The Lin Great Speakers Series is presented to the public as a community service. The lectures are made possible by an endowment established in memory of Shu-Chi Lin by his widow, Mrs. Chang Le-Chiao Lin, and their son, Vincent Lin, Ph.D., a St. Mary’s alumnus and former faculty member.

Each year, the Lin Great Speakers Series lecture is preceded by the Conference on Justice and Social Concerns, a two-day event during which the campus community explores important social and justice issues affecting society.

This 2020 theme is “How Technology Transforms Us,” moderated by Winston Erevelles, Ph.D., Dean and Professor of Industrial Engineering, and featuring keynote speaker, Ainissa G. Ramirez, Ph.D., science evangelist.

How Technology Transforms Us

Humans are innovators. We have transformed raw materials to create the world around us.  Most of the time, our inventions produce the outcomes we want.  However, sometimes those innovations have unexpected consequences.  This talk will highlight how ordinary inventions gave rise to some surprising results. This talk will also illustrate the importance of being critical of technology, even when an innovation is enticing.

Ainissa G. Ramirez, Ph.D.

Ainissa Ramirez, Ph.D., is a science evangelist who is passionate about getting the general public excited about science. She co-authored Newton’s Football: The Science Behind America’s Game (Random House); and, authored Save Our Science: How to Inspire a New Generation of Scientists (TED Books).

Before taking on the call to improve the public’s understanding of science, she was an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science at Yale University. Technology Review, the magazine of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), named her as one of the world’s 100 Top Young Innovators for her contributions to transforming technology. She has been profiled in The New York Times, Fortune Magazine, CBS News, Inside Edition, Fox News, CNN, NPR, ESPN, Time Magazine, as well as scientific magazines, Scientific American and Discover Magazine.

Ramirez received her training in materials science and engineering from Brown University (Sc.B.) and Stanford University (Ph.D.). Prior to being on the faculty at Yale, she was a research scientist at Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies, in Murray Hill, New Jersey where she did award-winning research. She has authored more than 50 technical papers, holds six patents and has presented her work worldwide.

She now focuses her energies on making science fun, and gave an impassioned call to action at TED on the importance of understanding science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), which generated widespread enthusiasm. At Yale, she was the director of the award-winning science lecture series for children called Science Saturdays and hosted two popular-science video series called Material Marvels and Science Xplained. 

She speaks internationally on the importance of making science fun and has served as a science advisor to the American Film Institute, WGBH/NOVA, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and several science museums. Currently, she is writing a book on the role of materials in history and co-hosts a science podcast called Science Underground.

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