Blog

Visual Trivia

#1 What is this animal? (1 point)

#2 What is this animal? (Kind of animal is fine, not species specific) (1 point)
#3 What is this animal? 2 point — 1 for name and 1 for spelling
#4 What is this animal? 2 points — 1 for name and 1 for where it lives

Feedback from Science on Tap

We collect surveys at every event, and here is some of the feedback we’ve received from audience members. In answer to the question “What did you like most about tonight’s event?

    • “The fact that the speaker wasn’t afraid to delve into some real science [about the neuroscience of racism] and supported his talk with research findings.”
    • “Hearing an educated scientist speak about an interesting and engaging topic in a personal way. Having my 16 year-old daughter next to me be exposed to this level of thinking.”
    • “Hilarious and informative.”
    • “Real experts in person!
    • “Both speakers were wonderful. I’m impressed that both were female. We need more of that!”
    • “Excellent, evidence-based information from a passionate and knowledgeable speaker.”

Also, from one Science on Tap regular: “I’ve learned a ton from Via’s events on a wide variety of topics, which makes me the life of any party I attend! For example, I know how our beautiful Columbia River Gorge was formed during the talk on The Great Missoula Floods, and the talk Try This At Home taught me how to blow plastic bubbles out of old CDs. At the talk on Waterborne Wonders I learned which organism has the largest genome (it’s not who’d you think), and at Thinky and the Brain I confirmed that teenagers really are psychopaths. But Science on Tap doesn’t only bring a lot of fun knowledge into my little world. It also impacts the community at large by introducing us to the work of brilliant scientists and organizations. For example during Adventures in Forensic Anthropology we were introduced to http://www.namus.gov/, we learned how to prepare for the “Big One” with Megaquake: Cascadia Subduction Zone, and even how to save a life by using Naloxone to reverse overdoses with I Will Revive. I walk away smarter and more inspired after every event.”

An Evening With Dr. Larry Sherman, Musical Neuroscientist

Larry pianoIf you have a piano, a group of friends, and an interest in music and the brain then this perk is for you! Dr. Sherman has given presentations to audiences around the world (including a recent performance at Severance Hall, home of the world-famous Cleveland Orchestra) on the subject of Music and the Brain. Now, you can have Dr. Sherman perform live music and lead a discussion on the latest neuroscience research showing how music affects the brain and brain aging in your own living room (date and time to be arranged).

Dr. Larry Sherman is a Professor in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology and in the Neuroscience Graduate Program at the Oregon Health & Science University. He is also the President of the Oregon Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. He has over 80 publications related to brain development and neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis. He serves on a number of national scientific review panels for the National Institutes of Health, the Congressionally-Directed Medical Research Programs, and others. He has made numerous television appearances, discussing various topics related to neuroscience. He has also given hugely popular talks and performances (including playing the piano) around the globe on topics that include music and the brain, the neuroscience of pleasure and love, and a deeply personal presentation dealing with his recently discovered biological family and exploring the contributions of genes and environment to brain development and personality. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and Portland Monthly Magazine recognized Dr. Sherman as one of the most innovative people in the State of Oregon. He was also the 2012 Teacher of the Year at the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine.

Fine print: This presentation must take place within a 50-mile radius of downtown Portland, Oregon, or additional travel expenses may apply, and it must be held on or before December 1, 2015.

Nerd Nite Portland #17 – Thinky and the Brain: Mental Processes in Humans and Animals

Nerd Nite is a monthly event that strives for an inebriated, salacious, yet soundly academic vibe. We aim to entertain, educate, elucidate, enlighten, and other things that start with “e.” Be there and be square.

When: Tuesday, July 1, 2014, doors at 6:00pm, event at 7:00pm
Cost: $8.00 advance tickets available online, $10.00* suggested cover at the door
Where: Clinton Street Theater, 2522 SE Clinton Street, Portland
Food & Drink: Beer, wine, popcorn, and snacks available at the theater. There are several restaurants in the neighborhood, and you’re welcome to bring food into the theater with you.

This Nerd Nite will feature two speakers.


Hedonists vs. Puritans: The Balance in Your Brain

Our brains are a complex interworking of systems that drive and regulate our bodily functions and behaviors. The limbic system is responsible for our appetites — for food, flight, and…uh…fornication — and the frontal cortex helps regulate those urges so we can make rational decisions. The frontal cortex is what keep our basic desires in check so we can function in society without getting arrested or in trouble. But what happens when the balance between the limbic system and the frontal cortex gets disturbed, such as with traumatic brain injury? Come hear from Dr. Courtney Takahashi, neurologist at OHSU, how the parts of our brains work together to make us act the way we do.

 

Does Your Dog Feel Guilt? Thinking Realistically About Animal Emotions
Do monkeys have a sense of fairness? Do dogs feel guilt? Common sense and intuition tells us that yes, they do. Animals are normally viewed as variations on our kind – feathered, scaled, or furry versions of people – and their mental lives in relation to how they measure up to us. However, is that actually true? Current thinking in the field of comparative cognition departs from this kind of human-centered approach, and instead seeks to understand other animals on their own terms, rather than on ours. Come hear Dr. Tim Hackenberg, psychology professor at Reed College, talk about what we can learn from other animals by keeping our human biases in check.

 

Facebook Event

Meetup Event

_________

*A note on the suggested cover: Nerd Nite is supported by money collected at the door. We are committed to offering education opportunities to adults who want to learn, so if $10 is a hardship for you, please come anyway and donate what you can.

Science Behind the Scenes: Oregon Zoo (September 2014)

The zoo after hours is a lively place! Get a backstage tour of the Oregon Zoo in Portland on the evening of Saturday, September 13, 2014. This adults-only event will allow you to explore the exhibits, interact with animals, and get a peek at what happens at the zoo after dark.

When: Saturday, September 13, 2014
– Saturday at 4:45pm: Arrive at Gate E in the Oregon Zoo parking lot
– Event ends at 10:00 pm

Where: Oregon Zoo in Portland, OR, http://www.oregonzoo.org/

Cost: $40 – Register online

What you get:
– Access to the Oregon Zoo after hours
– Hospital behind-the-scenes tour
– Animal kitchen tour
– Big cats tour and/or elephant tour
– Bats activity
– Contact experience with reptiles

General Info:
– Adults only, ages 18 and over please.
– EAT DINNER BEFORE YOU ARRIVE! There will be a small snack partway through the evening, but there will be no dinner served.
– There is no smoking or alcohol allowed anywhere on the Oregon Zoo property.
– There is limited availability for this trip with a maximum of 75 people.
– Transportation to or from the Oregon Zoo is not included.

To Bring:
– This is Oregon and we will be mostly outside, so please plan for rain if it seems likely.
– We will spend several hours walking and standing, so please wear comfortable shoes.
– It’s not strictly necessary, but you may want to bring a small flashlight or headlamp for walking around after dark.

Payment Information:
Payment of $40 per person is due upon registration, first come, first served. Registration and payment can be made online through Seat Engine, or in person by cash, check, or credit card. Contact us for details.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: 5:00pm on Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cancelation/Refund information:
– Participants who have to cancel are highly encouraged to find a replacement
– The $40 per person payment is fully refundable if canceled at least 30 calendar days in advance
– If canceled between 15-30 calendar days in advance, 50% of the payment will be refunded
– If canceled 1-15 calendar days in advance, no payment will be refunded
– No amount will be refunded on account of weather and/or circumstances outside of the organizer’s control

See photos of the Science Behind the Scenes: Oregon Zoo event held on April 19, 2014.

 

*Photo credit: Asian elephant calf Lily and her big brother Samudra play in a sand pile at the Oregon Zoo. ©Oregon Zoo/ photo by Kathy Street

Nerd Nite Vancouver #5 – This Is Your Brain…This Is Your Brain on Parasites

Nerd Nite is a monthly event that strives for an inebriated, salacious, yet deeply academic vibe. We aim to entertain, educate, elucidate, enlighten, and other things that start with “e.” Be there and be square.

When: Wednesday, June 11, 2014, doors at 6:00pm, event at 7:00pm
Cost: $8.00 advance tickets available online, $10.00* suggested cover at the door
Where: Kiggins Theater, 1011 Main Street, Vancouver, WA
Food & Drink: Beer, wine, pizza slices, popcorn, and snacks available at the theatre

This Nerd Nite will feature one talk:

You know how sometimes when you’re having sex and your partner gets stung by a parasite and you both get dragged away to an underground lair and buried alive? Or the time you had a bunch of alien larvae gnaw their way out through your skin and force you to protect them until you starve to death? How about that louse that ate your tongue and then took your tongue’s place? Dr. Lisa Sardinia, associate professor of biology at Pacific University will tell us all about zombie cockroaches and suicidal crickets—how parasites alter the behavior of their hosts.

 

Facebook Event

Meetup Event

_________

*A note on the suggested cover: Nerd Nite is supported by money collected at the door. We are committed to offering education opportunities to adults who want to learn, so if $10 is a hardship for you, please come anyway and donate what you can.

Nerd Nite Vancouver #4 – Cataclysms on the Columbia: The Great Missoula Floods

Nerd Nite is a monthly event that strives for an inebriated, salacious, yet deeply academic vibe. We aim to entertain, educate, elucidate, enlighten, and other things that start with “e.” Be there and be square.

When: Wednesday, May 14, 2014, doors at 6:00pm, event at 7:00pm
Where: Kiggins Theatre, 1011 Main Street, Vancouver, WA
Cost: $10.00* suggested cover at the door, buy tickets online

This Nerd Nite will feature just one speaker, the unforgettable Scott Burns!

One of the greatest sets of geological events to ever have occurred in North America was the Missoula Floods. Occurring as many as 40 times during the last ice age, the floods were caused by waters released from ancient Lake Missoula that scoured the Columbia River basin, carved out the Columbia River Gorge, and swept across at least 16,000 square miles of the Pacific Northwest. At this Nerd Nite, Scott Burns, PhD, professor of geology and past chair of the Department of Geology at PSU, will focus on the incredible story of discovery and development of the idea of the floods by J Harlen Bretz and will discuss the effect of the floods on the landscape of the Willamette Valley and the area around us.

_________

*A note on the suggested cover: Nerd Nite is supported by money collected at the door. We are committed to offering education opportunities to adults who want to learn, so if $10 is a hardship for you, please come anyway and donate what you can.

Nerd Nite Portland #15 – I Will Revive: Using Naloxone to Reverse Overdoses

When: Tuesday, May 6, 2014, doors at 6:00pm, event at 7:00pm
Where: Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan, Portland

Oregon has one of the highest rates in the country for illicit use of prescription opiates. Overdose deaths rose 400 percent from 2000 to 2011. But since last July, naloxone – a drug long used by emergency medical personnel to reverse an opiate overdose – has been made available to trained lay people and more than 600 people have been trained in how to use the drug. Meet the men and women from the Multnomah County Health Department and Outside In as they discuss what naloxone is, what it does, and how it has already saved more than 200 lives.

_________

New Home for Nerd Nite Portland!

We are happy to announce that Nerd Nite Portland has a new home! Starting on the Nerd Nite on June 3, 2014, we will be moving to the Clinton Street Theater located at 2522 SE Clinton Street, Portland, OR.

Beer, wine, popcorn, and snacks available for purchase at the theater. There are several restaurants in the neighborhood, and you’re welcome to bring food into the theater with you.

Thanks to all of you who filled out our online survey and helped us find our new venue!

 

About the Clinton Theater

A landmark of Portland cinema history, The Clinton Street Theater is one of the oldest operating moviehouses in the United States. Famous for its long-standing exhibition of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, the theater is currently a magnet for independent / revival films.

In April of 2012, the Clinton Street Theater was purchased by Roger and Lani Jo Leigh (who are super nice!). It has a revolving cast of volunteers and film freaks who enjoy helping support its existence.

 

interior 3
The Clinton Street Theater during a recent live performance of The Vagina Monologues

Nerd Nite Portland #14 – Waterborne Wonders: Aquatic Insects and Amphibians of the Pacific Northwest

Nerd Nite is a monthly event that strives for an inebriated, salacious, yet soundly academic vibe. We aim to entertain, educate, elucidate, enlighten, and other things that start with “e.” Be there and be square.

When: Tuesday, April 1, 2014, doors at 6:00pm, event at 7:00pm
Where: Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan, Portland
Cost: $8.00* suggested cover at the door
Facebook Event Page
Meetup Event Page

This Nerd Nite will feature two talks:

The Secret Lives of Stream Bugs
When you see a colorful dragonfly flitting through the air, do you realize you’re looking at a voracious killing machine? Did you know that some insects thrive in rushing mountain streams for months or years as aquatic larvae, and then live for only a day after they leave the water as adults? Join us as Dr. Laura E. McMullen reveals some of the hidden marvels of aquatic insects in Oregon. Dr. McMullen has studied stream-dwelling bugs in the deserts of Arizona, the redwoods of California, and the mountains of Oregon. She now co-owns a local nature tour business, Volcano Lands.

Some Like it Cool and Damp: Amphibians of the Northwest
The prodigious rains of Oregon and Washington are what keep this region so delightfully green and mossy. All that water also creates some prime habitat for our secretive amphibian friends. Numerous frogs and salamanders go about their business in streams and wetlands in our valleys, forests, and mountains. Amphibians may not get as much press as mammals or birds, but they are truly fascinating creatures, with many weird and wonderful traits. Dr. Ivan Phillipsen will introduce you to the amphibians that lurk in your backyard and beyond. Dr. Phillipsen studied the population genetics of several frog species while in graduate school in California and at Oregon State University.

_________

*A note on the suggested cover: Nerd Nite is completely supported by money collected at the door. We are committed to offering education opportunities to adults who want to learn, so if $8 is a hardship for you, please come anyway and donate what you can.

Nerd Nite Vancouver #2 – Dark Wings: The Nightlife of Bats and Birds

Nerd Nite is a monthly event that strives for an inebriated, salacious, yet soundly academic vibe. We aim to entertain, educate, elucidate, enlighten, and other things that start with “e.” Be there and be square.

When: Wednesday, March 12, 2014, doors at 6:00pm, event at 7:00pm
Where: Kiggins Theater, 1011 Main Street, Vancouver, WA
Cost: $8.00* suggested cover at the door
Facebook Event Page
Meetup Event Page

This Nerd Nite will feature two talks:

Owls and Other Night Birds
Owls are the first type of birds that come to mind when we think of feathered night fliers, but many other species of birds are also active after dark. Jonathan Plissner, PhD, is a senior scientist with ABR, Inc. Environmental Research and Services and has been studying bird populations and behaviors for 30 years. His presentation will focus on nocturnal activities and adaptations of various groups of birds, as well as the risks these birds face in navigating landscapes altered by human beings.

The Biology, Behavior & Benefits of Bats
Bats are essential to the health of our natural world. They help control pests and are vital pollinators and seed-dispersers for countless plants. Yet these wonderfully diverse and beneficial creatures are among the least studied and most misunderstood of animals. Cris Hein, PhD, is a biologist with Bat Conservation International and has been studying bat behavior and ecology for 14 years. Cris will discuss the amazing adaptations of these nocturnal animals and their importance to humans and the environment.

_________

*A note on the suggested cover: Nerd Nite is completely supported by money collected at the door. We are committed to offering education opportunities to adults who want to learn, so if $8 is a hardship for you, please come anyway and donate what you can.

Nerd Nite Portland #13 – The Mystique of Terroir: Geology, Soils, Climate and Wines in the Northern Willamette Valley

Nerd Nite is a monthly event that strives for an inebriated, salacious, yet deeply academic vibe. We aim to entertain, educate, elucidate, enlighten, and other things that start with “e.” Be there and be square.

When: Tuesday, March 4, 2014, doors at 6:00pm, event at 7:00pm
Where: Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan, Portland
Cost: $8.00* suggested cover at the door

ter·roir/tɛrˈwɑr;
noun

Definition: the environmental conditions, especially soil and climate, in which grapes are grown and that give a wine its unique flavor and aroma.

The Willamette Valley has a certain je ne sais quoi, no? What special quality of the region’s terroir yields such exceptional wines? How do the soil, climate, and conditions lend themselves to lovely Pinot Noirs, but not Cabernets or Merlots? How does the region’s geologic past affect where and how to grow grapes? How does Oregon compare to other wine-growing regions in the United States and other countries around the world? Join us as Dr. Scott Burns, professor of geology and past chair of the Department of Geology at PSU, and wine enthusiast, tells us about all this and more about what makes a vineyard successful.

Facebook Event Page
Meetup Event Page

 

_________

*A note on the suggested cover: Nerd Nite is completely supported by money collected at the door. We are committed to offering education opportunities to adults who want to learn, so if $8 is a hardship for you, please come anyway and donate what you can.

Nerd Nite Vancouver #1 – Lust, Chocolate, and Prairie Voles: The Neuroscience of Pleasure and Love

Nerd Nite is a monthly event that strives for an inebriated, salacious, yet deeply academic vibe. We aim to entertain, educate, elucidate, enlighten, and other things that start with “e.” Be there and be square.

When: Wednesday, February 12, 2014, doors at 6:00pm, event at 7:00pm
Where: Kiggins Theater, 1011 Main Street, Vancouver, WA
Cost: $8.00* suggested cover at the door

Is the brain chemistry behind our love for chocolate equivalent to that which drives infatuation with a new lover, the love of a particular song, or addiction? How does the brain sort out pleasure and discomfort? What drives our decisions to stay with one person for life or go from one lover to another, never settling down? This Nerd Nite will focus on these and other questions that reveal much about how neurochemical changes can have major effects on our behaviors—how we love, what we love, and who we love.

Dr. Larry Sherman is a Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology and Neuroscience at OHSU. He was identified as someone who is “Changing our World” by Portland Monthly Magazine and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and he was awarded OHSU Teacher of the Year in 2012.

Facebook event page
Meetup event page

_________

*A note on the suggested cover: Nerd Nite is completely supported by money collected at the door. We are committed to offering education opportunities to adults who want to learn, so if $8 is a hardship for you, please come anyway and donate what you can.

Nerd Nite Portland #12 – Then and Now: The Transformation of Portland Landscapes

Nerd Nite is a monthly event that strives for an inebriated, salacious, yet deeply academic vibe. We aim to entertain, educate, elucidate, enlighten, and other things that start with “e.” Be there and be square.

When: Tuesday, February 4, 2014, doors at 6:00pm, event at 7:00pm
Where: Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan, Portland
Cost: $8.00* suggested cover at the door

This Nerd Nite will feature two excellent talks:

The Willamette River: A History of Sediment and Change

The Willamette River is one of the most important geological features of this area. With no river, no port. And with no port, no Portland. The river has undergone huge changes since the arrival of settlers and cities. Yet throughout the taming the river by building sea walls, the dredging and channeling to facilitate shipping, and the 100+ years of dumping toxins and waste, the Willamette is still a living river with birds and fish and people who dependent on it. Keith Johnson, Manager of the DEQ Northwest Region Cleanup Program, and Kevin Parrett, NWR Cleanup Section Manager at the DEQ, will give us a visual history of the Willamette and how the river and the city have changed each other.

 

The Subsurface History of Portland

People have been moving the earth around in the Portland Metro area to suit our needs since the earliest days of urban habitation, and this history of cutting and filling impacts many aspects of living and working in the city. Engineer Stuart Albright from Apex Companies will present historic maps and photos of Portland that he uses to evaluate the location and extent of the earthwork and landfilling that has shaped this area. He will also share the history of the locations of some of the largest historic fills, such as Asylum Creek, Guilds Lake, Tanner Creek, and Marquam Gulch, and how those landscapes affect us today.
 
 
Facebook Event Page
Meetup Event Page
 
_________

*A note on the suggested cover: Nerd Nite is completely supported by money collected at the door. We are committed to offering education opportunities to adults who want to learn, so if $8 is a hardship for you, please come anyway and donate what you can.

Nerd Nite Vancouver #3 – I Dig Your Bones: Adventures in Forensic Anthropology

Nerd Nite is a monthly event that strives for an inebriated, salacious, yet deeply academic vibe. We aim to entertain, educate, elucidate, enlighten, and other things that start with “e.” Be there and be square.

When: Wednesday, April 9, 2014, doors at 6:00pm, event at 7:00pm
Where: Kiggins Theater, 1011 Main Street, Vancouver, WA
Cost: $8.00* suggested cover at the door
Facebook Event Page
Meetup Event Page

This Nerd Nite will feature one talk:

A forensic anthropologist is on the front lines of speaking for those who can no longer speak for themselves. At this event, Dr. Veronica “Nici” Vance from the Oregon State Police Forensic Laboratory will talk about how skeletal remains are found, how bones are analyzed, and how victims can be identified. Discover how the differences and similarities in our bodies are reflected in our bones and tissues, and how they can tell a story of how someone lived…and died. Hear about new technologies being used to solve cold cases and identify missing persons throughout the nation, and what you can do to help.

_________

*A note on the suggested cover: Nerd Nite is completely supported by money collected at the door. We are committed to offering education opportunities to adults who want to learn, so if $8 is a hardship for you, please come anyway and donate what you can.

Science Behind the Scenes: Oregon Zoo

The zoo after hours is a lively place! Get a backstage tour of the Oregon Zoo in Portland on the evening of Saturday, April 19, 2014. This adults-only event will allow you to explore the exhibits, interact with animals, and get a peek at what happens at the zoo after dark.

When: Saturday, April 19, 2014
– Saturday at 4:45pm: Arrive at Gate E in the Oregon Zoo parking lot
– Event ends at 10:00 pm

Where:
Oregon Zoo in Portland, OR, http://www.oregonzoo.org/

Cost: $40 – Register online

What you get:
– Access to the Oregon Zoo after hours
– Hospital behind-the-scenes tour
– Animal kitchen tour
– Predators of the Serengeti Exhibit Design tour
– Big cats tour and/or elephant tour (there were just lions born so the big cats area may be off limits, but the baby elephant is old enough to have that area back on the schedule)
– Bats activity
– Contact experience with reptiles

General Info:
– Adults only, ages 21 and over please.
– EAT DINNER BEFORE YOU ARRIVE! There will be a small snack with hot cocoa partway through the evening, but there will be no dinner served.
– There is no smoking or alcohol allowed anywhere on the Oregon Zoo property.
– There is limited availability for this trip with a maximum of 75 people.
– Transportation to or from the Oregon Zoo is not included.

Payment Information:
Payment of $40 per person is due upon registration, first come, first served. Registration and payment can be made online through Constant Contact, or in person by cash, check, or credit card. Contact us for details.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: 1:00pm on Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cancelation/Refund information:
– Participants who have to cancel are highly encouraged to find a replacement
– The $40 per person payment is fully refundable if canceled at least 30 calendar days in advance
– If canceled between 15-30 calendar days in advance, 50% of the payment will be refunded
– If canceled 1-15 calendar days in advance, no payment will be refunded
– No amount will be refunded on account of weather and/or circumstances outside of the organizer’s control

To Bring:
– Warm and/or waterproof clothes for walking around outside at night

 

*Photo credit: A female Amur tiger refreshes herself while on exhibit at the Oregon Zoo. Photo by Kevin Brown.

Nerd Nite Portland #11 – Water, Water, Everywhere

Nerd Nite is a monthly event that strives for an inebriated, salacious, yet deeply academic vibe. We aim to entertain, educate, elucidate, enlighten, and other things that start with “e.” Be there and be square.

When: Tuesday, January 7, 2014, doors at 6:00pm, event at 7:00pm
Where: Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan, Portland
Cost: $8.00* suggested cover at the door

This Nerd Nite will feature two speakers on one topic:

Ocean Acidification: From Shellfish to Science, Salmon to Solutions

If you’ve heard of the term ocean acidification, it’s likely been in the context of some future threat. Corals disappearing, fish populations harmed, island nations that depend on fish suffering. But ocean acidification is already impacting people and places today – particularly in the Pacific Northwest. Julia Roberson, director of Ocean Conservancy’s ocean acidification program, and George Waldbusser from the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at OSU, will take us on a journey of those already experiencing this problem – including local oyster growers, clownfish (yes, Nemo!) and what the future might look like for our beloved salmon. But while ocean acidification is a major challenge for those of us that rely on and love the ocean, there are reasons for optimism. This is not a story of despair, but a story of action, collaboration and ultimately, hope.

Julia Roberson directs Ocean Conservancy’s ocean acidification program. Her passion is taking complex issues that affect our ocean and figuring out how to make them real and relevant to people. Her favorite sea creatures? On any given day it could be oysters, fishermen or manta rays. Follow her on Twitter @juliaroberson.

George Waldbusser, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at OSU, and he studies Ocean Ecology and Biogeochemistry.
Facebook Event Page
Meetup Event Page

 

_________

*A note on the suggested cover: Nerd Nite is completely supported by money collected at the door. We are committed to offering education opportunities to adults who want to learn, so if $8 is a hardship for you, please come anyway and donate what you can.

T-shirt: Astronomy – It’s out of this world!

Show the world that you love astronomy! This design features glow-in-the-dark stars in the positions they will be in the sky when looking north from Portland, Oregon, at 9:30pm on Tuesday, September 16, including constellations such as Ursa Major and Minor, Draco, and Cassiopeia. There’s also a new, special pint glass-shaped constellation that is sure to help when navigating by the night sky.

Book: Molecules: The Elements and the Architecture of Everything

“Molecules” is the long-awaited sequel to Theodore Gray’s bestselling book and revolutionary iPad app, “The Elements.” Featuring the same style of breathtaking photography as “The Elements” and Gray’s trademark exhilarating prose, Molecules explores hundreds of the most interesting, unusual, and surprising chemical bonds and how they form to make up all of the stuff in the world.

Growing Sustainably: New Technology for Precision Agriculture

Thursday, January 10, 2013, 7-9 pm

 

Cozmic, 199 W. 8th Ave, Eugene

 

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

 
The world’s food needs are expected to double by 2050 but with most of the world’s prime farmland already in production, we need new ways of growing more food. To keep up with the demand, scientists and engineers are developing techniques to increase production by maximizing use of fertilizers and by optimizing water delivery and irrigation schedules, all with the aim of increasing the efficiency of precision agricultural practices.

But what about the environmental impacts, such as the runoff and leeching of fertilizers, or the overuse of local water tables? Enabling sustainable precision agriculture requires monitoring all facets of a field’s health, both upstream and downstream. This sort of intensive monitoring requires new sensors and probes to be added to the agricultural toolbox. At this Science Pub, find out about what new technologies are being developed and how they are being used in the field.

Calden N. Carroll, PhD, is a native of Flagstaff, Arizona and received his PhD in Physical Organic Chemistry in the laboratories of Profs. Michael M. Haley and Darren W. Johnson at the University of Oregon, where he studied the self-assembly of small molecules. He stays busy as the President of SupraSensor Technologies when he is not on the river, where he spends any free time he finds.

Bruce Branchaud, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology at the University of Oregon. Dr. Branchaud received his PhD from Harvard in 1981. In addition to his academic career, he spent several years as an R&D executive in the biotech industry, at Invitrogen and Life Technologies from 2005-2011. He has made scientific contributions over the past 3 decades in several areas including organic chemistry, biological chemistry, chemical biology, organometallic chemistry and nanochemistry.

Exploring the Deep Ocean: Strange Animals, Submarine Volcanoes, and Life in Extreme Environments

Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 7-9 pm

 

Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan, Portland

 

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

Critical to life on Earth yet, virtually unexplored, the planet’s largest ecosystem – the ocean – holds many mysteries. Though currently subject to rapid change with unknown global-scale consequences, the ocean has been the source of a number of new discoveries of animal life, environments and even extremophiles. At this Science Pub, find out just how much of the planet’s surface is still left to explore, and what kinds of curious creatures live there.

