North America: Annapolis

Created On Wednesday, 26 October 2011 12:29 By Administrator
49 West Coffeehouse, Wine Bar and Gallery, 49 West Street, Annapolis, Maryland 21410.
6:30 P.M., almost always on the last Thursday of every month; check schedule below. And, the Cafe does not meet in November or December.

Find information and directions by going to 49 West Coffeehouse or call 410-626-9796 to make reservations (suggested).

Danielle Lucid
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Ted Graham
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Date:              Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 6:30 PM


Speaker:         Dr. J. Carson Smith, Assistant Professor and Director of the Exercise 

                                 for Brain Health Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, University of



Title:              Exercise and Brain Health


Abstract:        Among the multiple cognitive changes that occur across the lifespan, declining memory function is the most common complaint of otherwise healthy older adults.  The prevalence of cognitive impairment among older adults in the U.S. is estimated to be over 20 percent and, with an aging U.S. population, cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) constitute an alarming public health problem. Interventions, including modifiable lifestyle behaviors such as physical activity, that even modestly delay the onset of cognitive impairment or help maintain cognitive function in older adults may slow the development of AD and could have a major public health impact.  This talk will highlight what we currently know about who is at increased risk for AD and will review the evidence for exercise to preserve brain function and possibly prevent AD.


Biography:   Dr. J. Carson Smith is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Maryland and Director of the Exercise for Brain Health Laboratory.  His research is focused on understanding how acute and chronic exercise and physical activity affect human brain function and mental health related to cognition, memory, and emotion.  Dr. Smith uses multi-modal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine brain function in healthy younger adults, healthy older adults, and in people at increased risk for Alzheimer's disease.  In addition, Dr. Smith examines how acute and chronic exercise or physical activity may alter mood states, emotional reactivity, and attention allocation.



Date:              Thursday, March 27, 2014, at 6:30PM


Speaker:        Dr. Jim Jenness, Transportation and Safety Research Group, Westat


Title:              Drivers, Technologies, and their Intersection


Abstract:       Over the years, improvements in vehicle engineering have greatly improved crash survivability. Despite this, there are still more than 30,000 roadway fatalities in the United States each year. The safety focus in the U.S. has turned to crash avoidance technologies and driver behavior. This presentation will take a broad look at current research on driver behavior, particularly regarding in-vehicle technology. As vehicles become more technologically complex it is a challenge for drivers to understand the capabilities and limitations of their vehicular systems. At the same time, ubiquitous sophisticated mobile devices such as smart phones compete for drivers’ attention in complex roadway environments. Dr. Jenness will describe how human factors research has been conducted on topics such as feedback for novice teenage drivers, voice control systems, and next generation crash avoidance systems.

Biography:   Dr. James Jenness is a Sr. Research Scientist in the Transportation and Safety Research group at Westat, Rockville, MD. He earned a Ph.D. in Psychology (Biopsychology) from University of Michigan followed by postdoctoral research on visual perception at University of Chicago.  His career has included being a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at the College of Wooster, and working for internet and telecommunications companies. Since joining Westat in 2003, his research has focused on the ways in which the safety and comfort of transportation system users (drivers, passengers, and pedestrians) are influenced by the introduction of new technologies. He has directed research projects for clients such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Highway Administration, Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Administration, Federal Railroad Administration, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Dr. Jenness is an active member of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Transportation Research Board, and Society of Automotive Engineers International.


Date:              Thursday, April 24, 2014, at 6:30 PM


Speaker:        Dr. Margaret Palmer, Director, National Socio-Environmental 

                                 Synthesis Center, Annapolis, Maryland


Title:              Forthcoming


Abstract:        Forthcoming


Biography:    Margaret Palmer brings nearly three decades of scientific expertise to her post as executive director of the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, SESYNC.  As professor of entomology at the University of Maryland with a joint appointment at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, she has written over 150 scientific publications and collaborative research grants on the restoration and ecosystem dynamics of streams and rivers. Dr. Palmer spearheaded the development of the first comprehensive database on river and stream restoration in the U.S. and was the lead scientist for the National River Restoration Science Synthesis project. She teaches courses on stream restoration, and stream restoration for engineers, and co-edited Foundations of Restoration Ecology, part of a series of books from the Society For Ecological Restoration.


