• Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Home Projects
E-mail Print PDF
Tweet me!


What (the heck) is this?

The idea of the Nuts and Bold Ideas Seminar is to provide an informal platform for (nuts and bold) ideas that are worth thinking about. Instigators are asked to present something different from their most recent research, paper, or talk. Ideas that challenge the status quo are of particular interest. The goal is to think big and different. The seminar is designed to foster creativity, innovation, inspiration, and to spur cross-pollination among disciplines.


"The key to success is to risk thinking unconventional thoughts. Convention is the enemy of progress. If you go down just one corridor of thought you never get to see what’s in the rooms leading off it."
--- Trevor Baylis


Speaker schedule


The Idea in 140 Characters
Fall term 2010

Wed, Oct 6

James McNames, ECE 

Empowering and cultivating student passion for innovation
Wed, Oct 20:

Karen L. Karavanic, Computer Science

What would YOU do with an exascale computer?
Wed, Nov 3:

Max OrHai, Computer Science

Rethinking the fundamental metaphors of computer programming.
Wed, Nov 17:

Marly Roncken, Computer Science 

What can football and dance teach us? Slides
Wed, Dec 1:

Wayne Wakeland, Systems Science Graduate Program

Achieving a Vulcan mind meld with Web2.0

Winter term 2011:

Wed, Jan 5:

Julian Blake Kongslie, Computer Science

Publish everything! 
Wed, Jan 12:

Vamsi Parasa, ECE

Do we need some research on doing better research?
Wed, Jan 19:

Marion L. Sharp, CEED/GSE and Social Sustainability Network

Full Employment? It Can't Be Done...Or Can It?
Wed, Jan 26:

Steve Bleiler, Fariborz Maseeh Dep. of Math and Stats

Pay me now or pay me later - Player attitudes toward risk and their effects on optimal poker play
Wed, Feb 2:

Joshua Fost, Dep of . Philosophy 

Time to make fallacies illegal
Wed, Feb 9:

David Burke, Galois Inc.

How can we instill a sense of morality in machines? Slides
Wed, Feb 16

Ivan Sutherland, ARC

Wed, Feb 23:

Dan Hammerstrom, ECE

Batteries not included - the wide-spread use of sustainable, renewable energy won't happen without effective energy storage
Wed, Mar 2:

Erin Jo Richey, Digital Analyst 

Harnessing Actions from the Mind: Should Brain Waves Power Future Technology? Slides and blog entry
Wed, Mar 9:

Amber Case, Cyborg Anthropologist & TED speaker, Aaron Parecki, GPS Hacker, Geoloqi.com

Ubiquitous connectivity - getting everyday objects to talk to each other with 20 year old protocols with @caseorganic and @aaronpk

Spring term 2011:

Wed, Apr 6:

Bart Massey & Julian Blake Kongslie, CS

The Panopticam of the Newspocalypse
Wed, Apr 20:

Gerry Recktenwald, MME

Does making matter?
Wed, May 11:

Peter Boghossian, Philosophy

Faith, Belief, and the Failure of the Academy. Slides
Wed, May 18:

Rashawn L. Knapp, CS

C and Threads and No Internet!, Oh My!
OS Unplugged: The CS333 Lab Experiment
Wed, Jun 1:

Marek Perkowski, ECE

A robot of my dreams

Fall term 2011:

Wed, Sep 28
Christof Teuscher, ECE, PSU
Max OrHai, PSU

Welcome, intro
Spatial Sorting Algorithms for Parallel Computing in Networks
Wed, Oct 5

Arpita Sinha, ECE, PSU

Is memristance futile?
Wed, Oct 12

Tugrul Daim, ETM, PSU
Peter Boghossian, Philosophy, PSU

How will we keep the lights on? Literally
Pedagogy, Mixed Martial Arts and Corrective Mechanisms
Wed, Oct 19

Bob Bass, OIT/PSU

What's Making the Grid Smart?
Wed, Oct 26

Matt Sottile, Galois Inc.

How many ways can you describe a glass of water?  (Mathematically)
Wed, Nov 2

Andrew Black, CS, PSU

Types Considered Harmful
Wed, Nov 9

Willem Mallon, ARC, PSU

Fast microprocessors without clocks
Wed, Nov 16

Karen Marrongelle, PSU

Why hasn't technology (yet) made college obsolete? 21st century education: reality or myth?
Wed, Nov 23

Nick Macias, Cell Matrix Corp.

