Event Calendar

Today - Sun, Nov 17, 2019

Gratitude Dinner poster

Gratitude Dinner

6:30 pm Cadigan Center, Pemberton Lounge

All are welcome to join us for Gratitude Dinner. Eat, pray, visit and share in communion together, dinner church style. Please RSVP by Nov. 15 to Protestant Advisor Rev. Anna Woofenden if you would like to attend.

Senior Thesis Performances by Theo Peierls ’20E, “Roots Unbroken,” and Cristóbal Silva San Martín ’20E, “Portraits of Water”

The Amherst College Department of Music presents Portraits of Water, a composition project by Cristóbal Silva San Martín ’20E, and Roots Unbroken, a composition thesis by Theo Peierls ’20E. The concert is free and open to the public; seating is by general admission.

Silva San Martín’s Portraits of Water is a composition project honoring the power of water as a natural element. Aiming to call into question the relationship we, the human species, have come to establish with the environment we inhabit and with the resources we depend on, the project draws inspiration from the cycle of water, evolving through seven movements that depict its fierce and majestic qualities. Reckoning with past and present issues revolving around access to and uses of water, the piece hopes to act as an instance to envision a more sustainable and empathetic relationship to the element, while also calling to action to make such visions become reality. Performed by a seven-piece ensemble, the composition draws from several musical idioms, including minimalism, electroacoustic soundscape composition and Latin American folklore.

Roots Unbroken is a musical exploration of the cultural and geographic shifts that have influenced Jewish practices. Focusing on the idea of a musical diaspora, the project is framed by how forced emigration, shifts in religious life and patterns of assimilation have been represented in various musical styles associated with the Jewish people. Roots Unbroken comprises six pieces that engage with Jewish-American choral music, Klezmer music, Yiddish folk music and Ashkenazi liturgical music. Texts are drawn from psalms, verses and poetry and feature the work of poet Yossel Birstein. Soloists include Hazzan Diana Brewer, Allen Davis, Aaron Kropf, Hannah Goldberg ’22 and Patrick Spoor ’22.  

For a complete listing of upcoming Amherst College Department of Music events, visit us at www.amherst.edu/academiclife/departments/music/events.

Tomorrow - Mon, Nov 18, 2019

German Table

German Table

Enjoy informal conversations with students who have studied in Germany, the German faculty members, the German language assistants and other native speakers.

Math & Stats Table, Mondays at noon in Terrace Room A

Math & Stats Table

Please join us for this informal weekly gathering of math/stat faculty and students for lunch and conversation. It’s a fun opportunity to meet other students interested in math and statistics and to get to know your professors in a casual atmosphere. We hope you will join us!


Release is an open forum for Amherst community members to talk about race, ethnicity, cultural identity, and current events impacting us at Amherst and beyond. Conversations center the experiences and voices of people of color.

Students Only

Conrad Kuklinsky ’21 and Matteo Riondato: “Learning Intersections of Halfspaces: Novel VC-Dimension Bounds”

Abstract: A key question in machine learning research is understanding the trade-off between the size of the training set and the accuracy of the classification function learned by the algorithm. This trade-off can be fully characterized by a single quantity: the VC-dimension of the family of functions that the algorithm may learn. Beautifully combinatorial in nature, the VC-dimension is elusive to compute exactly, but upper bounds to it are sufficient to understand the trade-off. In this talk, we report on our recent results on improved upper bounds to the VC-dimension of intersections of half-spaces in high dimensions, a very popular class of functions. We show a novel connection with convex polytopes and with planar graphs. All the terms and results will be explained without assuming any specific background in the audience.

Refreshments will be served at 3 p.m. in Science Center C209.

Theodosiou research image: depictions of spiral intestines and other tissues and organs in a fish's body

Biology Monday Seminar: “Game of Guts: Spirals versus Coils”

4:00 pm Science Center, Kirkpatrick Lecture Hall A011

Nicole Theodosiou, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
Co-Director of Biochemistry Program
Union College

The digestive tracts of sharks and skates provide a fascinating model for studying the evolution of morphological asymmetries. Unique to all basal fishes is the spiral intestine, which may represent an intermediate morphology in evolution from the straight gut of lamprey to the elongated coils of higher vertebrates. The short spiral allows for a large absorptive surface area that can fit into a restrictive abdominal cavity. My lab is exploring how the spiral intestine forms during development of the little skate and the radial constraints that propagate spiraling.

"Artful Activism: Why the How of What We Do Matters"

4:30 pm - 6:30 pm Frost Library, Center for Humanistic Inquiry

How might we move beyond the conventional frame of the NGO model to re-envision community building and reclaim personal narrative? Hear what rhizomes, poetry and oil paint animation might say about this as David James Savarese discusses the making of the Peabody Award-winning documentary Deej: Inclusion Shouldn’t Be a Lottery and his artful activism project Listen2Us.

David James Savarese (Oberlin College ’17) is an artful activist who works to make literacy-based education, communication and inclusive lives a reality for all nontraditionally speaking people. A 2017-19 OSF Human Rights Initiative Youth Fellow, he is a published poet, essayist and co-producer of Deej: Inclusion Shouldn’t Be a Lottery.