Dr. Palmer is chair of the international freshwater Diversitas committee, serves on multiple editorial and science advisory boards, has been honored as an AAAS Fellow, an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, a Lilly Fellow, a University of Maryland Distinguished Scholar Teacher, and is a recipient of the Ecological Society of America’s Distinguished Service Award, as well as a University System of Maryland Board of Regents Distinguished Faculty Award. Dr. Palmer graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BS in biology from Emory University, and from the University of South Carolina with a PhD in coastal oceanography.  


Note: The above biographical information was obtained and modified from the SESYNC website, for more information please see: 




Date:              Thursday, May 29, 2014, at 6:30 PM


Speaker:        Michael John Paul, Department of Computer Science, Johns 

                                Hopkins University



Title:             Using Online Social Networks for Health: Disease Detection and 



Abstract:       Every day, millions of people share what they are thinking and doing on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. This talk will show how computational tools and models can be used to learn about the health of people based on what they share on social networks, in aggregate. For example, more people tweet that they are sick during heightened influenza activity, so Twitter feeds can be used to approximate flu prevalence in a population. This type of insight is the basis for an emerging scientific discipline called computational epidemiology. Besides influenza, tweets can be used to analyze trends in diet and exercise habits, sleep patterns, seasonal allergies, medication usage, and perceptions of healthcare quality. This talk will survey the variety of health topics that can be studied through social media feeds.


Biography:  Michael Paul is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University. He is the recipient of PhD fellowships from Microsoft Research, the National Science Foundation, and the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering. He earned a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2009 and an M.S.E. from Johns Hopkins University in 2012. His research focuses on mining social media feeds to study public health, and his projects have been featured on CNN, The Washington Post, and NPR. 


Michael Paul is also an advisor to Sickweather, a web and smartphone app that scans social networks for indicators of illness, allowing you to check for the chance of sickness just as you would check for the chance of rain. 


Contact Information for Michael John Paul:

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Johns Hopkins University




Date:              TBD, possibly Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 6:30 PM


Speaker:        Dr. Kimberly K. Holzer, Postdoctoral Fellow, Marine Invasions

                                Research Laboratory, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center


Title:              A Tale of Three Coasts: Ballast Water and Non-indigenouse 

                                Species Risks


Abstract:        Forthcoming


Bio:                Forthcoming


Contact Information:


Dr. Kimberly K. Holzer
Postdoctoral Fellow
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center 
Marine Invasions Research Laboratory
647 Contees Wharf Road
Edgewater, Maryland 21037
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Date:               Thursday,  September 25,  2014, at 6:30 PM


Speaker:          Dr. Patrick Megonigal, Biogeochemistry, Deputy Director,  Smithsonian

                                 Environmental Research Center


Title:               The Coastal Anthropocene


Abstract:        Humans have always settled near estuaries and coastal seas, and are highly concentrated near the coast to this day. Human activity has fundamentally changed the biology, geology and hydrology of the coasts through the decline of some species and the introduction of other species, redistribution of sediments, nutrient enrichment and land reclamation. The scale of these impacts has grown to include planet-wide changes such as sea level rise. It is wise to recognize that the present options for managing coastal systems are constrained by past practices, just as future options depend on the decisions we make today.


Biography:     J. Patrick Megonigal is a Senior Scientist and Deputy Director at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees from Old Dominion University, and a Ph.D. from Duke University. Dr. Megonigal is an expert in wetland ecosystems, particularly as they respond to global changes such as rising carbon dioxide, nitrogen pollution and sea level rise. His research is focused on plant-microbe interactions and biogeochemical cycling, particularly for carbon cycling, greenhouse gas emissions, and the vulnerability of tidal wetlands to sea level rise. He has authored over 90 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Megonigal is Curator of the traveling exhibit Dig It! The Secrets of Soils. He is a Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), the recipient of a SSSA Presidential Citation, the Smithsonian Institution Secretary’s Research Prize, the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation’s Outstanding Achievement Award, and the Soil and Water Conservation Society’s Merit Award.



Recent speakers   

Date:            Thursday, January 30, 2014


Speaker:       Dr. Jim Hagberg


Title:            Exercise: Just How Good Can it Be?


