February 28 • David Kaiser, Ph.D.,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Professor of Physics and Professor
of the History of Science
Quantum Jitters in the Sky: The Big Bang, Cosmic Inflation,
and the Latest Observations
David Kaiser has been featured in Science, Nature, the New York Times, and the New Yorker magazine, as well as on NOVA television programs, National Public Radio, and the BBC. His research interests include early-universe cosmology and foundations of quantum theory. Many types of evidence suggest that our universe underwent a very brief period of rapid, violent expansion, doubling in size every trillion-trillion-trillionth of a second, in a period known as “cosmic inflation.” Dr. Kaiser will discuss how recent measurements of cosmic microwave background radiation have provided insights into the quantum state of the universe during its earliest moments.
March 28 • Sam Rikkers, J.D.,
Executive Director, Tiny Earth;
Brittany Gasper, Ph.D., Florida Southern College;
Eric Warrick, Ph.D., State College of Florida
Student-Sourcing the Discovery of New Antibiotics in the Soil
Tiny Earth is working to reverse a global health crisis resulting from multi-drug resistant microbes through a global network of student-scientists. Tiny Earth inspires and retains students in the sciences while enlisting them in a collective effort to crowd-source the discovery of new antibiotics from the soil. This effort involves nearly 10,000 students across 44 states and 14 countries. Tiny Earth Executive Director Sam Rikkers and Partner Instructors, Brittany Gasper and Eric Warrick, will lead a conversation discussing antibiotic resistance and discovery, innovations in STEM education, and how Tiny Earth is helping produce a citizenry that values scientific research and discovery.
April 25 • Ryan and Rebecca Means,
President and Director of Coastal Plains Institute
Project Remote: Where the Road Ends
Ryan and Rebecca Means are conservation and wildlife ecologists in their local non-profit Coastal Plains Institute. Their professional interests include wetland ecology, herpetology, and science education. They have also created a unique personal endeavor, Project Remote, to calculate the remotest location within each state and mount documentary expeditions to those places. They share their results with the public to raise awareness about the extent of roads in our country and the importance of preserving the remote and roadless areas that remain. For this presentation, the Means will bring us along their journey into what’s left between the roads in our country.
May 23 • Helen F. James, D. Phil.,
National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
Discovering a Lost World of Birds: Fossils in Hawaii’s Lava Caves
Helen James is a leading paleo-ornithologist, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Curator of Birds for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History where she oversees one of the largest museum collections of birds in the world. During several decades of research, she and her collaborators have discovered over sixty species of extinct fossil birds in the Hawaiian Islands, many of them with odd traits like the inability to fly. She will share the story of these astounding discoveries and how they changed what we think about extinction, as well as how to prevent it.
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