North America: Arlington

Created On Thursday, 27 October 2011 11:59 By Administrator
The Front Page, 4201 Wilson Blvd, Arlington VA
Located near Ballston Metro on the ground floor of the NSF building. Parking is available under the NSF Building or at Ballston Common Mall.
First Tuesday of the month, 5:30 to 8PM

The Ballston Science and Technology Alliance, a nonprofit organization, is the sponsor of Café Scientifique Arlington. Since April 2006, the goal of Café Scientifique has been to make science more accessible and accountable by featuring speakers whose expertise spans the sciences and who can talk in plain English. 

Visit our BSTA blog.

Kaye Breen
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Website Ballston Science and Technology Alliance
Twitter @sciencecafeva
Facebook Ballston Science and Technology Alliance



Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Inventing the Internet: How ARPANET got started

Dr. Charles Herzfeld

author of A Life at Full Speed: A Journal of Struggle and Discovery


Among computer science aficionados, Dr. Charles Herzfeld is affectionately known as the "Godfather of the Internet." As Director of ARPA, the 1960s forerunner of DARPA (today’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), he was the force behind the development of the ARPANET, which ultimately became the Internet we know today. But what many do not know is the backstory behind this phenomenal achievement. The heady political, cultural and scientific milieu of that time was his element, and he emerged as a true high-tech legend. His numerous awards and honors include induction into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2012, with the title of "Pioneer." Charles Herzfeld’s life story is an iconic American tale. Learn about the importance of the emerging world of computers and the decisions that lead to the creation of ARPANET. His just-published book: A Life at Full Speed: A Journal of Struggle and Discovery will be available.


Café Scientifique will be on hiatus for the summer. Look for exciting new programming starting back in the fall.


Recent speakers   

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Incorporating the Value of Nature into Corporate Decisions

Jennifer L. Molnar, Director of Science, The Nature Conservancy


The idea that nature delivers benefits to humans is an easy sell. Turning that idea into changes in business practices is not so simple. The Nature Conservancy and The Dow Chemical Company are mid-way through a 6-year collaboration to explicitly bring data on the value of nature into business decisions, with the goal of improving decision-making and enhancing a company's long-term sustainability by highlighting the value of protecting ecosystems that provide critical services to the company and the public. Jennifer Molnar, the Conservancy's science lead for this effort, will describe the significant challenges in applying ecosystem service science and tools in the business context, but also how results from pilots show that it can lead to opportunities that benefit both conservation and the corporate bottom line.



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Twin U.S. and E.U. Brain Initiatives: Global Large-scale Neuroscience

James L. Olds, Ph.D.


Two flagship neuroscience initiatives are changing the scale of how we study the brain. Cracking the brain's code will require science on the scale of the big space telescopes, the large hadron collider and the polar science programs. But the payoff could be enormous.



Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Toxic Vapors in Our Homes: Vapor Intrusion or Household Products to Blame?

Helen Dawson, Senior Consultant, Geosyntec

Superfund is the EPA program to investigate and clean up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country. Vapor intrusion is the movement of pollution in vapor form from contaminated groundwater or soil into air, which is of particular concern when the vapor seeps into homes. This discussion will look at how vapor migration and contaminants from household products impact indoor air quality and delve into the question "which is to blame?" for the toxic vapors in our homes.



Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mars — Got Life?

Dr. Jim Green, Planetary Science Division Director, NASA


The planet Mars has captured our imagination for millennia but it has only been relatively recent that we have been able to unlock some of its real secrets. In the last 50 years, there have been 40 missions to Mars with over 60% failing to accomplish their science objectives. Starting in 2000, NASA embarked on a "follow the water" strategy for a string of tremendously successful missions of Mars orbiters, landers and rovers. These missions have made measurements that clearly show that Mars held a significant amount of water in its distant past. Even today we have indications that Mars holds significant water reserves below its surface. On Earth, where there is water, there is life. With the successful landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars, we start a new era of missions that involve "seeking the signs of life." Curiosity is working flawlessly and has started on a two-year mission that will investigate the question of whether Mars was ever habitable. As we look further into the future, the ultimate goal of NASA’s human exploration program is Mars and that will require an integrated approach of science and engineering with great challenges ahead.



