Previous Events

Friday, March 4th., 2011
Searles Science Building, Room 315
12:30 pm to 1:30 pm
WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE: DYNAMIC ICE SHEETS AND THE POTENTIAL FOR RAPID 21ST CENTURY SEA LEVEL RISE
Gordon Hamilton, Climate Change Institute and Department of Earth Sciences, University of MaineBy Gordon Hamilton, Climate Change Institute and Department of Earth Sciences, University of Maine

The IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report (2007) predicts 18-59 cm of sea level rise by 2100, with approximately half the rise being contributed by accelerated melting of polar ice sheets in a warmer climate. New observations from Greenland and parts of West Antarctica now suggest a potentially significant underestimate in the range of sea level rise. Instead of simply melting in warmer atmospheric temperatures, ice sheets are now known to be capable of making a rapid contribution to sea level rise by the increased flux of solid mass to the oceans (i.e., the discharge of icebergs from outlet glaciers). The cause of this increased mass flux is not fully understood, but observations suggest a tight coupling between ice sheet response and relatively small perturbations in either the rate of surface meltwater generation or temperature changes in the abutting ocean. This talk will review some of our recent work in Greenland, and discuss the evidence behind a revised estimate of 1 m sea level rise by 2100.

Friday, April 8th, 2011
Searles Science Building, Room 315
12:30 pm to 1:30 pm
Brainwashed by Paradigms
By George Reisch, Ph.D. '84
 
Thomas Kuhn's book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, first published in 1962, has done more to shape both public and intellectual thinking about the nature of science than any other book. To this day, readers often take Kuhn's conception of scientific "paradigms" and his portrait of the history of science as a succession of different paradigms as revelations that correct prevailing (usually postivistic) myths and reveal the nature of science.  Yet little attention has been paid to the historical origins of Kuhn's ideas and the possibility that Kuhn's book tells us more about the cold-war culture from which it sprang than it tells us about how science works. The brainwashing sensation of the early 1950s offers one such point of contact. Popular ideas about the human mind and its foibles, developed originally to rationalize political and military events, arguably shaped Kuhn's theory of science and its reception. This can be seen in an examination of the popular writings about science by Kuhn's mentor, Harvard president James Conant, the anticommunist writings of philosopher Sidney Hook, and the brainwashing sensation itself.  It can also be seen today in the effort by advocates of "intelligent design" to resuscitate the logic of brainwashing and claim that mainstream biology is held captive by an illegitimate, mind-controlling paradigm.

 
Friday, April 29th, 2011
Searles Science Building, Room 315
12:30 pm to 1:30 pm
Matter waves, atom lasers, and crystals made of light: an introduction to ultracold atomic physics
Prof. Nathan Lundblad, Department of Physics , Bates CollegeBy Prof. Nathan Lundblad, Department of Physics , Bates College

The study of ultracold atomic gases, only millionths or even billionths of a degree above absolute zero, has grown by leaps and bounds in the last two decades, with the 1997 and 2001 Nobel Prizes for laser cooling and Bose-Einstein condensation (BEC) showcasing the potential of the field. This talk will review the physics behind some exciting experiments going on in the field, including work being done at the National Institute of Standards and  Technology (NIST) as well as with an apparatus being built at Bates College.

Elroy O. LaCasce Lecture Series
October 17-18, 2008

Elroy O. LaCasce Lecture Series

Friday, October 17:
5:30-7:30 Dinner – tribute by Jim Turner, emeritus Professor of Physics
Cram Alumni House

7:30 pm “Observing the Birth of the Universe” – Lyman Page '78, Princeton University
Searles 315

Saturday, October 18:
8:00 am  – “From Physics to Filmmaking”, Brad Lisle ’87, Foxfire Interactive, Science Media Producer
Searles 315

8:55 am – “Magnetic Nanoparticles & the Purification of Stem Cells”, Paul Todd ‘58
Searles 315

9:50 – 10:30 – Overview of poster presenters
Searles 315

10:45 -11:15 – Coffee break
Searles 323

11:15 – 1:00 – Poster Session
Searles 323

1:00 Concluding Remarks, Roy LaCasce and Steve Naculich
Searles 323