Salem State University to host Darwin Festival – News – Beverly Citizen

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Salem State University will celebrate Charles Darwin’s 211th birthday with a week of events that include lectures, discussions and an array of award-winning films.

This community-oriented event is in its 41st year and runs from Feb. 10 to 14. The festival will feature 11 talks and 16 films with topics ranging from disease ecology; to ocean exploration and research; to forensic science in criminal investigations; to the evolution of the brain and behavior. All events are free and open to the public and media.

This year’s presenters include Paul Zambella, a forensic scientist who worked for the Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory for 36 years; Micaela Martinez, an infectious disease ecologist whose research focuses on understanding the seasonality in infectious disease systems; Sotheany Leap, a Salem State alumna, who examines human resilience through the very personal lens of her parents struggles under Cambodia’s brutal Khmer Rouge regime; and Roger Hanlon, a marine biologist whose research focuses on adaptive coloration or camouflage patterning and recently presented on the brains and morphing skin of octopuses at TED2019. Full details can be found at http://salemstate.edu/DarwinFestival.

“The festival is geared for audiences who may or may not have science backgrounds,” said festival co-chair Ryan Fisher, a professor of biology at Salem State. “It is a way to come together to hear some great talks, engage in conversation, and be part of a vibrant community of thinkers and doers.”

The Darwin Festival was founded in 1980 by Virginia F. Keville and Philip A. DePalma as part of the course “Human and Social Biology,” a biology course for non-science majors. The event was a way to celebrate the impact of Darwin’s work while providing students with an opportunity to connect humanity and culture with scientific research. The festival has since evolved into a community-wide event that draws students, scholars and curious-minds from around the region.

The Darwin Festival is organized by Salem State University’s department of biology with support from the Charles Albert Read Trust Fund, the Student Government Association through the Biological Society and the Scuba Club, the Keville-DePalma Darwin Festival Endowment Fund and Salem State University; and additional contributions by McGraw-Hill, Simbio, Academx and individual supporters.

All events are free on a first come, first-served basis. The schedule of events is below:

Feb. 10:

• 9 a.m., Slater Lecture Hall: “NOVA: The Day the Dinosaurs Died.” In this 60 minute video, experts explore the asteroid crater to investigate how giant dinosaur beasts met their end.

• 11 a.m., Veterans Hall: “New Constraints On Ancient Atmospheric Oxygen Concentrations and The Rise Of North American Dinosaurs” by Morgan Schaller, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy New York. Sponsored by the Department of Geological Sciences and the Charles Albert Read Trust.

• 1:10 p.m., Veterans Hall: “A Comparative Analysis Of Tryptophan Hydroxylase And Phenylalanine Hydroxylase: How Close Is Close Enough?” by Cynthia Ibarra, Department of Chemistry, Boston University, Boston. Sponsored by the Department of Chemistry/Physics and the Charles Albert Read Trust.

• 3:05 p.m., Slater Lecture Hall: “NOVA: Rise of the Mammals.” In this 60 minute video, experts explore how mammals evolved and diversified following the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Feb. 11:

• 8 a.m., Slater Lecture Hall: “Our Planet: One Planet,” a video about the diversity of life on Earth.

• 9:25 a.m., Veterans Hall: “Deep Ocean Exploration and Research” by Tim Shank, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole. Sponsored by the Charles Albert Read Trust.

• 10:50 a.m., Slater Lecture Hall: “Our Planet: The High Seas,” a video that will explore the biological communities in the deep dark oceans.

• 12:15 p.m., Veterans Hall: “From Octopus To The Iphone: Studying Color And Pattern From Molecules To Organisms With Science, Art, and Engineering” by Roger Hanlon, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole. Sponsored by the Scuba Club.

• 1:45 p.m., Slater Lecture Hall: “NOVA: Cuttlefish: Kings of Camouflage.”

• 3:05 p.m., Slater Lecture Hall: “Vox: The Mind Explained.” This is one part of a five-part series exploring memory, dreams, anxiety, mindfulness and psychedelics.

Feb. 12:

• 8 a.m., Slater Lecture Hall: “PBS: Plants Behaving Badly: Murder & Mayhem.” This video will explore the adaptations of carnivorous plants.

• 9:25 a.m., Veterans Hall: “Connectedness To Nature: Understanding The Role Of People In Improving The Environment” by Amy Weidensaul, Director, Ipswich Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary, Topsfield. Sponsored by the Charles Albert Read Trust.

• 10:50 a.m., Slater Lecture Hall: “PBS: Plants Behaving Badly: Sex & Lies.” This video will explore the private lives of orchids, one of Darwin’s favorite study subjects.

• 12:15 p.m., Veterans Hall: “Observing Nature’s Patterns And Processes With Mr. Darwin” by Ken Noll (acting as Charles Darwin), Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut. The Keville-DePalma Founders Lecture.

• 1:45 p.m., Slater Lecture Hall: “PBS: Poisoned Water.” What exactly went wrong in Flint, Michigan — and what does it mean for the rest of the country?

•3:05 p.m., Veterans Hall: “Whodunnit? The Importance Of Forensic Science In Criminal Investigations” by Paul Zambella, Forensic Scientist formerly at the Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab. Sponsored by the Charles Albert Read Trust.

Feb. 13:

• 8 a.m., Slater Lecture Hall: “PBS: Spillover: Zika, Ebola, and Beyond.” In this video, scientists will investigate the rise of spillover viruses like Zika, Ebola and Nipah and their prevention.

• 9:25 a.m., Slater Lecture Hall: PBS and BBC: “Food: Delicious Science: Food on the Brain.” This video will discuss how the chemistry in food affects people’s brains and creates cravings.

• 10:50 a.m., Veterans Hall: “Infrastructure Ecology For Our Sustainable Future” by Nathan Philips, Acting Director of Sustainable Neighborhood Lab, Department of Earth and the Environment, Boston University. Sponsored by the Department of Geography and the Charles Albert Read Trust.

• 12:15 p.m., Slater Lecture Hall: “Nature: What Plants Talk About.” This video will discuss how plants communicate, cooperate and sometimes wage all-out war.

• 1:45 p.m., Veterans Hall: “Surviving The Khmer Rouge: Moving From Tragedy To Resilience” by Sotheany Leap, SSU Biology Department Alumna, Lowell. Sponsored by the Biological Society.

• 3:05 p.m., Slater Lecture Hall: “Nature: Natural Born Hustlers.” This video will discuss the adaptations that animal con artists use to capture prey.

Feb. 14:

• 8:30 a.m., Slater Lecture Hall: “FarmLore Films: Biggest Little Farm.” In this video, a couple and their dog leave L.A. to build a farm that is in complete coexistence with nature.

• 10:50 a.m., Slater Lecture Hall: “PBS: The Gene Doctors.” This video will explore medical treatments that use genetics to target the root causes of disease.

• 12:15 p.m., Veterans Hall: “Darwinian Medicine and Disease Ecology: Understanding Biological Rhythms and Infection” by Micaela Martinez, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Columbia University, New York City. Sponsored by the Salem State Chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

• 1:45 p.m., Veterans Hall: “The Evolution Of Brains and Behavior In Domestic Dogs and Domesticated Foxes” by Erin Hecht, Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge. Sponsored by the Charles Albert Read Trust.

• 3:05 p.m., Slater Lecture Hall: “NOVA: Wonders.” This video will explore animal communications of bats, whales, chimps, spiders and more.

 


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