Seminars & Events

KSJ seminars and workshops are special events primarily for Knight Fellows, partners, and invited guests. For some seminars, there may also be a limited number of seats for members of the public. Preference will be given to former KSJ fellows. If you would like to attend a seminar, email Bettina Urcuioli, program administrator, at, with your name and affiliation.

Seminars are held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on most Tuesdays and Thursdays at the KSJ offices, MIT Building E19 (400 Main Street in Cambridge), Suite 623. As noted below, a few will take place offsite.

Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, 4:30 to 6 p.m., E19-623
Kenneth Oye, political scientist and director of the MIT Program on Emerging Technologies (PoET). His work in technology policy has focused on risks associated with synthetic biology, pharmaceuticals, the internet, and nuclear energy. He has published widely on a range of subjects, from the foreign policies of Presidents Carter, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush, to the regulation of “home-brew opiates.”

Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, 4:30 to 6 p.m., E19-623
Michael Morisy, co-founder of the news site MuckRock, which offers original reporting, commentary, and analysis of public records. A former editor at the Boston Globe, he launched the paper’s technology vertical BetaBoston. He contributed to the New York Daily News’ Pulitzer Prize-winning series on the deadly health conditions of Ground Zero workers.

Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017, 4:30 to 6 p.m., E19-623
Gernot Wagner, economist, co-director of Harvard’s Solar Geoengineering Research Program, co-author of “Climate Shock: The Economic Consequences of a Hotter Planet,” and author of “But Will the Planet Notice? How Smart Economics Can Save the World.”

Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017, 4:30 to 6 p.m.
A visit to the MIT Media Lab with Emilie Reiser, project lead at the Center for Civic Media, heading the development and implementation of Promise Tracker, a mobile-phone-based data-collection system that enables communities to collect information on issues and monitor the performance of their local governments. She spent three years in Haiti working with humanitarian agencies to integrate technology tools into local initiatives to address gender-based violence and promote community development.

Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017, 4:30 to 6 p.m., E19-623
Felice Frankel, MIT research scientist and photographer. She is renowned for the aesthetic quality of her science photographs and her ability to communicate complex scientific information in images. Her books include “Visual Strategies: A Practical Guide to Graphics for Scientists and Engineers” and “Picturing Science and Engineering,” to be published in fall 2018.

Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, 4:30 to 6 p.m., E19-623
Ayanna Thomas, associate professor of psychology and founder of the Cognitive Aging and Memory Laboratory at Tufts University. Her research focus is episodic memory failures, and she is often called to give expert testimony on the limits of eyewitness memory. “Telling the ‘whole truth’ and ‘nothing but the truth’ are at odds with each other,” she told the KSJ fellows last year.

Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, 4:30 to 6 p.m., E19-623
Mackenzie Brady Watson, literary agent with the Stuart Krichevsky agency in New York City. A former research scientist, she specializes in narrative nonfiction for all ages and has a passion for science books, especially if they are historically driven or revolutionize current theory, as well as sociology, investigative journalism, food writing, memoir, health and wellness, and business books.

Oct. 24 and 26
No seminars this week so fellows can attend the World Conference of Science Journalists.

Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, 4:30 to 6 p.m., E19-623
Shannon Brownlee, senior vice president of the Lown Institute, a think tank dedicated to research and public communication to expose failures and injustices in the health care system. She’s the author of the acclaimed book “Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer.”

Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017, 4:30 to 6 p.m., E19-623
Rosalind W. Picard, founder and director of the Affective Computing Research Group at the MIT Media Lab and faculty chair of MIT’s Mind+Hand+Heart Initiative. She co-founded companies that create wearable sensors and analytics to improve health, and deliver technology to help measure and communicate emotion. Her book “Affective Computing” was instrumental in starting the field that bears its name.

Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, 4:30 to 6 p.m., E19-623
Marc Shotland, associate director overseeing research operations at MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), which aims to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. A network of 145 professors from 49 universities, the lab does research, policy outreach, and training across six regional offices worldwide.

Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, 4:30 to 6 p.m. Private event for fellows only.
A visit to the Chandra X-Ray Observatory with Claude R. Canizares, lead scientist for NASA’s flagship mission for X-ray astronomy. Chandra’s satellite-mounted telescope looks at X-rays emanating from celestial objects, rather than visible light, allowing astronomers to study phenomena like density, chemical composition, and temperature.

Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, 4:30 to 6 p.m., E19-623
Edmond Awad of the MIT Media Lab, developer of the Moral Machine, a platform for gathering human perspectives on moral decisions made by machine intelligence — for example, a driverless car must choose the lesser of two evils, such as killing two passengers or five pedestrians.

Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017, 4:30 to 6 p.m., E19-623
Jeffery DelViscio, director of multimedia and creative for STAT,  the national news site focused on health, medicine, and scientific discovery. Founded by John Henry, the owner of Boston Globe Media, STAT produces daily news, investigative articles, narrative projects, and multimedia features.

Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, 4:30 to 6 p.m., E19-623
Kevin Esvelt, director of the MIT Media Lab’s Sculpting Evolution group, which invents new ways to study and influence the evolution of ecosystems for the benefit of humanity and the natural world. A developer of the CRISPR system for genome engineering and regulation, he is credited as the first to describe how CRISPR gene drives could be used to alter the traits of wild populations. His efforts to rewrite the DNA of white-footed mice to make them immune to the bacteria that cause Lyme disease were profiled this year in The New Yorker.

Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, 4:30 to 6 p.m., E19-623
Andrew Revkin, senior reporter for climate and related issues at ProPublica, the independent, nonprofit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. Revkin, who has been writing about climate change since the 1980s, joined ProPublica in 2016 after 21 years at The New York Times, where he originated and wrote 2,810 posts for the Dot Earth blog.

Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017, 4:30 to 6 p.m., E19-623
Ivan Oransky, co-founder of Retraction Watch, a site that reports on scientific integrity, fraud, and transparency, keeping track of the hundreds of retractions of papers in science and medical journals. A physician by training, he is Distinguished Writer In Residence at New York University’s Carter Journalism Institute and teaches medical journalism at NYU’s Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program.

Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, 4:30 to 6 p.m., E19-623
Paula S. Apsell, senior executive producer of the pioneering science series NOVA and director of the science unit at WGBH Boston. Under her leadership, NOVA has won every major broadcasting award, some many times over. Apsell was a member of the first KSJ class, then known as the Vannevar Bush Fellows, in 1983-84.

Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, 4:30 to 6 p.m., E19-623
Sherry Turkle, founder and director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. A licensed clinical psychologist with a doctorate in sociology and personality psychology from Harvard, she writes on the “subjective side” of people’s relationships with technology, especially computers. Her newest book is the New York Times best seller “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age.”