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  Past Science Pubs
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Join our fun and friendly conversation, and quench your thirst for knowledge about science and nature. Whether you are a science genius or not-so-science-savvy, you are invited to participate in stimulating discussions and partake in some lively libations.

We meet at Dargan's Irish Pub & Restaurant in Santa Barbara. Science Pub is open to all and admission is free. No reservations or tickets are required. Dargan's is located at 18 E. Ortega Street. Some street parking is available, and Lot#10 is conveniently located adjacent to Dargan's (first 75 minutes free).

Questions: Call 805-682-4711 ext. 170.

 

PAST SCIENCE PUBS

The Bear Naked Truth
With Kate McCurdy, Sedgwick Reserve
Monday, September 22, 2014
6:30–8:00 PM 

Using video, narration and props that would make Goldilocks blush, wildlife biologist Kate McCurdy will unravel the mysteries of black bear procreation. Top off your pint and travel with Kate on a provocative yearlong journey into the chaparral bedroom of Southern California and get a glimpse into the wild world of ursine courtship, mating and maternity.


California on Fire: How native plants respond to wildfire
with Nate Emery, UCSB
Monday, August 25, 2014
6:30–8:00 PM

Wildfire is a common disturbance in many of California's ecosystems. Over time, plant species have evolved traits that enable them to persevere through wildfires. In fact, there are some species that actually require fires to disperse seeds and regenerate. Over a pint, Nate Emery will walk us through several ecosystems in California and explain how plant species respond to wildfires.
Photo Credit: Bay Area News Group
 


 

Going Beyond the Kodak® Moment: Scientific Imaging Zooms In
with Dr. Daniel Geiger, Curator of Malacology
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, July 28, 2014

The “Kodak® moment” captures a memorable moment in a photograph. Scientific imaging goes beyond a moment, and zooms in on life capturing details and data to reveal a new perspective. In science, an image could test evolutionary hypotheses, provide critical data, and even help identify a new species of life. Academic rigor and technical expertise with visual appeal is at the heart of scientific imaging. Join Dr. Geiger as he explores some of the various scientific imaging techniques and tools used in ongoing research at the Museum.
 


Nature Deficit Disorder: Are Free-Range Kids facing extinction?
with Elaine Gibson, Nature Education Specialist
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, June 23, 2014

Did your childhood include climbing trees, building forts, splashing in creeks, sliding down grassy hillsides, exploring the boundaries of your outdoor world? That’s not childhood any more. Childhood and outdoor play are no longer synonymous. Nature Education Specialist Elaine Gibson presents a new and growing body of research that proves "Go outside and play" was a good idea. That's how children grow. So what happens if kids have only indoor experiences? How do we unplug kids and reconnect them to nature?
 


Your Water…Your Choices
with author David Carle
Monday, April 28, 2014

In this colorful presentation, David Carle dives into the basics of water resources and explores the water choices that have historically shaped California's development and environmental change. Join him as he discusses how our water choices are the key to shaping California’s future.

David Carle is a natural history author and educator. He worked as a California State Park Ranger for 27 years and participated in the long battle to protect Mono Lake from Los Angeles' stream diversions. 
 


The Molecular Symphony of Life
with Dr. Zachary Levine & John Savage
Departments of Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Physics, UCSB
Center for Multiscale Theory and Simulation, Univ. of Chicago
Monday, March 24, 2014

Through computer simulations, scientists are able to track the movement of individual atoms and molecules over time and make use of this highly detailed information to help understand the workings of the living cell, analyze the origins of diseases, and design more effective drug therapies and fuel cells. The ability to visualize the atomic-level environment as it evolves over time allows for incredible technological advancements and provides a greater appreciation for the underlying beauty to be found in the natural world.

Share a pint with two young scientists who will highlight how computers are changing the way we study systems such as proteins, fuel cells and viruses and the societal impact of what is being discovered.

 


Love-Crossed Stars
with Javier Rivera,Astronomy Programs Manager
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, February 24, 2014

The night sky is filled with amazing and awe-inspiring celestial objects. Throughout the ages and among many different cultures, people have assigned myths and legends to many of these objects. Some of these stories are romantic attempts to explain natural phenomena, while others are simply stories that reflect upon human nature and feelings including…LOVE.
 


