J. Andrew Deman, Josh Neufeld, and Naomi Nishimura
What are we? By what processes and patterns did we originate and how do these patterns compare to the processes of the world around us, digital and biological, societal and fictional? In Winter 2018, the Bridges Lecture Series will explore the possibility that the concept of recursion, structures built from smaller structures of the same type, may help answer some of these questions and provide an important piece of connective tissue that reaches across a wide variety of fields, disciplines, and lenses through which we perceive the world itself, as well as the place of human beings within that world. Our panel will provide a presentation and interactive discussion on recursion as a building block within mathematics and computer science, within the evolution of life on Earth, and within the very language and literature by which our society has engaged with recursion as a concept.
About the Speakers
J. Andrew Deman specializes in Science Fiction, Fantasy and the comics medium. His research is published in Femspec, Critical Survey of Graphic Novels, American Visual Memoir After the 1970s, English Studies Forum, TRANSverse, Canadian Graphic (winner of the 2017 Gabrielle Roy prize), and in his recent book The Margins of Comics (available from Nuada Press). Deman also served as a featured expert for the ten-part comics documentary series INK: Alter Egos Exposed, and is the Past President of the Canadian Society for the Study of Comics (CSSC). Deman received his PhD from the University of Waterloo with comprehensive specializations in graphic narrative, semiotics, and discourse and textual analysis of the 2017 Gabrielle Roy prize), and in his recent book The Margins of Comics (available from Nuada Press).
Josh Neufeld is a Professor of Microbiology in the Department of Biology at the University of Waterloo, Canada. He received his BSc and MS. in Microbiology from the Macdonald Campus of McGill University, a PhD in Microbiology at the University of British Columbia, and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Warwick in the UK. His research combines molecular and cultivation tools to study microbial communities in terrestrial, aquatic, and host-associated habitats with the goal of recovering and exploiting the “microbes that matter”. Neufeld serves on the Editorial Boards for Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Environmental Microbiology, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, and is an Editor for ISME J, mSystems, and Microbiome.
Naomi Nishimura studied Math and Classics at Yale before obtaining her MSc and PhD in Computer Science from the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on algorithms and complexity, with a specialization in parameterized algorithms and reconfiguration problems. Nishimura has taught recursion to students in many disciplines both in Waterloo and at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, to teachers enrolled in the Master of Mathematics for Teachers, and to high school students (and many others) through the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing's free online courseware.