Better Learning With Beer!

Fundraiser: Science Education for Adults!


Past Events

Wednesday, May 9, 2018, in Vancouver

Going Out Green: The Mortuary Science of Green Burial

Despite amazing advances in medical science and technology, the mortality rate for human beings stands at a whopping 100 percent. It’s a fact: All of us are going to die someday. Basic science has concluded that contemporary after-death procedures—embalming with noxious chemicals and outdated burial in upmarket caskets—aren’t too nature-friendly. These choices are ecologically damaging, and their lack of environment-positivity have triggered many in the funeral profession to change their ways.

At this Science on Tap, Eco-Mortician Elizabeth Fournier presents a reverent look at the mortuary science of green burial by reshaping the narrative around what we consider traditional burial practices.

Elizabeth Fournier owns and operates Cornerstone Funeral Services in Boring, Oregon, where she is affectionately known as the Green Reaper for her green burial advocacy. She serves on the Advisory Board for the Green Burial Council, the environmental certification organization setting the standard for green burial in North America. She is also the author of The Green Burial Guidebook: Everything You Need to Plan an Affordable, Environmentally Friendly Burial. Copies of her book will be available for purchase.

Thursday, May 3, 2018, in Portland

Music and the Aging Brain: A Discussion and Concert

Our brains undergo numerous changes that affect memory, motor, and sensory functions as we age. Many of these changes are amplified in diseases like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Could music limit the effects of aging and neurodegenerative diseases?

At this event, learn from Dr. Larry Sherman, a musician and Professor of Neuroscience at the Oregon Health & Science University, and singer/songwriter Naomi LaViolette as they explore how listening, practicing, and performing music influence the brain, and how these activities could impact brain aging and disease. They will also discuss Naomi’s work as a pianist, vocalist, arranger, and composer with Steven Goodwin, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, and the Saving His Music project, which has received prominent coverage in national and local news.

Join us and enjoy a multi-media presentation that combines live music and visuals with discussions about cutting edge science. Both Dr. Sherman and Ms. LaViolette will be performing live music ranging from Debussy, Leonard Cohen, and the Beatles to original pieces by Ms. LaViolette and Steven Goodwin.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018, in Portland

The Criminal Brain: The Neuroscience of Psychopathy

Why do some people live lawful lives, while others gravitate toward repeated criminal behavior? Do people choose to be moral or immoral, or is morality simply a genetically inherited function of the brain? Research suggests that psychopathy as a biological condition explained by defective neural circuits that mediate empathy, but what does that mean when neuroscience is used as evidence in criminal court? Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Octavio Choi will explore how emerging neuroscience challenges long-held assumptions underlying the basis—and punishment—of criminal behavior.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018, in Portland

After the Flames: The Science Behind the Eagle Creek Fire Response​

We all watched in horror as our beloved Columbia Gorge burned last year. Within days of firefighters gaining control of the Eagle Creek Fire​ ​in mid-September 2017, scientists and specialists were quickly dispatched to investigate the extent of the damage. Members of​ ​a U.S. Forest Service Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team explored the​ ​impacted area to assess potential​ ​threats to human health and safety, concerns for damage to property, and potential impairment to natural or cultural resources, including the likelihood of future hazards like flooding and landslides. Steven Sobieszczyk joined that team​ as a BAER trainee. At this Science on Tap, hear his story about the results of those working on the science behind the Eagle Creek Fire response.

Steve is a​ ​Hydrologist at U​.​S​ Geological Survey​. He has degrees in landslide engineering geology and geographic information systems (GIS). He began his career with a brief stint at NASA before moving out west to model landslide and seismic hazards in northern California. Steve eventually settled in Portland, OR, in 2002 and has been studying watersheds in Oregon ever since. ​His interests​ ​focus on all things dirt,​ including ​landslides, water quality, and stream ecosystems. ​In addition to doing science, Steve is a​n advocate for science communication, mentors STEM students, and doodles Pokemon on his kids’ lunch napkins.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Vancouver

The Mystique of Terroir: Geology and Wine

ter·roir/tɛrˈwɑr;
noun
Definition: the environmental conditions, especially soil and climate, in which grapes are grown and that give a wine its unique flavor and aroma.

The Willamette Valley has a certain je ne sais quoi, no? What special quality of the region’s terroir yields such exceptional wines? How do the soil, climate, and conditions lend themselves to lovely Pinot Noirs, but not Cabernets or Merlots? How does the region’s geologic past affect where and how to grow grapes? How do Washington and Oregon compare to other wine-growing regions in the United States and other countries around the world? Join us as Dr. Scott Burns, professor of geology and past chair of the Department of Geology at PSU, and wine enthusiast, tells us about all this and more about what makes a vineyard successful.