Stephen R. Hammond, PhD, is the Chief Scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Ocean Exploration and Research Program and Division Leader for the Ocean Environment Research Division of NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. Dr. Hammond has been involved in marine geophysics and submarine volcanic and hydrothermal research for more than 40 years. He has also led the NOAA Vents ocean exploration program for more than 25 years. Dr. Hammond received his B.S. from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii.

Special note: This is a repeat of the Science Pub Mission held on September 18, 2012, that had a more-than-capacity crowd. While Dr. Hammond will cover some of the same topic, there will also be updated information about ongoing exploration projects.

I Can See Clearly Now: Particles and Air Quality

Thursday, January 17, 2013, 7-9 pm

 

Hotel Oregon, 310 NE Evans St, McMinnville

 

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

The air around us is made of up many things, including water, gasses, and aerosols. These aerosols, or tiny particles suspended in air, can come from natural sources or man-made pollutants. Often visible to the naked eye, they can have a huge effect on climate warming and cooling, and can dramatically affect the amount of solar energy that reaches the Earth’s surface. At this Science Pub we’ll talk about the optical properties of aerosols in our atmosphere, compare measurements taken in Houston and Sacramento, and discuss the effects of aerosols on our climate in general.

Dean B. Atkinson, PhD, is an Associate Professor and Assistant Chair of Chemistry at Portland State University. He received a BS in chemistry at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and a PhD from University of Arizona in Physical Chemistry. He also did a Post-doc at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, MD doing Chemical Kinetics, and has been at PSU since 1997.

Nature vs. Nurture: A Story of Adoption, Reunion, Neuroscience and Shock Therapy

Monday, January 7, 2013

 

Bagdad Theater, 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland

 

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

How do we become the people we are? Is it in the way we were raised, or in our genes? Or both?

In this unique presentation, Dr. Larry Sherman weaves stories about his recently discovered biological family – including five siblings who all grew up in very different circumstances – with discussions about how our genes and environment influence our brains and, ultimately, who we are.

Larry Sherman, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology andthe Neuroscience Graduate Program at OHSU and a Senior Scientist at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. He earned his B.A. and M.A., both in Biology, from Reed College and a Ph.D. in Cell Biology and Anatomy from Oregon Health & Science University. After conducting post-doctoral research in Molecular Biology at the Genetics Institute in Karlsruhe, Germany, Dr. Sherman was an Assistant Professor of Cell Biology and Neurobiology at the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine. He has written more than 80 publications, serves on numerous national and international scientific panels, and gives lectures throughout the globe on his studies related to repairing the damaged nervous system, and other topics in neuroscience ranging from music to love. He is the president of the Oregon Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience and was recently named one of the 12 Most Innovative People in Oregon by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and Portland Monthly Magazine.

Lust, Chocolate and Prairie Voles: The Neuroscience of Pleasure and Love

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

 

Brown’s Towne Lounge, 189 Lincoln St. NE, Salem

 

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

 
Is the brain chemistry behind our love for chocolate equivalent to that which drives infatuation with a new lover, the love of a particular song, or addiction? How does the brain sort out pleasure and discomfort? What drives our decisions to stay with one person for life or go from one lover to another, never settling down? This Science Pub will focus on these and other questions that reveal much about how neurochemical changes can have major effects on our behaviors—how we love, what we love, and who we love.

Larry Sherman, PhD, is a full professor in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology and in the Neuroscience Graduate Program at OHSU and a Senior Scientist at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. He earned his B.A. and M.A., both in Biology, from Reed College and a Ph.D. in Cell Biology and Anatomy from the Oregon Health Sciences University. After conducting post-doctoral research in Molecular Biology at the Genetics Institute in Karlsruhe, Germany, he was an Assistant Professor of Cell Biology and Neurobiology at the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine. He has over 80 publications, serves on numerous national and international scientific panels, and gives lectures throughout the globe on his studies related to finding ways to repair the damaged nervous system, and other topics in neuroscience ranging from music to love. He is the president of the Oregon Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience and was recently named one of the 12 Most Innovative People in Oregon by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and Portland Monthly Magazine.

Water, Electronics, and Energy

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

 

Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan, Portland

 

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

 
We all know that water is essential to life. With energy from the sun, water is converted to the food that we eat and the oxygen that we breathe by the chemical factories that we call plants. But, did you know that water chemistries are being developed to provide industrial factories with new ways to make electronic gadgets like smartphones and solar cells? Such developments are enabling a transformational approach to environmentally responsible manufacturing. Come explore how we turn rocks into computers and how the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry is contributing to a clean and sustainable future through chemistry.

Douglas Keszler, PhD, is Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Oregon State University. He is the Director of the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry, a multi-institutional Phase-II Center for Chemical Innovation sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute. His research is focused on the discovery and development of completely new compositions of matter and their integration into new electronic and energy devices.

Getting to the Heart of Nutrition: Health for a Lifetime

Monday, December 3, 2012

 

Bagdad Theater, 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland

 

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

 

We have all heard that nutrition is important and that healthy eating can lead to a longer life. That’s certainly true for food choices you make as an adult, but what about what you ate when you were a kid? Or what about the food your mom ate when she was pregnant with you? Is it possible that those meals can have an effect on your health and lifespan?

At this Science Pub find out about research at OHSU that shows that the increase in chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease and diabetes is a consequence of mothers growing up on the American diet. Learn how the research is being done, how the word is being spread that nutrition at all stages in life is important, and how you can take steps to protect yourself and your children.

Kent Thornburg, PhD, is Professor and Associate Chief for Research in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, director of the Heart Research Center and interim director of the Bob and Charlee Moore Institute for Nutrition & Wellness at Oregon Health & Science University. Dr. Thornburg studies the roles of the placenta and the intrauterine environment as programming agents for adult-onset chronic disease and he leads studies on maternal diet and body in regulating fetal growth in women of Oregon. His work has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health. He is committed to community service within OHSU and beyond including K-12 education programs, undergraduate research training programs and ethnic health programs.

Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley’s Curious Collection

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

 

Bagdad Theater, 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland

 

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

 
This is a special Science Pub author event!

Skulls tells the story of the skull, in both the human and animal worlds. Skulls—human in the main, but by no means exclusively—have exerted for thousands of years an almost inexplicable power over the human imagination. They are symbols both of existence and of former existence; they are freighted with terror and awe; they tell of life, death, and the afterlife, of good and evil, of danger, authority and majesty. Perhaps no other biological entity retains such a grip on human psychology as does this assemblage of hollow bone, this thing of domes and socket and jaws and of mysterious interior passageways and canals. People are fascinated and captivated by skulls. They always have been, and always will be.

Simon Winchester, is the author of the bestselling The Professor and the Madman, Krakatoa, and a number of other books. In Skulls, Winchester presents a spellbinding visual exploration of an obsessive collector of what some may call the macabre—over 300 animal skulls, including amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles.

Paper, Plastic, or Cotton Tote Bag? Life Cycle Assessments of Everyday Items

Monday, November 26, 2012 — 7-9 pm

 

Venetian Theatre, 253 E Main Street, Hillsboro

 

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

 
Every day we are confronted with choices that impact our environment: Paper, plastic, or reusable tote bag? Disposable plastic cup or reusable ceramic mug? Prius or Hummer? How do we really know what’s best for the environment? Learn more about how we evaluate the environmental impacts of various materials and products and some of the fundamental principles of green chemistry and sustainability as well. Warning: your intuition about environmental impacts is not always right!

