Galileo's Science Café

 

Hear about the latest findings surrounding hot topics in science and medicine that affect our everyday lives and the decisions that we make! Bring your family and friends for a free, casual, interactive science discussion. Learn from the experts and speak with them.

Location: Hylton Performing Arts Center, 10960 George Mason Circle, Manassas, Virginia

Time:
6:00 PM: Doors open, food, and beverages available
7:00PM-7:30 PM: Scientific Discussion
7:30PM-7:45 PM: Q&A
7:45PM-8:30 PM: Meet the Scientist and Networking Reception

2018-2019 Series
 

September 20, 2018:  Immigrants to America and Their Contributions to ScienceAn Overview of Recent Data and Policy  By: Dr.James Witte and Dr.Michele Waslin  (RSVP)

October 25, 2018: From Cyanobacteria Blooms to Clear Water: The Remarkable Story of the Tidal Potomac River Recovery  By: Dr. Christian Jones (RSVP)

November 1, 2018: What Social Media Feeds Tell Us in Times of Crisis --SESSION CANCELLED
By: Dr. Anthony Stefanidis  This session has been cancelled. Our speaker is not available due to his work with Homeland Security but offers to speak at a future date! 

January 24, 2019: The Science of How People Change: Stories from Those Who Have Been Incarcerated
By Dr. Faye Taxman (RSVP)

February 21, 2019: Earth's Climate, Where Has It Come From and Where Is It Going?
By: Dr. Natalie Burls  (RSVP)

March 21, 2019: Sports-Related Concussion and Kids: Staying Ahead of the Game
By: Dr. Shane Caswell (RSVP)

April 18, 2019: Fighting Addiction
By: Dr. Lora Peppard  (RSVP)

May 16, 2019: The NASA/New Horizons Flyby of Dwarf Ice Planet 2014MU69 (Ultima Thule): Our New View of the Outer Solar System
By: Dr. Michael Summers  (RSVP)

 

Science Cafe Abstracts 

 

September 20, 2018:  Immigrants to America and Their Contributions to Science:  An Overview of Recent Data and Policy   (RSVP)  By: James Witte, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology and Director for the Institute for Immigration Research  and Michele Waslin, Ph.D., Program Coordinator, Institute for Immigration Research, George Mason University

 From graduate students and postdoctoral students in university labs and classrooms to pharmaceutical researchers and software engineers to America’s Nobel Prize winners,  foreign-born scientists are a critical part of the nation’s scientific community.  This talk will detail some of the specifics of these contributions to date, and potential contributions   New American scientists may make in the future. We will also examine the role that federal immigration policies have played in furthering these contributions and the extent to which the changing immigration climate threatens the scientific community here and abroad.  

October 25, 2018: From Cyanobacteria Blooms to Clear Water: The Remarkable Story of the Tidal Potomac River Recovery  By: Dr. Christian Jones,  Professor and Director, Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center, George Mason University (RSVP)  

The tidal Potomac River suffered major degradation during most of the 20th century due to excessive discharges of partially treated sewage containing high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen. These nutrient elements resulted in massive blooms of cyanobacteria which rendered the water column opaque to light and resulted in the demise of underwater plants which provided critical habitat for invertebrates and fish. With the increased awareness of the importance of environmental protection and the political will fostered by Earth Day, the “Nation’s River” became a target for a major environmental cleanup. Over the decade of the 1970’s and into the early 1980’s, sewage treatment plants were upgraded and nutrient discharges reduced by over 95% even as total sewage volumes continued to rise. However, there were many lags in the system’s response and the ecosystem’s restoration was not effectively realized until the early 2000’s and remains substantial, but incomplete.

 

January 24, 2019The Science of How People Change: Stories from Those Who Have Been Incarcerated

By Dr. Faye Taxman, University Professor, Criminology, Law and Society, Director, Center for Advancing Correctional Excellence, George Mason University (RSVP) 

Change is an elusive concept.  This talk will feature an interactive intervention that focuses on how to bring about change by helping individuals look at their social groups, lifestyle issues, and choices they make.  The emphasis is on increasing awareness as part of a strategy to change options.  This way change becomes more of an option than an illusion.

