Downtown Science Café @ Magpie's Gourmet Pizza


Series Title: Earth, Wind, Fire, & Water

In an effort to understand the world around them, the Ancient Greeks divided what they observed into four classical elements: Earth, Wind, Fire and Water. That same desire to comprehend our world drives modern science. Today we understand Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water in a whole new way, each a realm of earth science that connects intricately to the others. In a warming world, our ability to understand how those four key elements interact and influence climate is more important than ever, and this new Café series will explore the best current science available.

To learn more about any of our speakers, click on their profile pictures!

Update, 1/30/17: Dr. Tom Galarneau and Dr. Joellen Russell have switched dates!  Please see the schedule below for the most up to date information.


Schedule of talks:

Tuesday, January 17, 6:00 p.m.
Earth: A Planet With a Pulse

Presenter: Scott Saleska, Associate Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

The more we understand about life on our planet, the more we realize that species are deeply interdependent.  We start to see Earth as a global organism, a living planet that “breathes” vital elements like carbon. Without plants, for example, our atmosphere would not have the oxygen that we need to live. Dr. Saleska will talk about how living organisms, from microbes to forests, influence atmosphere and climate on a global scale

Update: Tuesday, February 21, 6:00 p.m.
Big Blue: Water and Life on Planet Earth

Presenter: Joellen Russell, Associate Professor, Geosciences and Planetary Sciences

Unlike any other planet that we know of (yet) our Earth has abundant liquid water.  Life on Earth began in the oceans, and life on land depends on water.  But our oceans are changing fast as our world warms.  So is the circulation of fresh water through rain and storms.  Dr. Russell will explore the big changes in oceans and rainfall that are transforming our world right now.

Update: Tuesday, March 21, 6:00 p.m.
Why the Wind Blows

Presenter: Tom Galarneau, Assistant Professor, Hydrology and Atmospheric Science

Wind can bring welcome rains and dangerous storms, and a warmer world will be a windier world.  Dr. Galarneau will talk about processes that make the wind blow and how winds can impact people and economies. He will explore planetary-scale flows and also smaller scale storms such as hurricanes and tornadoes.


Tuesday, April 18, 6:00 p.m.
The Fire That Shapes the Earth: Volcanoes and Magma

Presenter: Christopher Hamilton, Assistant Professor, Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and Department of Geosciences

Our Earth is a rocky planet, and inside, below the thin layer of solid rock crust on the surface, the planet is very hot – hot enough that rock can melt. That molten rock can shape the surface of the Earth by generating explosive volcanic eruptions and lava flows. Dr. Hamilton will explore how that molten rock, called magma, has continuously molded the surface of the Earth over millions of years, and how the same processes shape other planets and moons in our Solar System over even longer time scales.

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