Northwestern Events Calendar


WED@NICO SEMINAR: Lightning Talks w/ Northwestern Scholars and Fellows

Lightning Talks

When: Wednesday, October 19, 2022
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Central

Where: Chambers Hall, Lower Level, 600 Foster St, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free

Contact: Emily Rosman   (847) 491-2527

Group: Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO)

Category: Academic, Lectures & Meetings


NICO LIGHTNING TALKS are open to Northwestern graduate student or postdoctoral fellows! If you are interested in giving a lightning talk (~10 minutes with questions) to the broader NICO audience, please fill out this short survey: We will host our next session in Winter 2023.

Fall Speakers

Tara Sowrirajan - Research Assistant Professor
Kellogg School of Management
Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems
"The Glass Ceiling in Boundary Pushing Innovation"

We analyze the innovation system and find systematic differences in the patenting experiences between male and female inventors. Women inventors’ boundary-pushing inventions are rejected more than men’s whereas women’s conventional inventions show no differences in patenting rates than men’s.  Patent grant rates for men increase when they make novel connections between technological domains, while women face an increased chance of rejection.

Ruoming Gong - PhD Student
McCormick School of Engineering
Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics
"How do planetary rings form? A new idea based on collisions and oscillators."

Why do some planets have rings and moons while others have only moons (or neither)? We propose a toy model for ring and moon formation based on ideas drawn from the study of coupled oscillators.  Specifically, we examine the behavior of a system of N identical particles locked into circular, gravitationally-bound orbits around a central body. We treat interactions as dominated by inter-particle collisions and demonstrate that the system can be reduced to a variant of the Kuramoto model, which undergoes a phase transition as parameters vary. This may explain the transition between the formation of rings versus moons.

Yaxin Cui - PhD Student
McCormick School of Engineering
Mechanical Engineering
"Network Based Customer Preference Modeling"

We present an approach of modeling heterogeneous customer preferences and decision-making behaviors based on social network science by viewing customer-product relationships (customers consider and purchase products) as networks. Case studies on modeling customer preferences in vehicle systems design highlight the steps of network-based customer preference modeling and demonstrate its advantages in visualizing and modeling the complex interdependencies among different entities in a design ecosystem.

Elisa Borowski - PhD Candidate
McCormick School of Engineering
Civil and Environmental Engineering
"Wisdom of Crowds in Multi-Hazard Events: The Role of Social Influence in a Pandemic-Concurrent Flood Evacuation"

Social influence has been shown to be a significant factor in evacuation decision-making, but what happens when multiple hazards occur simultaneously? This study examines the role of social influence when a flood evacuation happens during a viral pandemic. Our results show that people tend to follow the crowd when deciding whether to evacuate but go against the crowd when deciding how to evacuate. Furthermore, the magnitude of social influence is inversely proportional with the flood threat level. These findings have important implications for emergency management communication.


In person: Chambers Hall, 600 Foster Street, Lower Level
Remote option:
Passcode: NICO22

About the Speaker Series:

Wednesdays@NICO is a vibrant weekly seminar series focusing broadly on the topics of complex systems and data science. It brings together attendees ranging from graduate students to senior faculty who span all of the schools across Northwestern, from applied math to sociology to biology and every discipline in-between. Please visit: for information on future speakers.

More Info Add to Calendar

Add Event To My Group:

Please sign-in