Acid in Our Oceans
with Dr. Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez
UCSB, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis
Monday, January 27, 2014

Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the ocean have increased alongside CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Like terrestrial plants that convert CO2 from the atmosphere to solid carbon stored in the soil, microscopic marine plants called coccolithophores convert CO2 in sea water to solid carbon in the form of their beautiful microscopic chalky plates.

But the chemistry of seawater is changing. Increasing CO2 levels have resulted in acidification of seawater and it is unclear how the coccolithophores will respond. Will they continue to convert carbon as ocean waters become increasingly acidic? Will there be a decline in this important group of marine plants? Both the short and long term consequences have far-reaching societal implications.
 


 
Santa Barbara Region Science PubNaturalist's Guide to the Santa Barbara Region
with author Joan Lentz
Monday, November 25, 2013

Looking for inspiration to head outside and appreciate what natural wonders are in your own backyard? Join Joan Lentz, accomplished author, teacher, birder and naturalist and take a journey from the tidepools on our shores to the mountain peaks and surrounding woodlands. Listen to Joan’s amazing stories and view stunning photos from our unique corner of the world. Joan's latest book, A Naturalist’s Guide to the Santa Barbara Region will be for sale after the presentation.


 


Antarctica and the Rising Sea
with Lauren Simkins
Science PubDepartment of Earth Studies, UCSB
Monday, October 28, 2013
 
Join Lauren Simkins as she discusses the impact Antarctica’s ice sheets have on sea-level rise. Learn about the history of Antarctica’s ice sheets over geologic time and how those changes compare to the changes occurring in Antarctica today. Then discover the implications of shrinking ice caps for sea level rise along coastlines across the world including California.


Humboldt Squid in the California Current
Squid Science PubDr. Julia S. Stewart
National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, UCSB
Monday, September 23, 2013

Humboldt Squid have been increasingly observed off the California coast, but have historically lived further south. Why are they here now? How are they able to expand their reach? What is the impact of their presence?

Join Dr. Julia Stewart as she discusses her research on these impressive cephalopods including their migration patterns, their tolerance to harsh environmental conditions, and potential drivers of their recent range expansion.

 


 

 Who Are You Calling a Bird Brain?
Dr. Corina Logan
SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind, UCSB
Monday, August 26, 2013

A recent discovery about bird brain anatomy has overturned a century-old assumption that bird brains were primitive versions of mammalian brains. What are birds doing with this brain power? Complex cognitive abilities help some species solve environmental and social problems.
Join Dr. Corina Logan as she explores the world of bird cognition—how do they use tools, remember the past, or plan for the future? 
 

 


 

The Art and Science of Taxonomy
with Dr. Michael Caterino, Curator of Entomology
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History 
Monday, July 22, 2013

Naming organisms is as essential to modern science as it was to Linnean-era biologists of the 1700s. In the race to document biodiversity before the modern world takes too big a toll, biologists are discovering species at an unprecedented rate, and all these new species need names!

While the rules for naming seem strict and stodgy to many scientists, taxonomists - those responsible for naming species - have taken some remarkable, hilarious, and downright questionable liberties. Join Dr. Michael Caterino as he engages attendees on the many species that have been named for an array of famous and infamous personalities, and shares the challenges scientists are facing in gaining knowledge about biodiversity.

 


Science Revolution! How the Transformation of Science Will Change Your Life
Dr. Jai Ranganathan
National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, UCSB
Monday, June 24, 2013

Our lives have been fundamentally changed by science. In the past century, scientific innovations such as air travel and modern medicine have transformed the human experience. Now humanity is at the beginning of a new scientific revolution driven by technological and cultural change, and the way scientists do their research is being transformed across scientific disciplines.
This scientific revolution has huge implications for everyone, because it will expedite the pace of discovery. Join Dr. Jai Ranganathan to find out more about this brave new world of science and what the future holds.
 

I Invade With a Little Help From My Friends: How People Moved Plants Around The World
with Nate Emery and Nicole Molinari
Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology Department, UCSB
Monday, May 27, 2013

Plants provide a number of human services and as a result have been transported around the globe for agriculture, medicine, building materials and more. In addition, there is an ever increasing number of plants that are accidentally introduced (i.e. hitchhikers) through a variety of means. Some introduced species have little effect on the regions they invade, while others can transform landscapes. 

