Particle Fever: a conversation with Fresno State physicists who participated in the hunt for the Higgs-Boson

Large hadron

Have heard about the Large Hadron Collider? Do you know about the Higgs-Boson particle? And the Nobel Prize winning theory of the Higgs field which gives mass to elementary particles? If you’ve been intrigued by any of these, you are in for a treat at our next event.

This November, join us for a special event: an evening with a panel of physicists from the Physics department at California State University, Fresno, who were involved in the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider, which confirmed the existence of the Higgs-Boson particle. This will be a mixed media event, where we will see excerpts from the movie “Particle Feverwhich movingly retells the story of the Large Hadron Collider, and why it has had everyone in the physics world excited in recent years. The film gives us a ringside seat to watch a remarkable scientific experiment unfold. Dr. Yongsheng Gao was actually inside the ring, participating in the experiment, along with postdoctoral scholar Dr. Harinder Bawa, and students from the Physics department! Dr. Gao and colleagues will show us parts of the film and share their own insights from the ATLAS project.

Here’s a trailer for Particle Fever:

Since showing the entire film + panel discussion will put us well over our usual 60-90 min Café evening, we have arranged a special showing of the film at Peeve’s Pub on the preceding Sunday (2 Nov 2014) afternoon. Come hang out at the pub to watch the movie first, and then come back for the panel discussion the next evening after you’ve had a chance to digest some of the content of the film. You can also watch the film online on Netflix or iTunes. As mentioned above, we will also show some key excerpts of the film before the panel discussion, in case you are unable to see the whole film. So watching the film is basically like optional extra-credit homework which will help you get more out of the panel discussion, but is not absolutely necessary to participate!

When: Monday, 3 November 2014, 7:00 PM (panel discussion); Sunday, 20 Nov 2014, 4:00 PM – film screening.

Where:  Peeve’s Public House
, 1243 Fulton Mall, Fresno, CA 93721

Contact:  559-278-2460 (cafe inquiries) / 559-573-5735 (Pub’s number)

Here’s the full poster for this event – please feel free to download, print, and share with your friends and family:

“I don’t believe in evolution.” The words we shouldn’t use when we talk about science

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“I don’t believe in evolution.” The words we shouldn’t use when we talk about science.

In this interactive presentation, we will examine the concept of disciplinary literacy in science, addressing how the use of particular words contributes to the development of misconceptions. The nature of science as a way of knowing is considered through these basic understandings:

  • Scientific Investigations Use a Variety of Methods
  • Scientific Knowledge is Based on Empirical Evidence
  • Scientific Knowledge is Open to Revision in Light of New Evidence
  • Scientific Models, Laws, Mechanisms, and Theories Explain Natural Phenomena
  • Science is a Way of Knowing
  • Scientific Knowledge Assumes an Order and Consistency in Natural Systems
  • Science is a Human Endeavor
  • Science Addresses Questions About the Natural and Material World (NGSS Lead States, 2013). 

The intersection of language and these understandings can be problematic, particularly with words popularly associated with science like prove and theory.

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Dr. Frederick Nelson is Assistant Professor of Science Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the Kremen School of Education and Human Development at California State University-Fresno. He received his Ph.D. in Science Education from the University of Florida in 2012. He teaches courses in science methods and curriculum, instruction, and technology. Prior to his appointment at Fresno State, he was an Instructor of Science Education at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. He earned his Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Secondary Education from Kansas State University, and was a high school science teacher for nine years before moving into teacher education. He also holds National Board Certification in Adolescent and Young Adult Science. He is a member of the Interdisciplinary Water Cohort and Project Director of the STEM Concentration in Liberal Studies.

Where:  Peeve’s Public House
, 1243 Fulton Mall, Fresno, CA 93721

Contact:  559-278-2460 (cafe inquiries) / 559-573-5735 (Pub’s number)

Here’s the full poster for this event – please feel free to download, print, and share with your friends and family:

Forgetful Flies: Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia – 8 Sep 2014

I hope all of you Cafénistas had a good summer break and are refreshed at the start of a new school year!

Our Café returns to Fresno’s cultural calendar on September 8th when we start our 8th season in Fresno! Fresno State biologist Dr. David Lent kicks things off with a presentation based on his research:

Forgetful Flies: Understanding Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

When: 8 September 2014, 7:00 PMDinner will be served from 6:00PM.
Note that this is the second Monday of the month – the first being Labor Day. The Café will return to its regular schedule of First Mondays from October onwards.

Where:  Peeve’s Public House
, 1243 Fulton Mall, Fresno, CA 93721

Contact:  559-278-2460 (cafe inquiries) / 559-573-5735 (Pub’s number)

Here’s the full poster for this event – please feel free to download, print, and share with your friends and family: