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Science on Saturday starts Jan. 11

Science fans of all ages can explore a rich variety of science and technology topics at the popular Science on Saturday lecture series hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. The series marks its 30-year anniversary when it begins on Saturday, Jan. 11.

Science on Saturday offers free lectures about current topics from “The physics of cancer,” to “What art can tell us about the brain,” that are aimed at the general public from high school age and up.

Andrew Zwicker, head of Science Education, noted that the audience for Science on Saturday has grown since it first started in 1984 to the point where many lectures are standing room only.

“This is very exciting and we’re proud to be a part of it,” he said. “The series not only brings in recent cutting-edge research results but also speakers who are not only experts in their fields but also experts at presenting research results to a general audience.”

The nine-week series kicks off on Jan. 11 with a talk by PPPL research physicist Walter Guttenfelder on plasma physics entitled “Containing a Star on Earth: Understanding Turbulence at 100 Million Degrees.”

Other talks cover topics ranging from climate change to marine biology to the effectiveness of MOOCs (massive open online courses).

The lectures also attract a varied audience including high school students with a keen interest in science, as well as active and retired senior citizens who have been enjoying the series for years.

The lectures begin at 9:30 a.m. at PPPL, which is located at 100 Stellarator Road, Princeton, off Scudders Mill Road. Plan to come early because seats fill up quickly. PPPL’s doors open at 8:15 a.m. (There is no lecture on Feb. 22 due to the Department of Energy’s New Jersey High School Science Bowl®).

Visitors must show photo identification at the security gate. Directions and visitor information can be found at http://www.pppl.gov/about/visiting-pppl.

If a Science on Saturday lecture must be canceled due to inclement weather, a notice will be left on the Science on Saturday Hotline, 609-243-2121.

The complete schedule is below. A downloadable schedule is also available at http://www.pppl.gov/2014_SoS_Full_Schedule.

Jan. 11: “Containing a Star on Earth: Understanding Turbulence at 100 Million Degrees,” Walter Guttenfelder, research physicist, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

Jan. 18: “Physics of Cancer,” Wolfgang Losert, associate professor, University of Maryland.

Jan. 25: “The Atmosphere as a Laboratory: Aerosols, Air Quality, and Climate,” Peter DeCarlo, assistant professor, Drexel University.

Feb. 1: “The Invisible World of Marine Microbes: How Earth’s Smallest Living Things Have the Biggest Impact on How Our Ocean Works,” Kay Bidle, associate professor, Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University.

Feb. 8: “Uncovering Our Cosmic Origins: What We Know, What We Can Know, and What Limits We May Face,” William Jones, assistant professor of physics, Princeton University.

Feb. 15: “Blown Away: What Knot To Do When Sailing By Sir Randolph Bacon III (cousin-in-law to Colin Adams), Colin Adams, Thomas T. Read Professor of Mathematics, Williams College. 

Feb. 22: No lecture due to the U.S. Department of Energy’s New Jersey High School Science Bowl®. 

March 1: “Can Studying Infinite Dimensional Space Help Us Improve Healthcare?,” David Scheinker, joint research fellow at the MIT Sloan School of Management and Massachusetts General Hospital.

March 8: “From MOOC to MIIC: Can Effective Learning Be Big?” Mung Chiang, Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor of Electrical Engineering, Princeton University.

March 15:”What Art Can Tell Us About the Brain,” Margaret Livingstone, professor of neurobiology, Harvard University. 


U.S. Department of Energy
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.

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