THE DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY PRESENTS
A SERIES OF LECTURES, DEMONSTRATIONS, AND FILMS

WHAT PHYSICISTS DO

“We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.” - Carl Sagan

NINETY-THIRD SERIES
Spring 2017

History of the Series

Mondays at 4:00 p.m. Darwin 103 Coffee at 3:30 p.m.
Date About
Feb 13 CLIMATE OF DOUBT
A presentation of the PBS Frontline documentary that takes a fascinating view inside the organizations that seek to sow doubt in the public's perception of the scientific evidence of human induced climate change.
Feb 20 ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES
Dr. Daniel Soto, Chair of the Department of Environmental Studies & Planning here at SSU, will present his research.
Feb 27 THE UNIVERSE OF GALAXES AND STEM RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
Dr. Raja GuhaThakurta of UC Santa Cruz will cover recent results from his group's research on galaxy structure and evolution including topics like the assembly of dark matter, galaxy cannibalism, and chemical evolution. He will also talk about the Science Internship Program at UC Santa Cruz and the global SPHERE network.
Mar 6 HOW THE ELECTRIC GRID TURNED UPSIDE DOWN
The transition from coal and natural gas sources of electric power to wind and solar has utterly transformed how utilities think about the grid. The plan for how utilities will maintain grid reliability in the face of this transition flips everything upside down. Geof Syphers, CEO Sonoma Clean Power, will discuss how they are building an electric grid with less than 10 percent reliance on greenhouse gas emitting fuels by 2030.
Mar 20 SCIENCE AND SOCIETY
Dr. Scott Severson of SSU will present an overview of the challenges and opportunities that exist at the interface between scientific discovery and the public sphere.
Mar 27 SEARCHING FOR METEORITES IN ANTARCTICA
Meteorites fall on the earth at a rate of 30,000 kg/year. Antarctica is an ideal hunting-ground for these precious samples of other worlds, so each year, the National Science Foundation funds a handful of scientists to search the icy wastelands to recover as many meteorites as possible. In this talk, Dr. Monika Kress of San Jose State will discuss the science of meteorites and their recovery from the most inhospitable place on Earth. 
Apr 3 TBA
Apr 10 EXTREME WEATHER IN A CHANGING CLIMATE
Dr. Michael Wehner of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will present an overview of his research on the behavior of extreme weather events in a changing climate. Changes in the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather are likely the most serious consequence of human induced global warming. Understanding what the future portends is vital if society hopes to adapt to a very different world.
Apr 17 FINDING A NEW EARTH: EXOPLANETS AND THE HABITABLE ZONE
Dr. Stephen Kane of San Francisco State University will describe what the idea of a Habitable Zone means and shows examples of planets outside the solar system that lie in their star's Habitable Zone.
Apr 24 IMAGING EXTRASOLAR PLANETS
Dr. Bruce Macintosh of Stanford University will discuss how with current technology, young planets can be directly imaged - resolved from their parent star - with a technique called adaptive optics. He will discuss results from such imaging, particularly the four-planet system orbiting HR8799.
May 1 NEW TECHNIQUE FOR STUDYING MATERIALS
Dr. Zahid Hussain of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory will describe his research targeting the development of novel x-ray scattering instrumentation for probing quantum materials.

Sonoma State University

This series is supported by private donations and Instructionally Related Activities funds.

Department of Physics and Astronomy, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA 94928-3609. (707) 664-2119
phys.astro@sonoma.edu       http://phys-astro.sonoma.edu/wpd/