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James Kakalios    

Author of "The Physics of Superheroes"; Professor of Physics, University of Minnesota

James Kakalios is the Taylor Distinguished Professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Minnesota. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1985, and following a post-doctoral Research Associate position at the Xerox-Palo Alto Research Center, joined the faculty at Minnesota in 1988. His research program is in experimental condensed matter physics, with particular emphasis on complex and disordered systems.

Current projects in the Kakalios lab range from the Nano to the Neuro. In collaboration with Prof. Uwe Kortshagen in the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering at Minnesota, he is synthesizing and characterizing the optical and electronic properties of hydrogenated amorphous silicon thin films containing nanocrystalline inclusions for solar cell and thermoelectric applications. In collaboration with Profs. A. David Redish in Neuroscience and Prof. T. Netoff in Biomedical Engineering (both at the University of Minnesota), he has been applying techniques developed to study electronic noise in disordered semiconductors to analyze voltage fluctuations in the brain. This project has led to the identification of a coherent oscillation in the striatum that may have implications for our understanding of Parkinson's Disease.He has also conducted extensive investigations into the dynamics of segregation phenomena in granular media.

James Kakalios is the author of two books that explain physics principles in a fun, easy-to-understand, and often humerous, manner: The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics and The Physics of Superheroes.

In addition to speaking on his research on amorphous/nanocrystalline mixed phase thin films and fluctuation phenomena in complex systems, James Kakalios is a highly sought after speaker on The Physics of Superheroes, and The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics. His trademark wit penetrates the yawning atmosphere of public speaking platforms for an incredibly funny, immersive learning experience.

He has given talks at high schools and colleges and universities, as well as such venues as The Library of Congress, the American Physical Society, the 92nd St. Y (New York City), the Aspen Center for Science, the Comic Con International (San Diego), The National Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the first National USA Science and Engineering Festival (Washington DC), Town Hall (Seattle), the Adler Planetarium (Chicago), and W00tstock (Minneapolis). He has also spoken to private organizations such as Exxon, Medtronic, and Microsoft.

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