The Deeper Roots of Climate Skepticism with Warren Wiscombe PhD of NASA Goddard

Title: “Merchants of Doubt: The Deeper Roots of Climate Skepticism ” with Warren Wiscombe of NASA-Goddard

Date, Time, Location: Wednesday, February 13th, 2019; 7:30 – 8:30 pm at Terra Linda HS in San Rafael, Room 207

Description:  Climate skepticism often appears superficial — just lazy people who have anointed themselves “climate scientists” without putting in the work required to earn that title.  But there is more to it.  We dig below the surface to uncover the roots of the phenomenon in the 1980s.  After the fall of the Soviet Union and the turn of China toward capitalism, a group of Cold Warrior scientists with no communists left to fight turned their fire instead on environmentalism (which in their minds equated to “big government and regulations”).  These people were strongly rooted in “free-market fundamentalism”, an economic philosophy going back to Friedrich Hayek in the 1940s.  Their rise coincided with that of Ayn Rand and her dramatizations of the woes inflicted on entrepreneurs by socialism. The movement had the backing of powerful, wealthy interests who founded and funded a dozen or more “institutes” devoted to spreading doubt about any science that might lead to government regulations.

Dr. Warren Wiscombe has done research in climate science since its birth in the early 1970s. He worked 30 years at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and before that in the Climate Section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He taught climate and atmospheric science in several countries and universities. His interest turned to exoplanets in his last few years at NASA.

RSVP on Facebook here.

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Green Building with Barry Giles of BREEAM – To Be Rescheduled

Title: “Green Building Standards: How to Make Existing Buildings Healthier and Better for the Environment” with Barry Giles of BREEAM

Date, Time, Location: Wednesday, January 16th, TBA – CANCELLED DUE TO SEVERE WEATHER – 2019; 7:30 – 8:30 pm at Terra Linda HS in San Rafael, Room 207

Description:  Most of us spend about 90 percent of our time inside buildings of one sort or another –homes, offices, schools, or shopping centers. Despite the best endeavors from those involved in building design, construction and operations, buildings have a mostly negative effect on our health and well-being as the occupiers and on the environment. Climate change will have a major effect on how efficient buildings can be – or if they will even stand up to extreme weather events.

While we could just demolish all the existing buildings and start again, that’s not practical. So what can we do to increase our health and well-being and make buildings more resilient? How can we turn all the ‘ugly ducklings’ into ‘swans’.

Barry Giles, CEO of BRE America
Barry Giles, CEO of BRE America

Barry Giles has worked in virtually every aspect of the building industry —engineer, general contractor, systems operator and facilities supervisor. He helped the US Green Building Council create the LEED Operations and Maintenance rating system for existing buildings in 2003, and from that gained LEED Fellowship and an iconic status in the green building industry. In 2016 he was appointed CEO of BRE America to bring the BREEAM standard to the USA. BREEAM was the original green building rating system and today is the most widely used program worldwide with over 2.2 million registered buildings and over 560,000 certifications.

RSVP on Facebook here.

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Air Quality in the Bay Area and Around the World

Title: “Air Quality in the Bay and Around the World” with Kaitlyn Lieschke of Ramboll, Novato

Date, Time, Location: Wednesday, February 27th, 2019; 7:30 – 8:30 pm at Terra Linda HS in San Rafael, Room 207

Description:  The air around us impacts the health and happiness of everyone in the community, but how do we know what it is that we’re breathing? Is there anyone making sure that the quality of our air is maintained? Come learn about the measurements, models and scientists dedicated to learning about and protecting your air quality, as well as how they do it!

Presenting for Fresh Air February: Kaitlyn Klieschke

Kaitlyn Lieschke is an atmospheric scientist, currently employed as an air quality analyst / consultant with Ramboll in Novato. Originally from Australia, she holds a Bachelor of Science Advanced (Honors) in Chemistry from the University of Wollongong. While in Australia she studied long-term trends in atmospheric composition Australia, the ozone hole over Antarctica and atmospheric composition over the Southern Ocean. Since moving to the Bay Area in 2016 she studied spatial and temporal changes in air quality around the Bay Area at UC Berkeley before joining the team at Ramboll. When she’s not working, Kaitlyn enjoys being outdoors in any capacity; hiking, climbing, scuba diving or traveling to new places.