Come join Nate Emery and Nicole Molinari for a tale of how humans have moved plants beyond their natural geographic barriers and the potential environmental impacts that ensue. We will discuss the history of plant trading, as well as highlight a few of our local exotic invaders. 
 

Aging in the Amazon
with Dr. Michael Gurven
Anthropology Dept., UCSB
Monday, April 22, 2013

What does human aging and longevity look like in a world without healthcare, supermarkets and life insurance? Join Dr. Michael Gurven as he discusses the biology and anthropology of "growing old" in different environments. He'll touch upon the determinants of heart disease and diabetes, as well as the potential health benefits of our "old friends" - parasites!

 


Dark Energy, Supernovae, and Robotic Telescopes
with Dr. Robert Kirschner
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Harvard University
Monday, March 25, 2013

An unknown energy source is making the universe accelerate in its expansion! Two teams were awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in physics for the discovery of this "dark energy". Now these teams are making the best measurements of dark energy properties by observing distant stellar explosions and using them to map the history of the expansion of the universe.

Exactly what causes the thermonuclear supernovae to explode, and what makes them "standard candles" has long been a mystery, but in the past few years dramatic progress has been made in identifying the sources of some of the explosions. Discover the next steps in building a robotic network of telescopes to study supernovae and the upcoming plans to put a satellite in space to study supernovae and dark energy. 

 


 

Nature Close-Up
with Dr. Larry Friesen
Santa Barbara Community College
Monday, February 25, 2013

From wetlands to wet-labs, woodlands to reefs, Dr. Larry Jon Friesen will present photographs of ‘Nature Close-Up’ and describe techniques for capturing dramatic images of small and large subjects from land, sky and water. The full spectrum of biodiversity will be represented through photographs of organisms from whales to the microscopic. Using a variety of lenses to get ‘close-up’, rich details and remarkable moments highlight form and function.   The myriad images presented will represent unique uses of camera, lighting, lens, and ‘tricks’ at different locations and under varying conditions.

 


 

In the Mind of a Fly
with Dr. Tom Turner
Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology, UCSB
Monday, January 28, 2013 

Do flies feel pain? Can ants count?  Are mosquitoes dreaming about their next hunt? And is that roach you are staring at plotting its next move? The most fascinating thing about animals is their behavior. What is really going on in the brains of animals when they appear to make decisions or express emotions? How do these neural computations compare to what is happening in the human brain? Can we use studies of animals to understand our own behavior?
 
We now know that insects have many of the same genes that affect behaviors in humans. Experiments on insects can determine how natural variation in these genes affects the brain, and how the brain then produces a behavior. Using work from his lab at UCSB, and the cutting-edge work of others in the field, Professor Thomas Turner will explain how advances in genomics and neurobiology are providing answers from an unlikely place: insects!

 


 

Science and Religion: War or Peace?Karl
with Dr. Karl Hutterer, Executive Director
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, December 17, 2012
 

The debate over whether science and religion are mutually compatible or at conflict with each other goes back to the Renaissance and continues unabated today. The controversy has profound consequences for politics, public life, and the social order. Karl Hutterer has an academic background both in Catholic theology and in science, and a lifelong interest in this issue. He will discuss the relationship between science and religion from his personal perspective as a one-time Catholic priest and an avid student of human evolution. Hutterer’s scientific work has included research in cultural anthropology, archaeology, and tropical forest ecology.

 


 

Eating the Aliens: Bio-control of Invasive SpeciesScience Pub- Aliens
with Dr. Tom Dudley
Marine Science Institute, UCSB
Monday, November 26, 2012 

Are there alien invaders in our waters? Western rivers are increasingly overgrown with invasive, non-native species that offer little habitat to wildlife and are often serious fire hazards. There is recent interest in using “natural enemies” against non-native plants such as herbivorous insects that feed on and suppress weeds where they are not wanted. This technology is known as biological control.

