2019 Science Festival Talks

Submitted by dahlonegascience on Wed, 02/21/2018 - 18:28

From Friday night, through Sunday Morning, we have a great variety of talks to attend!  Our speakers come from a variety of different disciplines.  

Our opening talk:

Friday, March 1, UNG Heath & Sciences Building @ 7:00 p.m.:   Trina Ray: Exploring the Ocean Moons of the Outer Solar System

From the Voyager to the Cassini spacecraft missions, Trina Ray has been an integral part of NASA JPL missions to explore the planets and moons of the outer solar system. When the Voyager spacecraft flew by the planets of the outer solar system, one of the most dramatic discoveries was the surprising diversity of planetary moons.   The Cassini spacecraft’s 13 year-long mission orbiting Saturn revealed that Titan and Enceladus are two of the solar system’s most exciting moons, and NASA is currently preparing new missions to explore Jupiter’s moon Europa.  Come hear all about exploring the Ocean Moons of the Outer Solar System from our NASA/JPL Keynote Speaker!

The following talks all will occur on Saturday March 2:

Location:  Bourbon Street Grille (back room) Be sure to catch as many as you can!  Please arrive early and order a beverage or food to enjoy during the talks.  Supporting our event hosts, supports us!  After each talk Q&A will be held next door, at the Naturally Georgia Tasting Room.

10:00 am:  Marianne Shockley: Insects as Food:  They are Delicious and Nutritious!

The UGA Bug Dawgs coordinate programs with the UGA Insect Zoo promoting entomophagy and sustainable insect food production through service-learning courses, grass roots research projects, and community festivals and events often providing various sweet and savory edible insect foods.  Entomophagy is being incorporated into many annual community festivals and events like Insectival and Eating Insects Athens as well as public awareness and education events such as Octobeefest and The Beers and the Bees and are a wonderful opportunity to introduce the idea of entomophagy in Western cultures. 

11:15 am:  Marshall Shepherd: Zombies, Sports, and Cola: Implications for Communicating Weather and Climate Change

Dr. Shepherd, a leading international expert in weather and climate, presents a contemporary look at the challenges and opportunities centered around weather forecasting, extremes, and climate change. Dr. Shepherd uses current events, science, and pop culture to convey these concepts in an accessible manner.

12:30 pm:  Kim Steadman: Roving Mars

Curiosity is the largest and most capable rover ever sent to Mars.  She landed in Gale Crater on Aug 5, 2012 and has been exploring Mars ever since.  Find out how an international group of scientists and engineers come together to tell a semi-autonomous car-sized robot on Mars what to do and what challenges they have had to overcome in her over 6 years on Mars. 

1:45 pm:  John Wise:  Computing the Origins of Galaxies

Our Milky Way is a beautiful spiral galaxy and has been constantly growing since the beginning of time. How did the ancestors of the Milky Way form and look in the first billion years of the universe? Before galaxies form, isolated massive stars ignite from primordial gas composed of only hydrogen and helium. They forever changed the cosmic landscape by heating their surroundings and enriching the universe with the first heavy elements. These events spark the era of galaxy formation, where dwarf galaxies assemble first and then merge together to form larger and larger galaxies. Observations from the Hubble Space Telescope are just now uncovering these baby galaxies, and a wealth of information will come from the James Webb Space Telescope, due to launch in 2021. Supercomputer simulations of galaxy formation are vital to interpret these data and to learn about our cosmic origins.

3:00 pm:  Larry Young: The Neurobiology of Love: Lessons from the Prairie Voles

What are the brain mechanisms giving rise to love and social bonding?  Dr. Young will discuss the neurobiology of pair bonding as revealed by studies in monogamous prairie voles.  His work suggests that oxytocin and dopamine interact during pair bonding to link the neural representation of the partner into the reward system.  He proposes that pair bonding is similar to an addiction to a partner. Dr. Young will also discuss the neurobiology of empathy and the consequences of loss of a partner in prairie voles.  He will then suggest that similar brain mechanisms underlie love and bonding in humans. 

4:15 pm: Russell Cutts: Primitive or Sophisticated? Human Ingenuity Seen Through an Ancient Lens.

We often imagine our ancestors as struggling to survive, while viewing ourselves as blessed geniuses. In this exploration of ancient technologies, we will see how our ancestors, too, were operating with focused, innovative intelligence -- and how their ingenuity is foundational to our modern success. Appreciating the evolutionary significance of intelligence and technology increases our understanding of ourselves and our role in ecosystems.

Our final talk will be a brunch gathering on Sunday March 3 at the Bourbon Street Grille.  Brunch begins at 10:00 a.m., talk at 11:00.  Be sure to arrive early, grab a bite and socialize before the talk begins.  Seating is limited, first come, first served.

Trina Ray: "The Voyager Spacecraft - Exiting the Solar System - A Milestone for Mankind.” 

Launched in 1977 the twin Voyager spacecraft blazed a trail of exploration through the planets of the outer solar system.  But it is their final mission success that places them in the history books.  Both spacecraft have exited the solar system and are transmitting data back from interstellar space (the first manmade objects to achieve that milestone).  Come hear about the amazing 40 plus years of discovery by these groundbreaking spacecraft and the recent science results from Voyager 2 which joined its twin in interstellar space just a few months ago.