RSVP on Facebook coming soon

Links:

Learn about the Higgs Boson with Dr. Heather Gray (Cal/LBL) Wed. 1/9/19

Title: “The Higgs Boson” with Dr. Heather Gray of UC Berkeley

Date, Time, Location: Wednesday, January 9th, 2019; 7:30 – 8:30 pm at Terra Linda HS in San Rafael, Room 207

Description:  In 2012, the Higgs boson was discovered at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland. I will explain what this Higgs boson is and why it is so important that we spent 10 billion dollars to build an enormous collider (and detectors) to find it. I’ll introduce the complex experiments that we use to study the Higgs and explain how we actually go about measuring its properties. I will also review what we currently do and don’t know about the Higgs, while focusing on some of its weird features. We’ll conclude with a short discussion about what the Higgs boson might tell us about the future of the universe.

Professor Heather Gray of UC Berkeley

Heather Gray is an Assistant Professor in physics at UC Berkeley/Lawrence Berkeley Lab. She splits her time between Berkeley and Geneva while working on the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. She specializes in the Higgs boson and also works on silicon pixel detectors and algorithms to figure out the paths of particles based on the information they leave in detectors. Heather is originally from Cape Town, South Africa, where she did her undergraduate degree and spent 7 years working for CERN in Switzerland. When not at work, she can usually be found in the mountains or the ocean.

RSVP on Facebook here.

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“Redwoods, Roots, and Fungi” with Claire Willing of Cal’s Dawson Lab

Title: “Redwoods, Roots, and Fungi: Exploring Plant Physiology and Ecology” with Claire Willing of UC Berkeley

with an opening presentation from students from the Marin School of Environmental Leadership (MSEL) on Air Pollution in the Bay Area (7:15 – 7:30 pm)

Date, Time, Location: Wednesday, November 14th, 2018; 7:30 – 8:30 pm at Terra Linda HS in San Rafael, Room 207

Description: The plant microbiome has proven to be an essential and often overlooked aspect of plant physiological ecology. Plant interactions with microbes are thought to have enabled the transition of plants from aquatic to terrestrial systems and the co-evolution of these relationships has been shown to have important consequences for plant performance, nutrient cycling, and potentially even plant species ranges. However, our knowledge of these processes derives from only a few model systems. Claire’s dissertation research explores these relationships in coast redwood forests where, despite their notoriety, plant-microbial relationships remain unexplored. Redwoods are the largest and some of the oldest plants on Earth, yet their geographical ranges are very constrained. As such, redwood forests serve as an excellent system to explore plant-microbial interactions and how they might expand or limit species ranges.

Claire Willing is interested plant-fungal symbioses including with mycorrhizal fungi, a group symbiotic, root-associated fungi. Her work has taken her from throughout the coast redwood range up through the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and most recently, even to Brazil. Her overall interest is in linking fungal community ecology to plant physiological performance, a trend which she hopes to continue to explore throughout her future work.

RSVP on Facebook here.

Links:

Redwoods, Roots, and Fungi Talk Teaser from Marin Science Seminar on Vimeo.

Natalie Ciaccio, PhD

Title: “The Pharmacy of Genes: Drug Development for Genetic Diseases” with Natalie Ciaccio Ph.D. of Biomarin

Date, Time, Location: Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018; 7:30 – 8:30 pm at Terra Linda HS in San Rafael, Room 207

NEW Watch Dr. Ciaccio’s presentation in VR below!

Bio: Dr. Ciaccio is a Sr. Scientist working in Formulation Development at BioMarin Pharmaceutical, Inc. in Novato, Ca. Prior to joining BioMarin, Dr. Ciaccio completed her Postdoctoral training in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences at the University of California San Francisco, where she explored the application of drug delivery technologies for sustained release of biologics. Previously, Dr. Ciaccio obtained her PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Kansas, where she investigated mechanisms of protein degradation and aggregation. She obtained her BS in Pharmacy from Purdue University and spent three years working in Quality Control at Eli Lilly and Co., supporting insulin manufacturing prior to attending graduate school.

Watch Dr. Ciaccio’s presentation in Virtual Reality (VR) below! Use your keyboard arrows or click and drag to visit the Marin Science Seminar classroom.

The Pharmacy Of Genes from Marin Science Seminar on Vimeo.   Video by MSS intern Satvik Namburu

Links:

Join us and learn! – Back to the Marin Science Seminar calendar

Cinzia Perlingieri, Ph.D.

Title: “Mirroring Past and Future: How Cutting-edge Technologies Help us Unveil Ancient Worlds” with Cinzia Perlingieri Ph.D.

Date, Time, Location: Wednesday, September 26th, 2018; 7:30 – 8:30 pm at Terra Linda HS in San Rafael, Room 207

Description: Archaeology is the search for empirical data to answer such big questions as “where do we come from?” and “what does it mean to be human?” The way archaeologists study the past has changed dramatically over time. In collecting things for museums, we started to wonder where and when things happened. Later on, archaeologists became concerned with why and how cultures change, how people lived, if various cultures connected and how. In this lecture we will learn how modern, digital technologies have changed the way we study the past, and what we can discover using these new tools.

Bio: Cinzia Perlingieri received her Ph.D. in Archaeology at the University of Naples “l’Orientale”, Italy. She participated in her first archaeological project in Sudan, Africa, in 1989 as archaeologist and ceramic analyst. Her research focused on the archaeology of early states in northeast Africa (Egypt, Sudan, and Eritrea/Ethiopia), with a specialization in ceramic studies. During her travels in Africa and the Near East she experienced all aspects of archaeology and heritage, from excavation and survey of large cultural territories to the study and archiving of collections. She has been actively involved in numerous initiatives aimed at integrating digital technologies in the practice of Cultural Heritage. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the European initiative “EPOCH – The European Network of Excellence in Open Cultural Heritage”. Dr. Perlingieri co-founded a nonprofit based in San Rafael aimed at helping cultural institutions learn and adopt digital technologies for the preservation of the past. She currently works in the nonprofit sector.

RSVP on Facebook here.

Links:

Join us and learn! – Back to the Marin Science Seminar calendar

Welcome to the new Marin Science Seminar website

Welcome to the new Marin Science Seminar website! We’re happy to have finally migrated over to a mobile-friendly format, and this site will also allow us to have the blogging all in one place. Stay tuned for the Fall 2018 lineup and information about internship for the this coming academic year.

“Gnashing, Gnawing, and Grinding: The Science of Teeth” – An Interview with Tesla Monson of UC Berkeley

by Shoshana Harlem, Terra Linda High School

Dr. Tesla Monson studies mammals, especially their skulls and teeth. She is a researcher at UC Berkeley and has a BA in cultural anthropology, an MA in biological anthropology, and PhD in Integrative Biology. 

1. What made you want to study mammals?
Growing up in Washington State, I was always really interested in biological life, and particularly animals and plants. When I first learned about Paleolithic cave art in my undergraduate anthropology class, which is some of the oldest and most beautiful art, dated to more than 30,000 years ago, I became fascinated with the seemingly timeless question, “What makes us human?”, “What makes me, me?, “What makes humans unique from other animals?” And “What makes non-human animals different from each other?” Because these questions are focused on trying to place humans within the context of evolution and life on this planet, and because humans are mammals, I have been studying mammals ever since. But it doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that I will expand to other groups of living organisms within my career (such as birds, or even plants), because the same basic principles of evolution guide all life as we know it, mammalian and otherwise.

2. What are the best parts of your job?
There are many parts of my job that I love a lot. I love being able to travel all over the world to look at museum collections and share my research at conferences. I love collaborating with scientists, and being able to share my work with students and interested parties of all ages. And I definitely love the feeling of holding a multi-million year old fossil in my hand. But I think the best part of my job is being able to spend my days researching, and studying, and trying to answer questions that no one has ever answered before. There is no greater feeling than the feeling of discovery, that I have uncovered something, or shown evidence for something that no one else in the history of the world has ever shown. I love being able to use my brain every day to ask questions that interest me, not for money or for fame (because there’s not a lot of that in science), but because I am truly interested. For me, the best part of my job is getting to spend every day thinking with a free mind and a brain that belongs exclusively to me, and getting to contribute new information to the world, and to science, as I go.