This event is in collaboration with the showing of the film Back to Burgundy at the Kiggins Theatre staring on April 13. Buy your movie tickets at Science on Tap or show your SoT ticket at the box office and pay just $7!

 


Science on Tap at the Kiggins is produced in partnership with  Campus Sig-Horz Vancouver

Monday, March 19, 2018, in Portland

The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative

In an era when humans spend much of their time indoors staring at the dim glow of a screen, many of us have forgotten the simple pleasure of a stroll through a wooded glen, a hike up a secluded mountain path, or a nap in the grass. Many of us have lost this connection and essentially forgotten about nature’s potential for reinvigoration, self-reinvention, and basic well-being. What if something serious is missing from our lives? What if an occasional trip to the neighborhood park isn’t enough? What if we’ve turned our backs on something that isn’t merely pleasant and enjoyable, but is in fact vital to our happiness, our capacity to learn, and even our survival? And if the latest science shows that nature is necessary, how do we recapture it? At this Science on Tap, journalist and science writer Florence Williams will take us on an intriguing and provocative investigation into our most basic and primal needs with a discussion of her new book, The Nature Fix. In it, she visits parks in Helsinki and forests in Korea, and she studies the brainwaves of urban pedestrians in Edinburgh and examines the healing effects of river-rafting in the American West on veterans afflicted with PTSD. Nature, she finds, is a surprising, key ingredient to civilization.

Williams is a journalist and contributing editor to Outside magazine. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, and National Geographic among others. Her first book, Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2012 and the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Science and Technology.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018, in Vancouver

How Does That Make You Feel? The Science of Human Emotions

Emotions are an intimate, inescapable part of our daily lives and yet they can often seem confusing or mysterious. Across history, religious leaders, philosophers, and scientists of the human mind have depicted emotions as unpredictable, dangerous, to be avoided or at least controlled. But does human emotion really deserve such a bad rap?

Dr. Sara Waters, assistant professor of human development at Washington State University Vancouver will explore the science of what our emotions really are, where they come from, and whether they are truly a help or a hindrance. She will talk about how we can manage our own emotional experiences and the importance of emotions in social interactions and close relationships.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018, in Portland

The Neuroscience of Music

Music not only soothes the soul, but it can enhance the brain as well. At this Science on Tap, explore the origins of music, why humans enjoy making and listening to music, and how the brain behaves when we create music. Also, learn how music practice might improve brain development and prevent or limit the effects of aging and brain injury.

In this multi-media presentation, Dr. Larry Sherman, an OHSU neuroscientist and accomplished pianist who studies normal brain development and neurodegenerative diseases, will combine musical performance, thought-provoking data, and lively discussion.

This event is being offered in partnership with the Science Talk annual conference being held on March 1-2, 2018. If you are registered for the conference, please contact info@viaproductions.org for information on special ticketing.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018, in Vancouver

Close Encounters with Humankind: A Paleoanthropologist Investigates Our Evolving Species

Are we cannibals? How did we become meat eaters? Who were our first Hominin ancestors? Why is childbirth so dangerous for mothers? Is altruism written in our DNA? Are humans still evolving?

Such questions get at the heart of what it means to be human. To answer them, one must open a dialogue between modern humankind and the world of our ancestors. At this special bonus Science on Tap, Sang-Hee Lee, PhD, Korea’s first paleoanthropologist and a professor at the University of California—Riverside, will talk about her new book Close Encounters with Humankind that asks fundamental questions about evolution and the human experience. The stories illuminate a core truth about the human race: that our journey is not a straight line but rather a curvy, winding river. Whether discussing the mysteries of the Denisovans, early hominins from Asia and Siberian Russia, or the fossil evidence of monster-sized apes, Sang-Hang Lee invites the reader to join her on a spirited journey, tracking the often strange and always fascinating origins of humanity.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018, in Vancouver

The Neuroscience of Pleasure and Love

Is the brain chemistry behind our love for chocolate equivalent to that which drives infatuation with a new lover, the love of a particular song, or addiction? How does the brain sort out pleasure and discomfort? What drives our decisions to stay with one person for life or go from one lover to another, never settling down?