Save time, spend less on trash bags, and never again hit your thumb with a hammer. YouTube recording
Wed, Nov 30

Robert R. Teel, Stoel Rives LLP

Rethinking and Decoupling Online Identity

Fall term 2012:

Tue, Sep 25

Christof Teuscher

Intro, welcome, and marshmallow challenge. Check out the YouTube clip!

Tue, Oct 2

Jason Plumb, DorkbotPDX

DorkbotPDX -- 6 years of doing strange things with electricity. Slides | YouTube clip
Tue, Oct 9

David Snyder, CS, PSU

Life Computes, So Let's Use It! YouTube recording
Tue, Oct 15

L. Kris Gowen, Regional Research Institute, PSU

How technology has changed the way we do sex and relationships?
Tue, Oct 23

Daveena Tauber, Personal Professor

...because technology doesn't speak for itself
Tue, Oct 30

Teresa Schmidt, Systems Science, PSU

What do you get when you turn a social network inside out?
Tue, Nov 6

Gary Brown, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Excellence, PSU

MOOCs, Competency-based and Snackable Education in the Era of Free Agency-- et tu PSU?
Tue, Nov 13

Raúl Bayoán Cal, MME, PSU

A fixation with structures
Tue, Nov 20

Leslie A. Rill, Department of Communication, PSU

There's a bit of Facebook in all of us
Tue, Nov 27

Jenner Hanni, ECE, PSU

Meshnets: turning the internet into a decentralized peer-to-peer network.


How does it work?

  • The instigator presents his nuts and bold ideas for about 20min. The remaining time (about 40min) is open for discussion.
  • The instigator is asked to present something different from her/his most recent research, paper, or talk. Ideas that challenge the status quo are of particular interest. Think big and different, be provocative. Your ideas do by no means have to be mature. The wilder and crazier the idea, the better discussions we'll have.
  • We encourage informality, openness, collaboration, vision, innovation, inspiration, and interdisciplinarity.
  • Instigators are encouraged to consider the following questions (inspired by Heilmeier's catechism) in their informal presentation:
    • What's the idea? What should I tell my mom/dad/partner/cat/dog about it?
    • How is it done today, and what are the limits of current practice?
    • What's new in your approach and why do you think it will be successful?
    • Who cares?
    • If you're successful, what difference will it make?
    • What are the risks and the payoffs?
    • How much will it cost?
    • How long will it take?
    • What are the midterm and final "exams" to check for success?
  • The audience is encouraged to
    • challenge ideas in the presentation,
    • support ideas in the presentation,
    • make connections to other, disparate fields of research,
    • come up with new ideas,
    • or say anything else they want.


"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep."
--- Scott Adams, US cartoonist


Who can be an instigator?

You! If you are interested to be an instigator, please contact me. Everybody is welcome, grad and undergrad students, faculty, guests. And no, you don't need to be an engineer or a scientist. If you have suggestions for good speakers, please let me know.

Who should come to this seminar?

You! The more diverse the audience, the better. Everybody is welcome. Stop by and learn something new, feel the inspiration, stimulate your brain, and eat some nuts.

"Daring to follow untraveled paths in science can be both daunting and risky for young scientists. Yet boldness is a common, key ingredient in the careers of the most successful scientists.
--- Science Careers Blog, Be Bold

How can I get announcements?

Sign up to the mailing list or send an empty e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Where and when does this seminar happen?

There is currently no plan to offer the seminar again. Please check back or sign up for the mailing list to receive updates.

  • Day: Tuesday
  • Time: 12-1pm
  • Location: EB 102 (Engineering Building, 1930 SW Fourth Avenue), campus map (H10)


"No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical."
--- Niels Bohr

Will there be food?

Yes, nuts. Feel free to bring your own lunch.

Can I get credit for this seminar?

Not currently.

Yes! The seminar will be offered during the Fall term 2012 as a 1-credit ECE 507 class. The syllabus is available here.


"If I look confused, it’s because I’m thinking."
--- Samuel Goldwyn