Abstract:      The health aspects of exercise are frequently in the news, both the good and bad sides. A number of years ago a University of Chicago president said “when I feel like exercising, I lay down until the feeling passes”. Is that the correct approach? Or do you need to become a marathon runner to reap the benefits of exercise? I will present evidence from a wide range of sources as to the “benefits” of exercise, in terms of mortality and the risk factors predisposing individuals to diseases that lead to premature mortality. The amount and intensity of the exercise will also be discussed, along with the benefits of different types of exercise. The primary disease entities that will be addressed are cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity, along with some information concerning sarcopenia, falls, and cognitive decline.  Hopefully these results will motivate you to begin “exercising” if you are not already, prove to you that your current exercise program is the correct one for you, or provide you with some insights concerning how you might improve your “exercise” program. 


Bio:               Dr. Jim Hagberg is a Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Maryland College Park and a Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland Baltimore School of Medicine. He is also a University of Maryland Distinguished Scholar Teacher and has won a number of awards for his research and mentoring. He is a life-long Badger Cheesehead and received his PhD degree in 1976 from the University of Wisconsin. He then completed an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He then joined the faculty at Washington University and he has also been on the faculties of UCLA, Johns Hopkins University, University of Florida, and the University of Pittsburgh. He has now been on the faculty at the University of Maryland for 20+ years. He lives in a log home in Columbia, Maryland with 5 kayaks in the garage and 1000 acres of environmentally-protected lands right off his deck. His 250+ publications have assessed the benefits of exercise, especially for older individuals, and he has primarily focused on the cardiovascular system. His studies have addressed the effect of exercise training on blood pressure, insulin resistance, glucose tolerance, body composition, cardiovascular function, plasma lipoprotein-lipids, and markers of inflammation, fibrinolysis, and coagulation. He has been funded by NIH for the past 15+ years and is currently the Principal Investigator on 5 NIH grants. He has also been as Assistant Track and Cross Country coach at the University of Maryland and he has a company that develops phone apps for athletes, Training Optimization System, LLC.


Date:             Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Speaker:       Dr. Geoffrey “Jess” Parker, Senior Scientist, Smithsonian Environmental

                       Research Center 


Title:             Evidence for a Recent Growth Increase in Eastern Forests - A Response to

                       Climate Change?


Abstract:       Recent studies have shown increases in biomass across many forest types.  Often, this increase has been attributed to climate change.  However, since change in biomass can reflect normal recovery from previous events, it is important to know the disturbance history of a forest to understand the causes of change.  Using a unique dataset of tree biomass collected over the past 23 years from 55 temperate forest plots with known land-use histories and stand ages ranging from 5 to 250 years, we found that recent biomass accumulation greatly exceeded the expected caused by natural recovery.  Long records of local weather and of on-site atmospheric CO2 measurements showed increases consistent with globally observed climate-change patterns. Combined, these observations suggest that changes in temperature, growing season length and CO2 that have been observed worldwide can fundamentally alter the rate of critical natural processes.


Biography:    Since 1987 Geoffrey (‘Jess’) Parker has been the forest ecologist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) in Edgewater, MD.   Before that, he attended McGill University where he received his undergraduate degree in Biology.  He subsequently earned his MS in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia and his Ph.D in Ecology from the University of Georgia.  He conducted his postdoctoral work as an associate at the Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, NY.  His research interests concern the structure and function of forest ecosystems at long temporal and large spatial scales, in the canopies of forests, in the spatial relationships of forest trees, and in comparative forest ecology.   An organizing theme of the majority of his studies has been: the interaction between the structure of the forest canopy and exchanges of material and energy with the atmospheric boundary layer, the forest microclimates, and  biotic habitats.  He is currently involved in a variety of LIDAR-based studies of forest structure, eddy covariance-based measures of forest functions, and biometrically-based studies of forest carbon budgets. 


