Monday, November 2, 2009

How to Bring Solar Energy to Seven Billion People



"How to Bring Solar Energy to Seven Billion People" with Cyrus Wadia, Ph.D.
November 4, 2009


Dr. Wadia is a pioneer in bringing a multidisciplinary approach to solving the complicated issue of renewable energy. Join him in a lively discussion on the promise -and the pitfalls - of solar energy. Download the flyer here.
 
In the city of San Rafael, the only way solar energy can be cost-effective is if the local government provides generous subsidies. That's true just about everywhere in the world. But what if there were a photovoltaic technology that was so cheap and so easy to install that even the poorest and most remote villages of the world could gain access to electricity? In this presentation, learn about discoveries of new materials that can make solar energy a reality for billions.

By exploiting the powers of nanotechnology and taking advantage of non-toxic, Earth-abundant materials, Cyrus Wadia has fabricated new solar cell devices that have the potential to be several orders of magnitude less expensive than conventional solar cells. And by mastering the chemistry of these materials - and the economics of solar energy - he envisions bringing electricity to the 1.2 billion people now living without it.

Dr. Wadia holds an MS in Chemical Engineering from MIT and a PhD in Energy Resources from UC-Berkeley. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory in Berkeley. Dr. Wadia spent six years in the high tech industry, has specialized in launching new technologies to market and has completed several successful new product introductions. Presently, Cyrus continues his work helping companies take technology to market as part of an independent consulting practice he began in 2001.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Making Faces: Developmental Mechanisms of Craniofacial Evolution


"Making Faces: Developmental Mechanisms of Craniofacial Evolution"
with Rich Schneider, Ph.D. 
October 28, 2009


Dr. Schneider will overview experiments in his laboratory that have revealed molecular and cellular processes involved in facial patterning. He will describe how his studies to understand the basis for skull shape in breeds of dogs led him to create a cell transplant system whereby duck embryos develop with quail beaks. He will bring an assortment of skulls.


Dr. Schneider is on the faculty of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at UCSF, and in 2004 he was made Director of the Department's Molecular & Cell Biology Laboratory on the Parnassus Heights campus.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

“Stimulating the Brain with Electricity and Stem Cells”


Stimulating the Brain with Electricity and Stem Cells
with Daniel Lim MD PhD
October 21, 2009

Dr. Lim will discuss Neurosurgery for Parkinson’s Disease and other Tremor Disorders, treatments for such disorders ranging from Deep Brain Stimulation (delivery of electrical currents), and the future of stem cell based therapies of such disorders.

Dr. Lim is Assistant Professor in Residence of Neurological Surgery and Director of Restorative Neurosurgery at the UCSF School of Medicine. The focus of his research is on neural stem cells and neurogenesis. He is particularly interested in the molecular biology of the population of neural stem cells found in the subventricular zone (SVZ). For neural stem cells to make neurons, daughter cells need to express certain sets of genes while repressing others. The maintenance of such lineage-specific transcriptional programs is in part regulated by chromatin structure – the “packaged” state of DNA with histone proteins. Recently, Dr. Lim’s work has revealed that the chromatin remodeling factor called Mixed Lineage Leukemia-1 (MLL1) is essential for postnatal neural stem cells to make new neurons. Currently, his work focuses on the molecular mechanisms by which MLL1 specifies a transcriptional program instructive for neurogenesis. In the future he hopes to define the genetic programs and molecular mechanisms that guide the formation of neurons and glia from SVZ neural stem cells, and translate these discoveries into cell-based and genetic therapies for human neurological diseases.

In addition to his basic science interests, Lim has a clinical interest in stereotactic neurosurgery and has worked to study deep brain stimulation for movement disorders including Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, and atypical tremors resulting from multiple sclerosis or stroke.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bad Blood: Interrogating Signaling Networks in Blood Disease


Wed. October 14, 2009
Bad Blood: Interrogating Signaling Networks in Blood Disease
with Michelle Hermiston, M.D. Ph.D.

Dr. Hermiston will talk about her training and experience as a physician and research speacialist in the field of pediatric hematology and oncology. 
 