David Tyler, PhD, is the Charles J. and M. Monteith Jacobs Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oregon, currently teaching with five colleagues on the chemistry of sustainability. His areas of research and expertise are the chemistry of plastics, catalysis, photochemistry, and sustainability; he has combined these interests into the development of plastics that degrade, after a delayed interval, to harmless products when they are exposed to light.

The Mystique of Terroir: Geology, Soils, Climate and Wines in the Northern Willamette Valley

Tuesday, November 15, 2012 — 7-9 pm

 

Hotel Oregon, 310 NE Evans St., McMinnville

 

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

ter•roir/tɛrˈwɑr;
noun
Definition: the environmental conditions, especially soil and climate, in which grapes are grown and that give a wine its unique flavor and aroma.

The Willamette Valley has a certain je ne sais quoi, no? What special quality of the region’s terroir yields such exceptional wines? How do the soil, climate, and conditions lend themselves to lovely Pinot Noirs, but not Cabernets or Merlots? How does the region’s geologic past affect where and how to grow grapes? How does Oregon compare to other wine-growing regions in the United States and other countries around the world? Find out about all this and more at this Science Pub with geologist and wine enthusiast, Dr. Scott Burns.

Scott Burns, PhD, is a professor of geology and past chair of the Department of Geology at Portland State University where he has taught for nearly 20 years. Dr. Burns specializes in environmental and engineering geology, geomorphology, soils, and quaternary geology. In Oregon, his projects involve landslides and land use, environmental cleanup of service stations, slope stability, earthquake hazard mapping, the Missoula Floods, paleosols, loess soil stratigraphy, radon generation from soils, and the distribution of heavy metals and trace elements in Oregon soils and alpine soil development. He has won many awards for outstanding teaching including the Distinguished Faculty Award from the Portland State Alumni Association in 2001 and the George Hoffmann Award from PSU in 2007. He has authored more than 90 publications and received more than 25 research grants. Dr. Burns actively helps local TV and radio stations and newspapers bring important geological news to the public and, for the past 40 years, has been studying wine and terroir—the relationship between wine, soils, geology, and climate.

Nanotechnology: Unveiling the Big World of the Very Small

Wednesday, November 14, 2012,

 

Brown’s Towne Lounge, 189 Liberty Street NE, Salem, OR

 

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

How are materials that are only a 1/1,000,000,000 (a billionth) of a meter in size created, tested and engineered? How are these materials reshaping the world of computer technology, renewable energy, medicine, building materials and many others? The US is investing billions of dollars a year in nanotechnology research and commercialization; come explore the exciting world of “nano” and how the State of Oregon, with its state-of-the art facilities and researchers, is leading the charge in creating large advances in the very small.

Dave Johnson, PhD, is the Rosaria P. Haugland Chair in Pure and Applied Chemistry at the University of Oregon. Having received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1983, Dave joined the University of Oregon in 1986. Dr. Johnson’s groundbreaking, non-traditional approach to chemical synthesis has led to the creation of many new materials with immediate practical applications. Dr. Johnson is both an entrepreneur and educator, and has worked extensively with the Engineering and Technology Industry Council to create research and educational programs with Oregon Industries. He led the Material Science Institute’s efforts to create the Graduate Internship Program (Industrial Internship Graduate degree program) . This program now partners with more than 100 companies as well as universities and colleges across the country, providing both Master’s and Ph.D. students in chemistry, physics and engineering with opportunities to spend six to nine months interning at some of the nation’s top companies. Dr. Johnson has strengthened ties between local industry and the University of Oregon and between the University of Oregon and PSU and OSU. He was able to provide both industry and fellow academics access to expensive materials characterization equipment by establishing CAMCOR – the Center for Advanced Materials Characterization in Oregon. CAMCOR is Oregon’s high tech extension service housing over $30M in analytical instruments.

More recently, Dr. Johnson collaborated with OSU and UO partners to establish the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry.

The Tortoise and the Hare: Slow vs. Fast Earthquakes

Tuesday, November 13, 2012, 7-9 pm

Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan, Portland

 

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

In the past decade, earthquake scientists have discovered a family of unusually slow earthquakes. Like ordinary earthquakes, they can occur in diverse geologic environments and slip on the same faults. Unlike their ordinary counterparts, they take a long time to unfold, growing at a constant rate instead of explosively. Comprising a new category of earthquakes, these slow quakes occur on the deep extension of large faults – a location that is “strategic” because it adjoins the part of the faults that generate the more familiar, and dangerous, “ordinary” earthquakes. In other words, slow earthquakes have the potential to trigger large earthquakes, and for this reason alone they merit intense study. At this Science Pub, learn about exciting new discoveries in earthquake science and find out how highly sensitive monitoring networks identified a new class of quake.

Dr. Gregory Beroza is the Wayne Loel Professor; Department Chair, in the Department of Geophysics at Stanford University, School of Earth Sciences. He is also a 2012 Distinguished Lecturer with the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) and the Seismological Society of America (SSA).

Chasing Ice: Filming Our Changing Climate

Friday, November 9, 2012 — doors at 5 pm, talk from 7-9 pm

 

Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan, Portland

 

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

National Geographic photographer James Balog was once a climate-change skeptic. But a 2005 trip to the Arctic changed his mind—and his life. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, Balog conceived The Extreme Ice Survey and began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the Arctic to capture a multiyear record of the world’s changing glaciers. These hauntingly beautiful videos—which compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate—are part of the new film Chasing Ice, which opens at the Hollywood Theater on Nov. 16. Adam LeWinter, EIS Field Coordinator, has worked and filmed extensively in Greenland, Iceland, Alaska, Montana, and Nepal. As the climate-change debate polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, LeWinter shares clips of the film—and the story of one man’s mission to change history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet.

Adam LeWinter joined the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) in the beginning of 2007. Prior to joining EIS he was a design engineer and machinist in Colorado and New Zealand, bringing his practical experience in product design and fabrication to the custom-made time-lapse camera packages used by EIS. In addition to working on the development and fabrication of the time-lapse equipment, Adam managed the expeditions and fieldwork for EIS. LeWinter’s skills were utilized in the 2008 Discovery Channel show, Project Earth and he was featured in the 2009 NOVA production, Extreme Ice. He was also featured with James Balog in the June 2010 Issue of National Geographic for their work capturing the changing landscape of the Greenland ice sheet. Over the years Adam has developed his photography through his experiences with EIS and in 2010 was offered an opportunity to work as a researcher at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab in Hanover, New Hampshire. His work now focuses on capturing changing Landscapes using state-of-the-art LiDAR technology. Adam lives between New Hampshire and Colorado with his lovely wife, Emma LeWinter, who is currently studying medicine at UC Denver.

