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Wednesdays@NICO is a vibrant weekly seminar series focusing broadly on the topics of complex systems and data science.  It brings together attendees ranging from graduate students to senior faculty who span all of the schools across Northwestern, from applied math to sociology to biology and every discipline in-between. This seminar series not only brings some of the top researchers in complex systems from around the country to NICO, but also stimulates interdisciplinary discussion and collaborations. Please join us on Wednesdays at 12 PM US Central in person in Chambers Hall or via Zoom.

Watch more Wed@NICO videos on our YouTube channel

Fall 2023 Seminar Speakers

Fall Speaker Series Returns!

Speakers TBA
September 27, 2023, 12:00pm Central

The Wednesdays@NICO Seminar series will return in the fall on September 27, 2023. The full list of speakers will be posted in early September.

We appreciate recommendations from the NICO community! To suggest a speaker, please fill out this survey:

Spring 2023 Seminar Speakers

Going Against the Grain: Microrollers Flow Uphill as Granular Media

James Gilchrist, Ruth H. and Sam Madrid Professor, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Lehigh University
April 12, 2023, 12:00pm Central

Policy learning 'without' overlap: Pessimism and generalized empirical Bernstein’s inequality

Zhimei Ren, Postdoctoral Researcher, Statistics Department, University of Chicago
April 19, 2023, 12:00pm Central

Understanding Cities as Complex Systems: Two applications to Human Development in the US and Infrastructure Planning in Sub-Saharan Africa

Luís Bettencourt, Director the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation, Professor of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago
April 26, 2023, 12:00pm Central

NICO Lightning Talks

With Northwestern Scholars!
May 3, 2023, 12:00pm Central


  • Rod Abhari - PhD Student, Media, Technology, and Society
  • Oh-Hyun Kwon - PhD Student, Kellogg School of Management
  • Y. Jasmine Wu - PhD Candidate, Communication Studies

Abstracts and Bios

From Padawan to Jedi Master: Machine Learning with a Star Wars Twist

Mark Tschopp, PhD, Research Scientist, Army Research Laboratory
May 10, 2023, 12:00pm Central

Algorithm-mediated social learning in online social networks

William J. Brady, Assistant Professor of Management and Organizations, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
May 17, 2023, 12:00pm Central

Networks at Work: Officer Diversity, Racial Homophily, and Police Misconduct

Linda Zhao, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago
May 24, 2023, 12:00pm Central

Abstract and Bio | YouTube Video available by request

Winter 2023 Seminar Speakers

Subterranean dynamics in Earth and Mars, inferred from big and small seismic data

Suzan van der Lee - Sarah Rebecca Roland Professor, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Northwestern University
January 25, 2023, 12:00pm Central

Lightning Talks With Northwestern Scholars

February 1, 2023, 12pm Central


  • Emilio Lehoucq - PhD Candidate, Department of Sociology, Northwestern University
  • Abby Smith - PhD Candidate, Department of Statistics and Data Science, Northwestern University
  • Emma Zajdela - PhD Candidate, Department of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics, Northwestern University

Abstracts and Bios | YouTube Video

Science on the Web: How networks bias academic communication online

Ágnes Horvát - Assistant Professor, Communication Studies, School of Communication, Northwestern University
February 8, 2023, 12pm Central

Science of science, law of law, and patterns of patents: universal citation dynamics in knowledge systems

Yong-Yeol "YY" Ahn, Associate Professor, Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research, Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, Indiana University Bloomington
February 15, 2023, 12pm Central

Fetal developmental plasticity as signal-noise problem: the case of nutrients and stress physiology

Chris Kuzawa, John D. MacArthur Professor, Department of Anthroplogy, Northwestern University
February 22, 2023, 12:00pm Central

Tractable mathematical modeling of social systems: some successes and failures

Daniel Abrams, Professor of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics and (by courtesy) Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University
March 1, 2023 12:00pm Central

POSTPONED: Stigma’s Uneven Decline

Alina Arseniev-Koehler, Assistant Professor, Sociology, Purdue University
March 8, 2023, 12:00pm Central

This talk is postponed and will be rescheduled. We look forward to welcoming Professor Arseniev-Koehler in the next academic year.
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