Martinez says he is inspired by the example of Paul Farmer and others who approach public health not only from a medical perspective, but also from a sociological one. In search of this balance, Martinez splits his time between research in the chemistry lab and anthropological fieldwork in the Trenton area.
“What really excited me as a child was the idea that my suburban New Jersey backyard didn’t always look the way it looked,” he recalled. “As long as I can remember, I understood the earth was very, very old. The plants and animals on this planet changed and at one time there were dinosaurs walking through my backyard. I used to look out my bedroom window and imagine what it looked like in the past.” Being an evolutionary biologist, Dr. Wund says, is like never quite growing out of your childhood dinosaur phase.
Conducting Robots is research-based, multidisciplinary course taught by four faculty members from Computer Science, Interactive Multimedia, Mechanical Engineering, and Music. The course allows students from each discipline to construct artificial systems capable of conducting an orchestra and visualizing feedback. In essence, the students create a robotic “maestro” that mimics the arm movements and facial expressions of a human conductor at work. The course was originally created with the support of a grant from the National Science Foundation.