This event is sponsored by the Language & Literature Fund and the Eastman Fund at Amherst College. It is free and open to the public. Please contact prangan@amherst.edu with any accessibility concerns.

Arabic Language Table for Third-Year Arabic Students

This Arabic language table is a weekly conversation group for third-year Arabic students. We meet every Monday in the upstairs seating section of the Valentine Dining Hall, and anyone who can communicate in Arabic at the third-year level is welcome to attend. Syonara Tomoum will be present as a moderator.

Students Only

Tue, Nov 19, 2019

Photo of the outside of Valentine Dining Hall

Chinese Language Table

If you are interested in having more opportunities to speak Chinese, then join us twice a week for lunch! The Chinese Language Table is open to students, faculty and staff who would like to have conversations in Chinese. All levels are welcome.

Common Table

Common Table

All are welcome to the Common Table—a casual, drop-in time to share lunch and conversation on a topic of spirituality, belief or values.
Hosted by the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life.

Serving Tea ft. Gabriel Hall

A monthly meet and greet with out LGBTQ+ staff or faculty. This month’s guest is Gabriel Hall, current Assistant Director of the Center for International Student Engagement. Lunch will be served!


Release is an open forum for Amherst community members to talk about race, ethnicity, cultural identity, and current events impacting us at Amherst and beyond. Conversations center the experiences and voices of people of color.

Students Only

Andrew A Geraci, Northwestern: “Hunting for Fifth-Forces and Dark Matter with AMO-based Sensors”

We normally think of large accelerators and massive detectors when we consider the frontiers of elementary particle physics, pushing to understand the universe at higher and higher energy scales. However, several tabletop low-energy experiments are positioned to discover a wide range of new physics beyond the Standard model, where feeble interactions require precision measurements rather than high energies. In high vacuum, optically levitated dielectric nanospheres achieve excellent decoupling from their environment, making force sensing at the zeptonewton level (10-21 N) achievable.

In this talk, I will describe our progress towards using these sensors for tests of the Newtonian gravitational inverse square law at micron-length scales. Optically levitated dielectric objects and optical cavities show promise for a variety of other applications, including searches for gravitational waves and dark matter. Finally, I will discuss the Axion Resonant InterAction Detection Experiment (ARIADNE), a precision magnetometry experiment using laser-polarized 3-He gas to search for a notable dark-matter candidate: the QCD axion.

Insight (Mindfulness) Meditation Group

Whether you have meditated for a long time or have never meditated, come join us for this time of practice together. Come to relax, quiet your mind, learn how to experience less suffering and stress, explore Buddhist philosophy and psychology, or just talk about what it means to live from compassion and awareness or because you are curious. The group will be led by Buddhist Advisor Mark Hart.

Pan and Bi Joy every other Tuesday. Second meeting on October 8th

Pan and Bi Joy (PB+J)

An inclusive, safe, and comforting environment for individuals centering those who identify with the bisexual and pansexual spectrum where people can talk about the intersectionality of their sexuality, their other identities, and other aspects of their lives.

Students Only

La Terrasse: French Table

Faculty, students and staff are all welcome to join our French language assistants for informal French conversation over dinner. All levels of French are welcome! We look forward to meeting you!

"Queer and Trans Immigrant Experiences" with Bambi Salcedo

Join the Queer Resource Center, the Center for Diversity and Student Leadership, and the Center for International Student Experience for an engaging talk given by Bamby Salcedo, a nationally and internationally recognized activist who has received numerous awards for her advocacy work in the trans and queer immigrant communities. Following the talk, there will be dinner and discussion.

If you have accessibility questions or concerns, please email cdsl@amherst.edu.

Climate Action Internship Panel

7:00 pm - 8:00 pm Center for Humanistic Inquiry, Seminar Room

Mingle with other students interested in climate action careers and hear juniors and seniors discuss their previous summer internships related to climate action. Walk away with fresh ideas and an internship search plan for summer 2020!

Summer Psychology Research Forum

Looking for a psychology-related summer internship? Not sure where to start? Join us at the Psychology Department’s Summer Internship Panel. A panel of students will share their insights into getting great summer internships followed by a Q&A with the panel and psychology department faculty.
Dinner provided. Reserve your spot today!
Contact Research Coordinator, Sarah Mattison-Buhl, sbuhl@amherst.edu.

Students Only
Registration Required

Philosophy Club

Friendly conversations and presentations on ethics, metaphysics, epistemology and other philosophical subjects.

German Kaffeeklatsch

German Kaffeeklatsch

Come and join German students and faculty for a chat over coffee and much more! This is a great opportunity to practice your German in a casual and relaxing environment.

Ongoing Events

Operation Fill-A-Cruiser ACPD

Operation Fill-A-Cruiser to Benefit AC’s Counseling Center

Now through November 22, help ACPD support the Counseling Center’s efforts to help those in need. Please donate new, unused, self-care products such as lotion, deodorant, shaving cream, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, dental floss, tampons, panty liners, soap, body wash, laundry detergent or chapstick. Travel size is also accepted.
Locations to donate: ACPD, dispatch; New Science Center, 1st floor near water feature; Keefe Campus Center, manager’s office and Valentine Dining Hall, basement, reception desk.