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.


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.

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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


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.


“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.


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


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.


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.

January – March 2018 at Marin Science Seminar

Marin Science Seminar starts up again January 17th. Join us this semester for Wild Worms, Exoplanets, The Fountain of Youth and more. Join us and learn! 🙂 


17: “Wild Worms and Mineral Mosaics: A glimpse into hydrothermal vent communities” with Jennifer Runyan of the Lawrence Hall of Science

24: “Exoplanets” with Warren Wiscombe of NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center

31: “The Fountain of Youth: Is it a Myth?” with Chong He of the Buck Institute


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


7: “The Marin Wildlife Picture Index Project” with Lisette Arellano of One Tam and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

28: “Name that Bloodsucker!” with Eric Engh of Marin-Sonoma Mosquito Vector

Flooded by Science and Sea Water: China Camp Sea Level Rise

Local Science for Teens & Community this Wed. 11/8 at Marin Science Seminar:

Flooded by Science and Seawater: 
King Tides and What they Can Tell us about Sea Level Rise at China Camp State Park

with Sarah Ferner of SF Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve – a program of NOAA and SFSU
Wednesday, November 8th, 2017
7:30 – 8:30 pm
Terra Linda High School, 320 Nova Albion, San Rafael – ROOM 207

The tidal marshes at China Camp State Park play a key role in helping scientists understand how marshes respond to sea level rise and how we can continue to protect them. In this talk, we will hear about what scientists have learned so far and how they are learning more through research right here in Marin. 

Sarah Ferner develops, leads, and teaches education programs for NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System in San Francisco Bay. As the Reserve’s first Education Coordinator, her job tasks are diverse – ranging from writing for publications and interpretive signs, to teaching teachers about new Next Generation Science Standards, to counting plants deep within Suisun Marsh, and more. Through it all, she likes to traverse the muddy transitions between water and land, and between science and education, following her passion for connecting people to nature through science. She is a certified California Master Naturalist. Previously, Sarah worked closely with the Chesapeake Bay-Virginia NERR as a Graduate Research Fellow where she studied the vegetation community change in a tidal freshwater marsh. Sarah received a B.A. in Biology from Carleton College and an M.Sc. in Marine Science from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science/College of William and Mary, and has over 15 years of experience teaching science to students, community members, and educators.