Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Heavy Metals in Consumer Products: Health Crisis or Sensationalism?
Heavy metals, such as tin, mercury and lead, are known to have adverse effects on the environment and on our health. Still, they are used in the production of a variety of consumer goods, including food and beverage packaging, light bulbs, and dental fillings. Are the risks associated with the use of these metals significant? If so, by what criteria are risk levels determined? Can consumers rely upon current government regulations to protect us or must we be constantly vigilant to protect ourselves? This discussion is directed toward any group—from high school students to senior citizens-seeking answers to these questions and others regarding the environment and consumer products.
Dr. Kevin Cannon

Mammalian Cloning
First came Dolly, the sheep, then other animals followed. How did scientists clone these animals and, perhaps of equal importance, why did they decide to do it? In what ways might mammalian cloning be useful? Is human cloning possible? If it is, should it be done and under what circumstances? Who should make the decision: the government, the medical community, religious institutions, or the populace at large? Consider the answers to these questions and others in this fascinating examination of one of the most controversial procedures of our time. This discussion is suitable for high school, college, and adult audiences.
Dr. Eric Ingersoll

NASA Missions and the Solar System
Join an associate professor of physics who is also a NASA solar system ambassador for an examination of NASA missions and the solar system appropriate for both adult and family audiences. Take a peek into the Cassini Mission to Saturn, results of Rover exploration on Mars, or missions to find out what comets are made of.
Dr. Ann Schmiedekamp

Stem Cells
Hardly a week goes by when we don’t hear something in the news about stem cells. These cells that have the ability to turn into a wide variety of different types of cells have enormous therapeutic potential, but obtaining them is often difficult and some sources are controversial. How do we obtain stem cells? How do stem cells from an embryo compare with stem cells from an adult? Can we take adult cells and transform them into stem cells? What can we do with stem cells once we have them? Stem cells are currently the most promising therapy for a wide variety of disorders. This presentation will discuss the facts and fiction of stem cells answering all of the above questions, and more. This discussion is suitable for high school, college, and adult audiences.
Dr. Eric Ingersoll

The Internet and Its Future
The Internet has become the foundation of today’s information infrastructure, and has been successfully supporting people’s data communications and computing. However, the Internet has fallen victim to its own stunning success. The current Internet architecture faces many challenges, including both correcting the vulnerabilities that arise from society’s increasing dependence on it, and enhancing the capabilities for supporting new applications. This presentation illustrates how the Internet works, discusses the challenges that the current Internet architecture is facing, and explores possible solutions for the next generation Internet.
Qiang Duan

The Myths of Polar Exploration
On Danes Island, a remote and uninhabited fortress in the Svalbard Archipelago, lays Virgo Harbor. Just before and after the turn of the Twentieth Century, two attempts to reach the North Pole by air were launched from this icy harbor. In the summer of 1993, the presenter of this discussion lived on the shoreline of Virgo Harbor within sight of the ruins of those early Swedish and American aeronautical expeditions. This illustrated presentation focuses upon his study of the archaeological remains and their capacity to cast both the expeditions and the men who led them in a very different light from that thrown upon them by traditional history.