Science Seminar

everyone is welcome!


April 22, 2016

Darin Smith

The Science of Obesity

Early hunters and gatherers lived off very limited food supply, and survival required constant physical activity. They stored fat through the lean times which has historically benefitted us. Unfortunately, our ability to store fat and our genetically programmed preferences for sweet, fatty, energy dense foods have combined with an environment of abundant calories, ready-made convenience foods, and technology that eliminates the need and desire to be physically active.

This perfect storm created the Obesity Epidemic which has doubled global obesity rates since the 1970's and caused 2/3 of the US to be overweight or obese. This rise in obesity rates has dramatically impacted our health and well-being, and is considered to be one of our greatest medical, financial, and social challenges for the future. Come find out more about the causes, health effects, and potential solutions for this growing problem.




April 29, 2016

Darin Smith

Cyber Security Awareness




May 6, 2016

Woody Moses

Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Pacific Northwest

The people of the Pacific Northwest have been using the wild plants of this region for millennia. Come learn how these plants were used for sustenance and healing.




May 13, 2016

Dusty Wilson

The Mortgage Death Pledge

The Great Depression and the financial crisis of the last decade had a lasting impact on the financial options available to you as a prospective home owner. Bring your calculator and/or smart phone and come learn the mathematics of loans and amortizations, a little history, financial tips, and a bit of my fictional family story.




May 20, 2016

Dr. Eric Baer

URM Buildings - a hidden and ignored danger

URMs - no, not Urban Renaissance Men - Unreinforced masonry buildings are typically responsible for a large fraction of the deaths in earthquakes. However, as the Seattle Times pointed out in a series of articles last weekend, there is no plan to deal with these "Buildings that kill." Indeed, many people live and work in these buildings without even knowing they are in danger. Come find out why URMs are so dangerous and how other cities and states have dealt with the problem. After a short presentation we will go see an URM building on campus and then visit the brand new Building 24B to show how buildings can be made resistant to seismic shaking.




May 27, 2016

Thomas Zerkel (Civil and Environmental Engineering)

Water Treatment on Remba Island

An overview of municipal water treatment, with an emphasis on the challenges present in the third world. Remba Island (Kenya's slum island) will be discussed as a case study including the technical solution and lessons learned regarding implementation.




June 3, 2016

Dr. Austin Roberts (Mathematics)

Quantum Computing

The parts that make up a computer chip have gotten small really small so small that the classical rules of physics no longer apply. This poses a challenge and an opportunity.

While we reach the limits of what can be done with existing technology, the first of a new generation of computers has started to hit the market. Quantum computers take advantage of quantum mechanics to accomplish tasks previously considered impossible. Some uses are nefarious such breaking the encryption used to secure online transactions. Others may be potentially lifesaving as with providing the capacity to predict the effects of new medicines.

There are still some problems including size, identifying the best types of machines, and (most importantly) that we don't yet know what we are doing