Lust, Chocolate and Prairie Voles: The Neuroscience of Pleasure and Love

Monday, June 25, 7-9 pm

Venetian Theatre, 253 E Main Street, Hillsboro

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

Is the brain chemistry behind our love for chocolate equivalent to that which drives infatuation with a new lover, the love of a particular song, or addiction? How does the brain sort out pleasure and discomfort? What drives our decisions to stay with one person for life or go from one lover to another, never settling down? This Science Pub will focus on these and other questions that reveal much about how neurochemical changes can have major effects on our behaviors—how we love, what we love, and who we love.

Larry Sherman, PhD, is a full professor in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology and in the Neuroscience Graduate Program at OHSU and a Senior Scientist at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. He earned his B.A. and M.A., both in Biology, from Reed College and a Ph.D. in Cell Biology and Anatomy from the Oregon Health Sciences University. After conducting post-doctoral research in Molecular Biology at the Genetics Institute in Karlsruhe, Germany, he was an Assistant Professor of Cell Biology and Neurobiology at the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine. He has over 80 publications, serves on numerous national and international scientific panels, and gives lectures throughout the globe on his studies related to finding ways to repair the damaged nervous system, and other topics in neuroscience ranging from music to love. He is the president of the Oregon Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience and was recently named one of the 12 Most Innovative People in Oregon by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and Portland Monthly Magazine.

The Big Bang and Beyond: A Beginner’s Guide to the Universe

Thursday, June 21, doors at 6 pm, talk from 7-9

Hotel Oregon, 310 NE Evans St., McMinnville

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

What does the Universe look like and what is our place in it? How is it evolving and what did it look like in the distant past? What will it be like in the future?

Join Willamette University physics chair and cosmologist Dr. Rick Watkins in an exploration of the Universe and its evolution

Driving on Sunshine: The Intersection of our Electrical Grid, Solar Power, and Electric Vehicles

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan, Portland

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

Hosted in collaboration with the Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon and Solar Oregon.

As more solar power comes online and more plug-in electric vehicles begin driving through our communities, it is increasingly important that we design creative solutions that intelligently connect these technologies to our electrical grid. How can solar power and electric vehicles work together to support a cleaner, more efficient electrical grid? What needs to be done to safely and affordably integrate these technologies into our neighborhoods and cities? Hear from Cameron Coleman from InSpec, in partnership with the Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon and Solar Oregon, who will discuss what our sustainable energy future could look like and more..

Cameron Coleman is the lead at InSpec Energy Solutions, a division of InSpec Group offering consulting and project management services to support renewable energy project development and integration. In this position, Cam has worked on a wide variety of renewable energy projects and supported “clean tech” industry development. He has been involved in the design and integration of solar photo-voltaic (PV) systems, solar electric vehicle charging stations, solar thermal projects, small hydro power generation, and energy storage systems. Most recently, Cam designed and lead the integration of a solar PV system at Safeco field for the Seattle Mariners. In his free time, Cam enjoys riding his bike and spending time with his wife of 23 years and their three grown children. .

The Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon (CUB) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1984. CUB’s mission is to represent the interests of Oregon’s residential utility customers in many different arenas, such as the Oregon Public Utility Commission and the Oregon Legislature. CUB works to keep utility rates fair and as affordable as possible, encourage the development of our renewable energy resources, and support intelligent energy policies. CUB also provides resources and information on these issues to Oregonians. CUB keeps energy fair, affordable and clean—all key to our sustainable future. To learn more about CUB’s electric vehicle program, click here.

Solar Oregon is non-profit organization leading the way to a clean energy future by demonstrating the successful use of solar energy in Oregon. Founded in 1979, Solar Oregon provides outreach and education on solar technology and its applications, methods for improving energy efficiency, and ideas for building a carbon-neutral future.

Acoustic Communication in Whales and Dolphins

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Cozmic, 199 W 8th Ave, Eugene, OR

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

 

Why do whales sing? Why do they make so many sounds as they move about our oceans? How can we learn more about whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals from their sounds? David Mellinger, PhD, associate professor at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Sciences Center, will introduce some whales, whale songs and whale sounds and then look at questions that have arisen from research on marine mammal sounds.

“Whales sing when they’re on the breeding grounds,” he says. “So you might think the song is for attracting mates and driving off potential competitors, as it frequently is for birds. But whales also sing in the ‘off-season,’ away from the breeding grounds. Why? Humans too enjoy song, and other music, all the time. What similarities are there that might help us understand both the whales and ourselves?

Another interesting facet of whale calls is that they can travel very long distances in the sea — in some cases, hundreds of miles. Mellinger will show some of the ways in which we hear, locate and track whales and how we use this tracking to understand whale movements and ecology. We also use it for whale conservation, by finding the areas of the sea that are critical to the whales’ survival.

The Dolphin in the Mirror

Monday, June 4, 2012

Bagdad Theater, 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

 

Who is that dolphin in the mirror? When a dolphin looks in a mirror, does it know it is looking at itself? Dolphin expert Diana Reiss says yes. A pioneer in the exploration of the dolphin mind, Reiss will discuss discoveries about the nature of their intelligence such as their capacity for mirror self-recognition, creativity and manipulation, vocal learning, and even using an underwater keyboard. In light of what she’s learned about dolphin thinking, Reiss spends much of her time thinking dolphin and working as an advocate for their global protection.

Diana Reiss, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Psychology, Hunter College, City University of New York and the Biopsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience Program, The Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is a research scientist conducting dolphin research at the National Aquarium in Baltimore and a research associate at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in DC where she conducts research with elephants. She was director of the Marine Mammal Research Program at the Osborn Laboratories of Marine Sciences at the New York Aquarium and co-chair of the Animal Enrichment Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). Dr. Reiss served as a science advisor of the Animal Welfare Committee of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Dr. Reiss’s research focuses on cetacean cognition, communication, comparative animal cognition, and the evolution of intelligence. Much of her work focuses on vocal communication and vocal learning in dolphins using observational and experimental approaches. She pioneered the use of underwater keyboards with dolphins to investigate their cognitive and communicative abilities. Dr. Reiss and her colleagues demonstrated that bottlenose dolphins and Asian elephants possess the rare ability for mirror self-recognition previously thought to be restricted to humans and great apes. Her efforts also involve the rescue and rehabilitation of stranded marine mammals including the successful rescue of the renowned Humphrey, the humpback whale in the San Francisco Bay waters. Her advocacy work in conservation and animal welfare includes the protection of dolphins in the tuna-fishing industry and efforts to bring an end to the killing of dolphins in the drive hunts in Japan. Dr. Reiss’s work has been featured in hundreds of articles in international and national journals, science magazines, television segments and features, and newspaper articles. Her new book, The Dolphin in the Mirror: Exploring Dolphin Minds and Saving Dolphin Lives was released in Fall 2011.

Oregon’s Summer Resident Gray Whales: Unleashing a Well-Kept Secret

Tuesday, May 15, doors at 5 pm, talk from 7-9 pm

 

Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan, Portland

 

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

 

Few people realize that there is a pod of about 70 gray whales that spends the summer off the Pacific Northwest coast. These whales spend the winter around Baja but have figured out that they don’t have to migrate all the way to Alaska for the summertime; instead, they stay and feed in the waters off Oregon. At this Science Pub, find out about the individual whales that consistently come back each summer, their personalities, what they eat, and the research being done to record and preserve them.

