Ann Arbor Science & Skeptics – ending meetups


Meetup_Logo_2015The Ann Arbor Science and Skeptics is ending its formal meetups.  The account will be closed, but not immediately cancelled.  If existing members are interested in taking over the account, they should have an opportunity to do so within a week or two after the meetup is closed.  An email from the site will be sent out with the specific details, such as costs, to those members who are subscribed to updates.

This website will remain active for the purpose of providing science and critical-thinking news and information for its subscribers.

For similar-related groups in the area, please consider checking out the Michigan Skeptics Association, Nerd Nite Ann Arbor, Center For Inquiry’s Skeptics in the Pub (Ypsilanti), University of Michigan’s Science Cafés, and University of Michigan’s Saturday Morning Physics.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to send an email.

I want to thank everyone who has contributed and supported our science club for the past several years, as well as to all the guests and speakers who have helped lead some great discussions about their field of study and their research.

Download Now – “Observing the Universe: Telescopes and Dark Matter Skepticism

Mario-Mateo-HeadshotThis is the audio recording of the 04/19 meet-up with Dr. Mario Matteo, professor of Astronomy at the University of Michigan.  In this meet-up, Dr. Matteo discusses the importance of instrumentation in cosmology and astronomy, including his own development of several powerful telescopes.  And Dr. Matteo also explains why some of his work challenges current models of dark matter as an explanatory reason of the distribution of mass in nearby galaxies.

Some of the highlights of the conversation:

(12:50) What is meant by measuring velocities when using a telescope, (20:00) The skepticism of dark matter as an explanation for the distribution of mass in galaxies, (36:50) The excitement over the Gaia Satellite Mission, (45:00) What is a dwarf galaxy, (49:10) How gravitation lensing is used as data, and (1:08:50) Why Dr. Matteo doesn’t speculate on dark energy.

Download Now – “Innovation in Manufacturing & Engineering”

jay guoThis is the audio recording of the 04/05 meet-up with Dr. L Jay Guo, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Macromolecular Science and Engineering and Applied Physics at the University of Michigan.  In this meet-up, Dr. Guo provides an overview of potential industrial uses of nanotechnology, the advantages and disadvantages of nano-materials and more.

Some of the highlights of the conversation:

Organic Flexible Solar Cells, Carbon Nanotubes, Invisibility, The issue of Patents, Nano-Robots, Environmental concerns of nanotechnology, Exploiting Quantum Physics in nanotechnology, Colored Solar Panels and How research moves from the university level to commercial development.  We even talk a bit about dark matter at the very end which ties into our next group event.

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

Download Now “Origin of Organics in Solar System Formation”

RuudVisser6This 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.


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

  • 00:01 Introduction and overview of Visser’s education and experience
  • 28:20 On planets in the habitable zone of a solar system
  • 32:40 Searching for extra-terrestrial amino acids
  • 43:00 Europa and Titan
  • 45:45 Formation of Rocky Planets and Gas Giants
  • 50:15 Comets as delivery agents of water to Earth
  • 58:45 The abundance of Carbon in the solar system
  • 1:12:00 On intelligent life in the Galaxy
  • 1:30:08 What’s a typical day like for Ruud?
  • 1:36:05 On applying for grants and doing outreach

Download Now – “Science Publishing”

Nick WiggingtonThis is the audio recording of the 11/16 meet-up with Dr. Nick Wigginton, associate editor for Science Magazine.  In this meet-up, Nick discusses the process of publishing scientific research and experiments, and uses examples from his own experience as an editor of a prestigious scientific journal.