October 10, 2018 The Signal page 5
Scholar uses robots to advance chemistry research By Alexa D’Aiello Correspondent
The College welcomed University of Toronto professor and Phi Beta Kappa scholar Alán Aspuru-Guzik on Oct. 2 to present a lecture titled “(R)evolution? The Future of Computer Simulation of Matter,” in the Education Building Room 212. Aspuru-Guzik shared his ideas about pairing new technologies, such as robotics and augmented reality, with science to further research in various fields including organic chemistry and quantum chemistry. Aspuru-Guzik is a faculty member in the chemistry and computer science departments at the University of Toronto. He has received several accolades including MIT Technology Review’s Innovators Under 35 list. He provided insight into his current research and what motivates him to look for new and more practical ways for future scientists to be productive and further their understanding of their research topics. Aspuru-Guzik’s grand vision is to use robotic designs to help scientists communicate. He hopes to design a robot or machine that will be able to be asked a question in any language regarding science and help solve a problem in the real world. He
showed an example of what dialogue might look like between a person like “Jane the chemist” and “Organa” the robot. The chemist would ask Organa to perform a certain task, and the robot would answer accordingly and follow through with the request. His goal is to create this machine in 10 years with a value of approximately $20,000. Aspuru-Guzik also shared pictures of a robot that specialized in martini making. The martini making robot only costs around $1,000 to create and assemble. Although this particular robot is used to make martinis, similar technology and programming can be applied to create robotics for the science labs that will help increase speed at which research can be done. Aspuru-Guzik feels the robot is a prime example of being creative on a small budget. “Hopefully that inspires you,” he said. “You can do research in robotics with only a thousand bucks.” With his goal for increased productivity in mind, Aspuru-Guzik argues that augmented reality would allow scientists to feel and understand chemical simulations better, and suggested that more people would be interested in science if it was just as engaging as video games. “You would be so much more addicted to organic chemistry if
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Aspuru-Guzik hopes his designs will expedite the molecule synthesis process.
it looked like Fortnite,” AspuruGuzik said. Aspuru-Guzik is now working with the Mexican government on its national project for Mission Innovation, a program put out by former President Barack Obama’s administration to get multiple countries to collaborate on research and propose new ideas. According to Aspuru-Guzik,
the making of molecules is a slow process. In his proposal for the project, he included an idea for robotozing and automating molecule synthesis to speed up the process. Maria Fairfield, a senior chemistry major, was fascinated by Aspuru-Guzik’s outlook on the future of science. “I think it was interesting how … everything can change and
how the future can look completely different based on new technology,” Fairfield said. Aspuru-Guzik concluded his lecture by reminding students how it is their responsibility to expand on the existing technology and combine it with innovative science. “You are the ones that have to flip the tortilla and make this happen,” he said.
SFB partially funds Homecoming Spirit Week activities
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The board partially funds ACT’s interactive dinner theater.
By Garrett Cecere Staff Writer
Student Government’s Homecoming Spirit Week was partially funded during the Student Finance Board Meeting on Oct. 3. SG was partially funded $783.32 for its Homecoming Spirit Week events, which will run from Oct. 22 to Oct. 27. SG will be holding events throughout the week such as a flash mob, trivia game, Tshirt giveaway, Canoe Battleship, lip sync and dance and Tie Dye Recreate Your Night. “We’re doing a flash mob,” said Taylor Mislan, a senior marketing major and vice president of student services for Student Government. “We’re going to have students wear their best TCNJ apparel.” SFB will cover expenses for sound equipment during the trivia games and lip sync dance, tie dye supply, a Gobo projector for the flash mob and snacks for the Brower Student Center, where the flash mob will take place. There will be two co-sponsors for Homecoming Spirit Week — the Office of Student Involvement will help with trivia, and the Department of Recreation and Wellness will assist with the Recreate Your
Night event. The sophomore class council was fully funded $10,050 for its Moonlight Cruise. The event will be on Oct. 20 from 11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. at 401 S. Columbus Blvd. in Philadelphia. “It’s a moonlight cruise, so when you’re out there you can watch the stars and it kind of adds to the atmosphere,” said Thomas Astarita, a sophomore open options business major and president of the sophomore class council. SFB will cover expenses for the cruise, security, additional fees, taxes and transportation. The Class of 2020 was fully funded $9,525 for its Moonlight Cruise. Justin Lewbel, a junior history and secondary education dual major, explained that trips such as the Moonlight Cruise have proven to be popular among students. “We had a lot of people who asked us to do this again,” Lewbel said. The event will take place on Oct. 19 at the same location as the cruise for the sophomore class. SFB will cover expenses for the cruise, fees, taxes, security and transportation. According to Lewbel, buses will depart at 10 p.m. and return to campus at 3 a.m.
The All College Theatre was partially funded $4,575 for its interactive dinner theater event. The event will encourage audience participation and feature outside catering and acting opportunities for all who audition, according to the club’s proposal. The dinner and show are set to take place on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3 from 7 to 10:30 p.m. in Decker Social Space. “Bringing that tradition here makes (the dinner theater) more accessible to students,” said Sam Franz, a senior communication studies and English double major and president of ACT. SFB will cover expenses for catering, props, costumes and hair and makeup. The Chinese Student Association was fully funded $1,115.42 for its bus trip to the Museum of Chinese in America in New York City. According to the club’s proposal, the trip will have significant educational value since it will enrich students with knowledge about Chinese history and culture in America throughout different eras. “This trip opens up a different learning experience,” said Andus Chan, a sophomore
finance major and treasurer of the Chinese Student Association. The trip will be on Oct. 20 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. SFB will cover expenses for transportation. Three clubs were fully funded for their events at the Student Finance Board meeting on Sept. 26. The Sophomore Class Council was funded $490 for its movie night. The event is expected to take place on Nov. 6. Deaf Hearing Connection received $3,050 for its deaf performance and pizza night on Oct. 18 from 8 to 11 p.m. in the Brower Student Center Room 100. SFB will cover expenses for two performers. “Our event will have two deaf performers who will do storytelling and workshop presentations in sign language with interpreters,” said Fabriana Andriella, a senior deaf education and psychology double major and president of Deaf Hearing Connection. The Indian Student Association received $1,825 for its Diwali Dinner event, which will be held on Nov. 6. SFB will cover expenses for food, decorations, utensils and drinks.
CSA is fully funded for its bus trip to New York City.
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The 10/10/18 issue of The Signal, The College of New Jersey's student newspaper