'Science-on-Saturday' lectures offered

Jan. 7, 2008 1:18 p.m.

New collaboration begins with Liberty Science Center

The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory's annual Science-on-Saturday program -- a series of nine talks on topics ranging from computation in astrophysics to collective motion in animal groups -- is scheduled for Jan. 12 through March 15.

The talks begin at 9:30 a.m. on designated Saturdays and usually run about two hours. The program is geared toward high school students, but all campus and local community members are invited to attend the free lectures in the Gottlieb Auditorium on the Forrestal Campus.

The series is marking its 24th consecutive year with a new collaboration with the Liberty Science Center, which will offer four of the talks broadcast live in its Interactive Theater in the Jennifer A. Chalsty Center for Science Learning and Teaching in Jersey City. Center audience members will view the speaker and slides in real time on a 9-by-12-foot screen, and can participate in the question-and-answer session at the end. The center will feature the talks on Jan. 12, Feb. 2 and 9, and March 1 (dates are noted with asterisks in the schedule below).

PPPL Science Education Head Andrew Zwicker said, "This is an exciting new component to our lecture series, and we are fortunate to be able to collaborate with such an outstanding science center. Each year we have larger and larger audiences, and this partnership with the Liberty Science Center will allow students in northern New Jersey to fully participate in a truly outstanding series of lectures."

Nancy Butnick, director of online education at the Liberty Science Center, added, "We are pleased to collaborate with PPPL to simulcast this esteemed program from our state-of-the-art Interactive Theater in the all-new Liberty Science Center and showcase these valuable educational endeavors to new audiences."

This year's series includes the following lectures:

  • Jan. 12* -- "Is the Universe Infinite?" with Janna Levin, professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard College of Columbia University.
  • Jan. 19 -- "From Accreting Black Holes to Merging Galaxies: Computation in Astrophysics" with James Stone, professor of astrophysical sciences and applied and computational mathematics at Princeton University.
  • Jan. 26 -- "Scrapes, Scabs and Scars - A Wound Healing Saga" with Jean Schwarzbauer, professor of molecular biology at Princeton.
  • Feb. 2* -- "Symmetry: From Human Perception to the Laws of Nature" with Mario Livio, senior astrophysicist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.
  • Feb. 9* -- "Collective Motion and Decision-making in Animal Groups" with Iain Couzin, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton.
  • Feb. 16 -- "From Satellite Remote Sensing of the Earth to Non-Invasive Diagnostics of Skin Cancer" with Knut Stamnes, professor of physics and engineering physics at Stevens Institute of Technology.
  • March 1* -- "Getting Behavior Out of Fossils" with Alan Walker, the Evan Pugh Professor of Anthropology and Biology at Pennsylvania State University.
  • March 8 -- "Spreading Rumors on Facebook" with Bernard Brooks, associate professor in the School of Mathematical Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology.
  • March 15 -- "The Science and Art of Population-Based Healthcare" with Dr. Joan Beckwith, a fellow of the American College of Physicians at Temple University Hospital and School of Medicine.

Registration is on-site prior to each session. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Security measures at the lab require adult visitors to show government-issued photo identification upon arrival. Directions and further information are available from the PPPL website.