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In the Works – Potential Topics

Topic Possibilities

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We'd like your thoughts on these and other topics you are interested in seeing or maybe presenting. Send your thoughts via email to or contact John Rudy, Peter Albin, Bob Primak, or Steve Isenberg directly – Thank you.
This list last changed 2023.11.22 10:44

Note – numbering is for reference only and it has no other meaning. Numbers were assigned in the order topics were added to the list.
“fup” is short for “follow-up”

#1Women in Science, Scientists in Other Cultures (Charlie ask Dan for suggestions; GeorgeG to ask CAAL; Someone should ask Indian Association for speaker possibilities) (Need contact with Black Americans – Harry to search). (Umesh fup; Dan K fup; StephenQ fup)
[9/6]Harry contacting Lex friend about speaking
#2Advances in Surgery (interesting but need speaker); past, present, future. Dan Kleppner or George to fup with Barbara Hughey (Dan Kleppner knows her)
#3Past Predictions on future technology. How did these play out? 1970s or thereabout. David Kaiser to give such a talk? Historian of science.

Director of the Harvard Museum, John Duran
DanK to fup or CharlieH to fup (Steve Quantro fup)

StephenQ fup
#4Quantum Computers, relating to recent discovers/accomplishments (eg 9000 years in 36 microseconds). DanK to search for speaker
#5The Technology of the Ukraine War: Drones, missiles and guidance systems, electronic warfare, etc GeorgeG to fup
#6The Technology used with Moderna (HarryF to approach LHS Grad Brandeis, MD, now at Penn)
#7The Science of Cooking (John Rudy)
#8The Rubin Observatory (a remarkable ground-based optical observatory, scheduled to see first-light in two years (~2025) (Marc Gorenstein)Ted K
#9John Rudy to F/U with Jerry Harris and Ted Kochanski. Can we do anything more about climate change? Do we want to get into data collection and looking at whether the data we use now are applicable to the long-range questions about climate change? Are data sets really applicable to the problem we are studying? Ted Kochanski and Jerry Harris have proposed doing more about this topic. Still following up with the group about the nature of our interests on this topic. Keep on list? Push to future.
#10COVID update ca. Feb. 2023? Universal vaccine for all COVID variants? Common antigen for the virus. Not new science. But there are new developments. Likely not much to present, per JerryS. JerryS to fup.
#11Cosmic Background (Rainer Weiss) (PeterA noted this)PeterA
#12Dealing with Wifi Issues (Ramin Taraz)RaminT fup?
#13Linux demo/explanation. Setup, use. Pro/Con.
#14The Science of Cooking (John Rudy) a continuous file sync app operates across multiple O/S (Drew)
#1610-fold increase in top Internet speeds: 6G? (being developed)
#17Development of car navigation devices starting in ~1910 and evolving to the present day using digital computers, map database, and GPX. (Donald Cooke)Need to find Cooke
#18The development of photogrammetry from ~1930 to the current state of the art using a $500 “toy” drone and free software to produce orthophotography 50 or more times as detailed as the imagery in Google Maps and Google Earth. (Donald Cooke)Need to find Cooke
#19try to get Mat Honan, editor in chief of MIT's Technology Review; and who publishes an annual issue “Breakthrough Technologies”TedK will check w/MIT Museum
#20Mars sample return (speaker tentative) [Speaker to be confirmed by Ted; postponed from original 8/2/2023 date]TedK to followup
#21Larry Sass on 3-D house printing, (a/o 9/15/2023 he's not ready yet. JohnR)
#22The art of Space-Time (Anna Barnackna/CEO Mind Mix) Gravitational Lens Effect. (Since the discovery of the first lensed quasars in 1979, this quirky phenomenon has become central to cosmology, as light rays from distant galaxies are deflected (a bit) by gravitational effects of both dark matter and dark energy. DM and DE are the two big mysteries of cosmology – and in physics for that matter.) Marc Gorenstein TedK
#23History and Technology of Deep Sea Exploration (SpeakerTBD)
newsletter from Woods Hole
Mythbusters video on implosion
Ballard talk (18m)
#24Sleep Deprivation: A meeting to stay awake for.
SciAm article 8/16/2023: why one sleepless night makes people emotionally fragile; video possibilities: . . . TED talk
suggested by JohnR