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Beauty and Utility of Number Theory

Robert Hummel, Ph.D., Potomac Institute for Policy Studies



Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Regulatory Science: Its Uniqueness, Process and Application 

A. Alan Moghissi, Ph.D.


Can policy makers develop better decisions using regulatory science? This presentation provides a historical overview and a definition of regulatory science. It emphasizes Metrics for Evaluation of Regulatory Science Information (MERSI) and discusses their applicability to policy, notably regulatory decisions. Several examples are used to demonstrate the problems that policy makers face in making decisions based on incomplete, uncertain and often highly contested scientific information. 



Tuesday, December 4 2012

Science on Ice: Ice Sheets, Sea Level and Global Climate Change

Julie M. Palais, Ph.D., Office of Polar Programs, National Science Foundation


Sandy’s recent media attention has focused public interest on sea level rise. Research by polar glaciologists funded by the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs is providing insight into many of these issues for the public. As manager of the Antarctic Glaciology program at NSF, Dr. Palais will share the history and dynamics of all naturally occurring forms of snow and ice, including floating ice shelves, glaciers and continental and marine ice sheets. She will highlight paleoclimate studies of ice cores, ice dynamics, numerical modeling, glacial geology and the remote sensing of ice sheets. 


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Science Learning 2050: Exploring the Future of Education

Edward Geary, Researcher on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings, NSF


Imagine a future where students have the opportunity to design nano-materials to improve energy efficiency, manipulate robots on the surface of Mars and virtually explore the bottom of the ocean; where teachers are facilitators and guides as much as subject matter experts; and where the concept of “school” is expanded from a building where students go to learn none months a year, to a diverse set of physical, temporal and virtual environments where students can learn anytime, anywhere, about any topic from experts, teachers and peers around the world. Science learning in this world is not measured by standardized tests but by students’ ability to formulate questions, design experiments and devices, analyze data and information, apply knowledge, assess uncertainties, solve problems, make decisions, create products and participate in rich collaborations and discussions.



Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What do we learn from the extinction of Hawaii’s birds? 

Helen James

Research Zoologist & Curator, Division of Birds, National Museum of Natural History


The first people to settle in the Hawaiian Islands arrived there in magnificent Polynesian sailing canoes, perhaps only 800 years ago. The early settlers found an astonishing diversity of birdlife, with at least 107 species of birds native only to Hawaii. Today, all but 11 of those species are either extinct or considered threatened with extinction. Most of the extinct species are known only by their bones found in paleontological and archaeological sites. Radiocarbon dating of the bones has confirmed that the birds became extinct after human arrival in the islands.



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Moorea Biocode Project 

Dr. Christopher Myer


The Moorea Biocode Project aims to create the first comprehensive inventory of all non-microbial life in a complex tropical ecosystem. Over the 2008-2010 period, the project sent researchers climbing up jagged peaks, trekking through lush forests and diving down to coral reefs to sample the French Polynesian island's animal and plant life. A library of genetic markers and physical identifiers for every species of plant, animal and fungi on the island is being constructed. 



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Created Consciousness: The Future of Sentient Machines

James Giordano, PhD, neuroscientist and neuroethicist



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Role of Science in Political Decision-Making 

Patrick Hope 

Jenny Robinson, M.D. and Colleen Krajewski, M.D.


Thomas Jefferson used science in political decision-making two centuries ago when he commissioned Lewis and Clarke. Science played a major role during and after WW II for miliItary preparedness. Since then enormous changes have occurred in the landscape of science and technical infrastructure. But how is science policy advisory performing in today's dynamic society? 


Tuesday, June 5, 2012 

Time Line to Disaster – The RMS Titanic and Principles of Marine Forensics

William Garzke


Dr Garzke will discuss the loss of RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912 using the principles of marine forensics. It will chronicle the events that took place and dispel some of the popular myths surrounding the events that led to her loss. The two inquiries into the sinking of this famous liner in the United States and Great Britain were not scientific and both concluded from the testimonies of survivors that the ship sank intact. In 1985, Dr. Robert Ballard discovered the wreck only to find that the ship sustained a hull failure. In the years since that discovery several explanations of that hull failure have been advanced, most notably by James Cameron, who has visited the wreck 33 times. 


