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Public talk by Nobel Laureate Dr. John Mather on YouTube
https://youtu.be/Bc_fe2Uhhyw
Wednesday, September 21 at 12:45pm (Eastern Time)

Live from the University of Florida, Department of Astronomy, Bryant Space Science Building. http://www.astro.ufl.edu/
In collaboration with the Department of Physics. http://www.phys.ufl.edu/

From the Big Bang to the End of the Universe, and how we’ll learn more with the James Webb Space Telescope.
The James Webb Space Telescope, planned for launch in October 2018, will be the most powerful space telescope ever built. It will open new territories of astronomy, with observations ranging from the first stars, galaxies, and black holes, to the growth of galaxies, to the formation of stars and planetary systems, to the evolution of planetary systems and the conditions for life here on Earth, and perhaps elsewhere. I will show how we have learned about the history of the universe, how the Big Bang is a completely misleading name for the infinite expanding universe, and what new telescopes are being built now. I will illustrate with simulations of the formation of galaxies from the primordial material, and the possible evolution of the solar system through planetary orbit migration. The JWST telescope mirror has been assembled and the instrument module has been completely tested. After more tests at Goddard, the telescope/instrument combination will travel to Houston for cryo-vacuum tests in Chamber A in 2017. I will show the design of the observatory and discuss the opportunities for future observers to prepare to use it.

We will try to answer questions at the YouTube chat during and after the stream.
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Feel free to post your questions on the event post.
Please join us for a fascinating and timely lecture on Science Denialism in America with Dr.+Michael Stamatikos, Assistant Professor at +OhioStateNewark. This lecture is hosted by the American Chemical Society and streamed online by +Science on Google+. Feel free to post your questions on the event post. See below for more details.

Link to event: http://columbus.sites.acs.org/meetingnotice.htm

Title: A Modern Reprise of the Dark Ages? The Socioeconomic and Geopolitical Consequences of Science Denialism in America

Dr. Michael Stamatikos
Department of Physics, Department of Astronomy &
Center for Cosmology & AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP)
The Ohio State University (OSU) at Newark

Abstract: We live in an Information Age that is defined by ever increasing computational benchmarks, which further enable discoveries in traditional STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. However, average cell phones with more computing power than all of NASA circa 1969 are bluntly juxtaposed with a rapidly eroding national capacity for accepting unbiased scientific results. Why is the first nation to reach the Moon scientifically regressing towards the Dark Ages? Although there are several contributing factors, Science Denialism is playing a major role in this disturbing national trend. Science Denialism is the irrational denial of otherwise conclusive scientific evidence, solely based upon a perceived conflict with antecedent political, economic and/or religious worldviews, which results in a selective distortion of scientific understanding. The conflation of skepticism with denialism leads to ambiguous inferences regarding the nature of consensus amongst scientists and provides a historical context for the apparent verisimilitude of pseudoscience, which some have attempted to include into academic curricula. In that regard, I’ll give an astrophysicists’ perspective on common topics such as: evolution, climate change, intelligent design and young Earth creationism, which are periodically the subjects of high-profile public “debates”. This national regression is further exacerbated by a STEM educational crisis and rampant scientific illiteracy/innumeracy amongst the electorate and its appointed government officials, which systematically obstructs our ability to formulate and implement evidence-based policies with bipartisan support. The resulting political dissonance resonates in cyber echo chambers and is further amplified in an era of the 24-hour cable news cycle – especially in a presidential election year. But what is science? How is it done? How do we “know” things? Why is it important? How can we combat this internal threat? Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet. As practitioners of science, we need to help each other understand on all levels, which means enhancing the quality and content of information when communicating our results, their implications and the scientific process, via education and public outreach. Science is not an absolute collection of facts to be memorized, but rather it can be thought of as the art of asking the right question(s) - this distinction is paramount. The scientific method allows for a statistical analysis of different models, whose selective predictions are confronted with independent observations, thus allowing for an evolving empirical understanding of Nature. Critical thinking and analytical reasoning are ubiquitous problem solving skills that are also crucial characteristics of an educated citizenry, which is essential to a thriving democracy and national security. Most importantly, we’ll need to collaborate with science advocates embedded within the insular communities that harbor each particular strand of Science Denialism. If left unchecked, Science Denialism threatens to cripple our long term national economy, short-change future generations of crucial self-investments in our education system and impede our ability to compete as a world leader in STEM research.