Dr. Tom Dudley will discuss collaborative efforts to develop and release these bio-control agents against riparian invasive plants, and some of the political pitfalls of undertaking this somewhat esoteric approach. Are bio-control efforts helping in the restoration of native plants? Or will bio-control engender controversy by affecting species of animals that have come to depend on these alien invaders? Join Dr. Dudley as he shares fascinating natural history observations that could lead bio-control to becoming both a successful scientific and conservation-based endeavor.

 


 

What's Shaking?
with Dr. Jamison Steidl
Earth Research Institute, UCSB
Monday, October 22, 2012

What's with all the earthquakes these days? Is the end of the world coming? Is there really such a thing as Earthquake Weather? Research Seismologist Jamison Steidl will talk about earthquake myths, discuss the current global earthquake activity, answer your questions about our local earthquake and tsunami hazards, and tell you when the "Big One" is coming!
 


 


 

Unusual Visual Systems in the Sea
with Dr. Daniel Speiser
Department of Ecology Evolution and Marine Biology, UCSB
Monday, September 24, 2012 

We’re well-acquainted with camera-type eyes-we look out through a pair of them every day. The compound eyes of insects are also familiar enough. But did you know that some animals have hundreds of eyes spread across their bodies? Or that certain animals see using mirrors or lenses made of shell? Or that some animals have eyes but no brain and others see without eyes? In this Science Pub, Dr. Daniel Speiser will explain how some of nature’s most unusual visual systems work and how a surprising collection of marine invertebrates - including box jellyfish, sea urchins, scallops and chitons - use vision to escape predators, optimize feeding, and find shelter.

 

 


 

In The Beginning…
With Dr. Susannah Porter
Department of Earth Science, UCSB
Monday, August 27, 2012

 In the beginning…a billion years after Earth coalesced from cosmic dust, and only a few hundred million years after giant asteroid impacts repeatedly vaporized the world’s oceans, life appeared on our planet. What was the earliest life like, and how did it make a living? And why did it take billions of years for complex creatures like animals and plants to evolve? Join Paleontologist Dr. Susannah Porter as she describes life in its youth and adolescence—from its origins more than three and a half billion years ago to the rise of animals a mere 600 million years ago—highlighting the often strange and beautiful fossils that provide glimpses of life on our young planet.

 


 

2012: The End of the World...Again?end of the World: Science Pub
with Javier Rivera, Astronomy Programs Manager
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, July 23, 2012 

Did the Maya predict the end of the world? Will the Sun flip over? Where is Planet X? Should I quit my job and spend all my money travelling? New end-of-world prophesies are claiming a catastrophic worldwide event will take place on December 21, 2012, and some people are worrying this may be true. To set aside some of these preoccupations, we will discuss what science has to say about these predictions and perhaps recommend a few places to visit this year.

 

 


 

Chills, Drills and Thrills: Science Pub
Climate Change and Marine Life in Antarctica
with Dr. Pauline Yu and Lydia Kapsenberg,
Hofmann Laboratory, Dept. of Ecology,
Evolution and Marine Biology, UCSB
Monday, June 25, 2012

The Hofmann Laboratory takes its unique brand of interdisciplinary ecophysiology to “the Ice” and returns with tales of encounters with the weird, the wonderful, and the historical, and scientific derring-do. Dr. Pauline Yu and Ms. Lydia Kapsenberg will present a tag-team slideshow of their adventures in the frozen south in Antarctica. Learn how climate change affects the chemistry of the oceans, the life-history of sea urchins and how research combines those two topics into a greater understanding of the trials and tribulations of life.

 


All About Abalone!
with Daniel L. Geiger, Research Curator of Electron Microscopy
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, May 21, 2012

Did you know that abalone are snails? Did you know the largest abalone species in the world lives in California? Museum Curator Dr. Daniel Geiger is one of the world’s leading experts on abalone, and he has just published his second book Abalone Worldwide Haliotidae. He will introduce you to the official California State shell and its relatives, and discuss all aspects, ranging from global diversity to local conservation issues. Book signing following.

 


Parasites: Body Snatchers, the Living Dead, and Mind Control
with Dr. Armand Kuris
UCSB Dept. of Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology
Monday, April 23, 2014

Yes! The creature in Alien is a possible reality somewhere in the Universe. A parasite may be the most numerous species on Earth. Some parasites live for many years and may be potentially immortal. Some are parasitic castrators, others completely control host behavior, and some slowly eat their hosts inside out. If we could "see" all the parasites where would they be? How large are they? How long do they live? How do they make a living? What do they get from this life style? How does it impact the human condition?
 