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

NASA Mars Science Laboratory

Dr. Harold A. Geller


Right now, the NASA Mars Science Laboratory is on its way to the planet Mars and due to arrive in August. The spacecraft will be delivering the Curiosity rover to the surface of Mars. This will be the largest rover to explore the surface of Mars. Dr. Geller will give a brief overview of the history of the exploration of Mars by NASA and conclude with a description of the Mars Science Laboratory mission and pictures of the Curiosity rover.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012 

Carbon Dioxide, Climate Change and the Global Harvest

Lewis Zizka, PhD, USDA-ARS, Crop Systems and Global Change


The global population at present is seven billion. At current rates of growth, we will reach 9 billion by 2030. We have been adding population in large part because of what has been deemed the green revolution, the ability of science to grow huge amounts of food, (mostly cereals such as rice, wheat and corn). But the green revolution, in turn, is based on cheap, plentiful supplies of water (for irrigation), energy (for fertilizer) and a stable climate (monoculture). 


Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012 

Negotiation and the New Media

Rachel Croson

We all negotiate every day, at work, at home and in our lives more generally. Advances in communication technology mean that we’re often negotiating in new ways. This talk will discuss some of the science of negotiation and how it is affected by different communication media (e.g. email, videoconferencing, etc.). The results yield a deeper understanding of how to we interact, and how to improve your negotiating skills. 


Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012

Second Order Science

Stuart Umpleby, Professor of Management, George Washington University


In the social sciences it is clear that theories affect the phenomenon being studied. Indeed, we create theories in the hope that they will be accepted, acted upon and the social system will perhaps function better. However, usually scientific research is based on the assumption that the theory does not affect the phenomenon. The result is a gap between our assumptions about social systems and the way we do research. Closing this gap is leading to new methods for both research and practice. Creating a second order science, which includes examining the effects of theories on phenomena, is presently impeded by logical difficulties involving self- reference. This problem can be solved by reinterpreting some parts of mathematics using ideas common in everyday life.


Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011

Forensic Genetics – The Reality of Genomic Science at a Crime Scene





Kevin McElfresh, Ph.D.


The application of DNA technology to forensic testing in the late 1980's transformed the justice system. Arguably it was also one of the first applications of biotechnology to a practical problem in the humanities that had a successful outcome. Forensic DNA was then a clear leader of advanced technology and the science advanced continually into the late 1990s. Interestingly, todays genomic technologies have not yet been applied to the question of who? In fact, there are technologies today that not only answer who, but also answer who and who else? While forensic DNA's use of 1990's technology is accurate and reliable, there are questions that cannot be answered unless newer technology is applied. The presentation will look at the realities of the forensic crime lab, the role of DNA, some interesting cases and the role the public can play in advancing the science. 


Tuesday November 1st 2011

Reexamination of Aluminum House Wiring

Peter Pollack


Peter will moderate a panel discussion of representatives from the US CPSC and electrical manufacturers, members of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, to review their current positions on aluminum branch circuit wiring safety and discuss what if anything should be done now.


Tuesday October 4th 2011

Regional Economic Performance and Outlook

John McClain, Senior Fellow and Deputy Director, Center for Regional Analysis, GMU


The performance of the national economy and the regional economy impacts everyone to some degree – whether it is job opportunities, career advancement, investments, retirement situation or simple costs of living. The economy has experienced significant changes – some in line with business cycles and others due to structural shifts – over the past dozen years. From the dotcom bubble and burst to the housing market bubble and burst, the nation and Washington region have had something of a bumpy economic ride. The presentation will explain where the national and local economies have been, where they are now and what the outlook for the years ahead is.


Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011

The Lost Wallace Collection: The Collection of the Man Who Wasn't Darwin

Robert Heggestad


In 1964, a rosewood veneered collector's cabinet was sold in an unclaimed baggage sale to a Philadelphia antiques dealer. The collection was re-sold at auction and subsequently purchased from an Arlington, Virginia antiques dealer by Robert Heggestad, a Washington attorney. Mr. Heggestad, who used the collection primarily as a late-night show-and-tell curiosity, did not begin to research the provenance of the collection until 2007 when he contacted the American Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Both museums studied the collection and concluded it belonged to Alfred Russell Wallace and had immense historical and scientific importance. 


