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Science Cafe

Science Cafés and Cafe' Conversations are a venue for students to informally share their interests during a conversational exchange with faculty, staff and the community in a friendly setting.

All cafés start promptly at 5:00 pm in the Front Room located in Baker Center.  Free coffee for the first 50 people.


FACEBOOK:  Ohio University's Science Cafe

Twitter:  @OUScienceCafes


Fall 2014 Discussions

Sept. 10: Monica Burdick,Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, "Stem cells, research and hype. Oh My!"

Quick. What comes to mind when you hear "stem cells?""Miracle cure" or "controversy" and "ethical and moral issues" or perhaps you think of both?

Misinformation and misconceptions have shaken the public's faith about stem cell research. Dr. Monica Burdick, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, wants to set the record straight. "Not everything is possible, and it's not known if all diseases can be cured by stem cells. I want to focus on what stem cells can do and push out the false hype that is out there." Dr. Burdick will also discuss cancer stem cells–a subset of cancer cells that have the ability to give rise to all cell types and might cause relapse and metastasis. "We hear about embryonic stems cells, but we don't hear about cancer stems cells. It is important for the public to know that this other research exists," Dr. Burdick said.As a part of the café, she will be asking the audience what they know about stem cells and clear up a lot of misconceptions. Join Dr. Monica Burdick for her Science Café discussion, "Stem cells, research, and hype. Oh my!" on September 10th at 5 p.m. in the Front Room.

Cafe Conversations Sept. 17: Paschal Younge, Music, "African music, a big bowl of salad: the interdisciplinarity of the musical arts of Ghana"

In Africa, there is no word for traditional music inany language. But the African tradition of music is ancient, rich and diverse; it's a way of life. According to Paschal Younge, Professor of Music Education, "In the western world, we isolate conceptually what we call music. For example, dancing, drumming, or singing. But in Africa, we bring all those categories together. We have to eat everything in the bowl to enjoy the salad." Professor Younge will be discussing African tradition and how understanding different cultures is essential to knowing how to look at the arts. "Music is a universal phenomenon, but not a universal language. The way people make music is very different according to their culture. But once you learn the culture you can better understand what you are hearing." Join Professor Paschal Younge for drumming and singing during his Café Conversation, "African Music, A Big Bowl of Salad: The Interdisciplinarity of the Musical Art of Ghana" on September 17th at 5 p.m. in the Front Room.

Sept. 24:  Ryan Fogt, Geography, "All Coupled Climate Models are Wrong, Some are Useful"

Global warming is one of the most controversial topics in the world today. But the researchers agree that climate models are essential to further our understanding. According to Professor Ryan Fogt, Assistant Professor of Meteorology, "Anthropogenic climate change is one of the biggest environmental issues of our time and for future generations." Professor Fogt will be discussing the differences between climate modeling and weather forecasting, the human influence on the climate, and how coupled climate models are wrong but still useful. "Even if climate models do not reproduce the real world, they are crucial to detecting a human influence on climate change. We can use them for guidance because they give us enough information to make the necessary adjustments from their predications." As a part of the café, Dr. Fogt will ask the audience to consider what they know and their level of trust about climate models. Sceptic or believer, join Professor Ryan Fogt his discussion, "All Coupled Climate Models are Wrong, Some are Useful" on September 24th at 5 p.m. in the Front Room.

Oct. 8:  Brooke Hallowell, Communication Sciences & Disorders

What would happen to your life if you were to experience a traumatic brain injury or stroke? These events can drastically change someone's ability to interact with others and have serious impacts on their lives. Comprehension is a critical function to assess for these patients but can be very difficult due to their complex combinations of impairments. Brooke Hallowell, professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders, has been developing novel eye tracking methods to assess comprehension in adults who have a variety of neurological disorders. "With eye tracking we can monitor what they are looking at as they look at visual stimuli and listen to verbal messages. As they look naturally at images, not trying to focus anywhere in particular, we are able to tell whether they understand verbal stimuli through their eye movements. Eye tracking is a way to harness information about a person's inner world that would might be lost otherwise," Hallowell said. During the science café, Professor Hallowell will help participants appreciate the effects of stroke and brain injury on communication and demonstrate how eye tracking methods help reveal cognitive and linguistic abilities. Join Brooke Hallowell and students who work in the Neurolinguistics Laboratory during the Science Café, "Harnessing the Power of Eyes to Reveal Cognitive and Linguistic Abilities" on October 8 at 5 p.m. in the Front Room.

Cafe Conversations Oct. 15:  Loreen Giese, English

Did you know in early modern England, hostile facial expressions were considered marital cruelty? We have been lead to believe that monarchs and patriarchs dominated this period, especially in regard to courtship and marriage. Yet legal records reveal it was much more about mutual respect. Dr. Loreen Giese, Professor of English, reconsiders early modern courtship and marriage in daily life and in famous scenes in two Shakespeare plays. "I am excited to work with the audience to see Shakespeare in a fresh perspective" Giese said.  Her talk includes manuscripts—which only recently became available—that reveal the practices and attitudes of people during that time. "These records are a gold mine. They illuminate the plays in ways that critics have not noticed before. The manuscripts provide a unique insight into what people were doing and thinking during this time." Join Professor Loreen Giese for her Café Conversation, "Courtship and Cruelty" on October 15, 2014 at 5 p.m. in the Front Room.


Oct. 22:  Jason Trembly, Mechanical Engineering & Ohio Coal Research Center

As the number of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," operations continues to grow in the U.S., so does concern for the amount of water used in the mining process, and so does the need for cleaning the wastewater byproduct. Join Ohio University's Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Jason Trembly for the next Science Café discussion, "What the Frac!" on October 22nd at 5 p.m. in the Front Room.During his discussion, Trembly will talk about wastewater issues, and his research toward how to clean the wastewater on site and address natural gas emissions. "The largest effort is to develop a cost-competitive shale wastewater management technology that allows the wastewater to be reused, thus reducing hydraulic fracturing water intensity," Trembly said.

Nov. 5:  Doug Clowe, Physics and Astronomy

Have you ever been curious about what the universe if made of? You're not alone; it's one of the biggest mysteries of science. Over the past 20 years, scientists have discovered only 5% of the universe is made out of ordinary matter. The rest is yet to be explained – an "invisible" combination of dark matter and dark energy.  Doug Clowe, professor of Physics and Astronomy, will try to illuminate the dark side of the universe by discussing the various ways that scientists are seeking to detect dark matter. "This is ongoing science. I will discuss the steps that we are going through to try to figure out what this matter is," Clowe said. "The universe is a mystery. When you think of it as a whole, it's really big.  You see a lot through telescopes, but then you realize that what you are seeing is only five percent of the universe.  There is so much that we can't see and currently don't know what it is." Join Professor Doug Clowe for his science café, "The Dark Side of the Universe" on November 5, 2014 at 5 p.m. in the Front Room.

Cafe Conversations Nov. 12:  Geoff Dabelko, Environmental Studies

Have you ever wondered how the environment and security are related? Geoff Dabelko, professor and director of Environmental Studies, is going to answer that question by providing examples ranging from environment and political instability to the military's steps to address climate change. "Since 1990, I have researched multidimensional links between environmental issues and security. I will share insights both from research and my 20 years working in the Washington policy world," Dabelko said. The discussion will be designed for participants to challenge themselves and move beyond their traditional understandings of environment and security. "I am excited to find students and faculty interested in environment, peace, and security topics. These topics represent some of the most challenging threats but also some of the most promising opportunities for tackling top ecological, social, and political problems of the day." Join Professor Geoff Dabelko for his science café, "The Environment: What's Security Got to Do with It?" on November 12, 2014 at 5 p.m. in the Front Room.

Nov. 19: Dina Lopez, Geological Sciences

The United States uses 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides annually. On average, 3.5 pounds of pesticides are used per every inhabitant of the U.S. Many are unaware of the chemicals we are exposed to and how it affects our health. "The use of agrochemicals is a big problem in the world. Excessive use of herbicides and pesticides are making people more susceptible to illness and causing long term negative effects on the environment," says Dina Lopez, professor of Geological Sciences. The discussion will explore ideas on how to solve this important problem and the government's role in using agrochemicals. "The government doesn't forbid a chemical until they have complete knowledge that it is bad.  I believe that if we even have suspicion that a chemical is bad for your health, we need to stop the application until complete proof that is not affecting our health and the environment. But that isn't happening," Lopez said. Learn more about how herbicides and pesticides can affect our health at her science café discussion, "Reflection of use of Agrochemicals: Illness vs. Food Supply" on November 19, 2014 at 5 p.m. in the Front Room.

Dec. 3: Justin Holub, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Nature's form and function has inspired countless innovations throughout recorded history, from architecture and engineering, to art and sculpture, and even therapeutics and medicines. Justin Holub, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, looks for inspiration from nature at the macro-, micro-, and nanoscale levels. "I think that most people will find the intimate, sometime subtle, connection between the natural world and mankind's innovations particularly interesting. I would like for the audience to be inspired by the surrounding world and get ideas on how to look at the natural world, which can inspire a lot of designs and ideas," Holub said. The focus of this talk will spotlight how innovators are using nature's design rules as an inspiration for advancing next-generation medicines and therapeutics. For example, "Molecular components of bee venom, scorpion toxins, and spider silk are being used to engineer therapeutics that hold promise for the treatments of debilitating diseases such as cancer and autoimmune disorders."Join Professor Justin Holub during his science café discussion, "Bio Mimicry: How Nature Inspires Mankind's Innovation" on December 3, 2014 at 5 p.m. in the Front Room.

