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Ask a Scientist … About Sea Grant's New Speaker Series

Ask a Scientist graphic.

Eat…drink…talk science! That’s the theme of Minnesota Sea Grant’s new “Ask a Scientist” discussion series being held at cafés in Duluth and Grand Marais, Minn.

To kick off the series, Jay Austin, assistant professor with the University of Minnesota Duluth’s department of physics and the Large Lakes Observatory, took to the stage with flip chart and microphone in April. He summarized his hot-off-the-press journal article reporting that Lake Superior’s surface waters are warming at a rate faster than the air temperature to a packed house at the Amazing Grace Café in Duluth. In Grand Marais’ Blue Water Café, an equally curious crowd gathered to discuss warming trends with Austin.

“I’d definitely like to see these discussions with scientists continue,” said Ken Gerasimos, port captain for USS Great Lakes Fleet, Inc. “This was a great opportunity for directly sharing observations and data.”

The free talks, which will be held on the first Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each month in Grand Marais and Duluth, respectively, will continue throughout the year. Topics will cover a range of sciences – from biology, to physics, to medicine – and will feature local speakers.

“Ask a Scientist encourages people to discuss ideas in science and technology with researchers,” said Sharon Moen, Minnesota Sea Grant’s editor and series organizer. “It’s a neat way to make science interesting and engaging.”

The series is inspired by the successful Café Scientifique Duluth talks hosted by the Bell Museum of Natural History last year and is backed by Nova scienceNOW. The first science cafes were held in the United Kingdom in 1998 to break science out of the traditional academic context and promote public engagement with science.

See the Seiche calendar (p. 4) for a listing of upcoming “Ask a Scientist” talks and visit the Web site at www.seagrant.umn.edu/news/aas.

By Sea Grant Staff
May 2007

Return to May 2007 Seiche

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