At this special Valentine’s Day event, Dr. Larry Sherman, neuroscientist at OHSU, will focus on these and other questions that reveal much about how neurochemical changes can have major effects on our behaviors—how we love, what we love, and who we love.

Dr. Sherman has given this talk in 2017 and before, but this will be an updated version with new studies and information.

 


Science on Tap at the Kiggins is produced in partnership with  Campus Sig-Horz Vancouver

Saturday, February 10, 2018, in Portland

Sex, Relationships, and Technology

Technology continues to change and shape the ways we live…and love. Everything from online dating and sexting, to internet-ready sex toys and real dolls; all continue to shift the rules of relationships. What can science tell us about love and lust in the age of the internet? Websites full of potential dates can be overwhelming, but can science help us make better choices? How have different technologies affected our sexuality and how we fall in love? Can a person fall in love with someone online? With a robot? How has “sex-tech” altered our view of intimacy?

At this special Valentine’s Day edition of Science on Tap, Dr. L. Kris Gowen, sexuality educator and author of Sexual Decisions: The Ultimate Teen Guide, will talk about how technology is rewriting the rules of sex and romance, and how the science of love is struggling to keep up.

Monday, January 29, 2018, in Portland

Antarctica: Life and Science on a Changing Continent

Have you ever wondered what’s it like to live and work in Antarctica? At this special Science on Tap, we’ll talk to two scientists who have spent a combined total of over 20 field seasons on the continent, surviving and doing science in one of the Earth’s harshest environments.

Todd Rosenstiel, PhD, associate professor of biology and past director of Portland States’s Center for Life in Extreme Environments spends much of his time studying mosses and other extremophiles that have evolved ways to live in severe conditions, and will tell us how these organisms are contributing to the greening of Antarctica. Andrew G. Fountain, PhD, professor of geography and geology at PSU, has spent years studying the glaciers of Antarctica and will talk about how climate change is reflected in shifting snow and ice. Both scientists will tell stories about working in Antarctica — Todd at the greening edge and Andrew in the icy middle — will show pictures, and answer questions about what it’s like to live at the bottom of the world.

This event is in collaboration with the Artists Repertory Theatre’s production of Magellanica.

Event Pages:

 


*A note on the ticket price: Science on Tap is largely supported by money collected at the door from advance and box office ticket sales, and theater rental is expensive. However, we are committed to offering educational opportunities to adults who want to learn. If the ticket price is a hardship for you, please write to us at info@viaproductions.org and we’re happy to provide reduced-price tickets to those who need them.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018, in Portland

Cause and Effect: Racism, Poverty, and Public Health

The lives of many Americans are shaped by living with long-term trauma brought on by discrimination and poverty. Chronic exposure to adverse life events such as racism or racialization, gender-based prejudice, fewer opportunities for education and employment, high rates of incarceration, and systemic inequity have tangible health effects on both individuals and communities. Although uniquely complicated, science can help navigate the scope of the mechanisms and their real world impact, and hopefully help us engage the issue to redress the harm.

At this Science on Tap, epidemiologist Dr. Frank A. Franklin, PhD, JD, MPH, Director of the Community Epidemiology Services at the Multnomah County Health Department, will explore the intersection of inequality and public health and the search for how to improve the well-being of vulnerable populations.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018, in Vancouver

Inventive Connections: Movie Stars, Math, & Marine Mammals

Movie stars are adored by the public, but often just for their looks and talents on the silver screen. Actress Hedy Lamarr was once known as “the most beautiful woman in the world,” but was also an inventor. She and a colleague designed radio-skipping technology to help the US Navy guide torpedoes more effectively during WWII, but her invention was ignored for decades until it was revisited and used as part of the foundation for wifi, GPS, and cellphones. She and many other women have contributed to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, but have been dismissed or deliberately forgotten by virtue of their gender. The contributions of these women play an integral role in our everyday lives and in that of scientists around the world, but their work is often forgotten.

At this Science on Tap, Leslie New, PhD, assistant professor of statistics at WSU Vancouver, will celebrate the unique life and mathematical accomplishments of Ms. Lamarr. In a satisfying twist, Dr. New will also describe how Ms. Lamarr’s work on wireless technologies, originally intended for the Navy, currently helps her study and protect marine mammals such as whales and dolphins.

Come back to the Kiggins and see the new documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story between January 12-18. Buy your tickets at Science on Tap or show your SoT ticket at the box office and pay just $7!

 


Science on Tap at the Kiggins is produced in partnership with  Campus Sig-Horz Vancouver


*A note on advance ticket prices: We’ve changed the ticket vendor to one with lower service fees, so while the price of the ticket has increased by $1, the amount you pay remains the same.
**A note on the suggested cover: Science on Tap is largely supported by money collected at the door from advance and box office ticket sales. However, we are committed to offering educational opportunities to adults who want to learn. If the event still has seats available and if $10 is a hardship for you, please come anyway and donate what you can. Buying a ticket in advance confirms that you will have a seat at the event.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017, in Portland

Treknology: The Real-Life Science Behind Star Trek’s Technologies

From tricorders to warp drive, Star Trek became the first series to bring us a vision of a future where humans were just as flawed as ever, but where technology and the way we used it had created a utopian society. There was no hunger, no homelessness, no rampant diseases, only long-lived humans exploring the galaxy, enjoying all the comforts one could ask for in life. Many of these technologies, dreamed up by Star Trek, are already real, while others are quickly approaching, and a few still remain elusive. From communications to starships to medical breakthroughs to civilian life, Star Trek promised us a future we can all aspire to. At this Science on Tap, hear theoretical physicist and author Ethan Siegel, PhD, talk about his new book Treknology: The Real-Life Science Behind Star Trek’s Technologies. As we attempt to “make it so,” let’s take a look at the real-life science of how far we’ve come!

Ethan Siegel was born in New York, majored in three different things as an undergrad, and got his Ph.D. in theoretical physics. Yes, you indecisive young people, there is hope. After postdoctoral research focusing on dark matter and cosmic structure formation, he became a physics professor and a professional science communicator. The communication was more fun, so now he writes and speaks full-time, including for Forbes, and NASA. His blog, Starts With A Bang, was voted the #1 science blog on the internet by the Institute of Physics, and, separately, by Real Clear Science. His first book, Beyond The Galaxy, is available today, and his second, Treknology, about the real-life science behind the technologies envisioned by Star Trek, was released in October 2017.

Monday, November 13, 2017, in Portland

Where the Animals Go: Tracking Wildlife with Technology in 50 Maps and Graphics

For thousands of years, tracking animals was a painstaking process that meant following physical traces. Today, with the use of satellites, drones, camera traps, cellphone networks, accelerometers and DNA sequencing, we can better understand how animals move-about, adapt, and respond to their environment. This new, data-driven footprint brings intimate detail to our understanding of the animal kingdom—not only how animals behave, but how to aid in their survival. According to sea turtle researcher Archie Carr, “To protect animals you need to protect where they go.”
At the forefront of this animal-tracking revolution are incredible stories of survival, strength and adaptation, such as:

  • Arctic terns that make annual migrations farther than any commercial airline flight.
  • Elephant seals that measure ocean temperature under the ice shelves of Antarctica.
  • Warblers that detect incoming storms and fly out of harm’s way.
  • Sea turtles and pythons that possess internal compasses to navigate.
  • A young wolf who traverses the Alps in the depths of winter—and finds a mate on the other side.

Through stunning, four-color charts and maps, Where the Animals Go by James Cheshire, Associate Professor at University College London, and Oliver Uberti, helps shed light on the techniques scientists use to gather data and understand and predict animal behavior. From cutting-edge magnetic collars to tags made with cork and piano wire, scientists are tireless in their efforts to track and study animals using a balance of cutting-edge technology and good, old-fashioned scientific methods. This book, which Jane Goodall says, “is beautiful as well as informative and inspiring. There is no doubt it will help in our fight to save wildlife and wild habitats.” It put the fruits of this scientific research and labor on gorgeous display in an immensely approachable manner. Join us at this special Science on Tap where co-author Oliver Uberti, award-winning designer, visual journalist, and former senior design editor for National Geographic, will talk about this triumph of technology, data science, and design, that brings perspective and intimate detail to our understanding of the animal kingdom.

James and Oliver’s best-selling debut, London: The Information Capital, won three British Cartographic Society Awards for cartographic excellence.

This event is in partnership with Wordstock: Portland’s Book Festival, brought to you by Literary Arts.

Books will be available for sale and signing, brought to you by Broadway Books.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017, in Vancouver

Treknology: The Real-Life Science Behind Star Trek’s Technologies

From tricorders to warp drive, Star Trek became the first series to bring us a vision of a future where humans were just as flawed as ever, but where technology and the way we used it had created a utopian society. There was no hunger, no homelessness, no rampant diseases, only long-lived humans exploring the galaxy, enjoying all the comforts one could ask for in life. Many of these technologies, dreamed up by Star Trek, are already real, while others are quickly approaching, and a few still remain elusive. From communications to starships to medical breakthroughs to civilian life, Star Trek promised us a future we can all aspire to. At this Science on Tap, hear theoretical physicist and author Ethan Siegel, PhD, talk about his new book Treknology: The Real-Life Science Behind Star Trek’s Technologies. As we attempt to “make it so,” let’s take a look at the real-life science of how far we’ve come!