Carrie Newell is a professor of marine biology at Lane Community College and is a gray whale researcher and expert that hosts whale watching tours off Depoe Bay. The Cousteau team produced a film that aired on PBS in July 2006 about her discoveries on how the Pacific Northwest pod feeds. She is the author of A Guide to Summer Resident Gray Whales along the Oregon Coast that includes pictures of the whales, how to ID them, and describes their unique personalities.

Epigenetics: The Merger of Nature and Nurture

Monday, May 7, doors at 5 pm, talk from 7-9 pm

Bagdad Theater, 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)



Can genes learn by experience?

Every cell in your body has the same set of genes, but they don’t work in every cell in the same way. For example, your tongue cells don’t grow hair and the cells in your eye don’t digest food. Your cells are programmed to modify genes based on their function in the body, and some of those modifications occur in response to the environment: genes that cause the production of pigment in your skin are activated when your skin is exposed to sunlight, and genes that caused your fingers and toes to develop before you were born are inactivated for the rest of your life.

It has been thought that only mutations in the DNA could be passed on to the next generation and that traits acquired during a parent’s life are not passed to their offspring (e.g., weight lifters don’t produce babies with big muscles). However, recent research suggests that some genetic changes that happen over a lifetime are heritable. That is, while it may be true that “you are what you eat,” it may also be true that “you are what your mother ate.”

Epigenetics is the study of genetic changes that are based on mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA and it is changing the way scientists look at disease risk and treatment. At this Science Pub, come find out about new discoveries in genetics and how they might affect you or your kids.

Lisa Sardinia, PhD, JD, is associate professor of biology at Pacific University and associate director of the Pacific Institute for Ethics and Social Policy.

Note: This is a repeat of the Science Pub held at the Mission Theater on Tuesday, August 16, 2011.

How Geckos Stick and Why We Care

Monday, April 30, 7-9 pm

 

Venetian Theatre, 253 E Main Street, Hillsboro

 

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

Geckos can run up smooth vertical surfaces. Until recently, no one knew how they did it. Looking at the structure of gecko feet at the nanoscale and measuring the tiny forces involved showed that gecko feet stick mechanically, not chemically. This discovery lead to the development of the world’s first adhesive that is dry, self-cleaning, reversible, and can even work in the vacuum of outer space. Designs based on gecko feet are being used to create robots that can run up walls, and this adhesive could bring changes to the manufacture of everything from home electronics to car brakes. At this Science Pub we will talk about how the study of mechanisms and evolution of animal locomotion has lead to biologically-inspired materials and machines.

Kellar Autumn, PhD, professor and chair of biology at Lewis & Clark since 1998, does research that has grown into a new field of study at the interface of biology, physics, and materials science. He has authored over 50 scientific papers and his research is featured in textbooks, encyclopedias, and popular books including The Nanotech Pioneers: Where Are They Taking Us? Every major television network has covered his work, as have hundreds of newspaper, magazine, and Internet articles worldwide.

Promiscuous DNA: The Invasion, Spread, and Impact of Mobile Genes

Thursday, April 19, doors at 6 pm, talk from 7-9

Hotel Oregon, 310 NE Evans St., McMinnville

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

 

If you think our genomes are mainly composed of genes, think again! Whole genome sequencing has paved the way for us to find out what we are in an entirely new way. This Science Pub will focus on the most recent discoveries in genome science, especially the prominence of mobile, parasitic genes that, in humans, account for more than half of the genome. The talk will also include exciting tales of rapid genome expansion, the rampant exchange of genetic material that occurs between species, and how finding out that most of our genome is full of “junk” makes us even more fascinating!

Dr. Sarah Schaack is an Assistant Professor at Reed College working in the area of bioinformatics and genomics. Her work on mobile DNA, mutation, and the evolution of the genome has been published in premier journals, including Science and Nature, and has been featured in the popular cyber press, such as Science Daily.

Penguins of Oregon

Tuesday, April 17, doors at 5 pm, talk from 7-9 pm

 

Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan, Portland

 

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

 

If you are thinking, “wait a minute, there aren’t any penguins in Oregon,” you’re right. But Oregon does have another group of seabirds that are very similar – the alcids or auks. This unrelated group of seabirds is so similar to penguins that visitors to the Oregon coast will call Audubon asking what kind of penguins they saw at Cannon Beach. Penguins and alcids are not related but they have both evolved to be the best swimming/diving birds in the world, except for one big difference. No penguins can fly but all living alcids can. Why would this be when everything else about them is so similar? Naturalist and author James Davis will present a program on the Northwest’s alcids and why they can fly while their ecological equivalents the penguins cannot. James will dress in costumes to make it easy to identify our three most common alcids as we explore the world of deep diving seabirds. James’s adds a touch of nostalgia by showing 35mm slides of our subjects – No PowerPoint!

James Davis is a naturalist for Metro Parks and Natural Areas (the Portland area’s regional park system), a position he’s held since 1998. He is the naturalist for Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area and does a variety of other educational programs in Metro’s natural areas. He is also the author of The Northwest Nature Guide, published by Timber Press in 2009, the Seasonal Guide to the Natural Year: Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, published in 1996, and he was a contributing author of Wild in the City: A Guide to Portland’s Natural Areas published in 2000. In the 1980s he worked for the Audubon Society as Education Director, and in the 1990s he gave educational programs and birding tours for Audubon while teaching science classes at Marylhurst University. He also produced the audio cassette Familiar Bird Songs of the Northwest for the Audubon Society of Portland. When not pursuing his natural history interests, James plays guitar in rock and roll bands, although not nearly enough these days.

Lust, Chocolate and Prairie Voles: The Neuroscience of Pleasure and Love

Thursday, April 12,  7-9 pm

 

Cozmic, 199 W 8th Ave, Eugene, OR

 

Get there early if you want a seat (trust me!)

 

Is the brain chemistry behind our love for chocolate equivalent to that which drives infatuation with a new lover, the love of a particular song, or addiction? How does the brain sort out pleasure and discomfort? What drives our decisions to stay with one person for life or go from one lover to another, never settling down? This Science Pub will focus on these and other questions that reveal much about how neurochemical changes can have major effects on our behaviors—how we love, what we love, and who we love.

Larry Sherman, PhD, is a full professor in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology and in the Neuroscience Graduate Program at OHSU and a Senior Scientist at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. He earned his B.A. and M.A., both in Biology, from Reed College and a Ph.D. in Cell Biology and Anatomy from the Oregon Health Sciences University. After conducting post-doctoral research in Molecular Biology at the Genetics Institute in Karlsruhe, Germany, he was an Assistant Professor of Cell Biology and Neurobiology at the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine. He has over 80 publications, serves on numerous national and international scientific panels, and gives lectures throughout the globe on his studies related to finding ways to repair the damaged nervous system, and other topics in neuroscience ranging from music to love. He is the president of the Oregon Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience and was recently named one of the 12 Most Innovative People in Oregon by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and Portland Monthly Magazine.