3. What are the worst parts of your job?

Mammal Skull

There are many different aspects of hardship in science. I think that one of the worst things about my job right now is seeing how science, education, knowledge, and facts are under attack on a daily basis, not only from the general public but also from our government. This is extremely disheartening, but it makes what I do even more important, and it makes sharing that science with the public particularly crucial. One of the other worst things about my job is seeing how people of color, and women, and people from diverse backgrounds, have to face bias and discrimination in science, and in academia in general. Many studies have shown that having diversity in science only contributes to the overall quality of the science that gets done, and makes the science and the learning process better. We need more role models in science that come from diverse backgrounds and are invested in recruiting and training new generations of scientists that further contribute to that diversity. And we need to support our scientists from diverse backgrounds as they progress through their careers, because it’s always harder to do something when you are one of the first to do it. Again, that’s another reason that I feel that public outreach, and giving public lectures, and showing up as a role model, are so important.

4. What does it mean to be a scientist?

Mammal Teeth

This is a great question, and one that I am still not sure I know the answer to. I used to think that being a scientist meant doing research, and publishing, and that was it. But now I know that being a scientist goes so far beyond that. As I mentioned before, there are many hardships and obstacles in science, and some of those adversely affect some groups more than others. So I think that a big part of being a scientist is being committed to improving the discipline, through maintaining strong scientific ethics and integrity in science, and through recruiting new generations of people from diverse backgrounds into science. I also think that being able to communicate science to people outside of the discipline, whether they are other researchers, or just interested members of the public, it is a very important part of what it means to be a scientist. To this end, I have hosted and produced a radio talk on graduate student research, science communication, and the importance of diversity in science, that has been broadcasting for the last four years on KALX 90.7 FM in Berkeley and is available as a podcast. I am currently training new students to take over the radio program (The Graduates on KALX 90.7 FM), and I look forward to seeing how the new broadcasters develop as scientists and science communicators as they take over the show.

5. What current research are you working on?
My current research focuses on understanding the evolution of the skull and teeth in mammals, and particularly in primates. As I will talk about in my lecture, teeth are extremely important for all mammals, not only because they are essential for diet and what we eat, but also because they play important roles in behavior, health, and they are well-preserved in the fossil record. The skull is also very important because it contains the majority of our sensory organs (eyes, nose, ears, mouth), and one of the most important parts of any vertebrate, the brain. To conduct this research, I travel to museums across the United States and in Africa to look at museum collections of extant (recently living) and fossil mammals. I measure the skulls and teeth of these animals and use statistical analysis to better characterize how animals look different from each other, with the goal of understanding how variation evolved in mammals over the last 60 million years.

Want to learn more about Tesla Monson and mammals? Join us on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at Terra Linda High School from 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM in Room 207!

http://marinscienceseminar.com/speakers/tmonson.html

Learn more at http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/index.phphttp://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/about/profile.php?lastname=Monson&firstname=Teslahttp://grad.berkeley.edu/news/headlines/tesla-monson/

“Wild Worms and Mineral Mosaics” – An Interview with Jennifer Runyan of the Lawrence Hall of Science

by Shoshana Harlem, Terra Linda High School

Jennifer Runyan is a Science Communication Fellow and works for the Ocean Exploration Trust. She received BS in Marine Biology and an Environmental Studies degree. She explores the organisms and nutrients in the ocean and has went to many places such as the Gulf of California.

1. What made you want to study hypothermal vent communities?

I applied for a Science Communication Fellowship to be able to learn new ways to communicate science and thought exploring the deep sea and hypothermal vents would be a great way to go.

2.  What are the best parts of your job?

Working with people from diverse backgrounds and responsibilities on the ship, from video engineers, Remotely Operated Vehicle pilots, to the scientists.

3. What are the worst parts of your job?

The late night watch shifts can be a bit challenging for me to stay up for!

Mysterious Purple Orb

4. What organisms and nutrients do you find deep down in the ocean?

We have found many organisms from various types of tube worms, fish, octopi, deep sea jellies, and other invertebrates. We have found some very exciting organisms such as the mysterious purple orb, a dead whale fall, and the adorable googly eyed stubby squid. As for nutrients, it depends on the location and what kind of geological or biological activity is present.

5. What was your favorite deep sea adventure?

I enjoyed getting a chance to see the biological diversity of life around differing hypothermal vents within the Gulf of California.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at Terra Linda High School from 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM in Room 207
http://www.marinscienceseminar.com/speakers/jrunyan.html

Follow Jennifer Runyan’s deep sea adventures on https://nautiluslive.org/.