Projects

Current Projects

In our first meeting of this academic year, we brainstormed several projects.  Overall, these projects will follow the same template as the ones from last year.  We will first hold an event, open to everyone, where we invite speakers from different backgrounds to talk about the theme. Then we will hold a follow-up event in which everyone brainstorms collaborative ideas that could be implemented if we had infinite money and time.  After that, we will compile the fruits of the meeting in a magazine that we will print at the end of the year that will contain all of our multidisciplinary explorations. We can link our professional portfolios to this and hopefully some brainstormed ideas will lead to real collaborations.  Everyone is welcome to join the projects or propose more projects.

Project 1: Multidisciplinary Educational Science Videos
People: Gabe Bronk, Vivekanand Pandey Vimal
Date: Ongoing

Gabe (physics grad student) is creating fun and educational science videos targeted for high school and middle school students.  He has already made a fantastic video on Energy and now is considering making videos on Batteries and Sound. To make these videos, we will first look through the state strands (what  the Massachusetts Department of Education requires teacher to cover) and determine which ones we can address.  Then we will write the script and record the videos. Eventually we will quantify  how much students learn from the series and write about it in our magazine.  Everyone is welcome to join.

Project 2: Multidisciplinary Approach to Writing Education
People: Doug Bafford, Vivekanand Pandey Vimal
Date: Ongoing, finish chapter by December 2017

Doug Bafford (anthropology grad student) is a teacher and workshop coordinator for an undergraduate writing based course for Brandeis students in the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program.  Doug is creating an innovative new approach towards teaching writing education by inviting speakers from different disciplines to talk about their research and the writing style specific to their work.  Doug would love for people from different backgrounds to attend the workshops, everyone is invited, learn more about the events: http://www.brandeis.edu/wcie/speakers.html

Doug and Vivekanand (who was one of the speakers on science writing) will write a chapter on this innovative technique for teaching writing.  

Project 3: Intersection of Topology and Neuroscience
People: Angelica Deibel, Joshua Eike, Sarah Richards, Daniel Powell, Ryan Young, Mark Zielinski, Vivekanand Vimal
Date: Ongoing, first event in December

Two Brandeis graduate students in Topology and 2 graduate students from neuroscience are conducting informal brainstorming sessions to explore the intersection of topology and neuroscience.  In our first event, both groups will give a summary of their research. In the second event we will hold a brainstorming session with the audience to explore what sorts of collaborations can come out, specific to Brandeis.  We will write a chapter for the magazine on our findings.

Project 4: Multidisciplinary Approach to Mindfulness
People: Rev. Matt Carriker, The Zen Zone group, Julivic Marquez, Vivekanand Vimal
Date: The group meets every Wednesday at 4:30

This relatively new group is interested in exploring the mindfulness practice and consists of a small mixture of undergraduate, graduate students and staff.  In collaboration with this group, I want to bring an academic approach…here is my plan: 1. Do a small literature review of mindfulness, 2. Develop, through experimentation, our own program of mindfulness specific to Brandeis (including dance and movement), 3. Test and see if it is effective. 4. Report our results in our magazine.

Project 5: Multidisciplinary Views on Violence
People: Raj Sampath, Lauren Bernard, Raul Ramos
Date: December 2017

We will hold the final event on the topic of Violence where we collectively brainstorm how we can weave together the three different perspectives on violence to create collaborations that could solve problems in the world and reveal perspectives not previously examined.  This event will be the final part in the following writeup:

Chapter 1 Violence

Project 6: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Science Policy
People: The SPI group, Sabine Von Mering, Paul Miller, Susannah Slepian, Vivekanand Pandey Vimal
Date: January 2018

The Science-Policy Initiative (SPI) is a new group at Brandeis that seeks to bring science and policy together. SPI will be inviting many speakers and in collaboration with them, Deisortium will be hosting Sabine Von Mering (professor of german) and Paul Miller (professor of neuro) to do a session on climate change policy. Our objective will be to lead an ideation session afterwards and write about what sorts of collaborative ideas we can locally implement to make a change in the world.

Project 7: Multidisciplinary approach on spatial perception
People: Nikhil Krishnaswamy,Lila Fakharzadeh, Vivekanand Pandey Vimal
Date: December/January

Bringing together the fields of computational linguistics and neuroscience, we will investigate whether the spatial orientation of a person affects their ability to conduct a virtual task that requires spatially moving objects.  After our brainstorming session, we will hold a lecture event which will be followed by a brainstorming event. We might even run some experiments as a collaboration between the two labs and report our findings in the magazine.

Project 8: Science-Music Concert
People: Lauren Bernard, Gabe Bronk, Vivekanand Pandey Vimal
Date: December/January

Many people in science are very musical, so we will hold a concert that brings together both people from science and music.  We will hold one brainstorming session before to see if we can do some sort of thematic jam.

Project 9: Music and Learning
People: Lauren Bernard, Vivekanand Pandey Vimal
Date: To be determined.

We will examine the literature on motor sequence learning and see if we can generalize those findings to learning music and compare them to established techniques.

