Panel Discussions (DSF 2021)

Submitted by dahlonegascience on Wed, 02/21/2018 - 18:11

Saturday, March 6th via Zoom


All of our panels this year will be held via Zoom & Facebook Live on Saturday March 6th at the specific times indicated below. Bring some of your own questions to be discussed, or generate new questions as our science specialists discuss these topics! 

12:30pm – Confronting Pandemics

While SARS-CoV-2, commonly known as COVID-19, is the most recent and ongoing example of the havoc that a global pandemic can cause, it is not the first time the world has experienced global viral spread. In fact, having been here before, humans have collectively accrued significant amounts of experience dealing with airborne diseases over time. In the first days and weeks of the COVID pandemic many comparisons were made with the 1918 flu pandemic (also known as the Spanish Flu), for example. That pandemic, now over a century in the past, confronted the United States and the world with a global crisis in a very different era when preparedness and public health strategies were approached in very different ways. Our panel of experts will discuss what the pandemics of the past have taught us, how they changed medical and societal norms in their aftermath, and what lessons we may be able to learn from COVID-19 to better address the inevitable pandemics of the future.

  • Cornelia Lambert (UNG, History of Science and Medicine)
  • Neal Lin (UNG, Epidemiology/Biology)
  • Supriya Reddy (UNG, Public Health)

2:00pm – Energy and the Environment

Society's growing energy demands seem wholly incompatible with our need to drastically reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to reduce the impacts of climate change, given our heavy reliance on burning fossil fuels for energy production. However, with increasing research and technology efforts over the last several decades our efforts to harness renewable sources of energy have become more affordable and are on track to compete economically with the use fossil fuels in the very near future. Our diverse panel will discuss some of the implications of this competition between the reliance of large economies on fossil fuel production and the global need to make systemic changes to preserve the climate for future generations, as well as local and regional efforts to address sustainability by adapting to small-scale sustainable agricultural practices.

  • Patrick Bunton (UNG, Physics)
  • Victoria Hightower (UNG, Environmental History)
  • David Patterson (UNG, Paleontology)


3:30pm – Scientific Consensus

In order to make a real-world impact, a scientific discovery requires more than just overwhelming agreement among scientists in the field - it also requires effective communication to the public. How do scientists come to agree upon a scientific fact? How does the way in which this fact is communicated to the public affect how readily it is accepted by the general public? It takes more than just good science itself for a discovery to make an impact in society, and a simple misstep in science communication has the potential to stymie its societal benefits. Our panel of experts will discuss the process through which scientists come to agreement, as well as the crucial process of effective science communication to the general public.

  • Josh Cuevas (UNG, Educational Psychology)
  • Royce Dansby-Sparks (UNG, Chemistry)
  • Bryan Dawson (UNG, Organizational Psychology)
  • Meg Smith (UNG, Biology)