Wednesday: Game Theory, Nanotechnology, And A Solar-Powered Racecar

Stepping Out of Your Profile Box
Dave Fetterman, Engineering Manager, Facebook

Games People Play: Analyzing Strategic Behavior
Yossi Feinberg, Ph.D., Professor of Economics and Joseph and Laurie Lacob Faculty Fellow for 2010-2011, Stanford University
Game Theory isn’t about games, but Yossi Feinberg still can beat you at poker, while explaining mathematically why you lost.

Feinberg is a professor of Economics at Stanford who specializes in Game Theory, a behavioral branch of mathematics, and its applications in economics.

A math major in college, Feinberg was curious about human behavior and how mathematical models could predict how people act. After taking a few courses in Game Theory, he was hooked.

For Feinberg, revelations do not come from random events like being hit by a falling apple; it takes a lot of thinking and a strong cup of coffee to develop his theories.

“This usually requires a whiteboard, a pen, lots of paper and a large recycling bin,” Feinberg said.

Luckily for Feinberg, mathematics is both his work and his passion.

“Both research and teaching are activities I enjoy tremendously,” Feinberg said. “The only activity I prefer to them is spending time with my family.” -CA

The Luck and Skill of Scientific Discovery
Diane Wooden, Ph.D., Research Astrophysicist, NASA
For a phone call and some cash you can have a star named after you, but it takes something far more extraordinary for your very own asteroid. Diane Wooden’s asteroid, 17421 Wooden, is testament to her ground-breaking work with crystals and comets at NASA. However, Wooden won’t be focusing solely on her work, hoping to inspire students to follow a path in science.

“If I was in your shoes I would want to know ‘How do I get from my shoes to her shoes?’” Wooden said. “Tips and tricks that I have learned, things that I have experienced.”

Perhaps students can apply these lessons and one day have an asteroid of their own. -MLD

The Plastic Vortex: Causes and Solutions
Dennis Rogers, Crew Leader, Project Kaisei on Pacific Gyre

From Toy Chest to the Fastest Electric Car
Dante Zeviar, CTO, KleenSpeed
Picture a sleek green and white racecar zooming forward under the Monterey sun at 93 mph. But the roar of a gas-guzzling V8 engine is nonexistent; this racecar is completely electric.

Dante Zeviar is CTO at Kleenspeed, the automotive company that created this paradoxical eco-friendly racecar. While he has only been at Kleenspeed for a few years, Zeviar’s relationship with cars runs all the way back to his childhood.

“My parents would buy me toys and stuff and I wouldn’t play with them,” Zeviar said. “All I wanted was a motorcycle.”

Zeviar earned his master’s degree while working with BMW, and armed with experience at one of the top carmakers in the world, Zeviar now works at Kleenspeed, where automobile technology is racing ahead.

“New technology gets familiar fast,” Zeviar said. “Where I see the technology going, soon you’re just going to take electric vehicles for granted.” -CA

Size Matters: Engineering and Nanotech
Hilary Lackritz, Ph.D, Senior Staff Engineer, Lockheed Martin Nanosystems