Project 10: Enhancing drone flight with multisensory cues
People: Tim Hebert, Vivekanand Pandey Vimal
Date: To be determined


Old Projects

  1. The Multidisciplinary Collaborative Interactions: 
    1. Our first event was on Saturday February 4th in the Lurias, Hassenfeld Conference Center, as part of the DeisImpact Social Justice Festival, organized by the amazing Aneil Tripathy (tripathy@brandeis.edu).  We produced an environment where people can meet others from different departments to discuss and collaborate.  In this introductory meeting, we used people’s brainstorming and feedback to build the destiny-architecture of Deisortium. We had free food and had be freestyle partying.  From then on, we will hold monthly meetings where 2 people from different departments will give 10 minute descriptions of their research, followed by audience-led brainstorming on possible collaborations between the two fields.  Afterwards, the 2 speakers will get together (with any  interested people) and actually implement the project.  Contact: deisortium@gmail.com
    2. (TBA) Late February: Aida Wong (Professor and Chair of Fine Arts at Brandeis) is working on a collaborative project with a Taiwanese artist on the effect of climate change on Tuvalu (a small island country).  They will create an exhibition and a website.  In this session, Aida will give a small presentation on the project and then we will brainstorm ways to incorporate our research and skills into the art project.  Those that are interested, will then help implement the project.
    3. (TBA) March: Jennifer  Montanta, Founder and executive director of the Innovation Institute (https://theinnovationinstitute.org/jennifer-montana/).  She will give a brief presentation on her after-school program that focuses on inquiry based classes for elementary, middle and high school students.  Afterwards, we will collectively brainstorm a course that combines multiple fields and then we can teach it.
    4. (TBA) April: Ian Roy, Assistant Director of Research Technology and Innovation / Head of MakerLab at Brandeis will talk about 3D printing, 3D scanning, virtual reality, drone flights among other topics.  He will also talk about various collaborative projects with his lab, such as, including 3D printing of molecules, educational outreach, custom 3D printed parts for research labs, 3D scanning and anthropology. We will brainstorm and then later implement collaborative ideas with Ian. 
    5. (TBA) May: Mary Schofield is a Waltham  middle school science teacher.  She wants to completely revamp her Genetics and Hereditary section.  She will give an overview of the topics she teaches, then we will brainstorm actual activities and topics.  Perspectives from other fields are definitely welcome.  Those that are interested will help her create actual lesson plans that she will implement in September.
  2. Educational Videos for High School and Middle School Students: Led by Gabe Bronk (gbronk@brandeis.edu), fun and educational videos are made that make science assessible to middle and high school students.  Here is an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAKPuq79SYM
  3. The WHS-Brandeis Summer Research  Program: In this program 6-8 Waltham High School students are paired with graduate students (or post-docs) for six weeks during the summer.  They conduct inquiry based STEM research projects and take informal courses.  In the past we have offered innovated courses that have combined biochemistry lectures with 3D printing of relevant molecules.  The entire program is free for the students and is based on the volunteering of devotional and dedicated graduate students.  Currently the mentors come from the neuroscience, biology, physics and psychology departments. I would love to discuss ideas on expanding the program to include other disciplines.  I would also love to discuss ideas that span multiple disciplines, such as teaching students how to create a small business so that they can sell artwork they designed and 3D printed.  Contact: Vivekanand Pandey Vimal
  4. The Podcast: The Beauty of Balding: Life percolating through science, art, philosophy and the Earth: Still in development, this podcast will air on Brandeis Radio, once a week in the form of an hour long show.  Each episode will consist of a few different people from different disciplines discussing and exploring topics that will meander and diffuse through many layers of thought and knowledge.  For example, one episode might be on the theme of ‘oscillations’ and scientists, musicians, artists, economists…anyone can talk about how they interact with oscillations.  I would love to collaborate and brainstorm ideas, contact Vivekanand Pandey Vimal.
  5. WHS-Brandeis After School Program:   In collaboration with the WHS Science club, we invited a research scientist from Brandeis to lead an inquiry based course on yeast research. Students learned basic skills like serial dilution to develop their own experiments to address an open ended problem. Also, in collaboration with the Engineering club, we invited a Brandeis graduate student to lead a course on model rockets. Students varied parameters like the number of fins and studied its effect on the rocket’s flight. We have also run activities with the 3D printing club at WHS.  If you have any ideas for after school programs, I would love to discuss.  Contact: Vivekanand Pandey Vimal

Future Projects

Our goal is to create several independent groups of multidisciplinary graduate students who work on innovative projects, some of which will use the following funding opportunities:

  1. The SPARK grant: 
    1. http://www.brandeis.edu/otl/grants/spark.html
  2. The SPROUT grant: 
    1. http://www.brandeis.edu/otl/grants/sprout.html
  3. University Prize Instructorship:
    1. http://www.brandeis.edu/gsas/financing/fellowships/internal-funding/upi/index.html
  4. The Ethics Center’s Co-sponsorship grant:
    1. http://www.brandeis.edu/ethics/events/cosponsorship/
  5. The DeisImpact grant:
    1. http://www.brandeis.edu/ethics/deisimpact/index.html
  6. The Festival of the Arts grant:
    1. http://www.brandeis.edu/arts/festival/
  7. Experiential Learning Practicum Development
    1. https://www.brandeis.edu/experientiallearning/ELopportunities/index.html
  8. Heller Startup Challenge 
    1. http://www.hellerstartupchallenge.com/
  9. IBS Startup Challenge
    1. http://brandeis.3daystartup.org/

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