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Want to journey to the bottom of the ocean? Join us March 25th for a series of 4 Google Hangouts from the Aquarius Laboratory in the Florida Keys, the only lab in the world located on the ocean floor. Although this is a holiday and spring break for many schools, we are encouraging teachers to share the link with students so they can share the experience with their families at home.

More details and start times here: http://www.exploringbytheseat.com/#!journey-to-aquarius/vone6

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Did you watch our first Hangout On Air? We discussed the importance of #STEM  education in children. Check it out if you're interested!
Thank you to our special guests Amy Burke and Tom Stone for sharing their insights on the importance of hands-on  #STEMeducation  for children.  And thank you to all of our followers who tuned in to watch! If you missed our Google Hangout On Air here is the recorded version that is posted to our YouTube channel! 

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Join us and +Schmidt Ocean Institute on Thursday at 2pm EST as we join them on their latest research cruise in the Tropical Pacific. We'll tour the ship and talk with scientists about their latest research on Oxygen Deficient Zones. 
Join EarthEcho International and the Schmidt Ocean institute as we explore a world without oxygen in the South Pacific.

The Schmidt Ocean Institute’s R/V Falkor will travel from Honolulu to Tahiti during a 28 day journey to explore low-oxygen areas of the ocean called oxygen deficient zones (ODZs). Students will talk with scientists onboard the ship as they explore the biogeochemistry of ODZs and how human actions are contributing to their growth throughout the world. Oxygen deficient zones are just one of a growing number of stressors on our ocean’s ecosystems and are projected to grow in size and scale over the next 100 years.

A Sample of Science Hangouts in January 2016

Some recent and upcoming science-related Google+ Hangouts On Air (recorded and live video broadcasts):

• January 7, 2016 - Sigma Xi scientific research society and winners of the 2015 Student Research Showcase (https://www.sigmaxi.org/meetings-events/student-research-showcase) discussed some online presentation tips for students entering this year's virtual research presentation competition: 
https://plus.google.com/events/cv82ei4s5mfrnkbvbtiaf5lj6c8

• January 11, 2016 - American Scientist talked about their latest cover feature  (http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/feature/2016/1/fire-in-microgravity) with scientists from academia and NASA about the characteristics and behavior of fire in a microgravity environment: 
https://plus.google.com/events/cnult62qpe27a2q36vtdab5sljg

• January 14, 2016 - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory will talk about the ultra-precise Deep Space Atomic Clock launching later this year to boost future deep space communications: 
https://plus.google.com/+NASAJPL/posts/LfycEd9EKcx

• January 19, 2016 - The Kavli Foundation will discuss the Unified Microbiome Initiative, a proposed national effort to map the human microbiome: https://plus.google.com/events/c6hpms1mls7t42t7iht4kahu1vk

• January 22, 2016 - OpenWorm Journal Club will talk about some progress in understanding how the brain activity of the C. elegans worm controls its body and how motor commands and actions are assembled and organized into more complex behavior: 
https://plus.google.com/events/c11opqt00i45pb127mtbnphhj6o

(PDF of the recent study published in the journal Cell:  https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Manuel_Zimmer/publication/283014614_Global_Brain_Dynamics_Embed_the_Motor_Command_Sequence_of_Caenorhabditis_elegans/links/562a1d6408ae518e347eff44.pdf)

January 26, 2016 - The U.S. NIH National Cancer Institute will discuss how cancer prevention researchers are embracing the principles of precision medicine and exploring novel ways to prevent and detect cancer early in high-risk populations: 
https://plus.google.com/events/c13sl1un39hdkotcgte4nj3f2h8


Feel free to share links to other upcoming Hangouts On Air in January hosted by scientific societies, organizations, institutes, media, classrooms, or outreach programs in the comments below.

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Processed meat and Cancer: What is the Risk?

Yesterday I hosted a Hangout with two scientists to talk about the links between diet and cancer, on the back of the "omg bacon gives you cancer" stories that broke out a few weeks ago. As part of my job as a science communicator at CRUK, I get access to researchers who study this, so I was very pleased to chat with Dr Kathryn Bradbury, a nutritional epidemiologist, and Professor Owen Sansom, a molecular biologist. It was a good mix of research interests because we were able to approach this question from a population/clinical angle, but then also dive into the mechanism behind what we see, i.e. how exactly does red and processed meat increase cancer risk. You can watch the full video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jS1QW74wJRw. Joining me was my colleague Dr Kat Arney, who co-hosts these cancer Hangouts with me. 

