Upcoming Events

Coleman Planetarium @ UNG: Tales of a Time Traveler (Every Friday - NO Reservations)

Submitted by dahlonegascience on Thu, 08/31/2017 - 13:27

UNG Planetarium announces a new show for June and July, Tales of a Time Traveler.

The show begins with a 23-minute full dome video that explores time itself!  Join us to discover the illusive nature of time and journey through the history of the Earth, stars, and universe.  Narrated by David Tennant.  

The show continues with a live presentation of the Summer 2018 evening sky and exciting recent discoveries in astronomy.

These shows are FREE to the public every Friday night at 8 pm. Reservations not accepted.  For more information see: https://ung.edu/planetarium/index.php

Monday July 16, 6:30 p.m.: Restoration of American chestnut in the southeastern United States; strategies for the development of disease resistance and conservation of genetic diversity

Submitted by dahlonegascience on Mon, 02/05/2018 - 19:13

Prior to its demise in the early 1900s from two introduced disease agents (Phytophthora root rot and Cryphonectria blight), the American chestnut (Castanea dentata) was one of the most important trees of the eastern deciduous forests.  Some estimates suggest that approximately 25% of all trees within the Appalachian mountains were chestnuts. Their large size and annual production of high quality nuts made the trees a “foundation” species within many natural communities.  Moreover, humans found these trees enormously beneficial as sources of food, timber, and other uses, and thus the tree had considerable cultural and economic importance.  This all ended by the 1950s when populations of around 4 billion trees were reduced to a few hundred million, most of which were small sprouts rather than large, productive trees.

For over 30 years, The American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) has worked toward restoring this species using methods that introduce disease resistance and also by developing strategies and a network of partnerships necessary to reintroduce the trees to the wild.  In such a restoration project, capturing the genetic diversity present throughout the species’ range is an important component in addition to the development disease resistance. 

This talk will describe TACF efforts being taken in the state of Georgia and other southern states to preserve genetic diversity of American chestnut and to introduce disease resistance into the trees.  Focus will be on classical breeding which introduces resistance genes from Chinese chestnut (C. mollissima), genetic engineering whereby resistance genes are introduced directly into American chestnuts, and modification of the blight fungus to weaken its virulence.  This three-pronged approach has been titled the 3-BUR model (Breeding, Biocontrol, and Biotechnology United for Research) and will involve significant collaboration among various TACF chapters and other entities, especially SUNY-ESF where the first American chestnuts with high blight resistance have been developed.

Dr. Martin L. Cipollini is the Dana Professor of Biology at Berry College, Mount Berry, Georgia, where he teaches undergraduate courses such as Principles of Microbiology, Botany and Ecology, Forest Ecology and Tropical Ecology (Costa Rica/Cuba).  He received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD. in Ecology from Rutgers University.  A faculty member at Berry College since 1995, his current research activities revolve around the college’s Longleaf Pine and America Chestnut projects.  In his role as science coordinator for the Georgia Chapter of TACF, he has helped establish numerous chestnut orchards across the state.  He is currently working with UNG on plans to establish a Phytophthora field test orchard at the university’s Hurricane Creek site.

Monday August 6, 7:30 p.m.: Why I should have paid attention in science class? Stories from a real CSI.

Submitted by dahlonegascience on Fri, 05/04/2018 - 14:46

The talk will examine actual cases, lessons learned, mistakes made and the application of scientific methods to crime scene investigation. Jeff will share experiences from some of the high profile cases he worked including the Tri State Crematory investigation and the Gary Hilton serial murder case.

Jefferson "Jeff" D. Branyon is the Dahlonega City Marshal.  He returned to Dahlonega to reactivate the City’s law enforcement office after serving for seven years with the Gwinnett County Police Department where he managed the County Police Department’s Crime Scene Investigations Unit which is one of the state’s largest full time CSI Units.  He came to Gwinnett after spending fourteen years as a Special Agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. While at the GBI, Jeff served as a member of the State’s mass fatality/body recovery team, the counter terrorism task force and the SWAT team.  He’s a graduate of the University of Georgia, The Northeast Georgia Police Academy and the University of Tennessee’s National Forensic Academy.  He’s a certified crime scene investigator and instructor. Jeff has testified as an expert witness in the areas of crime scene processing, fingerprints and firearms. He has served as an instructor at the National Forensic Academy, Georgia Public Safety Training Center and adjunct faculty member at Lanier Technical College.

Monday August 27, 6:30 p.m.: The Sulfanilamide Disaster: Why We Finally Got the FDA

Submitted by dahlonegascience on Mon, 05/07/2018 - 16:21

In 1937 a Tennessee pharmacist looking for a more palatable version of sulfanilamide compounded an “elixir” that killed over 100 people across the United States. Find out how that could happen, how the toxic medication was identified, tracked down, and destroyed, and how the outcome led to the formation of the Food and Drug Administration.

Lila Ralston, MPH, is Project Coordinator for the Traffic Safety Research and Evaluation Group at the University of Georgia’s College of Public Health. She has previously worked as a gerontology researcher, a physical therapist assistant and a sea turtle tagger, and has taught  and lectured on everything from tax preparation to Shakespeare. The history of medicine and public health is one of her hobbies.

Monday September 10, 6:30 p.m.: Earth Science and Climate Change – Studying the Earth and its Climate in the Space Age

Submitted by dahlonegascience on Mon, 06/25/2018 - 12:24

Jim will talk about NASA’s work to advance earth science and climate knowledge.  He will give an overview of NASA’s current and planned constellation of space-based satellites and suborbital aircraft for Earth observation.  He will outline the types of remote sensing instruments that are aboard these platforms and an overview of what they measure.  Jim will also talk about Earth’s climate change – both over geologic time scales as well as current.  He will provide insight regarding whether our current climate change is natural or human caused and what we can do about it.

Jim Smoot has spent nearly his entire career studying environmental issues and working to solve environmental problems.  His formal training includes BS and MS degrees from University of Central Florida and a PhD degree from Virginia Tech, all in the Environmental Engineering field.  His professional experience included serving as a tenured full professor of engineering at The University of Tennessee, as a scientist and senior science manager with the U.S. Geological Survey, and more recently with NASA where he served as a senior research scientist and the head of earth science at Marshall Space Flight Center, before retiring about 2 years ago.  Jim currently resides full-time in Sautee Nacoochee, Georgia.