2018 Festival Guest Author Talks

Submitted by dahlonegascience on Wed, 02/21/2018 - 20:05

Friday, March 23, UNG Heath & Sciences Building @ 7:00 p.m.:  Dr. Les Johnson - “Solar Sails: Traveling the Solar System (and Beyond!) with Sunlight” 

The reality of sunlight-based sailing in space began in May 2010, and solar sail technology has continued to advance rapidly through new space missions. Using the energy of reflected sunlight for spacecraft propulsion will be the next major leap forward in our journey to other worlds. In this talk, you will learn about solar sails, how they work, and how they will be used in the exploration of space.  There will be special planetarium show at 8:00, following Dr. Johnson's talk, "Search for the Edge of the Solar System."  Special hands-on activities will also be shared!

Saturday March 24:

  • 2:00 p.m.:  James CostaDarwin's Backyard: How Small Experiments Led to a Big Theory

Charles Darwin is an iconic figure typically portrayed as a staid Victorian; a lone genius, melancholy, serious, even tormented. In this talk I explore the Darwin behind the portraiture and myth — the husband, father, and friend; the crowd-sourcer and scientist of boyish enthusiasms and impish impulses; above all the inveterate "experimentiser." Darwin was a life-long experimenter, devising simple yet ingenious experiments on myriad topics — orchids and sundews, barnacles and vines, bees' cells and pollination, earthworms and seed dispersal, and more. Yet it was all of a piece. Engaging his children, friends, and neighbors as assistants, and encouraging fellow naturalists to follow his lead, Darwin's ingenious experiments yielded universal truths about nature, and ammunition for his revolutionary arguments in On the Origin of Species and other watershed works. Darwin's working method holds lessons for us today as well: following his lead, we can recreate his experiments in home and school, inspiring a new generation to think like a scientist.

  • 3:15 p.m.:  Les Johnson & Joseph Meany - “Graphene: The Superstrong, Superthin, and Superversatile Material That Will Revolutionize the World”

What if you discovered an infinitesimally thin material capable of conducting electricity, able to suspend millions of times its own weight, and yet porous enough to filter the murkiest water? And what if this substance was created from the same element as that filling the common pencil? This extraordinary material, graphene, is not a work of science fiction. First isolated in 2004, this revolutionary material is poised to change just about everything.

  • 4:30 p.m.: Anthony Martin - "The Underground Evolution: Burrows, Bunkers, and the Marvelous Subterranean World Beneath Our Feet'

Animals have used burrows as a way to survive disasters and mass extinctions and have changed the planet through their burrowing. Find out all about the amazing world of animals below.

Sunday March 25 at the Bourbon Street Grille - Brunch with the Dinosaurs

  • 10:00 a.m.: Anthony Martin - "Dinosaurs without Bones: Dinosaur Lives Revealed by Their Traces”

What if all of the dinosaur bones vanished tomorrow? How would be know dinosaurs existed or how they behaved? Welcome to the world of dinosaur traces: tracks, nests, burrows, and much more.