Bilkent University, Faculty of Science

Faculty Seminars

Faculty Seminars are scheduled for the first Wednesday of every month and aim to bring together researchers and students  from all walks of science to discuss recent and distinguished advances in science. 

Seminars of the 2008-2009 academic year are here.

Seminars of the 2009-2010 academic year are as follows:

 October 14, 2009  Tayfun ÖZÇELİK    February 3, 2010  Hayriye Yeter GÖKSU
 November 4, 2009  Ali ALPAR    March 3, 2010  Ömer ILDAY
 December 2, 2009  Turgut ÖNDER    April 14, 2010  İhsan GÜRSEL
       May 5, 2010  Cem TEZER

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Speaker:   Prof. Dr. Tayfun ÖZÇELİK

Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Bilkent University

Title: Human Genomics: The Curious Cases of Quadrupedal Locomotion
Date: October 14, 2009, 15:40 at SBZ14.

Abstract:  Inherited mutations that result in unique Mendelian phenotypes in humans provide excellent opportunities to study genome evolution. Bipedal locomotion, brain enlargement, tool use and speech are considered among the key events that contributed to the divergence of our species. Identification of the genes that are associated with microcephaly or speech disorders have provided invaluable insight into human genomics and neurosciences in the past decade. A most interesting phenotype that has the potential to provide novel information on the genomic aspects of cerebellar development is quadrupedal locomotion in humans. In this talk, high-resolution genotyping, candidate gene analysis and deep sequencing approaches for the identification of chromosome regions and genes associated with quadrupedal locomotion will be presented.

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Speaker:  Prof. Dr. Ali ALPAR

Affiliation: Sabancı University

Title: Galileo, Science and the Heavens
Date: November 4, 2009, 15:40 at SBZ14.

Abstract:  Since this is a popular talk on the occasion of International Year of Astronomy, the speaker has provided a poster instead of an abstract.

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Speaker: Prof. Dr. Turgut ÖNDER

Department of Mathematics, METU

Title: On the recent solution of Arf-Kervaire invariant problem
Date: December 2, 2009, 15:40 at SBZ14.

Abstract: Arf-Kervaire invariant is an invariant of an n-dimensional framed differentiable manifold for n=4k+2. It is the Arf invariant of a certain quadratic form on the (2k+1)-dimensional homology group of the manifold with the coefficient group integers modulo 2, and it takes the values 0 or 1.

The problem of determining the dimensions n in which there are n-dimensional framed manifolds of Arf-Kervaire invariant 1 is called the Arf-Kervaire invariant problem. It is the key to several important problems in algebraic and geometric topology, for instance the classification problems of higher dimensional manifolds. On 21 April 2009 Michael Hopkins, Douglas Ravenel and Michael Hill announced that they have completed the solution of this 45-year-old problem except for the dimension n=126. On 26 August 2009 they have published a 99 pages preprint in the arXiv explaining the details of the proof.

In this talk we shall outline for a general audience the Arf-Kervaire invariant problem and the developments leading to its solution.

Here is a formula for a special case of Arf invariant:

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Speaker: Prof. Dr. Hayriye Yeter GÖKSU

Department of Physics, Adıyaman University
Title: On the trace of Chernobyl accident
Date: February 3, 2010, 15:40 at SBZ14.


The talk will summarize 15 year of field work   and laboratory measurements in the Chernobyl effected settlements, primarily concerning the problems of retrospective dose reconstruction (1989-2006) using luminescence (TL/OSL), of building materials, Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) of teeth enamel and biological dosimetry (FISH) techniques.

First part of the talk will provide a general description of the accident (scales, peculiar features of radionuclide release, exposure dose).

Second part  of the talk will summarize the  results and medical impacts of the accident (deterministic effects are considered along with stochastic effects such as leukemia, thyroid cancer, non-thyroid solid cancer and non cancer disease).

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Speaker: Asst. Prof F. Ömer ILDAY

Department of Physics, Bilkent University

Title:  How to bend light: A brief history of fiber optics
Date: March 3, 2010, 15:40 at SBZ14.

Abstract: The Nobel Prize in 2009 honored two revolutionary technologies, the development of optical fibers and the invention of the charge-coupled device. The optical fiber, initially conceived of as a medium for transmitting of light with low-loss, has a remarkably rich history. In addition to applications in telecommunications and biomedical imaging, fibers were used to generate white light brighter than the sun, transforming frequency metrology (honored by the Nobel Prize in Physics 2005) and fiber lasers are now revolutionizing high-power industrial lasers. Photonic crystal fibers implement bandgap engineering originally inspired by solid state physics. The nonlinear waves community has unraveled the fascinating world of solitons, similaritons, and shock waves, through experiments in fibers. This talk will be a guided tour of several fields that optical fibers have transformed over the past 50 years. No prior knowledge of the field is assumed

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Speaker:  Assoc. Prof. İhsan GÜRSEL
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Bilkent University
Title:  DNA: a potential nanodrug, more than a blueprint of life?
Date: April 14, 2010, 15:40 at SBZ14.

Abstract:  The mechanism of action of CpG containing short oligodeoxynucleotides (CpG ODN) patterned after bacterial DNA (immunostimulatory CpG motifs) trigger cells of the immune system through toll like receptor 9 (TLR9) and induces a robust pro-inflammatory and Th1 biased immune response. There has been considerable interest in the use of these agents in vaccines, as an immune adjuvant (such as bird or swine flu), or as stand-alone anti-cancer or immunoprotective agents (against anthrax or ebola). In order to utilize these labile molecules in disease treatments more effectively and efficiently, their in vivo performance and ability to localize at the site of relevant cells must be improved. A promising tool to reach this goal is to design targeted delivery vehicles that improves the stability of the DNA, while preventing premature digestion and elimination. This talk will focus on the recent efforts pursued towards this end in the Biotherapeutics ODN Lab and discusses recent findings related to the potential application of DNA as a "Therapeutic Nanodrug" to treat diseases ranging from cancer to infectious diseases to Allergy and Autoimmune disorders.

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Speaker: Prof. Dr. Cem TEZER

Department of Mathematics, METU

Title: Compendium of Mathematical Sciences of Başhoca İshak Efendi: A calculus textbook in the reign of Mahmut II
Date: May 5, 2010, 15:40 at SBZ14.

Abstract:  Arguably the most profound and consequential of  the reformist rulers of imperial Turkey, Mahmud II (1785-1839) personally encouraged the production  of  Turkish textbooks  for the students of the straggling military engineering colleges of his domain, institutions which were the embryonic forerunners of the present day İstanbul Technical University. Written by Başhoca İshak Efendi during  the relatively stable later stage of the Mahmudian era, Compendium  of Mathematical Sciences  is  a  four volume textbook  devoted mainly to calculus  along with substantial passages on trigonometry,  conic sections, mechanics and astronomy topped  off with a collection of  delightful forays into optics, biology  and chemistry.  The gargantuan opus and its  mysterious author are important witnesses of the romantic and  hazardous  reign of Mahmud II.  After a brief account of the little that is known about the life of  İshak Efendi, the speaker will present samples of the original Ottoman Turkish text  itself and discuss the mathematical content  and pedagogical quality thereof. 

Contact person: Ali Sinan Sertöz