Spring 2015 Discussions

Jan. 21:  Carl Brune, Physics and Astronomy

Feb. 4:  David Rosenthal, Environmental & Plant Biology

Cafe Conversations Feb. 11:  Chester Pach, History

Feb. 18:  Elizabeth Gierlowski-Kordesch, Geological Sciences

Cafe Conversations Mar. 11:  Katherine Jellison, History

Mar. 18:  Christopher France, Psychology

Apr. 1:  Anne Loucks, Biological Sciences

Spring 2014 Discussions

Jan. 22: Sarah Wyatt, Environmental and Plant Biology

Feb. 05:  Saw Hla, Physics and Astronomy

Feb. 19: Scott Moody, Biological Sciences

Cafe Conversations Feb. 26: Haley Duschinski, Sociology and Anthropology

Mar. 19:  Mark McMills, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Cafe Conversations Mar. 26: Roger Cooper, Media Arts and Studies

April 02:  Julie Suhr, Psychology

Fall 2013 Discussions

Sept 11:  Janet Duerr, Biological Sciences, "Genes:  Are We Just Big, Smart Worms?"

Cafe' ConversationsSept. 18:  John Gilliom, Political Sciences "The Death of Big Brother and the Rise of the Surveillance Society"

Sept. 25: Larry Witmer, Biomedical Sciences, "Fleshing out Dinosaurs... in 3D!"

Check out this short video of this cafe'.

Oct. 9:  Savas Kaya, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, "Nanoscale *& Engineering:  Hype or Opportunity?

Cafe' Conversations Oct. 16:  Bill Condee, Interdisciplinary Arts

Oct. 23:  David Tees, Physics and Astronomy, "TBD"

Nov. 6:  Alycia Stigall, Geological Sciences, "Fossil Invasion! Studying Ancient Species to Help Predict Consequences of Modern Invasion"

Nov. 20:  Deb McAvoy, Civil Engineering, "TBD"

Dec. 4: John Kopchick, Biomedical Sciences and Edison Biotechnology Institute, "TBD"

 coffee cup and steam_cropped

Spring 2013 Discussions

Jan. 23: Jared Deforest, Environmental and Plant Biology, "Chemical Climate Change and Sustainability"

Feb. 6:  Bob Klein, Mathematics

Feb. 20:  Mario Grijalva, Biomedical Sciences

**SPECIAL CAFE' CONVERSATIONS** Feb. 27:  Michele Morrone, Social and Public Health

**SPECIAL CAFE' CONVERSATIONS** Mar 20:  John Sabraw, Art

**SPECIAL CAFE' CONVERSATIONS** Mar. 27:  Tom Hodson, Journalism

Apr. 3:  Geoff Buckley, Geography

Fall 2012 Discussions

Sept 05:  Frank Schwartz, Specialty Medicine, "Socioeconomic Stress, Appalachia and Chronic Disease"

Sept. 19:  Art Trese, Environmental & Plant Biology, "Sustainability:  Alternative Agriculture"

**SPECIAL CAFE' CONVERSATIONS** Sept. 26: Andre Gribou, Music, "The History of Rock and Roll"

Oct. 3: Christine Gidycz, Psychology, "Bystander Behavior and Violence on College Campuses"

**SPECIAL CAFE' CONVERSATIONS** Oct. 24:  Tom Vander Ven, Sociology and Anthropology, "Why Students Drink Too Much and Party So Hard"

Oct. 31:  Natalie Kruse, Voinovich School, "Sustainability:  Mining and Mine Reclamation"

Nov. 14:  Tad Malinski, Chemistry and Biochemistry, "The Science of Art Restoration & Identification"

Nov. 28  Joe Shields, Physics and Astronomy, "Hunting Black Holes with the Hubble"

RESCHEDULED TO Dec. 5: Martin Kordesch, Physics and Astronomy, "The Physics of Music"

Spring 2012 Discussions

April 04Willem Roosenburg,  Biological Sciences, "Turtles:  Why Girls are Hot and Boys are Cool"

April 18:  Keith Milam, Geological Sciences, "Virtual Geology:  Unraveling Planetary Secrets from Afar"

May 02:  Darlene Berryman, Applied Health Sciences and Wellness, "Big Fat Myths:  What You Didn't Know about Obesity"

Winter 2012 Discussions

Jan. 11: Dr. Michael Braasch, Electrical Engineering and Avionics Engineering Center, "Iron Stomachs & White Knuckles - Navigation System Flight Testing"

Jan. 12:  The PhD Movie, Free Admission

Jan. 25:  Dr. Molly Morris, Biological Sciences, "Beyond  Alternative Mating Strategies"

Feb. 08: Dr. Greg Van Patten, Chemistry and Biochemistry, "The Big Deal about Small Stuff"

Feb. 22:Peggy Zoccola, Psychology, "Stress:  Bad Thoughts, Bad Health?"