Dr. Michelle L. Hermiston is a specialist in pediatric cancer and blood diseases at UCSF Children's Hospital with a special interest in defining the underlying mechanisms in the development of lymphoid malignancies, including leukemia and lymphoma. She earned her medical degree and doctorate in developmental biology at Washington University School of Medicine and the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences. Hermiston completed a fellowship in pediatric hematology and oncology and a residency at UCSF before joining the faculty in 2002. She also participated in a Medical Scientist Training Program at Washington University and at the UCSF Molecular Medicine Research Fellowship Program. She holds memberships with numerous organizations, including the American Society of Hematology and American Academy of Pediatrics. Hermiston is an adjunct instructor of pediatric hematology and oncology at the University of California, San Francisco.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Smashing Protons!

"Smashing Protons!: Exploring Nature's Fundamental Particles and Forces with the Large Hadron Collider" with Beate Heinemann, Assistant Professor of Physics, UC-Berkeley

(September 30, 2009)

Dr. Heinemann's experiment recently became famous when it was featured in the blockbuster movie "Angels & Demons" with Tom Hanks. She will discuss particle physics and her work with the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

"The field of "particle physics" tries to understand the physics of the most fundamental building blocks of matter. How many such building blocks are there? How do they relate to each other? Why are they there? Currently we do not have a good theory why we have any mass at all, even though of course we know that all matter has a mass. There are, however, many theories about why this might be and the goal of my experiment is to prove or disprove them, or to maybe find completely unexpected phenomena that will then need to be explained. One exciting possibility is that we find extra dimensions of space that could even result in the production of mini-blackholes. My experiment is called ATLAS and is situated at the "Large Hadron Collider" (abbreviated as LHC) that is located in Switzerland. There are more than 2000 physicists on my experiment, and many engineers and technicians: all of them collaborate with each other to answer some of the most basic and fundamental questions of Science today. In my talk I will describe how this experiment works and what we hope to discover there."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Detecting Illicit Nuclear Material with Edward Morse, PhD

Join us for the kick-off to the Marin Science Seminar Fall 2009 season!

Detecting Illicit Nuclear Material with Professor Edward Morse
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009, 7:30 - 8:30 pm
Terra Linda High School, San Rafael, Room 207


Detecting nuclear material at ports of entry into the United States and at other locations is a daunting problem but is an essential element of a counterterrorism strategy for the country. A major difficulty in detection is the minimization of false-positive signals from a wide variety of cargo containing NORM, or naturally occurring radioactive material. One technique which looks promising is the use of nuclear resonance fluorescence (NRF) for detecting special nuclear material such as U-235. We have embarked on a five year program at UC Berkeley, called DoNuTS (Domestic Nuclear Threat Security), which looks at various aspects of the threat detection problem. This program will be discussed, with emphasis on the physics and technology of NRF as well as other aspects including materials science, computer machine vision, sensor networks, and basic nuclear physics research.

Prof. Edward Morse is a professor of Nuclear Engineering at UC-Berkeley and has a thirty-year involvement in teaching and research at Berkeley in the areas of applied physics, nuclear technology, electronics, and mathematics.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Aug. 10, 2009 - Field trip to Atlas Cafe "Down to a Science" Science Cafe

From the Down to a Science website. Join us! You can RSVP at the Facebook event page here or by sending me an email at marinscienceseminar@gmail.com.



When: Monday, August 10th 7-9 PM
What: Confessions of an Alien Hunter
Where: Atlas Cafe, 3049 20th St @ Alabama St. in the Mission District
Who: Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer, SETI Institute, Renowned Alien Hunter
The Deets:
Why do we think aliens are out there? Is Earth really being visited? Will aliens really be short, gray, and hairless? What happens if we pick up a signal from another world?

These are just a few of the questions this month’s guest, Seth Shostak, tackles regularly in his role as the senior astronomer for the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) Institute. Shostak will also discuss the beginnings of life on earth, how this knowledge impacts what astronomers search for in other galaxies, and the growing consortium of scientific voices who believe "it would be offensively self-centered to imagine that what has happened on Earth has only happened on Earth."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Before Egg and Sperm: Stem Cells of the Germline


with Diana Laird, Ph.D.

