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.