Yannis Yortsos, dean of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, knew this semester would be unprecedented.
Beginning the week of September 8, Dean Yortsos is spearheading not one but two free lecture series, designed for USC Viterbi students, and intended to enhance their knowledge of two of the planet’s most pressing issues.
“Sustainable Energy,” launching on September 8, is a five-week lecture series — Tuesdays from 6 to 8 pm — focused on the energy impact of climate change and the world’s finite supply of energy. Led by Dean Yortsos himself, the series will address the question: “can a country or a state satisfy its energy needs through renewable energy?”
The series runs until Tuesday, October 6.
The “Viterbi vs. Pandemics!” lecture series, however, beginning September 10, will feature a bevy of cutting edge USC Viterbi researchers in the battle against COVID-19.
“‘Viterbi vs. Pandemics!’ is an obvious, once-in-a-lifetime, topic,” said Dean Yortsos, “where we highlight the work of our faculty on COVID-19 in a comprehensive and explainable way.”
The 10-part lecture series will kick off with a special lecture by Dean Yortsos and Assad Oberai, USC Viterbi vice dean for research and Hughes Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. The series, Thursdays at 6 pm, will extend until November 12.
Lectures aim to provide a rigorous framework for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, to educate and inform and to stimulate additional efforts on this extraordinary challenge.
Said Dean Yortsos: “We believe that we have made some novel contributions to how the epidemic spreads that provide new insights and can help arrest the contagion.”
Speakers range from Professor Pin Wang, Zohrab A. Kaprielian Fellow in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering, who is engineering a hybrid virus, known as a “vectored vaccine”; to Professor Andrea Armani, the Ray Irani Chair in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, who is reimagining disinfection with off-the-shelf items to kill bacteria and viruses; to Cyrus Shahabi, chair of the Department of Computer Science and Helen N. and Emmett H. Jones Professor, who is developing a privacy-based, contact tracing app that can identify hot spots based on individual movements.
Both lecture series will allow participating students the opportunity to earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs).
Said Yortsos, “We first intend the lectures to be offered to our USC Viterbi students live. In taped form, they might become available later for other audiences.”