Past Science Pubs

Past Pubs

Agriculture Research at Dartmouth: From Local to Global Solutions

  • At the Dartmouth Organic Farm, students and faculty use the acreage on Route 10 for a wide range of projects ranging from growing produce to distribute to food shelf programs, to bat echolocation research, to soil health research. On a larger scale, research at the Dartmouth Toxic Metal Superfund Research Program investigates how to reduce arsenic in rice, a staple food for more than half the world's population. Soil health and plant nutrition go hand in hand. How do these two research programs contribute to local and global farming practices? What are sustainable solutions?
  • Discussion Leaders: Todd Warczak, Laura Braasch

From Science to Policy and Back Again

  • Science - the work of analysis, experiment, fail, and try again – relentlessly pursues answers to some of the most complex and pressing issues of our time, but work in the lab won't change the world if it stays in the lab. How to get research findings out in the world, to fuel the zeitgeist, and inform policy to address those complex issues, is an important art. Although the work of scientists impacts almost every part of our daily lives, missteps in communication on the science-to-policy path can be disastrous. What does it take to be an effective advocate for science-informed policy? What is the difference between policy that impacts science and science that impacts policy? What are the roles of scientist, advocate, and policy-maker?
  • Discussion leaders: Melody Brown Burkins, Celia Y. Chen, Anne R. Kapuscinski 

The Science of Community Behavior: The Listserv and Beyond

  • Upper Valley residents know the importance of community. How else would we get through these long winter months? For some, that means having a friend drop off a pot of soup if we're sick, for others, it means reaching out to the listserv to ask for help plowing the snow, and for you, reading this, it means coming along to Science Pub. Humans are social animals, and being part of a network has important effects on emotional well-being, immune function, and health. In fact, dementia researchers have found patients with good social networks report slower rates of mental decline. What does a strong social network look like? What motivates us to interact with people, to form communities, both online and in real life? Why are people attracted to one community over another, and how can people coming from apparently very distinct communities get along?
  • Discussion leaders: Laurie Loeb, Luke Chang, Seth Fry, Cobb Hill

Black Holes and Exoplanets: The Science of Space

  • Black holes are the death eaters of the universe; sucking energy in through massive gravitational pull and throwing out mighty x-ray flares that provide the clues to their existence. Astronomers believe there is a supermassive black hole at the center of most galaxies, including our milky way. If there are death-eaters, are there also life-givers? Are we alone in the universe? Observations of flickering light are one way to detect black holes, and one that can be used to find exoplanets - planets outside our solar system - where we may also be able to detect alien life; and you don't have to be a research physicist to do it.
  • Discussion leaders: Ryan Hickox, Mike DiPompeo, Brad Vietje
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Climate Change, Global Agriculture, and the New England Farm

  • Climate change will have a profound impact on agriculture: changing how and where we grow food. The agricultural sector must dramatically increase production to meet a rising demand for food while adapting to warmer temperatures, shifting growing seasons, increased drought, and expanding pests and diseases, which all have the potential to dramatically reduce yields. For example, the heatwave and drought of 2012 alone caused $32 billion in damage, more than double that of Hurricane Irene. Global weather patterns affect land use and management, but how does our use of the land affect global weather patterns? Does agriculture expansion in Brazil impact farming practices in New England? If the world's population is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050, how will we feed ourselves, and can we fight climate change with our grocery carts?
  • Discussion leaders: Ian McSweeny, Stephanie Spera, Jonathan Winter
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The Games People Play – And How They Transform Our Lives

  • From online multi-player games, to hopscotch, to board games, to Candy Crush, games are universal. Although we often think of games as a fun pastime, they can be so much more. Games can be harnessed as a powerful social tool to create interventions for a range of social issues, from combating bias to getting people to recycle. We see elements of games showing up in digital technologies we use on a regular basis, and can use them as a platform for transforming education. How can we use games to address social issues? What role do computer games have in our children's classrooms? What are the effects of "gamification" on how we interact with each other, work, play, and learn? Come along to this month's Science Pub and find out.
  • Discussion leaders: Gili Freedman, Luke Stark, Marilyn Lord
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