Science Seminar

everyone is welcome!

April 12, 2019

Sean Rogers

Whirlpools, Bridges, Weather, and Plasma: The Physics of the Vortex

What is a vortex? Is it just something that you see in your bathtub? Come explore why so many scientists from atmospheric scientists, civil engineers, and plasma physicists care about these things! We will also create and observe our own vortices as well!

April 19, 2019

Aleya Dhanji

Defeating the Influenza Virus: What has Physics got to do with it?

Influenza has plagued mankind for centuries and in the past few decades has become a much more severe threat due to the rapid spread of global pandemics. Despite extensive research, little progress has been made in altering the clinical outcome of Influenza infection. We will explore why this deceptively simple virus has managed to evade defeat and how combining insights from both biology and physics can lead to novel insights from predicting what the next dominant strand of flu virus will be to how epidemics spread to determining the best strategy for vaccinating a population.

April 26, 2019

David Hirschberg, University of Washington, Tacoma

Blue Collar Biotechnology at RAIN Incubator: Developing Science Talent through Training, Public Engagement, and Play

David L Hirschberg is an Affiliate Professor and Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Urban Waters. He also has appointments in the Institute for Global Engagement and in the Department of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, at the University of Washington, Tacoma (UWT). He is a Science and Technology advisor supporting the Joint Program Executive Office and Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC, US Army RDECOM). At ECBC, Dr. Hirschberg has been working with ECBC leadership to develop long term research programs in biosecurity that leverage biotechnologies being developed in the commercial sector. At UWT, Dr. Hirschberg trains students in critical thinking and to foster careers in biotechnology. He founded and directs the Readiness Acceleration and Innovation Network (RAIN), an entity focused on exposing students, colleagues and community members to use molecular diagnostic tools for biomarker discovery in environmental surveillance and medical diagnostics. Dr. Hirschberg’s current focus is on developing accessible technologies that can rapidly detect microbial threats, and on assessing and optimizing devices for commercial, community and military applications.

May 10, 2019

Mary Weir, Criminal Justice Faculty

Danish Open Prisons: Humane Incarceration?

Danish open prisons have been described as “humane” and “superior” to American facilities. But what does it mean for a prison system to be humane? Can humaneness be captured by rates of incarceration or prisoner suicides? In this talk, I will discuss some of the major differences between Danish and American prisons before exploring the methods that some researchers have sought to study and measure these differences.

May 17, 2019

Aaron Moehlig, Chemistry Faculty

A Fresh Note on Capsaicums

This talk is an update to Wilbur Scoville’s ground breaking paper “A Note on Capsaicums” when the Scoville Heat Unit which is used to describe the level of spiciness of a pepper was initially proposed. Come learn why a jalapeno or habanero pepper is spicy, but a bell pepper is not. We will discuss the molecule responsible for the heat (and the pain!) of certain peppers and the best ways to alleviate that pain after a regrettable choice of hot sauce.

May 24, 2019

Darin Smith, Physical Education Faculty

The Science of Weight Loss

According to the CDC, every year almost half of Americans seek out diet, exercise, and other methods to lose weight; or more specifically lose fat. There are certainly many myths and misconceptions about how to lose fat, but the true facts about what fat is, how it is stored, and how it can be reduced are often elusive. Come take an in depth look at this important molecule/nutrient/energy substrate and learn more about how it functions in our bodies (for better and for worse) and why it seems so darn hard to get rid of.