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Minorities in STEM - a Social Science Perspective

Roberta Spalter-Roth, Director Research and Development Department, American Sociological Association and Rachel Ivie, American Institute of Physics

The largest undergraduate majors are business and management, followed by the social sciences. More than one out of five 1990-2000 graduates obtained their bachelor degrees in business, followed by slightly less than one in five who obtained their degrees in the social and behavior sciences. Only slightly more than one in 10 obtained bachelor degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines. There is the desire to increase the STEM pool in the U.S., especially among women and minorities, but can science and social sciences build bridges between the disciplines and develop interdisciplinary curricula that will increase the pool of girls and minorities in the STEM workforce?


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Valence Politics and the Science of Electoral Choice: How Voters Make Big Decisions with Little Information

Harold Clarke, School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas

The decisions American voters make are enormously important for the future of our country and often for the entire world. NSF and comparable funding agencies in other countries have supported studies of the science of electoral choice and forces that drive these decisions. For example, we now know that the valence (emotions) politics theory is a key theoretical development with strong empirical support. 


June 7, 2011

Teaching Science, Math and Technology in the Pursuit of a Green Economy

Jim Egenreider, Arlington Public Schools STEM Specialist and Martin Ogle, Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority Chief Naturalist

Technology is increasingly seen as modifying the natural world to support human needs and desires. Therefore, innovations in sustainable technologies in the context of Earth systems science will require more advanced, expanded understanding of human needs and desires and their impacts on Earth systems. Join Arlington Public Schools STEM Specialist Jim Egenrieder and Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority Chief Naturalist Martin Ogle as they showcase some very compelling examples of how the Career Center blends the trades, sciences, business, communications and more. These include energy-saving measures planned for the building itself, the "Little Green House" (a small, demonstration, home built with green materials and technologies), sustainable wood use, sustainable engineering and technologies in other technical fields.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Windows Into the Marine Ecosystems of 600 Million Years Ago

Shuhai Xiao, Professor of Geobiology, Department of Geosciences, Virginia Tech

Charles Darwin described the imperfect fossil record as a book with missing pages. To obtain a fuller picture of evolutionary history from the fossil record, one needs to piece together the fragmented pages from multiple books. The speaker will discuss his work on multiple fossil assemblages, each offering a distinct perspective and a different window on the evolution of the marine ecosystems during the Ediacaran Period. The Ediacaran Period spans from 635 to 542 million years ago and represents a critical transition between the termination of the largest ice age in Earth history and the radiation of animals in the Cambrian Period. 


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Our Future Scientists

Ezra Awumey and Yosyp Shvab

High school seniors Ezra Awumey and Yosyp Shvab are building nanoscale transistors and redesigning solar cells. They investigate shrinking electrical circuits and transistors for computer chips and building conductive polymer solar cells as part of an independent science research class at T.C. Williams High School. 


Tuesday, February, 8, 2011

An Optimist’s Tour of the Future

Mark Stevenson, author, comedian and futurologist

One curious man set out to answer 'What’s next?' He travelled over 60,000 miles across four continents, talked to over thirty geniuses, met four robots and had two terrible conversations with a computer in search of answers. Mark explored the looming realities of genome sequencing, synthetic biology, sociable machines and carbon scrubbing. Drawing on his singular humour and storytelling to explain these discoveries in a way that is simple to understand without being simplistic, he paints a picture of the world we grew up in and explains why it is exciting rather than scary.


Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011

Building brains and manipulating minds: Neuroethics and the future of neuroscience

Jim Giordano, Senior Fellow and Director Center for Neurotechnology Studies (CNS), Potomac Institute for Policy Studies

The field of neuroscience - the study of the brain and its function - has made tremendous strides in the past three decades, due in part to both the use of highly sophisticated biotechnology, and the convergent focus of other disciplines such as genetics, engineering, and nanoscience, upon neuroscientific issues. While striving to address and even answer profound questions about the nature of cognition, emotion, mind and self, and the causes and reasons for our feelings, thoughts and behaviors, neuroscience has also become a tool through which to enable our quest for flourishing. In this way, neuroscience has "come full circle," and may now be seen as a venue through which we can engage various techniques and technologies to alter the brain, manipulate the mind, and control, enable and enhance ourselves. These issues and questions are the focus and work of the new, yet rapidly growing field of neuroethics, that seeks to define the ethical, legal and social effects and implications of neuroscientific research and its various uses and applications in medicine, public life, and even national defense.


Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010

The Silent, but Giant, Global Energy Transition

Joris D. Benninga, Founding Partner, Real NewEnergy Company, an integrated sustainable energy company located in the Netherlands and Virginia.

Sufficient affordable energy is of paramount importance. Without it, complex societies like ours can't exist. Yet we generally take its availability for granted. Only in times of crises do we cry out for change, but only briefly. So it may seem that not a lot is changing. But actually the energy transition towards a more sustainable system is in full swing and many scientific developments are entering the business realm. Alternative energy supply options are becoming competitive very fast. Energy efficiency tools and regulations are becoming standard elements in virtually every value chain. Benninga will discuss a number of practical developments comparing recent European and US experiences. He will take us out to sea to explore the developing concepts of Ocean Energy and back on land with a couple of energy technologies and solutions that make a lot of sense and are available right now! 


Tuesday, September 14 

Meeting the bonobo

Vanessa Woods, a research scientist and internationally published author and journalist, will share her adventures to darkest Africa to meet our nearest relative, the nearly extinct bonobo.


Tuesday August 3rd

Are you a cyborg?

Jim Giordano 

Technology aimed at - and acting through - the nervous system is becoming a bigger and bigger part of daily life. Ranging from consumer products like “smart” phones to medical devices like cochlear implants, these technologies affect how we access and use information, relate to others, and increasingly how we define ourselves. Unlike science fiction notions of "cyborgs," the actual term refers to the progressive integration of technology within a biological organism. According to this formal definition, it is a "process-in-evolution" that is characterized by patterns of use, reliance, integration and ultimately identity. So, perhaps the question is not, are you a cyborg, but what level of cyborg, and how will such "cyborgization" affect the current and future human condition?


Tuesday 13th July 2010

Seeing Anthrax Saved Us, and Other Lessons from the 2001 Biological Attack on the U.S. Capitol

Kelly Fado, former Administrative Director for Senator Tom Daschle, and Dr. Thomas Zinnen, NSF Office of Legislative and Public Affairs.


Tuesday 1st June 2010

The Latest and Greatest News on the Cosmos: New Exoplanets, a Snapshot of the Universe when it was under a billion years old—and More!

Eric P. Smith, Program Scientist for the James Webb and Hubble Space Telescopes, NASA

The more we know about the cosmos the stranger it seems to get. The new Kepler space telescope has detected many new “exoplanets”—planets in other star systems. Some of these planets are quite strange: one has the density of styrofoam and another appears hotter than the star it revolves around. The refurbished Hubble Space Telescope has now peered more deeply into the past than ever before, and the James Webb Telescope will soon allow us to see even further back in time. 


Tuesday 4th May 2010

New Commercial Ventures in Space: From Space Tourism to Solar Power

John Mankins, President of Artemis Innovation Management Solutions and Joseph N. Pelton, Former Dean, International Space University.

Are we on the verge of a breakthrough in new commercial space ventures? Today, commercial space travel represents about a quarter of a trillion dollar industry worldwide, but new breakthroughs promise a surge in the commercial space industries: new satellites launched for broadcast and mobile services have antennas the size of basketball courts and space adventure flights to become “Citizen Astronauts” are scheduled to start in 2011. There are already tens of millions of dollars in reservation fees already booked by royalty, sports and movie stars. Soon NASA will likely award commercial contracts to develop space plane technology to fly astronauts to and from the International Space Station in lieu of the Shuttle. Hypersonic jet flights may one day fly from New York City to Sydney, Australia in 3 to 4 hours. Bigelow Aerospace has already launched prototype commercial space stations (Genesis I and II) to orbit. The start-up company Solaren has signed a contract with energy companies to deliver solar-derived electric power from space starting in 2016. Even game-changing technologies such as “space elevators” and “tether-lift” systems are now under serious commercial study. 


