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Clarkson University Sets Science Cafes for Fall in Potsdam & Canton

Local university professors will once again take to the stage starting Sept. 12 for the "Science Cafe."

Science Cafe logoScience Cafes bring together local university and college professors and townspeople in relaxed, informal settings, such as coffeehouses and pubs. The speaker makes a short presentation about a topic in his or her field, and then opens up the floor to discussion.

All Canton Science Cafes will take place Tuesdays at 7:15 p.m. at the Best Western University Inn Rushton Room, 90 E. Main St. in Canton, N.Y.

All Potsdam Science Cafes will take place Wednesdays at 7:15 p.m. at the St. Lawrence Valley Roasters & Jernabi Coffeehouse, 11 Maple St. in Potsdam, N.Y.

Here's a rundown of this fall's topics and speakers:

Following My Foremothers: Women Engineers during WWII
Sept. 12: Canton
Sept. 13: Potsdam

During WWII, the Curtiss Wright aircraft company trained and employed women for engineering work at its plants. "Curtiss Wright Cadette" training programs were established at seven universities across the United States, with about 100 women at each site. Join Clarkson University Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Ruth Baltus as she recounts the story of her mother and her aunt -- who were trained and employed in the program until the end of the war -- bringing an interesting perspective on the changing roles of women in our society.

Orbital Pacemaker of Climate and Sea Level
Sept. 26: Canton
Sept. 27: Potsdam

Sedimentary record indicates that the Earth’s climate has been characterized by cyclical change throughout its geological history, drifting from hot “greenhouse” periods with high sea levels, to extremely cold “icehouse” intervals with extensive ice sheets and polar ice caps. Superimposed on these long-term oscillations are orbitally paced cycles that are critical for our understanding of Earth’s climate evolution. Join St. Lawrence University Associate Professor of Geology Antun Husinec as he discusses the fascinating area of paleoclimatic and paleoceanographic research.

What Did I Miss?
Oct. 17: Canton
Oct. 18: Potsdam

Our attention to tasks is often compromised. A limited ability to focus means that we may fail to notice a novel object or a change in an existing object that we examine. Join SUNY Potsdam Associate Professor of Psychology Heather Beauchamp for a discussion and exploration of the topics of inattentional blindness and change detection, the factors that influence our ability to attend and the practical applications of this field.

Natural Selection in a Test Tube
Nov. 7: Canton
Nov. 8: Potsdam

Evolution has given rise to the impressive diversity of plants, animals, bacteria, and other organisms living in the world around us, but understanding the details of how this occurred can be difficult. Experimental evolution is one approach biologists take when tackling this problem. Fast-growing microbes are introduced to a new environment in the lab and their evolutionary progress is observed as it happens -- over the course of a few weeks or months. Join Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Biology Susan Bailey for a look into the field of experimental-evolutionary biology.

Triumph of the Micro-Monsters: How Parasites Shape our Natural World
Nov. 28: Canton
Nov. 29: Potsdam

Parasites are responsible for some of the greatest and most grotesque diseases in the animal kingdom and can remain undetected for indefinite periods of time. Parasites and parasitism are often accompanied by negative connotations, both inside and outside of science, yet it is by far the most popular lifestyle on Earth. The billion-dollar question (quite literally) is: Why? In this talk Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Biology Andrew David will discuss how beautiful and biologically intriguing parasites are, and he presents some of his work with these creatures in Africa, and now in the Adirondacks.

Find out more about Clarkson's Science Cafe at .

Email Daniel ben-Avraham at with any comments, questions or suggestions for future Science Cafe topics.

Find out more about Science Cafes in general at

Clarkson University educates the leaders of the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as an owner, CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. With its main campus located in Potsdam, N.Y., and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Beacon, New York, Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university with signature areas of academic excellence and research directed toward the world's pressing issues. Through more than 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, education, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and innovation with enterprise.

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[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Kelly Chezum, VP for External Relations, at 315-268-4483 or]

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