Contact Information:

Jess Parker

PO Box 28

Edgewater, Maryland 21037

Phone: 443-482-2210

Fax: 443-482-2380

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Date:              September 26, 2013


Title:             The Magnetic Musculature of Space 


Speaker:        Thomas E Moore, Sr. Project Scientist for MMS, Heliophysics Science

                        Division, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center  


Abstract:        We all know magnets exert forces, but did you know that magnetic fields act like muscles that connect celestial objects to each other? Magnetic muscle connections are switched by a process called "reconnexion," which thereby controls energy flow in space. The "brains" of reconnexion are believed to lie in thin boundaries and along a curve where field lines are either connected or disconnected, creating a portal for energy storage or release. The NASA MMS mission will let us observe how, when and where the magneto-muscular switch occurs and why it is often explosive, especially when one plasma tears free of another.  Like the scientists in the movie Twister, NASA will place the four MMS spacecraft right where the action is to obtain our first direct knowledge of the most violent and twister-like region in space plasmas, which regulates space weather in geospace. 


Biography:  Dr. Thomas E. Moore is Sr. Project Scientist for MMS, in the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He earned a Ph.D. in Astrogeophysics from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1978 and did postdoctoral work at the University of NH, before joining NASA at the Marshall Space Flight Center in 1983. His research interests span the origin, evolution, and fate of our solar system, with a focus on the observed interplay between the atmospheres of the sun, planets and the interstellar medium. He has participated in several sounding rocket investigations of the aurora, was principal investigator for the Thermal Ion Dynamics Experiment on the NASA Polar Mission, and lead investigator for the Low Energy Neutral Atom imager on the IMAGE Mission, for which he was also the Mission Scientist. He was the Study Scientist for the Magnetospheric Constellation mission, has authored or co-authored over 250 research publications, and has served as an associate editor of refereed journals. He has served on several definition teams, review panels and strategic studies, including the Solar Probe Science and Technology Definition Team, the Sun Earth Connection Advisory Subcommittee (SECAS), and the Sun-Earth Connections Roadmap Team (1997, 2000). He co-chaired the first Heliophysics Roadmap Team in 2005-2006. He has been active in the American Geophysical Union as an Awards Committee member, as a Chapman Conference Convener, as a Program Secretary for Space Physics and Aeronomy, and was elected a Fellow of the AGU in 2009. He has received NASA awards for Excellence in Research and Technology, for membership in the Polar and IMAGE development teams, for Outstanding Management of the Interplanetary Physics Branch at NASA Goddard, and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.


Contact information:

Thomas E Moore

Sr. Project Scientist for MMS

Heliophysics Science Division

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center  

Mail code 670, Bldg. 21-134 

Greenbelt, MD 20771 USA  

office: +1-301-286-5236  

mobile: +1-240-205-2377





Date:             August 29, 2013


Title:            Galileo and the Logic of Modern Science


Speaker:       John W. Hessler, Curator for the Jay I. Kislak Collection for the History of the Early Americas, Library of Congress


Abstract:      John W. Hessler is Curator of the Jay I. Kislak Collection for the History of the Early Americas at the Library of Congress and a Lecturer in the History of Early Modern Science in the School for Advanced Studies at Johns Hopkins University. A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, he has written extensively on the history of mathematics, science and cartography and is the author of The Naming ofAmerica: Martin Waldseemuller's 1507 World Map and the Cosmographiae Introduction, Thoreau on Cape Cod: His Journeys and His Lost Maps, Seeing the World Anew: the Radical Vision of Martin Waldseemuller's 1507 and 1516  World Maps (with Chet Van Duzer), and A Renaissance Globemaker's Toolbox: Johannes Schoner and the Revolution of Modern Science, 1475-1550. He is currently at work on two books: Galileo, The Sidereus Nuncius, Venice, 1610 (edited with Dan De Simone, forthcoming Fall, 2013) and Galileo's Logic: Aristotle and the Question of Mathematical Certainty in the Early 17th Century (2013). 


Biography:  John W. Hessler is Curator of the Jay I. Kislak Collection for the History of the Early Americas at the Library of Congress and a Lecturer in the History of Early Modern Science in the School for Advanced Studies at Johns Hopkins University. A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, he has written extensively on the history of mathematics, science and cartography and is the author of The Naming of America: Martin Waldseemuller's 1507 World Map and the Cosmographiae Introduction; Thoreau on Cape Cod: His Journeys and His Lost Maps; Seeing the World Anew: The Radical Vision of Martin Waldseemuller's 1507 and 1516  World Maps (with Chet Van Duzer) and, A Renaissance Globemaker's Toolbox: Johannes Schoner and the Revolution of Modern Science, 1475-1550. He is currently at work on two additional books: Galileo, The Sidereus Nuncius, Venice, 1610 (edited with Daniel De Simone, forthcoming Fall, 2013) and Galileo's Logic: Aristotle and the Question of Mathematical Certainty in the Early17th Century (2013).  Also see:



Date:              July 25, 2013


Title:              Every Salmon Has A Story - Linking Biological Diversity and Human


Speaker:         Peter Berulf Johnsen; The Great Salmon Tour


Abstract:        Though the concept of biodiversity and ecosystem preservation has found its way into mainstream media and public awareness, it continues to be an abstract concept for most people. But as we lose biodiversity, we lose some of our heritage - and not in an abstract way. In few other species is this more evident than for the different species of salmon.



Date:             June 27, 2013


Title:            Beyond Hubble: A New Era in Astronomy with NASA's James Webb Space



Speaker:      Amber Straughn, Observational Cosmology Laboratory at NASA’s

                      Goddard Space Flight Center 


Abstract:     For over 20 years, the Hubble Space Telescope has been revealing the unknown cosmos; this single scientific instrument has completely revolutionized our understanding of the Universe.  In 2009, the complete refurbishment of Hubble gave new life to the telescope and has produced groundbreaking science results, revealing some of the most distant galaxies ever discovered.  Despite the remarkable advances in astronomy that Hubble has provided, the new questions that have arisen demand a new space telescope with new technologies and capabilities. 



May 30, 2013

Oysters – Can We Bring Them Back?

Denise Breitburg, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

Peak oyster harvests in Chesapeake Bay occurred in the late 1800s. Since that time, oyster harvests and oyster populations in the Bay have declined. Although the major cause of the demise of oysters has been overfishing, water quality and disease have contributed to the problem in recent years and complicate efforts to restore oysters.  Until recently, oyster restoration efforts in Maryland were not conducted in a systematic way allowing for clear evaluations of success or failure of various strategies, and continued fishing negatively affected the ecological benefits of restoration efforts. Recent planning and implementation of large scale restoration efforts hold promise for success. It took over a hundred years of intense human activity to get to the current state, and restoration is occurring in a much different Bay than the one the oyster inhabited historically. Even a concerted, well planned effort will not instantly transform Bay oyster populations into the navigation hazards early European explorers once described.



April 25, 2013

Recent Advances in Biomedical Optics  

Dr. Boris Gramatikov

Biomedical Optics covers generally the use of light in medicine and biology. It includes light-based diagnostic imaging technologies at the microscopic and macroscopic level, structural measurements, biochemical spectroscopic measurements, light-mediated therapeutic technologies and many other similar applications. The scope of biomedical optics has been expanding exponentially in the last few decades.



March 28, 2013

Drought: Tools, Methods, Assessment, and Impacts; A Drought-Monitor Author’s Perspective

Eric Luebehusen, USDA, Office of the Chief Economist

Assessing drought in the United States — as well as across the Globe— is a challenging endeavor due to the multitude of timescales, data types, and impacts.  The US Drought Monitor attempts to assemble these into a singular easy-to-interpret product that has recently been a steady feature on nightly news broadcasts.  What most people see is a simple depiction of varying degrees of drought, but what goes on behind the scenes is a complicated, highly cooperative process that involves not only the author but a multitude of local, state, regional, and national-level agencies offering input on a weekly basis.



February 28, 2013 

Journey to Chaco Canyon

Patty Seaton, Astronomer

How do you tell time? If asked for the time, would you take out your cell phone or look at your watch, using the current technology?  Could you tell the time without these devices? How do you measure the passage of time without written calendars? Prince George’s County Public School planetarium operator and educator, Patricia Seaton, will inspire you to become a skywatcher using the archaeoastronomy of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.



January 31, 2013

When Do Bees Make Honey?  The Practical Impact of Climate Change

Wayne Esaias, Oceanographer/Entomologist, NASA Emeritus/UMD (Honeybeenet)

Honey bee hives on scales are used to monitor the phenology of plant-pollinator interactions to assess climate change impacts on bee foraging. We record the daily weight change of honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies to define the Honey Bee Nectar Flow (HBNF) in a volunteer network (


For a record of cafes before 2013, see the Annapolis archive 2007 - 2012


Last Updated On Friday, 14 February 2014 13:58 By Annapolis