Video Possibilities

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  1. Cryptocurrency and the IRS: What No One Knew About Taxes [24min]
    Bob offered to do a bit of digging into “Crypto Culture” (social psychology of the crypto craze) and recent exchange collapses. (How they collapsed and whether this appears to experts to be a real bubble bursting or something else. BobP, Harry to update us on crypto basics.
  2. Why Craters are Round (Neil deGrasse Tyson explains; need to turn out the “comedian”) [~14min]
  3. Other Mark Rober youtube videos (he did Squirrel vid)
  4. Feynman: Fun to Imagine [67m] - Start with Magnets, 14:55. Also at link, lower resolution
  5. How James Webb Telescope Orbits Nothing [15m] (LarryW recommended)
  6. Diary for a Pandemic Year (8m) (Dick Wagner)
    A composition prepared for the MIT commencement of 2021 using layering of tracks. The visuals may bring back memories.
  7. Secret Windows Features, Wifi passwords, HDMI Cables & Ports, and more, part of Tech for Seniors (from 3/21/2022, episode 104) (1h11m)
  8. Black Holes: Seeing the Unseeable (60min; World Science Festival) (John Rudy) (smi downloaded) on Junami in Videos
    Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) is observing black holes; latest achievement is first image of supermassive black hole in the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Video explores the breakthroughs.(this video dated around June 2022)
  9. Physics of the Future (39m) Dr. Michio Kaku (John Rudy)
    John R. to f/u. Technical topics brought down to a layman's perspective. Sabine Hassenfelder – Dan K. could give refs. Would need someone to look into these videos and choose some examples. MIT Frank Milchuk(sp?). More advanced topics. See next item.
  10. Can we tell if there's a wormhole in the Milky Way? (5m) by the scientific skeptic, Sabine Hossenfelder
  11. 2020 Fusion progress at Tokamak Energy (5m) (1/4/2021) (Larry Wittig)
  12. Breakthrough in nuclear fusion? (1h39m) (2/24/2016 by Prof. Dennis Whyte of MIT) (Larry Wittig)
  13. New developments in Geothermal Tests are underway to see if a gyrotron (mm wavelengths) can be used to drill to 20 km which would allow supercritical geothermal wells over most of the earth's surface (18m) (Larry Wittig) Related:
    the results of a recent test at Oak Ridge (not video)
    Overview article
    Paul Woskov (MIT Plasma Physics) the initial investigator (5m)
  14. Egg Drop from Space Mark Rober (27m) (Larry Wittig)
  15. Strange Items (18.5m) (John Rudy)
  16. Is the Universe really a hologram? (11m) by the scientific skeptic, Sabine Hossenfelder
  17. Why can't anything go faster than the speed of light? History of the speed of light part II (12m) Dr. Becky speaks (Barry Kort)
    mostly about relativity with maybe 5 seconds on why you can't go faster than speed of light [smi] GeorgeG additional material and fup
  18. Lisa Randall at Harvard. About particle physics. (Stan R fup)
  19. Quantum Entanglement and Action at a Distance on Video. Suggested by Ted. K. Dick W. could give his follow-up impressions after the videos.
  20. Talks on several scientific Nobel Prize research winners?
  21. Lisa Randall at Harvard – particle physics. (Dan Kleppner)
  22. Science Channel - How the Universe Works episodes (suggested by David Kahan, added by Steve Isenberg) (each about 42 minutes and has adverts. You need to link your cable provider, e.g., fios) some episodes that may be of interest:
    • S10E04: Dark History of the Earth
    • S09E03: Secrets of the Sun
    • S09E08: Secret Lives of Neutrinos
    • S08E05: Secrets of Time Travel
  23. The Entire History of the Universe 24 episode series
    • [episode 01] What Was the Big Bang - What Came Before (29m)
    • [episode 03] Why Did Time Start Going Forward - The Beginning and End of Time (30m)
  24. A Hackers Mind: How the Powerful Bend Society's Rules and How to Bend Them Back (Bruce Schneier) a Harvard Science Book Talk Series Lecture (59m)
  25. Richard Feynman Lecture: "Los Alamos From Below" (1h18m) John Rudy suggests this and thinks it'll be a blast to watch. (Pun intended…)
  26. uniform circular motion 18.5m introduced by our own Chares Holbrow.
  27. perfect husband (1m) a bit off-topic
  28. 7 into 28 (LouC) (3.5m) a bit off-topic
  29. New Office Math (1m) a bit off-topic

