Visionary Talks Series

An important part of the 13th WCCM, which is new to the World Congress in Computational Mechanics, is a series of “Visionary Talks”, where pre-eminent leaders in engineering and applied science present their vision for the future of science and engineering during a lunch-time event. The goal of the Visionary Talks is to provoke and promote discussion around important new directions for engineering and applied science that might impact research, education and practice as we move further into the 21st Century. The size of the 13th WCCM and its location in New York City make in an idea venture for these visionary talks, which are expected to attract a great deal of visibility. This series was organized by Patricia Culligan and Jacob Fish, from Columbia University.

The following Visionary Talks will take place at 11:45 am each day in Broadway Ballroom North on the 6th floor of the Marriott Marquis Hotel.  You must have a ticket to attend.  

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Shirley Jackson (Monday, July 23)
President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson is an American physicist, former Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and the eighteenth President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  She is the first African-American woman to have earned a doctorate at MIT.  She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, past President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and was awarded the Vannevar Bush Award for “a lifetime of achievements in scientific research, public policy, and senior statesman-like contributions to public policy.”  In 2016, United States President Barack Obama awarded Dr. Jackson the National Medal of Science, the nation’s highest honor in science and engineering.
Moderator:  John E. Kolb, P.E., Vice President for Information Services and Technology and Chief Information Office, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
medium_Springman.jpgSarah Marcella Springman (Tuesday, July 24)
Rector, ETH Zürich.
Professor Sarah Springman is a Commander of the Most Excellent Order and Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. She was educated at the University of Cambridge and spent most of her recent career in Switzerland as Professor for Geotechnical Engineering, with a main focus on soil-structure interaction and the geotechnical aspects of natural hazards. She is currently the Rector of ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) where she is responsible for education within the Executive Board and as such for 20.000 students. She is in charge of admissions to study programmes at all levels and for the organisation and management of study-related matters.
Moderator: Joy Connolly, Provost and Professor of Classics, The Graduate Center, CUNY
Susan Seestrom (Wednesday, July 25)
Associate Lab Director of Advanced Science & Technology & Chief Research Officer, Sandia National Laboratories
Susan Seestrom manages multiple science programs, environmental technologies, computing, modeling and simulation laboratory-directed research and development, user facilities, and education programs. Prior to joining Sandia, Susan spent 30 years at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Her research in nuclear physics ranges from studies of nuclear structure with medium energy probes to studies of weak interaction using neutrons.
Moderator: Joel S. Lash, Director of Engineering Sciences, Sandia National Laboratories
Jessica Hodgins (Thursday, July 26)
Professor of Computer Science and Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University and Lead for the Pittsburgh Facebook AI Research Lab
Jessica Hodgins is a Professor in the Robotics Institute and Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Beginning in summer 2018, she is on partial leave from CMU to build a Facebook AI Research Lab located in Pittsburgh. From 2008-2016, she founded and ran research labs for Disney, rising to VP of Research and leading the labs in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. Prior to moving to Carnegie Mellon in 2000, she was an Associate Professor and Assistant Dean in the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology. She received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from CMU for her research on robots running on rough terrain locomotion. Her current research focuses on computer graphics, animation, and robotics with an emphasis on generating and analyzing human motion. She was an elected director on the ACM SIGGRAPH Executive Committee from 2009 until 2017 when she was elected President of ACM SIGGRAPH. In 2010, she was awarded the ACM SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award and in 2017 she was awarded the ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award.
Moderator: WIng Kam Liu, President, IACM


James Warren (Friday, July 27)
Director, Materials Genomics, NIST
Director of Materials Genome Initiative, a multi-agency initiative designed to create a new era of policy, resources, and infrastructure that support U.S. institutions in the effort to discover, manufacture, and deploy advanced materials twice as fast, at a fraction of the cost.
Moderator: Uwe Schramm, Altair