain, or reading text, are in fact so complex that we still cannot build computers to equal human performance on any of these or other related tasks. Yet the machinery you use to achieve these abilities, your brain, is itself a set of circuits that can be analyzed as other circuits are, for their function. As we come to understand these circuits, we become capable of duplicating them. Recent projects worked on by UC Irvine undergraduates include studies of perception and construction of novel sensors, studies of locomotion and novel robots, and studies of learning used by both sensors and robots to improve their performance based on their experiences.


Title: September 11th and America's Global War on Terrorism

Discussion Leader: Dr. Caesar Sereseres, Associate Professor of Political Science, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies, School of Social Sciences

Room: Salt Creek A&B

President Bush announced America's global war on terrorism only weeks after the September 11th terrorist attacks on New York's Twin Towers and Washington's Pentagon. As part of the global war against international terrorism the United States launched a military campaign against Afghanistan's Taliban government and bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization blamed for the September 11th attacks. Today, seven months later, where is the "global war on terrorism?" Can we identify the successes in the war on terrorism? What have been the consequences of Homeland Security and the Patriots Act? How does the Israeli-Palestinian conflict affect America's war on international terrorism? Is Iraq the next battleground in the war on terrorism? With certainty, September 11th will become a part of American history, less certain is the long-term, successful outcome in the war against international terrorism.

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