Rich Ralston suggested topics

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Website for MIT Lincoln Lab: Surf this yourselves to see if areas of R&D or system development would be of interest to you and the LCTG. LL develops technology which, as it matures, is incorporated into a prototype subsystem or system to demonstrate new capabilities for transfer to industry for government use. Intellectual property can be licensed by MIT for commercial applications

Some topics I (Rich Ralston) propose within the next year, including the August 21 meeting.

  1. (Low noise moved to 6/29/2022)
  2. Flash LIDAR (LADAR) with single-photon sensitivity for rapid 3-D imaging with applications from look-through-foliage military surveillance to self-driving vehicles. (~90 minutes) – not to be recorded for later viewing
    Dr. Simon Verghese, head of Waymo’s (Google) sensor development for self-driving cars. In their 5th generation, the sensors are designed to meet the challenging requirements of moving people and goods safely and efficiently in dense cities and on highways. The goal is to make them affordable while meeting the performance needed for driverless operation in various applications and weather conditions. The talk will review some history of the project and describe a few use-cases for sensors and machine learning on Waymo vehicles.
  3. High-sensitivity passive IR focal planes for wide-area surveillance. (Copious Imaging, a spin off in Lexington from LL). (~45 minutes)
  4. Bio-agent warning sensor with single aerosol particle sensitivity. (~45 minutes)
  5. Nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamond for quantum sensing. (~45 minutes)

Topic ideas needing speakers

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  1. home theater, camera monitor, media player
  2. Headsets and cameras for Zoom; auxiliary microphones?
  3. Your experience with Raspberry or other tiny computer
  4. Troubleshoot your Internet connectivity
  5. Utilities, for a utilities meeting
  6. Construction of the new Suez Canal
  7. Railway Car identification (George Burnell; Greg Sheehan)
  8. “Book Review” of Walter Isaacson’s book Code Breaker about the competing CRISPR teams. Maybe we can bring back Allan Kleinman
  9. Backup Strategies, ranging from the kinds of backup we use (Data, System Image, Cloud, other) to how to make and maintain (and test) our backups, and what the various hardware and software options are for making and maintaining a reliable backup.

Orphaned (scheduled, but couldn't be presented then)

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  1. Computational Photography - changing what's used as a camera. link e.g., replacing DSLR with cellphones; more (Jonathan Goode?, Harry Forsdick?) (needs a lead)
  2. How one builds a web application (e.g., using spreadsheets) (Harry Forsdick)
  3. (Harry) Getting Streaming Programming Into Your TV (what to do when your TV just isn't smart enough)
  4. [orig sched 7/28/2021] CERN and the Hadron Collider. History, Why It Was Built, Hoped Outcomes, Discovery of Bison, What is Next (Harvey Newman, professor Cal Tech). Harvey will introduce the status and outlook for the LHC, its past and present and near term outlook, and provide a panorama of the future including some of the leading programs. (John Rudy)
  5. [orig sched 8/25/2021] Archeology presented by Jeffrey Rose (archeologist) in Israel (Stan Rose)
    Stan R to fup

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lctg_in_the_works.txt · Last modified: 2023.11.22 10:44 by Steve Isenberg