Mar. 07: Madappa  Prakash, Physics & Astronomy, "Extreme States of Matter  from Explosive Events in the Universe"


Fall 2011 Discussions

Sept. 14:  Dr. Brian McCarthy, Environmental & Plant Biology, "From the Brink of Extinction:  the American Chestnut"

Sept. 28:  Dr. Erin Murphy, Biomedical Sciences, "Bacteria:  The Good, the Bad and the Resistant"

Oct. 12Dr. Dave Bayless, Mechanical Engineering, "Powering the World with Pond Scum"

Oct. 26Dr. James Lein, Geography, "The Geography of Tomorrow:  The Science of Futures Research"

Spring 2011 Discussions

March 30:Dr. Alycia Stigall, Associate Professor, Geological Sciences, OHIO Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Studies, "Overturn of the Biotics: Predicting Biodiversity Change with Fossils"

April 13:  Dr. Harvey Ballard, Associate Professor of Environmental and Plant Biology, "How Violets will Change the World"

April 27:  Dr. Jolie Cizewski, Professor of Physics, Rutgers University, "The Magic Numbers of Maria Goeppert Mayer:  From the Manhattan Project to the Future"

Winter 2011 Discussions

Jan. 12: Dr. Martin Mohlenkamp, Associate Professor, Mathematics, "Developing in silico Methods to do Virtual Science."   

Jan. 26: Dr. Stephen Bergmeier, Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry, "Chemistry, the class you love to hate, and Drug Discovery."

Feb. 9: Dr. Dan Hembree, Assistant Professor, Geological Sciences, "The Secrets of Burrowing Biota: Understanding Ancient Traces of Life through Modern Organisms."

Feb. 23: Dr. Kelly Johnson, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, Voinovich School, "Mayflies, Minnows, and Acid Mine Drainage: The Science of Stream Restorations."

March 9: Dr. Brook Marcks, Assistant Professor, Psychology, "From Thoughts to Obsessions: A Closer Look at Obsessive Compulsive Disorders."

Fall 2010 Schedule:

Sept. 22: Dr. Gar Rothwell, Environmental & Plant Biology, "Paleobotany and Plant Evolution"

Oct. 6: Drs. Shawn Ostermann (EECS), Hans Kruse (Information & Telecommunications Systems), Phil Campbell (Information & Telecommunications Systems), "Wireless Networking in Challenging Environments:  the Barbarism of Baker to the Perils of Pluto"

Oct. 20: Dr. Julie Owens, Psychology, "Evaluating Treatments for ADHD:  A Multi-Dimensional Approach"

Nov. 3: Dr. Eric Stinaff (Physics and Astronomy), "Where's my iQuanta:  Is quantum information processing the future of computers?"


Spring 2010 Schedule:
April 7: Dr. Stephen Reilly, Biological Sciences,  "The Biology of Walking and Running"

April 21: Dr. Ken Hicks, Physics & Astronomy,  "From Quarks to the Big Bang"

May 5: Dr. Susan Williams, Biomedical Sciences,  "Food for thought: the Evolution and Ontogeny of Feeding Mammals"

May 19: Dr. Ronaldo Vigo, Psychology,  "Molecules of the Mind"

June 2: Dr. Maarten Uijit de Haag, Engineering/Avionics,  "Nav
igation: Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere"

Winter 2
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Jan. 13: Dr. Doug Clowe, Physics and Astronomy, "The Dark Side of the Universe"

Jan. 27: Dr. Julie Suhr, Psychology, "Measuring your Mind"

Feb. 10: Dr. Morgan Vis, Environmental & Environmental Plant Biology, "Red Algae-Tree of life, huh?"

Feb. 24: Dr. Damian Nance, Geological Sciences, "From Grains of Sand to Supercontinents:  Reconstructing Earth's Geographic Past"

March 10: Dr. Jeff Rack, Chemistry & Biochemistry, "Chemical Chameleons"

Fall 2009 Schedule:

Sept. 30: Dr. Gerri Botte, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, "Alternative Energy:  The Search for Fuel"

Oct. 14: Dr. Larry Witmer, Biomedical Sciences, "Fleshing Out Dinosaur Evolution"

Oct. 28: Dr. Justin Weeks, Psychology, "Social Anxiety:  The Fear of Positive Evaluation"




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