2022-2023 DCIS Lecture Series

Thank you for joining us for our virtual and in-person lectures!

The 2022-2023 Lecture Series for the Delaware County Institute of Science (Media, PA) was a mixture of virtual (via Zoom) talks and lectures on-site at DCIS. Our lectures are always free and open to anyone. If you enjoy our lecture series, please consider becoming a member of the Delaware County Institute of Science.

Past Speakers in the 2022-2023 Series

Changing oceans: Anthropogenic impacts on the early development of marine organisms  --  Dr. Karen Chan (Swarthmore College)

October 10, 2022

Anthropogenic climate change and other emergent pollutants are rapidly changing our planet. Many marine organisms have complex life histories and some stages are deemed more vulnerable than others. We will explore the impacts of these stressors on key marine invertebrates and the potential for resilience. 

The Mathematics of Art and the Art of Mathematics  -- Dr. Samantha Pezzimenti (Penn State Brandywine)

November 14, 2022

While math has always been used in creating art, math can also be the inspiration for the art itself. In this talk, I will briefly present some examples of mathematics used by artists throughout history, followed by examples of artists who represent mathematical principles in their work. In addition to the greats from Leonardo DaVinci to M.C. Escher, I will introduce some current work in this area such as the Mathemalchemy group of twenty-four mathematicians and artists creating a large-scale mathematical art installation.

The energetic impacts of disease: a case study of white-nose syndrome in southeastern bats  -- Dr. Catherine Haase (Austin Peay State University)

December 12, 2022

[Zoom recording available]

Many North American bats are facing serious threats from changing environments and disease. White-nose syndrome is one of those threats and has impacted many species of bats across North America, leading to mortality in millions of bats since its first observation in 2006. I will discuss basic biology of bats, their ecological and economic importance, how white-nose syndrome impacts hibernating bats through behavioral changes leading to energetic losses, and the current research working to help combat this disease.

Space Weather and Solar Storms: Updates from the NOAA/NWS Space Weather Prediction Center   --  Mr. Shawn Dahl (Senior Space Weather Forecaster at the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, CO)

Monday, January 9, 2023

[Zoom recording available]

This talk will highlight the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), space weather activity, forecasting, and potential impacts. Space weather has become a concern for our society due to its ability to disrupt or degrade certain types of communications and technologies. Congressional and executive legislation has been passed to improve space weather science and forecasting because of the risk for an extreme space weather event to adversely affect commerce and our way of life. Solar Cycle 25 is progressing, with solar maximum predicted to be around 2025. This presentation’s intent is to inform participants about SWPC operations, space weather storms, SWPC forecasts, and primary concerns with regards to possible impacts – such as aviation, power grid, and space operations.

A climate and ocean record, from plankton to fossils  --  Dr. Claire Routledge (Univ. Kiel) 

Monday, February 13, 2023

[Zoom recording available]

Intervals of dramatic climatic and oceanographic change in Earth’s history has seen major extinctions and compositional changes in plankton, especially calcareous nannoplankton (coccolithophores), the most abundant calcifying organisms on the planet. By studying nannoplankton diversity and community structure through significant periods of climatic and environmental change, we are able to compare these with proxies of climate and ocean change and which allow us to test whether climatic shifts played a role in plankton evolution and population composition. This talk will introduce calcareous nannoplankton, climate and ocean change over the Cenozoic (past 66 million years), and provide insights on how this research can be used to improve our understanding of the direction Earth’s climate is heading.

What tilts planets' orbits?  --  Dr. Eric Jenson (Swarthmore College)

Monday, March 13, 2023

The planets in our solar system all orbit the Sun in roughly the same flat plane, and all are aligned with the Sun’s equator.  But some planets orbiting other stars have been found to have tilted orbits relative to their suns, with some orbiting at an angle, or even in reverse compared to the star’s rotation.  What causes this?  I will explain how we measure the alignment (or misalignment) of planets we can’t see directly, and how observations of forming solar systems could shed some light on these planets' unexpected orbits. 

Zero-Waste Initiatives, from Transition Town Media  --  TTM Committee

Monday, April 17, 2023

Learn from a panel of Zero Waste experts what it will take for us to make progress on our Zero Waste goal. We’ll hear from panelists Alex Danovich of Nothing Left To Waste; Faran Savitz of PennEnvironment; Erica Burman, Media Environmental Advisory Council member; Rebecca Yurkovich from the Delco Office of Sustainability; and Karen Taussig-Lux, Media Borough Grant Administrator and Recycling Coordinator.

Topics will cover the concept of Zero Waste in general and why it is vitally important, the problem with plastics, what is the Circular Economy and Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), and what Delaware County and Media Borough are working on to reduce our waste and its harmful effects.

Why are there so few women in the history of science? One wrong and three right answers  --  Dr. Roger Turner (Science History Institute)

Monday, May 8, 2023

No registration is required for lectures held at DCIS. Doors open at 7PM. Talk begins at 7:30PM.

While women have contributed to science and technology throughout history, they have generally done so amidst efforts to exclude them or marginalize their work. It often takes specialized skills and new ways of seeing to find the scientific work done by women. Sometimes women were given codenames when research was published, a 17th century strategy to protect their modesty. Sometimes tedious lab work was celebrated as “heroic” when done by men, and dismissed as “drudgery” when done by women. Or scientific organizations might divide up the labor of science, assigning some tasks to women and other tasks to men, and then not talk about the women’s roles—as in the story of Hidden Figures. This talk will explore how we can recover the history of women in science, and why we must do it now.