Ethan Siegel was born in New York, majored in three different things as an undergrad, and got his Ph.D. in theoretical physics. Yes, you indecisive young people, there is hope. After postdoctoral research focusing on dark matter and cosmic structure formation, he became a physics professor and a professional science communicator. The communication was more fun, so now he writes and speaks full-time, including for Forbes, and NASA. His blog, Starts With A Bang, was voted the #1 science blog on the internet by the Institute of Physics, and, separately, by Real Clear Science. His first book, Beyond The Galaxy, is available today, and his second, Treknology, about the real-life science behind the technologies envisioned by Star Trek, comes out in October, 2017.

This event will be repeated at the Alberta Rose Theatre on Tuesday, December 5, 2017.


Science on Tap at the Kiggins is produced in partnership with  Campus Sig-Horz Vancouver

Wednesday, November 1, 2017, in Portland

Gender, Sex, and Biology

At least 16 states have recently introduced legislation to restrict access to multiuser restrooms and locker rooms on the basis of sex. Many of these bills use terms like “biological sex,” “genetic sex,” and “sex as determined by anatomy and genetics existing at the time of birth.” Some of these bills also use the phrase “sex or gender,” implying that those terms are synonymous. But are biological sex and gender the same thing? Do anatomy and genetics completely determine sex and/or gender? How do biologists describe sex determination in humans and other animals? Is gender a biological term at all?

At this Science on Tap, Lisa Sardinia, PhD, JD, associate professor of biology at Pacific University will approach the biological basis of sexual reproduction from a scientific perspective. She will describe the mechanisms of sex determination in humans, how those processes relate to the terms “sex” and “gender,” and how things are not quite as simple as they might seem.

Monday, October 16, 2017, in Portland

Exploring the Deep Sea with Nautilus Live

How do you get people excited about the dark, unexplored corners of our planet — our oceans? For oceanographer Robert Ballard, the answer to this is question simple: bring the mysteries of the deep ocean into the homes and classrooms of millions of people, live.

This summer, three Portland educators, Alfonso Garcia Arriola, Linda Fergusson-Kolmes, and Jenny Woodman, joined Ballard’s Corps of Exploration on board the E/V Nautilus — a 64-meter research vessel outfitted with cutting-edge technology for ocean exploration and education. Using remotely operated and autonomous vehicles in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, the corps visited deep sea coral and sponge communities, underwater volcanoes and so much more.

At this Science on Tap, join Alfonso, Linda, and Jenny to learn about seafloor mapping, otherworldly deep sea organisms, science communication, and slice of life at sea!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017, in Vancouver

Should Humans Play Football? The Neuroscience of Concussions

We humans have always loved dangerous sports, from ancient chariot racing all the way to today’s football, soccer, and hockey. Despite safety equipment, the sight of a player being checked for a head injury has become increasingly common. Growing evidence indicates that multiple concussions and similar injuries to the head can accelerate certain forms of dementia and lead to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). What does that mean for both professional athletes and for your kids who play on after school sports teams?

Dr. Larry Sherman is a neuroscientist at OHSU, and his lab has been exploring how the brain responds to certain types of injury and will explore the mechanisms underlying the brain’s responses to injury and possible ways to reverse brain damage. Dr. Sherman has spoken at several earlier events, including on The Neuroscience of Pleasure and Love, Every Brain Needs Music, and You and Your Racist Brain: The Neuroscience of Prejudice, but at this event he will be talking about his own research.

Event Pages:

 


Science on Tap at the Kiggins is produced in partnership with  Campus Sig-Horz Vancouver


*A note on advance ticket prices: We’ve changed the ticket vendor to one with lower service fees, so while the price of the ticket has increased by $1, the amount you pay remains the same.
**A note on the suggested cover: Science on Tap is largely supported by money collected at the door from advance and box office ticket sales. However, we are committed to offering educational opportunities to adults who want to learn. If the event still has seats available and if $10 is a hardship for you, please come anyway and donate what you can. Buying a ticket in advance confirms that you will have a seat at the event.