Sigma Xi presents series of Science Cafes

Sigma Xi Science CafeKEARNEY – “Why should we care about an ugly fish?” is the topic of the first Science Café hosted by the Sigma Xi Chapter at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Jeramiah Smith, assistant professor of biology at the University of Kentucky, will present his research on the lamprey genome at 5 p.m. Friday (Oct. 11) at The Loft at Cunningham’s Journal. Lamprey are jawless, snake-like fish with leathery skin and a sucker-like mouth filled with rows of sharp teeth.

Smith’s area of focus is on genetics and genomics, particularly on how the genome is put together and why it occurs the way that it does.

A second Science Café titled “Why Astrology is Nonsense” will take place at 5:30 p.m. Monday (Oct. 14) at Cunningham’s Journal.

Angela Speck, professor of astronomy at the University of Missouri Columbia, will discuss the history of astronomy and astrology as it relates to Zodiac constellations.

“She will also explain the relevance of the Zodiac to astronomy and why astrology doesn’t make sense,” Lee Powell, assistant professor of physics and physical science, said.

According to Powell, it has come to the attention of the public in recent years that there are 13, not 12, zodiac constellations. Combined with the demotion of Pluto from the pantheon of planets, this raises issues for Astrology.

“Sigma Xi chapters across the globe sponsor Science Cafés as informal presentations, often in a pub or coffee shop,” Powell said. “By bringing both scientists and the public together in a fun environment, talking shop about science has never been more enjoyable.”

Sigma Xi is chartered by the Sigma Xi Society, a nonprofit membership society of scientists and engineers whose research spans the spectrum of science and technology.