January 2016

Astronomical map showing Pluto and Jupiter system

A Big Year For Dwarf Planets: Highlights Of The NASA Missions To Ceres & Pluto

Damian Gregory Allis, Ph.D

Wednesday, January 20, 2016, 7:00 PM, Dewitt Community Library, DCL Friends Room, Shoppingtown Mall, 3649 Erie Blvd. East, Dewitt, NY 13214

This event is free and open to the public.

About the talk
Pluto’s demotion to dwarf planet status suddenly made more people aware of its fellow dwarf planet Ceres in the Asteroid Belt. With Ceres a snapshot of a planet that might have been, and Pluto the most famous member of the Kuiper Belt, both are of special interest to scientists studying the history and complexity of our own Solar System as a way to better understand the many extra-Solar Systems now being discovered by professional and amateur astronomers. This lecture will feature some historical background and as-recent-as-the-web-will-allow views and findings from both the New Horizons and Dawn NASA missions

About the presenter
Damian G. Allis Ph.D. is a Research Professor of Chemistry, Research Fellow with the Forensic and National Security Sciences Institute, bioinformaticist with Aptamatrix, Inc., and High Performance Computing Evangelist, all at Syracuse University. A crazy/overly-optimistic local amateur astronomer, he is a NASA Solar System Ambassador, long-time member of many CNY amateur astronomy clubs, and a founding member and webmaster of CNY Observers (www.cnyo.org). When/because it’s cloudy, he’s also the drummer for a half-dozen local bands. He is always happy to talk shop and can be found and contacted at www.somewhereville.com.

Solstice Party 2015

Celebrate the Solstice with CNY Skeptics

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It’s almost time for the annual CNY Skeptics Solstice Party. Our hosts are the always gracious Bryce and Judy Hand. The date of the party is December 19, and the time is 6 pm.

The Hands will provide turkey and stuffing, a vegetarian dish, and hot spiced cider. The rest is up to you. Email the Hands with your dinner contribution.

Bryce and Judy Hand
132 Lynn Circle
Syracuse, NY 13205

November 2015 Meeting

Len Sharp on Easter Island with Rapa Nui

The Puzzling Moai of Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Len Sharp, retired earth science teacher

Wednesday, November 18, 2015, 7:00 PM, Dewitt Community Library, DCL Friends Room, Shoppingtown Mall, 3649 Erie Blvd. East, Dewitt, NY 13214

This event is free and open to the public.

About the talk
Rapa Nui (Easter Island) is generally accepted as the most remote permanently populated land area on Earth. It was due to the isolation of Rapa Nui that created the unique culture that developed, especially the 900 giant stone statues called Moai found along its rugged coastlines and Rano Raraku quarries. This lecture will seek to answer the following questions: What were the source and type of rock used to construct the Moai; what kind of tools was used to sculpture the giant statues; how were the statues moved form Rano Raraku to their distant platforms (Ahu); how were the statues placed in their upright positions; and, of course, what purpose did they serve?

About the presenter
Len Sharp had almost 40 years of experience as an earth science teacher in NY public high schools. He is the past president of the Science Teachers Association of NY and National Earth Science Teachers Association. He is the co-author of a national textbook used for high school earth science. He is a past National Science Teachers Association Distinguished Teacher and received a teaching award from then President Bill Clinton in 1995. He currently is involved with continuing science education for adults and seniors.

September 2015

penny-higgins

Women, Science, and Love: No One Cries in the Laboratory (Do They?)

Penny Higgins, Ph.D., Research Associate, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Rochester

Wednesday, September 16, 2015, 7:00 PM, Manlius Library, 1 Arkie Albanese Ave, Manlius, NY

This event is free and open to the public.

About the talk
On June 9th of this year, Nobel Prize winner Sir Tim Hunt explained to the World Conference of Science Journalists what he felt was the problem with women in science. “Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry.” Hunt’s comments are just one example of challenges that women face in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields. Even the dominance of men in typical STEM classrooms perpetuates a culture of “Stereotype Threat” which continues to discourage women from pursuing STEM careers. The challenge ahead is to accept that this as a real problem, and then work toward practical solutions where women and men are treated equally within the sciences.

About the presenter
Penny Higgins is a Vertebrate Paleontologist and Geochemist at the University of Rochester. She divides her time among managing the Stable Isotope Ratios in the Environment Analytical Laboratory (SIREAL), teaching, and doing research on ancient episodes of rapid climate change.