 

February 21, 2019: Earth's Climate, Where Has It Come From and Where Is It Going?
By: Dr. Natalie Burls, Assistant Professor of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences, College of Science, George Mason University (RSVP)

Weather is the thunderstorm that rolled in over the horizon yesterday; climate is the statistics of weather - its warmer in summer than winter, and at the equator than at the poles. The owner and their dog analogy is often used. The movements of the dog are chaotic and hard to predict but the owner is steering it in a predictable direction - much like the sun and other “forcings” acting on Earth’s climate to steer the behavior of our chaotic weather patterns. It is important to make this distinction between weather and climate because I can confidently predict that it will be much colder in six months time but can’t tell you if it will rain next week Friday. The sun is a pretty powerful owner. The seasonal cycle is a very repetitive and predictable element of Earth’s climate because of the regular trip we make around the Sun. Reconstructions of past climate change over the last 5 million years tell about other important forcings, which like the sun can steer Earth’s climate, such as the waxing and waning of ice sheets and carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere. We are currently conducting a huge experiment with one of these forcings, atmospheric CO2 concentrations. In this lecture, we will explore what the last 5 million years can tell us about the influence of CO2 on Earth’s climate.

 

March 21, 2019: Sports-Related Concussion and Kids: Staying Ahead of the Game

By: Dr. Shane Caswell,  Professor and Co-director, Sports Medicine Assessment Research and Testing (S.M.A.R.T.) Laboratory, George Mason University (RSVP)  Abstract available soon!

 

 

 

 

 

April 18, 2019:Changing the Trajectory of Substance Use and Depression in Virginia: A Value, Impact, and Quality (VIQ) Analysis of the Virginia Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral (VA-SBIRT) Project

By: Dr. Lora Peppard,  DNP, PMHNP-BC, Associate Professor and Associate Director for Treatment & Prevention, W/B HIDTA Project Director, Virginia SBIRT (RSVP) 

Virginia SBIRT is a five-year, federally funded project led by an interprofessional team from George Mason University in direct partnership with the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.   The primary goal of this project is to begin to change the trajectory of substance use and depression in the Commonwealth by promoting a prevention/early intervention system of care.  This is accomplished by working with multiple medical settings and their community partners across the northern Virginia and Shenandoah Valley regions to fully integrate the evidence-based screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) process into their clinical work flows, electronic health records, and communities.  This presentation will review outcomes from the first two and half years of this project in the context of value, impact, and quality

 

May 16, 2019: The NASA/New Horizons Flyby of Dwarf Ice Planet 2014MU69 (Ultima Thule): Our New View of the Outer Solar System 

By: Dr. Michael Summers, Professor, Physics and Astronomy Department,  College of Science, George Mason

University (RSVP)Anchor  

The NASA/New Horizons flyby of Pluto in July 2015 surprised the entire planetary by how complex that planet proved to be – with vast glaciers, plains of thick organic materials, a complex atmosphere, and hints of a subsurface ocean of liquid water.  And yet there are 100,000 additional Kuiper Belt Objects in this belt that circles the outer solar system, of which Pluto is just one example.  On January 1, 2019 the New Horizons spacecraft will fly by a second Kuiper Belt Object that is about 1 billion miles beyond Pluto.  This second object, informally named Ultima Thule, is very different from Pluto.  It is small, perhaps less than 50 kilometers in diameter, and appears to be much darker than Pluto.  It is also non-spherical, and might even have the shape of a dumbbell. Ultima Thule is considered to be debris left over from the formation of our solar system over 4.56 billion years ago, and this debris may contain clues to how planets first formed around our sun.  The New Horizons flyby of Ultima Thule is thus a probe into the distant past of the solar system, and no doubt it too has surprises in store for us.

 

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Contact Us

Andrea Cobb, Ph.D., George Mason College of Science,  Director of Student Research and Internships,
Phone: (703) 993-7058
Email: acobb4@gmu.edu