Science Seminar

everyone is welcome!

January 16, 2015

Aaron Moehlig

A Fresh Note on Capsaicums

In 1912 Wilbur Scoville published the first scientific report quantifying the spiciness of chili peppers (capsaicums). In doing so, he established the standard scale of spiciness that we still use today, the Scoville Heat Unit. Unlike Scoville, contemporary chemists can accurately measure the spiciness of a chili pepper without having the uncomfortable sensation that accompanies eating them.

This updated note on capsaicums will discuss the physical and chemical properties of capsaicin, the molecule associated with the burning sensation of chili peppers, as well as the analytical techniques used to accurately measure the amount of capsaicin in various chili peppers.

January 23, 2015

Anne Whitson

ALIENS: What Lives Inside Us?

January 30, 2015

Evan Houston

Amazing Avian: Birds are everywhere!

February 6, 2015

Woody Moses

Life by the Drop: The Plankton of Puget Sound

February 13, 2015

Bob Baugher

Understanding Suicide

February 20, 2015

Darin Smith

The Science of Being Sedentary

Humans were designed to be active. Our earliest ancestors needed to move to survive and, in turn, made physical activity into "an evolutionarily programmed necessity in our genes". Unfortunately, somewhere in the last century, technological and societal changes have all but eliminated the need to be active and have made sedentary (e.g. sitting) behavior to be more attractive in our daily lives. This wouldn't be so bad except for the fact that prolonged sitting apparently causes a long list of health issues including premature death. Hopefully that was enough to make you jump out of your seat! Come learn the facts about "sitting disease" and get some advice on how to get up and get active.

February 27, 2015

Amelia Phillips


Big data is a broad term for data sets so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. Challenges include analysis, capture, curation, search, sharing, storage, transfer, visualization, and information privacy.

March 6, 2015

Paul Zarkowski

Psychotropics, Cognitive Functioning, and Academic Performance

Your brain contains a hundred billion neurons making a hundred trillion connections that have evolved over the past 8 million years. Many have become convinced they can improve on the function of the brain through the use of modern pharmacology. i.e. Prescription and street drugs such as Adderall, Xanax, marijuana, and extreme energy drinks. Are they correct? Come hear about your brain on drugs.