Join UCSB faculty from across campus as they host online lectures so that you can view the UCSB classroom experience from the comfort of your home. Check out our Spring 2021 series or view pre-recorded lecture recordings from past events below.
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Spring Faculty Lecture Series
From Pixels to Points: Using Tracking Data to Measure Performance in Basketball
Monday, March 29th @ 5-6pm PST
Tracking technologies are increasingly used to gather high-resolution spatial and time series data across professional sports. For example, in the National Basketball Association (NBA), the technology is used to record the positions of the players and the ball at 25 frames/second in every game, yielding hundreds of millions of observations per season. In this talk I will discuss how modern statistical and machine learning techniques, combined with geography inspired mapping tools, can shed light on previously unidentified aspects of performance in team sports. Although we apply these methods to professional basketball data, I will emphasize statistical connection to related problems in a range of domains including psychology, biology and political science. This lecture will be led by Statistics Assistant Professor Alexander Franks.
Coping with Uncertainty During COVID
Monday, April 5th @ 5-6pm PST
The Covid pandemic has brought uncertainty and its effects to the forefront of our day-to-day lives, but chronic experiences of uncertainties have long been the reality for some communities. This talk starts with a summary of what we know about the experience and impact of Covid-related uncertainties across different communities, then moves to a discussion of how we try to cope with it. You will leave with a reminder of both the limits of our abilities and our resilience amidst cascading uncertainties over which we have little control. This lecture will be led by Communication Professor Walid Afifi.
Sensing with Everyday Communication Signals: Opportunities and Challenges
Thursday, April 8th @ 5-6pm PST
Communication signals are ubiquitous these days. Can they do more than communication and act as sensors to learn about their environment? For instance, can WiFi signals identify people through walls or do crowd counting/analytics, without relying on people to carry a device? In another example, imagine two unmanned vehicles arriving behind thick concrete walls. Can they image every square inch of the invisible area through the walls, only with their onboard WiFi signals? In this talk, I will show that these are indeed possible and discuss our proposed pipeline and methodology that has enabled, for instance, the first demonstration of person identification through walls from candidate video footage, or the first demonstration of crowd counting through walls, using only WiFi signals. More specifically, I will start by discussing XModal-ID, a WiFi-video cross-modal gait-based person identification system that can take a WiFi signal measured when an unknown person walks in an unknown area and a video footage of a walking person in another area, to determine whether it is the same person in both cases or not. Here I will show how to translate the video content to the RF domain and further develop a processing pipeline to extract key features from both signals for the purpose of identification. Next, I will discuss our proposed methodology for through-wall occupancy analytics and crowd counting with WiFi signals. Finally, I will show that it is indeed possible to image still objects through walls and discuss how our methodology for the co-optimization of path planning and communication has enabled the first demonstration of 3D imaging through walls with only drones and WiFi. This lecture will be led by Electrical & Computer Engineering Professor Yasamin Mostofi.
Monday, April 12th @ 5-6pm PST
Conspiracy theories and conspiratorial thinking are common. But what causes false conspiracies to form, spread, and lodge themselves in the public consciousness? In this lecture I consider precipitating social conditions, individual and group differences in subscription to conspiracies, and the psychological mechanisms that underpin their appeal. This lecture will be led by Communication Professor Scott Reid.
Economic Inequality and Uncertainty
Thursday, April 22nd @ 5-6pm PST
Especially in light of recent global disasters, such as The Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic, issues of economic inequality and poverty are more important than ever. Traditional methods of managing economic inequality are proving inadequate as people struggle to find affordable housing, find and keep jobs, and care for loved ones. This talk will discuss the causes and consequences of various forms of economic inequality. While disasters like the COVID-19 crisis affect everyone, they are disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable members of our society. This lecture will be led by Sociology Lecturer, Dr. Tara Tober.
Making Your Mark: How to Navigate Our Campus by the Sea
Monday, April 26th @ 6-7pm PST
Leaving home and heading to college is one of the most exciting and challenging experiences faced by many individuals. How will I find new friends? What clubs or teams will I join? How do I balance a job and college? Can I ensure that I succeed in my studies? It's natural for students to be nervous about navigating these questions (and others) as they chart their time at college. But, there are lessons and insights to be learnt from your peers that will help you sail smoothly during your time at UCSB. This talk will highlight those experiences by showcasing current and former UCSB students to identify 'tried and true' strategies that will enable you to discover new interests, reaffirm goals, and earn a college degree. This lecture will be led by Biology Lecturer, Dr. Mike Wilton.
Innovation's Shadow: How History Helps Us Understand Technological Change
Monday, May 3rd @ 5-6pm PST
Ask Google what “innovation” looks like. If your results are like mine, you’ll see lightbulbs. Lots of lightbulbs. Lightbulbs used to be a symbols of inventive insight experienced by some mythic genius like, say, Thomas Edison. Innovation – technological change and the pursuit of novelty – is presented to us as clean, orderly, unfettered by and disconnected from the messy material world and its even messier history. In this talk, I'll present an alternative view in which we will see how the histories of technology give us a new and better grounded view of what innovation is, who does it, and how it does and doesn't happen. This lecture will be led by History Professor Patrick McCray.
An Asynchronous History of Asian America
Thursday, May 5th @ 5-6pm
History does not just exist. It is created. Through a particular narrative, or reading of facts, its production is mediated by the interests of the present. In this way, there is no pure past nor present. This lecture will focus on the multiple, asynchronous histories of Asian America to analyze the contested understandings of America and its origins. Centering the experiences of Asian Americans, we will explore the significance of who gets to narrate the past and the current issues that drive this effort. Defining who we are, why we’re here, and where we’re going is a constant struggle. This lecture will be led by Asian American Studies Department Chair and Professor Lisa Sun-Hee Park.
Virtual Faculty Lecture Playlist
View our Faculty Lecture Series playlist on YouTube for a glimpse into the research and teaching of UCSB's faculty from departments across campus, including:
Psychological and Brain Sciences • Anthropology • Physics • Mathematics • Chemistry & Biochemistry • History of Art & Architecture • Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology • Computer Science • History • Economics • Political Science • Communication • Music
Social Justice Faculty Lecture Playlist
View our Social Justice Faculty Lecture Series playlist on YouTube for a glimpse into the research and teaching of UCSB's faculty in the social justice realm from departments across campus including Asian American Studies; Chicano/a Studies; Black Studies; Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology; and the College of Creative Studies.