Conference & Schedule

Names have been used since time immemorial, to identify, track and connote meaning to individuals, geographic points and places, phenomena, library materials, astronomical points and conditions, weather events, and many other things. One place where names have long been crucial and continue to have vibrant and sustained values is in the biological sciences, where biological nomenclature (e.g. the binomial system developed by Linnaeus) is used to associate and track information, from genes to ecosystems. In this conference, we examine the application and meaning of names in the ways they have been used traditionally, and for objects, events and phenomena that form part of the last and current centuries, including disciplines and arenas such as molecular biology, information science, computer science and emerging new digital media and the semantic web domains (to name a few). It explores the development and application of names, and how they are used to connote concepts and associate a variety of information to, and between, names. Speakers from across broad segments of our society, within and outside academia, will explore and bring into view commonalities and differences, and to declare and debate new meaning in the vital giving and linking of names.



September 29, 2014

7:00 pm: Plenary Lecture: Macky Auditorium -map-

Free and open to the public

Dr. J. Craig Venter 

Life at the Speed of Light


In 2010, J. Craig Venter and his team at the Venter Institute became the first to successfully construct “synthetic life”—putting humankind at the threshold of the most  important and exciting phase of biological research, one that will enable us to actually write the genetic code for designing new species that can be used in many ways for the betterment of mankind. The science of synthetic genomics will have a profound impact on human existence, including new chemical and energy generation, human health and medical advances, clean water and food production, positive environmental impact, and possibly even our evolution.

In Life at the Speed of Light, Venter presents a fascinating and authoritative study of this emerging field from the inside—detailing its origins, current challenges and controversies, and projected effects on our lives. This scientific frontier provides an opportunity to ponder anew the age-old question “What is life?” Life at the Speed of Light is a landmark work, written by a visionary at the dawn of a new era of biological engineering.

September 30, 2014

Conference Opens  •  University Memorial Center (UMC) Room 235  -map-

9:00-9:30: Welcome, Introduction and Context:

Dr. John Stevenson, PhD., Dean of the Graduate School and Professor of English, University of Colorado, Boulder

Dr. Patrick Kociolek, Ph.D, University of Colorado, Boulder: Director, Museum of Natural History

Dr. Robert Guralnick, PhD, University of Colorado, Boulder: Museum of Natural History and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

9:30-10:00: Dr. Scott Peckham, PhD., University of Colorado, Boulder: INSTAAR and CEO and Founder of Rivix, LLC

“The CSDMS Standard Names:  Cross-domain Naming Conventions for Describing Process Models, Data Sets and Their Associated Variables”

10:30-11:00: Dr. Ellinor Michel, PhD., The Natural History Museum, London: Life Sciences Department

“Global Digital Infrastructure for biological nomenclature and taxonomy”

11:00-11:30 BREAK

11:30-12:00: Dr. Robert Scotland, BSc PhD, Oxford University: Department of Plant Sciences

“How to accelerate the pace of naming biodiversity?”

12:00-12:30: Dr. Nico Franz, PhD, Arizona State University: School of Life Sciences

“Explaining taxonomy’s legacy to computers-how and why?

2:00-2:30:  Dr. Andrew Johnson, PhD, University of Colorado, Boulder: Assistant Professor, Metadata Librarian, Cataloging & Metadata Services Department

“An ORCID by any other name: Researcher identifiers and the problem of name disambiguation in the research and scholarship landscape”

2:30-3:00:  Dr. Brian Wee, PhD, The Natural History Museum, London: Life Science Department

“Traceability, identifiers, and semantics in the context of complex spatial-temporal ecological interactions”

3:00-3:30: Dr. Dawn Field, PhD, Oxford University: Molecular Evolution and Bioinformatics Group, Center for Ecology & Hydrology

“Sequencing the Earth”

3:30-4:00 BREAK

4:00-4:30: Dr. David Williams, PhD, The Natural History Museum, London: Life Science Department

“Biological Classification and Names: Sorting the Artificial from the Natural”

4:30-5:00: Dr. Robert Guralnick, PhD, University of Colorado, Boulder: Museum of Natural History and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Mr. Gaurav Vaidya, University of Colorado, Boulder: Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Names, meanings, and the meaninglessness of names

October 1, 2014 

Old Main Chapel -map-

9:00-9:30: Dr, Eli Sacks, PhD., University of Colorado, Boulder: Department of Religious Studies

“The Perils and Promise of Philosophical Naming: Moses Mendelssohn on Philosophy, History, and Language.”

9:30-10:00: Dr. David (Paddy) Patterson, PhD, Emeritus Professor, University of Sydney

"Using names to manage biodiversity information, the role of the Global Names project"

10:00-10:30 BREAK

10:30-11:00: Dr. Larry Hunter, PhD, University of Colorado, Denver: Center for Computational Pharmacology and Computational Bioscience Program

Ontologies for programs, not people”

11:00-11:30: Dr. Leysia Palen, PhD, University of Colorado, Boulder: Department of Computer Science

"The study of ICT in relation to
 actual or potential mass emergencies, with a particular focus on the role of social computing in such situations."

11:30-1:00:  Two Discussion Groups

    – Furthering the topic of names.

    – For students on emerging areas of science for jobs, etc.