Meet-Up (11/15) – Aquatic Geochemistry

* New Location *

SONY DSCThe Ann Arbor Science & Skeptics is having a meet-up on Saturday, November 15th from 4:00 to 7:00pm at the Classic Cup Cafe. Our special guest will be Dr. Rose Cory, Assistant Professor of Aquatic Geochemistry in the Earth and Environmental Sciences department at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Cory’s research is on the chemistry of naturally occurring dissolved organic matter (DOM) in freshwaters.  DOM is responsible for water color, the amount of photosynthesis that occurs in water, and sustaining life because it is the source of energy for bacterial respiration.

Dr. Cory was featured in an article about her recently published paper that concluded sunlight is a dominant influencer of microbial activity in thawing permafrost.  This has implications on the issue of climate change since one of the most potent greenhouse gases is methane which a large part of is sequestered in permafrost regions.

The first part of the event will be for general socializing and ordering refreshments. After which, there will be some announcements, and then we’ll start the discussion at approximately 4:30pm.

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.

If interested in attending, please RSVP here.

Classic Cup Cafe





Have some time to kill before the meet-up? Check out the Great Lakes Zoological Society’s “A World of Discovery” located just down the road from our get-together venue.  There is $1 off coupon located on our website.

World of Discovery

Passenger Pigeon Centenary Exhibit at the Museum

pigeonSeptember 1 marked a somber anniversary:  the centenary of the death of the very last passenger pigeon, a bird named Martha, in the Cincinnati Zoo.

You can learn more by visiting the U-M Museum of Natural History’s exhibit about the passenger pigeon, A Shadow Over the Earth: The Life and Death of the Passenger Pigeon. The display panels for this exhibit have been made available online to other museums through the Project Passenger Pigeon website. To date, 35 museums are displaying UMMNH’s panels! The UMMNH exhibit includes a companion display, The Passenger Pigeon in Michigan, describing the key role our state played in the history of the pigeon.

On Sunday, September 14 from noon to 5 pm, take part in Flight of the Passenger Pigeon an afternoon of special programming including a screening of From Billions to None, a new documentary created for the centenary.

On Friday, September 19, join us at 7:30 pm for the Museum’s annual Farrand Memorial Lecture: Hope is the Thing with Feathers: Americans and Three Birds, by author and film producer Joel Greenberg.

Check out 100 Years Without the Passenger Pigeon, an article in LSA Today by Elizabeth Wason, inspired by the Museum’s exhibit.

And be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to see the Passenger Pigeon page of the double-elephant folio edition of John James Audubon’s The Birds of America (1827-1838), on display in the Audubon Room in U-M’s Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery.

“Scientists Fair 2014” (Saturday, May 31st)

A2 S&S Logo - for Blog

On Saturday May 31st, the Ann Arbor Science & Skeptics are hosting the third annual “Scientists Fair,” a science fair where the exhibits are actual scientists.  The event will take place from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. This will be free and open to both Ann Arbor Science & Skeptics members and the public.

Located in the Multi-Purpose room (in the lower level of the main branch), there will be several professors and researchers from the University of Michigan with expertise in general fields of knowledge, available to answer your questions. Some of the topics will include: Astrochemistry, Geology & Earth Science, Exploring Mars, Climate Science, Medical Research, Nuclear Power, and more

You can watch a short video about the Scientists Fair here (video)

The purpose of this event is two-fold:

  1. For our members and the public to not only acquaint people to scientific knowledge, but also to how that knowledge is obtained.
  2. For the scientists and professors to talk about their research with you, and to share with you their excitement and passion.

There is no reservation limit for this meet-up. And we are encouraging you to invite as many of your family and friends who enjoy science. This year the library is sponsoring our event, and we’d really like to get a big turnout.

Download Now – “Plant Evolution and ‘The Tree of Life Project’”

Steve SmithThis 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.

I’ve provided a list of some of the conversation highlights and time marks for easy reference:

  • Start – Introduction and Smith’s background and research of early evolution of plants & animals
  • 25:40 – Differences between the evolution of plants and animals
  • 31:40- How does climate change affect plant evolution?
  • 41:45 – Gene transference amongst plants
  • 51:30- Thoughts on GMO plants
  • 58:40 – Determining the chronology of plants
  • 1:01:10 – Plants in Antarctica
  • 1:20:40- Plant emotions and communication
  • 1:24:27 – The Open Tree of Life Project

Meet-Up (02/15) – Plant Evolution and ‘The Tree of Life Project’

Steve SmithThe 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.

You can RSVP here.

Snake Vs. Dinosaur: A Public Exhibit

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.