Murders and Exaltations: The Annual Christmas Bird Count
with Rebecca Coulter, Compiler SB Christmas Bird Count
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, March 26, 2012 

From a murder of crows to an exaltation of larks to a parliament of owls, passionate birders volunteer their time and keen eyes to conduct the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. This Audubon project is a great example of citizen-science in action and occurs across the nation as a coordinated 24-hour survey of all the birds in our neighborhoods. So how do birders conduct this annual bird count, and more to the point, why? Can they really tell if they’ve counted that bird twice? From the small but mighty team of back-country “owlers” up at o-dark-thirty to the backyard feeder watchers, find out why Santa Barbarans and birders around the country participate in this 112-year old project.

 


 

Sperm Wars and Sexual Conflict: 
The Evolutionary Consequences of Promiscuity
with Dr. Alison Pischedda
UCSB Dept. of Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology
Monday, February 27, 2012

Why is the genitalia of male dragonflies shaped like a spoon? Why do male bedbugs inseminate females by piercing through their abdominal wall? Males throughout the animal kingdom possess extreme and bizarre sexual traits and behaviors, raising interesting questions about their purpose. In this Science Pub, Dr. Alison Pischedda will explain the role that promiscuity plays in the evolution of these fascinating traits, and how it can result in an evolutionary battle of the sexes.

 


 

CSI: Cetacean Stranding Investigations
with Michelle Berman, Associate Curator of Vertebrate Zoology
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, January 23, 2012 

A dolphin washes up on the beach; there are no obvious signs as to why. Soon a crowd gathers and everyone has the same questions on their mind: “Why? What happened?” Test your power of observation and investigation, and learn what dolphins can tell us about the ocean environment with Michelle Berman, Associate Curator of Vertebrate Zoology and Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator.


 


 

I Eat My Research
with Paul Valentich-Scott, Curator of Malacology
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, November 7, 2011

Clams, mussels, oysters and scallops are sumptuous global delicacies. Humans consume over 14 million metric tons of “bivalve mollusks” every year, and they are favorites on many local menus. How fast do they grow? Are they a sustainable resource? How many types are there around the globe? Follow museum marine biologist, Paul Valentich-Scott, as he travels the world in search of new discoveries about this fascinating, yet poorly understood, group of animals.

 


 

Arlington Springs Man or Woman?
with Dr. John Johnson, Curator of Anthropology
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, August 15, 2011

In 1959, the 13,000-year old Arlington Springs remains (the oldest human bones found in North and South America) were discovered and identified to be male. In 1989, the bones were deemed to be female. In 2006, after another reevaluation, they were back to being male. What? How? Why? Come to Science Pub and learn how museum collections, forensic science, and modern technology provide new information for scientists that impacts what we know and what we thought we knew.


 


 

What's Bugging You? Insects in the Santa Barbara Region
with Dr. Michael Caterino, Curator of Entomology
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, July 18, 2011

The Santa Barbara area has a rich insect fauna. While many of these are beautiful, delightful creatures, like the monarch butterfly, many are also obnoxious: stinging, biting, eating our plants, buzzing in our faces, and seeming to have little redeeming value. In this Science Pub, museum entomologist Dr. Michael Caterino will talk about some of our fondest insect friends, our fiercest insect foes, and an awful lot in between. Bring your curiosity and your burning bug questions. The evening should leave you with a better appreciation for 'the little things that run the world.'

 


 

Birds do it, but how?
with Dr. Krista Fahy, Associate Curator of Vertebrate Zoology
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
Monday, June 20, 2011

Ever wondered why that bird keeps you awake all night with his repetitive song? Do you have a seemingly crazy bird that endlessly throws himself against your windows, mirrors or hubcaps? We have more than 124 species of birds that breed in the Santa Barbara region; many of which can be found in your backyard! Come learn about their mating strategies, nest building styles and other quirky behaviors that endear these neighborhood tenants to our hearts.


 

 

 

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