Planets, Moons, Magnets – May the 4th

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“That’s no moon…” seems like a good way to invite you to a Café Scientifique event on May the 4th this year!

But wait… that actually is a moon! It is Mimas, one of Saturn’s moons. We don’t know much about it other than its uncanny resemblance to the infamous Death Star of Star Wars fame. We won’t be talking about the Death Star, or even much about Mimas this Star Wars Day, but our Café will feature a presentation about planets and moons and their magnetic fields, starting closer to our home.

Earth has a magnetic field that mostly looks like a bar magnet with its magnetic north pole close to the geographic north pole and its south pole close to the geographic south pole. We take advantage of this magnetic field on a daily basis when we use a compass like the one built into our mobile phones when we try to find where North is. But our planet also has a magnetic field that comes from Earth’s outer-most layer, the crust. This crustal magnetic field helped us understand fundamental processes on our planet like plate tectonics. Within the last decades, we have been discovering that other planets within our inner solar system and even our Moon also have crustal magnetic fields. The scientific challenge is now to make sense of these crustal magnetic fields to understand the other planets’ and our Moon’s history and internal structure.

catskillszoom2Our guide on this magnetic planetary journey will be Dr. Alain Plattner, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Fresno State. He will be speaking a bit more about his research on the local airwaves, on KFCF 88.1FM in Fresno, at 3:30PM on Tue, 26 April 2016, during the next episode of our show “Science: A Candle In The Dark.” Tune in to 88.1FM (or its online stream) if you can for the live broadcast of his conversation with host Dr. Madhusudan Katti, or catch it later on the podcast.

And next week, May the 4th, be with us at Peeve’s Pub for a pint of brew, perchance some food from their new resident chef, and a conversation about planets, moons, and magnets.

Speaker: Dr. Alain Plattner, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, California State University, Fresno.

When: Wednesday, 4 May 2016, 7:00 PM

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/or share with your friends and family:

Why birds live where they do, in Peru

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Whether you are a serious/amateur birdwatcher, or simply curious about the organisms sharing our natural world, you must from time to time wonder why there are so many different kinds of birds around you. Why are there are so many different kinds of species in some places? For example, the Amazonian forests of Peru can harbor over 1000 species of birds, i.e., 10% of all the world’s bird species, within a 100km X 100km area of forest. How did this diversity evolve, and how are so many species managing to coexist? If questions like these intrigue you, you will want to attend our next Café Scientifique event!

South African evolutionary biologist Dr. Christopher Trisos, currently a postdoctoral scholar at the Socio Environmental Synthesis Center in Annapolis, MD, will share insights from his analysis of bird communities in Peru, and what we know about how species diversity arises and is maintained.

You can get a preview of the topic on the next edition of our radio show/podcast Science: A Candle In The Dark, which airs on 88.1FM KFCF88.1FM KFCF in Fresno and the surrounding valley every 4th tuesday of the month at 3:30 PM. The podcast is available shortly thereafter. So tune in live, or listen to the podcast before joining us to hear directly from our guest!

Speaker: Dr. Christopher Trisos, Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC).

When: Wednesday, 6 April 2016, 7:00 PM

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/or share with your friends and family:

Post-Modern Winemaking: Quality, Health & Natural Technologies

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What is the science behind winemaking? How does science inform the quality and flavor of wine, and its effects on your health? How has winemaking evolved over the centuries, how is technology shaping the wine industry? What are the prospects for California’s iconic wine industry in a world undergoing rapid climatic and environmental changes?

If these questions intrigue you, you’ll want to join us for the next Café Scientifique. Fresno State’s newest winemaker Matt Brain will talk about the science of winemaking, and how modern—and indeed post-modern—technologies are influencing winemaking in the 21st century.

So join us on the first Wednesday of March to enjoy a sip of wine from the Fresno State winery—the only academic wine label—or a pint of your favorite local  beer Peeve’s has on tap, flavored with another round of science!

Speaker: Matt Brain, California State University, Fresno

When: Wednesday, 2 March 2016, 7:00 PM

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/or share with your friends and family: