Local university professors and scientists will once again take to the stage starting Feb. 6 for the “Science Cafe.”
Science Cafes bring together local university and college professors and townspeople in relaxed, informal settings, such as coffeehouses and pubs. The speaker makes a short presentation about a topic in his or her field and then opens up the floor to discussion.
All Canton Science Cafes will take place Tuesdays at 7:15 p.m. at the Best Western University Inn
Rushton Room, 90 E. Main St. in Canton, N.Y.
All Potsdam Science Cafes will take place Wednesdays at 7:15 p.m. at the St. Lawrence Valley
Roasters & Jernabi Coffeehouse, 11 Maple St. in Potsdam, N.Y.
Here’s a rundown of this spring’s topics and speakers:
Here’s to the Cosmos
Canton: Tuesday, Feb. 6
Potsdam: Wednesday, Feb. 7
How did the universe begin? What is it made of? How is it going to end? How big is it? How old? How did galaxies and clusters develop? Why are we here? In this talk, St. Lawrence University Associate Professor of Physics Cristian Armendariz-Picon will describe how modern cosmology answers these questions within the Big Bang and inflationary models. Along the way, he will explain the concept of an accelerating universe, what is meant by “dark matter” and “dark energy” and how we appear to be the result of quantum fluctuations in the vacuum, amplified by an early stage of cosmic acceleration.
“Omelets or Wings?!”
Selective Breeding and the Physiology of the Domestic Chicken
Canton: Tuesday, Feb. 27
Potsdam: Wednesday, Feb. 28
From the earliest days of domestication, decades of genetic selection have resulted in significant differences among breeds of chicken — in particular, fast-growing broilers and highly productive layers.
But what differences exist at the physiological level among these breeds? What are the implications of these differences as young chicks develop and mature? How does the modern chicken differ from its wild ancestor, the junglefowl? Join SUNY Potsdam Assistant Professor of Biology Sarah Sirs in a fun and interesting discussion of these issues — and find out how there’s a lot more to the everyday chicken than meets the eye!
Synchronization and Desynchronization: From Fireflies to Brain Waves to Power Grids
Canton: Tuesday, March 13
Potsdam: Wednesday, March 14
The flashing of fireflies, flocking of birds and schooling of fish — many animals exhibit collective, synchronized behavior, but synchronization is not just some fascinating natural phenomenon. For power grids, synchronization is critical to the system’s stable operations; for brains, excessive synchronization can cause severe diseases and disorders. Join Clarkson University Associate Professor of Mathematics Jie Sun as he describes how, despite fundamental differences among systems, scientists have developed a unified mathematical framework for modeling synchronization in a broad range of applications.
Coming Back from Concussion
Canton: Tuesday, April 3
Potsdam: Wednesday, April 4
An explosion of research has transformed the way that we provide care for those who experience concussions, also known as mild traumatic brain injuries. While return-to-play protocols have improved recovery for many people, others have symptoms that linger for months or years. Join Clarkson University Clinical Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy Rebecca Martin, a board-certified clinical specialist in neurology, for a discussion on the different types of concussions and why some people recover more quickly than others. She will also provide insight into the intricate process of returning a patient to play, work or school.
Hard Maples, Hard Times
Canton: Tuesday, April 17
Potsdam: Wednesday, April 18
Known as “Wáhtha” to the Kanien’kéha, or Mohawks; “senomozi” to the Western Abenaki; “Acer
saccharum” to botany nerds; and “sugar maple” to most English-speaking folk, this long-lived tree is important as an icon, in industry, and, ecologically, as a keystone species. Unfortunately, new findings in
2017 suggest it may be in more trouble in parts of northern New York State than elsewhere in its range.
Join Paul Hetzler, horticulture and natural resources educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County, as he outlines the problem, suggests probable causes and discusses how citizen science projects might provide valuable data in the future.