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M.I.T. professor and NOVA program drone expert will speak at Iowa State April 1

AMES, Iowa — The military deployment and potential domestic use of drones is fast becoming a central debate of our time. Iowa State University’s World Affairs Series will host a talk about the issues surrounding unmanned aerial vehicles by one of the technology’s leading researchers.

Missy Cummings’ presentation, “Drones: A Tipping Point of Technology,” will be at 7 p.m. Monday, April 1, in the Memorial Union Sun Room. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Cummings is associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics, and engineering systems director of the Humans and Automation Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has been a guest on NPR’s “Science Friday,” “The Colbert Report” and “The Daily Show,” where she disputed the “popular dystopian vision of drone warfare”. In January, Cummings was featured in the PBS NOVA program, “Rise of the Drones” .

As one of the Navy’s first female fighter pilots from 1988 to 1999, Cummings landed FA-18 fighter jets on aircraft carriers. She earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the United States Naval Academy, master’s in space systems engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School and Ph.D. in systems engineering from the University of Virginia. Her research interests include human interaction with autonomous vehicle systems, modeling human interaction, decision support design for time-pressured, uncertain systems, and the ethical and social impact of technology.

Cummings’ presentation is co-sponsored by the College of Engineering, the World Affairs Series and the Committee on Lectures, which is funded by the Government of the Student Body.

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