Tuesday, April 6 2010

Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development: A General Assessment and Applicability to Arlington

Roger Stough, Vice President for Research and Economic Development at GMU 

Sustainability has become increasingly important in our national policy debate as well as in the context of economic growth and development. While the relationship between advocates of a sustained environment and of economic growth and development is often adversarial, it is essential to find a non-adversarial interface (e.g., entrepreneurship). In this context, we have seen increased investment to help achieve sustainability goals while contributing to economic growth (including jobs and investment) and development. While government investment is tasked with finding new technologies for reducing environmental stressors, and the creation of resources and energy alternatives, much less attention has been paid to translate this new sustainability technical knowledge into productive economic knowledge. The presentation will discuss how entrepreneurship is the central agent for accelerating technology, commercial products and processes necessary to achieve significant growth and development while contributing to a more sustainable environment and energy production system. 


Tuesday 2nd March 2010

Breaking the impasse in US energy and environmental policy

Frank T. Manheim, associate professor and distinguished senior fellow, School of public policy, George Mason University, Fairfax


Tuesday 2nd February 2010

The square kilometre array

Learn about the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), the most powerful radio telescope ever. SKA will be built in the Karoo region of South Africa. With the SKA, radio astronomers hope to be able to detect radio emission from the earliest galaxies. South Africa is building an SKA technology pathfinder telescope, the Karoo Array Telescope (known as MeerKAT).


Tuesday 5th January 2010

Climate change policy at home and abroad

Nikki Roy, Vice President of Federal Government Outreach for the Pew Center on Global Climate Change

President Obama, governors of both parties around the country, and key international allies have made addressing climate change a top priority. This cafe will discuss the state-of-play in the development of US and international climate change policy.


Tuesday 9th September

Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles: The second coming of the electric car! 

Bob Gibson, Senior Program Manager, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Cooperative Research Network, NRECA

Learn why plug-in hybrid cars (PHEV) hold such great promise as a means to reduce the costs of driving, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce our national reliance on petroleum. What are current PHEV drivers experiencing (the good and the not-so-good) and what are the barriers to bringing PHEV’s to market. Plug-in hybrid passenger vehicles are not yet in production, but what we might expect to see from automotive companies in the next few years. The term "plug-in hybrid" has come to mean a hybrid vehicle that can be charged from a standard electrical wall socket.


Tuesday 7th October

Bats: Myth & Reality

Dr. Don Wilson, Smithsonian Institution

Do bats fly in your hair?  Are they blind?  Do they carry rabies?  Are they hateful little creatures of the night, or charismatic critters, critical to the functioning of ecosystems around the world?  Find out the truth about bats from the Author of “Bats in Question”, who will discuss these and other interesting facts about bats worldwide.  Poorly known and routinely misunderstood, bats need friends.


Wednesday 5th November

What will be the role of Science and Technology in the New Administration? 

Al Teich, AAAS; Michael Waring, University of Michigan; and Richard Van Atta, Science and Technology Policy Institute. 

During the next four years the new administration will be facing many important issues including pollution of air and water, climate change, renewable energy research, global diseases and pandemics, bioethical issues such as stem cell research, how to use scientific innovation to stimulate economic growth, how to improve science education and how to maintain our science competitive edge.  Now that the American people have decided who will be President, what role will science and technology play in policy decisions?  How will this new administration interact with the science community?  What can be expected in the way of new programs or funding proposals? 


Tuesday 2nd December

Energy Efficiency Programs and Technologies 

Brian Sloboda, NRECA


Tuesday 5th August

Blackout? What Blackout? Fuel Cells: A Reliable Choice for Mission-Critical Applications 

Robert Rose, U.S. Fuel Cell Council/Fuel Cells 2000,Christy Cooper, U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen Program

Be it the Internet, your computer, cell phone or wireless PDA, communication networks are increasing at an exponential rate and the need for more reliable, premium power is greater than ever before.  U.S. businesses lose $29 billion annually from computer failures due to power outages and are now looking to fuel cells – which can be up to 99.999% (five nines) reliable – to help prevent not only loss of power, but also loss of dollars.  Mission-critical locations such as hospitals, data centers, hotels, telecommunications/radio towers, airports, and even police stations use fuel cells for consistent energy, with the added benefit of substantially reduced greenhouse gas emissions.  At this presentation you will not only learn about what a fuel cell is and why they are such an integral tool for creating an energy-efficient future, you’ll hear about cutting-edge fuel cell innovations and applications besides the highly anticipated fuel cell vehicle.


