Love Mountains and Moons? Science Cafe Series May Be Your Cup of Tea

Love Mountains and Moons? Science Cafe Series May Be Your Cup of Tea

By Robin TricolesUniversity Communications
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A crowd listens to a Science Café presentation at Borderlands Brewing.
A crowd listens to a Science Café presentation at Borderlands Brewing.
The view from Tumamoc Hill. (Photo by Ben Wilder)
The view from Tumamoc Hill. (Photo by Ben Wilder)

Jet streams, jack rabbits, mountains and moons will be among the subjects explored during this year's Science Café series, which begins Thursday.

The annual lecture series is coordinated by the College of Science and offers the community a chance to meet with UA scientists and graduate students to learn about and discuss the latest research on a variety of topics.

"The whole purpose of the science cafés is to break down barriers between the UA's cutting-edge research and our community," said Erin K. Deely, director of the College of Science's Office of Recruitment and Engagement.

"Our desire at the College of Science, and as a land-grant university, is to share the science, technology and innovation created at the UA with our campus and the greater community," Deely said. "More importantly is that we help break stereotypes about researchers and research specifically by having informal gatherings where community members can meet and discuss current research projects relevant to their everyday lives."

When the UA started the science cafés more than 10 years, the sessions were held at Flandrau Science Center and a downtown restaurant. Today, the cafés are offered at four venues: Borderlands Brewing Co., 119 E. Toole Ave.; Magpies Gourmet Pizza, 605 N. Fourth Ave.; SaddleBrooke, 39900 S. Clubhouse Drive; and Tumamoc Hill, near West Anklam Road and North Silverbell Road.

The talks at Borderlands Brewing Co. will focus on biotic and abiotic issues in environmental conservation. Environmental conservation encompasses a wide range of concerns, including preventing epidemics, establishing sustainable water sources, animal conservation and predicting climate change. In this series, four UA Carson Scholars will examine how genomics, entomology, photovoltaics and citizen science can be used to address the wide breadth of environmental challenges that we face. The first café is scheduled for Thursday.

Meanwhile, if you're enamored with moons, consider taking in the lecture series at Magpies Gourmet Pizza. Speakers will dish on some of our solar system's most stellar moons, including our own. Lynn Carter, associate professor, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, will focus on the Earth's moon during her talk, "Our New View of the Moon," on Tuesday.

"I think the moon is special because not many planets have moons this big relative to the planet size," Carter says. What's more, our moon is close to Earth so we can more easily visit it and explore it, she notes.

The SaddleBrooke Science Café lectures at the Desert View Performing Arts Center will stick closer to home with an eye on Earth. Our volcanoes, earthquakes and ocean currents are a few of the geologic forces that have shaped the contours of our planet for millennia. Research presented in this series shows why and how natural phenomena and human evolution have played a role in our rapidly changing climate and will explore climatic trends in today's southwestern deserts.

For the first talk at SaddleBrooke, happening Oct. 12, Susan Beck, UA professor of geosciences, will focus on what earthquakes and volcanoes can teach us about what lies beneath in her talk, "Subduction, Earthquakes and Volcanoes: How They Shape our Dynamic Planet."

Beck says volcanoes are "a window into the deep part of the Earth." The material that volcanoes spew forth, she says, is a way for scientists to see what they couldn't see before. "From a scientific view, we can use this material to see what the interior of the Earth looks like."

Finally, speakers at the Science Café at Tumamoc Hill will discuss topics that relate to the science, history, archeology and educational mission of Tumamoc Hill, located to the west of "A" Mountain. The talks are held in the library of the old Desert Laboratory. The first will be Oct. 11.

The staff asks that you make a reservation for the Tumamoc Science Café series to help with planning for shuttle service for participants. Please contact Cynthia Anson at or call 520-629-9455 to reserve a seat.

For more information, visit the UA Science Cafés website.

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