Although we do not need our gametes for 20 or 30 years, they are established during early development in the womb by stem cell precursors. Professor Laird's research in mouse embryos asks how these cells acquire and maintain their identity, migrate to the forming ovaries or testes, and avoid becoming cancerous on their way to differentiating as egg or sperm.

Monday, March 30, 2009

NanoHigh: One Session Left

You may have noticed the NanoHigh flyer in the science classroom we have our seminars in. Nanohigh is a series of lectures given by UC Berkeley professors about nanotechnology. The last one, which I attended, discussed the use of carbon. I learned about why there are 2 forms of carbon, the use of nanotubes, the world's smallest motor, and graphene, the revolutionary material formed when you write with a pencil.

The next talk is about getting things from the lab to the market, and is on April 25, Stanley Hall, 10 AM. Registration is requested, click on the above link for the site

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How we Know What we Know about the Brain


Marin Science Seminar Presentation: "How we Know What we Know about the Brain” (formerly “The Case of the Knocked-Out Neuron: Why brain neurons die and how we can save them”) Dr. Swanson will talk about how we have learned what we know about the brain and about his work's impact on Alzheimer's disease and stroke. He will also talk about how scientists work to figure out why neurons die and what can be done to keep them alive.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cartoon Physics - How Scientists and Artists make Pixar Films


with Rod Bogart of Pixar Studios

Pixar films are known for their characters and stories, but how is the film actually made? This talk will describe the various applications of math and science behind the art, from animation and
simulation, through shading and lighting, to mastering for the audience.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Can we mend a broken heart? Thinking about stem cell therapy with Harold Bernstein MD PhD


Dr. Bernstein is Professor of Pediatrics and a Senior Investigator of the Cardiovascular Research Institute at UCSF. He will talk about the field of stem cell therapy, specifically relating it to his work using stem cells to treat heart disease. Dr. Bernstein also practices Pediatric Cardiology at UCSF Childrens Hospital. He attended public school in New York, received his undergraduate degree from Harvard, his doctoral and medical training at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and his postgraduate training in pediatrics and cardiology at UCSF. Dr. Bernstein's research focuses on stem cell biology, muscle development, and heart regeneration. He has been recognized as an Established Investigator by the American Heart Association, and currently is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (Proposition 71).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Feb. 4th: The neurological processes of alcohol addiction

with Asma Asyyed, M.D.

Dr. Asyyed's research interest is in the neurological processes of alcohol addiction. While at UCSF she was involved in two research projects. The first project was to study the effects of ethanol on CRE-mediated gene transcription in mice, using biochemical, behavioral and neuroanatomical techniques (Asyyed et., 2006). The second research project was to study candidate genes that may have a link with alcoholism (ADORA1, MOR and PKIB genes), using molecular biology and biochemical techniques.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

“Global Change and the Future of African Wildlife" with Wayne Getz


with Professor Wayne Getz of UC-Berkeley
(January 21, 2009) in the TL Performance Theater

Professor Getz discussed the impact of global change on the ecology of wildlife in Africa. He showed a short film on zebra collaring in Africa. Graduate student Andy Lyons spoke about field work in Zambia and the inter-relation between human and animal populations in that African nation.

Professor Getz received his BS in Applied Mathematics and his Ph.D. in Modeling and Control of Birth and Death Processes from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. His specialty is Quantitative Population Biology and his research interests include a broad range of theoretical and applied questions in population and biology with application to epidemiology and conservation biology. He is currently a Professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management at UC-Berkeley's College of Natural Resources. At this time projects in his laboratory include: (i) Ecology of anthrax and parasitic co-infections in the plain’s herbivores of Etosha National Park, Namibia., (ii) Bovine TB in wild animals, livestock, and humans in southern Africa., (iii) Movement Ecology: exploring the causes, patterns, mechanisms and consequences of organism movements with particular application to buffalo and elephants., and (iv) Merging dynamical systems modeling and analysis at different levels of biological organization.