First we discussed how we find out what things in the diet are linked to cancer - Kathryn explained how we design studies looking at hundreds of thousands of people from the general population. We ask them questions about their diet and lifestyle, and then we follow them up over many years to see who develops cancer. Then we look back and see what effect their diets had on their cancer development, for example did vegetarians get less cancer than those who ate lots of red and processed meat. Having large-scale population based studies like this is the only way we can gather evidence for the risk factors for cancer; lots of people mean better statistical analyses, which means the data is more rigorous, rather than the anecdotal "oh my neighbour drank a miracle kale juice cleanser every day and he never got cancer" theories. 

Owen talked about the mechanisms for cancer development, particularly bowel cancer, and how it is linked to the molecules found in red and processed meat. The cells lining our gut get completely replaced every 3-4 days, so they are cells with a high rate of cell division. These cells are also exposed to cancer-causing chemicals (i.e. carcinogens) from the food we eat, depending on our diet. With red and processed meat, eating a lot of it means that the gut cells are also exposed to a lot of the carcinogens found in them. For example red and processed meats have a lot of nitroso products, and these can be carcinogenic. How exactly does that work? These chemicals cause mutations to the DNA in the cells lining the gut. Owen also talked about how it can cause more mutations in key tumour-suppressor genes (i.e. genes that normally suppress cancer, but when these genes are mutated it leads to cancer - I discussed one such pathway here https://goo.gl/6CSn10). Haem iron from red meat is also a culprit because it has shown to cause DNA damage. Intriguingly, Owen also brought up how the bacterial population in our gut (i.e. our microbiome) can change depending on what we eat, which in turn can have an impact on whether the cells lining our gut can end up with mutations that can lead to cancer. 

Finally we finished up by talking about cancer prevention. We know that 4 in 9 cancers are linked to preventable causes, so what are the things we can do to lower our cancer risk? The answers were unsurprising; give up smoking (if you smoke), reduce instances of sun-burn, eat a well-balanced diet with moderate amounts of red and processed meat (i.e. bacon with every meal every day is probably a bad idea), along with physical activity. 

Of course this is much easier said than done, because people often want quick-fix miracle cures/pills/whatever that lets them keep living unhealthy lives without feeling bad for it. Unfortunately there are no such shortcuts that are scientifically valid. Listening to Kathryn and Owen discuss the cancer risk from red and processed meat, along with the mechanistic explanation of 'how' was incredibly useful, and I hope you enjoy watching this Hangout :)

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Live in 30 mins - come join us as we talk about the links between processed meat and cancer, and how diet can affect cancer risk. 
We've all read the headlines about the link between processed meat link and cancer. But what exactly is the risk, and should we give up bacon and burgers? Is it really as bad as smoking? What is the underlying mechanism behind the increased risk of developing cancer? Join us for a +Science on Google+ and +Cancer Research UK  Hangout on Air as we speak to Dr Kathryn Bradbury and Professor Owen Sansom about this story. 

Kathryn is a nutritional epidemiologist at the University of Oxford who studies the links between diet and cancer. Owen is a molecular biologist at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute in Glasgow, who is investigating the cell signalling pathways that are activated in colon cancer. 

This HOA will be hosted by Dr +Buddhini Samarasinghe and Dr +Kat Arney  . You can tune in on Friday November 27th at 4 PM UK time. The hangout will also be available for viewing on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/ScienceHangouts) after the event.

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Check out this HOA to ask questions about the Citizen Science project: The GMO Corn Experiment.

Read more here: https://experiment.com/u/n4zonQ
Drs. Karl Haro von Mogel and Anastasia Bodnar will be talking about Biology Fortified's exciting Citizen Science project: The GMO Corn Experiment. For more information or to join the project, see:
http://www.GMOexperiment.com

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Educators, Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants is a go! We have an awesome line up of guest speakers and virtual field trips lined up for September! Journey to a Shark Lab in the Bahamas or join a biodiversity team in Sri Lanka. Chat with one of 20+ global adventurers or meet an African Penguin!
Lot's more to choose from, visit http://www.exploringbytheseat.com/ and check out our special events. Register for the newsletter and sign your class up for some of the events. On camera spots are still available and any class can watch the live feeds or view afterwards on YouTube.
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