Tuesday 1st July

Latitude – The World’s First Scientific Expedition to Measure the Earth, 1735-1744 

Dr. Larrie D. Ferreiro, consultant to the BBC’s “Voyages of Discovery” series

The story of Longitude is an inspiring tale of an individual’s heroic struggle to solve a scientific problem. But at exactly the same time as Harrison invented his chronometer, a major international scientific expedition, sponsored by the French government, went to the Equator to settle the burning question of the Earth’s shape – was it flattened at the poles or shaped like an egg?  Their measurements and subsequent discoveries not only solidified our understanding of navigation, it opened the eyes of Europe to the richness of South America, and was the direct inspiration for the subsequent voyages of Humboldt and Darwin.  This presentation describes importance and impact of this little-known Geodesic Mission, which became the model for how government-sponsored scientific cooperation among nations could work.   


Tuesday, November 6

Where Energy and Global Warming Meet

Dennis Dimick, Executive Editor, National Geographic Magazine

A slide show and discussion on the reasons why we are seeing warming (our use of coal, oil, and gas), an extensive range of on-ground examples of change we are seeing as temperatures rise and a range of potential solutions we need to begin implementing to reduce our carbon pollution, and hence the damage from human-induced climate warming.


Tuesday, October 2

What's Math Got To Do With It?

Tony Chan, Assistant Director, Mathematics & Physical Sciences, NSF

Mathematics, and mathematics research, is often viewed by the general public as inscrutable and irrelevant (beyond balancing their checkbooks). In fact, Math is ubiquitous and indispensable in our everyday life. I'll give some examples including GPS, Internet searches (Google), medical imaging and movies.


Tuesday, September 11

The Science of Security:  A Maritime Perspective

Guy Thomas, Science & Technology Advisor to US Coast Guard


Tuesday, August 7

Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics and the Battle over Global Warming

Chris Mooney, Author of "Storm World" and Washington, DC correspondent for Seed Magazine.

Are hurricanes getting stronger or more frequent? What role does climate change play in the weather patterns that shape them? Join us as science journalist Chris Mooney, author of a new book on the subject, explores those questions and the scientific and political issues that surround them.


Tuesday, July 10

Computer Conundrum: Whither the Future?

George Strawn, Computer Scientist and Nancy Forbes, Author


Tuesday, June 12

The Emergence of Humans: What makes us different?

Rick Potts - Human Origins Expert, National Museum of Natural History

How did humans evolve into our present form?  Who are our ancestors, and how far back do they go?  And just what makes us different from other mammals?  


Tuesday, May 1

Backyard Science Survey:  A Buggy Bonanza  

Gary Hevel - Entomologist, National Museum of Natural History


Tuesday April 3

See the light! What makes lasers so cool?

Guy Beadie - Optical Physicist, Naval research Laboratory


Tuesday March 6

The "Shocking" Science behind Electric Cars

David Goldstein - President, Electric Vehicle Association


Tuesday February 6

The Science of Breast Cancer - Making it Personal

Robert Clarke and Minetta Liu (Cancer Researchers, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University)


Tuesday January 9 2007

How Bones Talk to Us: Clues From Forensic Science

Doug Ubelaker (Anthropologist, National Museum of Natural History)


Tuesday, December 5, 2006 

Amazing Polymers & Plastics: From Electronics to Life Itself

Andy Lovinger, Materials Scientist


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The science of educational testing - what really happens behind the scenes

Ray Brogan (educational psychologist)


Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Spring Vacation 2050:  The Science Behind Climate Change

David Evans (Smithsonian Under Secretary for Science) and Margaret Leinen (NSF Assistant Director for Geosciences)


Tuesday 7 September 2006

Quacks, Charlatans and Scientists: How to Distinguish Between Hocus-Pocus and Sound Advice

Joe Schwarcz


Tuesday 1 August 2006

From dust to us: a brief history of the Earth and Moon

Tom Wagner


Tuesday 6 June 2006

Your Phantasmagorical Brain

Kathie Olsen, Neuroscientist & Deputy Director, National Science Foundation


Tuesday 2 May 2006

Are We All Martians?

Kathy Sawyer, science journalist; Mike Meyer, NASA Mars Exploration Lead Scientist


Tuesday 4 April

Before the Big Bang

Mike Turner, Astrophysicist


Last Updated On Wednesday, 14 May 2014 09:32 By Administrator