This is the audio recording of the 02/15 meet-up with Dr. Stephen A Smith, evolutionary biologist and Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan. In this meet-up, Dr. Smith discusses the study of plant evolution as well as a bold research project called “the Open Tree of Life” project.
Friday, February 21, 2013 at 7:00pm
Dennison Building, Room 182
500 Church St
Thirteen and a half billion years ago, four hundred thousand years after the Big Bang, the universe had expanded and cooled enough for hydrogen atoms to form. All was darkness. It took another few hundred million years before stars and galaxies lit up the universe, ending the cosmic “dark age.”
Professor Haynes will talk about what we know about the first stars, galaxies, and supermassive black holes. She will also show how new and future telescopes will enable us to witness the epoch of “cosmic dawn.”
Martha Haynes is the Goldwin Smith Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University. Her research interests include galaxy formation, cosmology, and radio astronomy. She is the vice-president of the International Astronomical Union, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the National Academy of Sciences.
The Ann Arbor Science & Skeptics is having a meet-up on Saturday, February 15th from 4:00 to 7:00pm at the Colonial Lanes/Cubs A.C. restaurant. We’ll be in the back room located down the short hallway past the bar.
Our special guest will be Dr. Stephen Smith, an evolutionary biologist and Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His research focuses on plant evolution, detecting and describing large scale patterns of evolution, examining differences in the rate of molecular evolution, and using new data sources like transcriptomes and genomes to address these questions.
He is also currently working on the Tree of Life project, a collaborative effort by “biologists and nature enthusiasts” to “provide information about biodiversity, the characteristics of different groups of organisms, and their evolutionary history.” A recent story from the University of Michigan News Service describes this project in relation to determining how plants evolved to survive in cold weather.
The first part of the event will be for general socializing and ordering refreshments. After which, there will be some announcements, and then we will start the conversation at approximately 4:30.
There is no cost to attend but donations to cover the guest speaker’s meal and beverages, as well as general group expenses, are appreciated.
On Sunday, February 16th, the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History will be opening up its new exhibit “Snake vs. Dinosaur: Caught in the Act” featuring a depiction of a large prehistoric snake caught in the act of preying on a baby dinosaur hatchling. A touchable cast of the fossil slab will reveal the evidence that scientists studied to interpret the event. The snake’s skull and vertebrae are visible, along with two spherical unhatched eggs.
This exhibit is part of an overall theme about Predators. Throughout the month of February, there will be Hands-On Demonstrations featuring Owls: Birds of Prey. Hands-On Demonstrations are on Saturdays at 11 am and 3 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. And on March 22, the museum will have a special Discovery Day devoted to Predators and Prey.
Beginning on Saturday, February 8th, the University of Michigan Physics department will begin hosting their weekly Saturday Morning Physics lectures. The lectures will be held Saturday mornings, 10:30-11:30 AM in 170 Dennison on central campus. These events are free and refreshments will be served from 10:00 to 10:30 AM prior to the lecture.
Designed for general audiences, the lectures are an opportunity to hear physicists discuss their work in easy-to-understand, non-technical terms. The multimedia presentations include hands-on demonstrations of the principles discussed, along with slides, video, and computer simulations.
This is the audio recording of the 01/25 meet-up with Dr. Ruud Visser, postdoc at University of Michigan. In this meet-up, Ruud discusses his research into the chemical aspects of star formation and its implications on seeding solar systems with organic material capable of becoming life.