From our microscope facility.
Biology of Cancer
Anatomy and Physiology
Cure Me! Program: alternative to Robotics
Science Up! - Lunchtime seminars
Center for Advanced Studies
VR Center: Virtual Reality Experiences
Artists' Market: One Day Pop-ups
History of Photography Classes
Original Limited Edition Books
One day show for painters and photographers. Bring 1-3 pieces for display. Take home what's left at 4 pm.
A competitive STEM project, "Cure Me!" provides a life science alternative to robotics programs. Students will attempt to build a "patient" that is unable to be killed by disease. The "patient" will be a digital model or a VR game that will respond to disease inputs in a way that reflects how well they have prepared it. They will test their models against other teams in competitions that will test the depth of their knowledge, preparation, and creativity. Students will be expected to apply their knowledge of 100 diseases compiled from national registries, such as the CDC, CMS, and NIM. This project is in development and needs collaborators in game theory and VR programming.
On the cellular and genetic levels, tumors use biological features similar to those of healthy cells. What are these features? How do our best therapies work? What are some promising new approaches? Contact the Director to make an appointment for your first class, or Register Here, then make an appointment. $35 per class.
This is an illustrated seminar for improving your ability to make striking images of these magnificent animals. Discover new places and share your favorites with others in the class. Contact the Director to make an appointment for your first class, or Register Here, then make an appointment. $35 per class.
A photographic and dance interpretation of the ancient Roman Highway across southern Italy. From Rome to Brindisi on the Adriatic Sea, the dancers add a lively human connection and perspective on important landmarks in Roman history and contemporary Italian culture.
Combining both artistic photographs of large wading birds and travel recommendations for the best birding sites in Florida and Georgia, this seminar is a must for bird lovers everywhere.
In this seminar, we'll explore the inside world of living things, rocks, and crystals as seen under a microscope. By design, there is science in the art, and art in the science. Inside, great mysteries arise that are not predicted by the outsides. “The Cover is not The Book” (from “Mary Poppins Returns”).
Small, and easily overlooked, mosses play important roles in many of our most interesting habitats. As pioneers on rocks, burned landscapes, bogs, and rotting logs, mosses often provide suitable habitats in which seedlings of other plant species can thrive, including trees and wildflowers. Mosses also can be extraordinarily beautiful, even as they are the most ancient plants in our landscape. Were mosses the first plants to escape aquatic habitats and occupy the land?
For the first people to arrive, Connecticut was our Greenland. And that was only about 20,000 years ago. The Connecticut landscape had already experienced the volcanic convulsions of plate tectonics, the 200 million year reign of the dinosaurs, and the repeated extinctions of nearly all of its wildlife. This means that, since the retreat of the most recent glaciers beginning about 17,000 years ago, all species here- humans, animals, and plants- are immigrants to a new land, formed in fire and sculpted by ice.
Science depends on a willingness to give up on its most cherished theories. It thrives on the power of evidence to overturn the general assumptions that everyone knows but can't support. But when the challenges are considered heresy, the whole enterprise is in jeopardy. We'll discuss several of the most revolutionary paradigm shifts in the history of science, including Evolution by Natural Selection, The Germ Theory of Disease, The Origin of Life, Plate Tectonics, and Molecular Genetics. We'll also try to identify where the current insurgencies are troubling the authorities now.
All living things age, but at vastly different rates. Why? The average lifespan for humans is about 75 years, with the maximum topping out at 120 years. Dogs age about seven times faster. Oak trees about ten times slower. Why? Many researchers are convinced that a little animal known as a hydra doesn’t age at all! Why not? We’ll discuss leading edge research into aging and its implications for our own health and well being.
Since we are so smart compared with other creatures, we tend to think that our bodies are also uniquely human. Well, from the molecular and cellular levels, to muscles, hearts, and livers, and to the basic organization of our brains, fish have it all. We even share many features with plants, like cell division, copying DNA, and making sex cells. Are rosehip neurons, opposable thumbs, and massive brain plasticity the only unique features of humanity?
The discipline of science insists on three essential principles: evidence, testability, and repeatability. Without all of these, a claim cannot be scientific. Many groups misuse the language of science to support their claims without actually using any of its principles. Are homeopathy, naturopathy, healing crystals, Reiki, precognition, intelligent design, qigong (chee-goong), astrology, traditional healing, paranormal psychology, alien abductions, and recovered memory legit science?
All of the genes of the human body are contained in each cell- this is our genome. When a gene is faulty, causing disease, it can be edited by special, targeted enzymes called nucleases. They cut out the bad DNA and the cell then replaces it with the desired type. Is it ethical to NOT change the DNA if it could save a life? Is it unethical to change genes that could be passed to the next generation, even if by doing so we can prevent a disease from occurring in all of a person’s descendants? Who decides?
Anastasia is a musical theater production currently running on Broadway. According to a century old legend, Anastasia was the only member of the Czar’s family to escape assassination by the Bolsheviks, communists whose revolution created the Soviet Union. But it was her little brother, Alexei, who, through his unfortunate genetic illness, may have inadvertently brought the Romanov dynasty to ruin. How?
Vision involves much more than what we see with our eyes. Sometimes our eyes send the brain faulty information, as in color blindness or retinal fatigue. But always, vision is what the brain tells us is seen. What the brain wants or expects to see greatly affects vision. Illusions can show, in a delightful way, how all this works.
The scenery is certainly spectacular, but so are the stories behind it. Yellowstone is actually a volcano yet to fully erupt. And the Tetons are still rising, carrying their fossil marine animals, born in an ocean, up with them. In the mudpots and hot springs the water is constantly at a temperature above boiling, but they are nevertheless teeming with living things. Home on the Range.
From the White Mountains to Baxter State Park, the rugged landscapes of northern New England are certainly thrilling to explore. But in New Hampshire and Maine you will also find that fascinating alpine and wetlands adventures can be had in smaller, more accessible places. The summits of Mt. Kearsarge and Mt. Cardigan in New Hampshire are mostly treeless, allowing for splendid vistas, but they also reveal legacies of a glacial past carved in their rocks. And according to recent census data, Maine’s Rangeley Lakes District has more moose per square foot than any place from away. That’s why the annual moose calling contest is so popular there- not to mention that my brother helps to run it.
Flowering plants use sexual reproduction, but they’re stationary. Some, like pine trees and many grasses, broadcast their male reproductive units- ie pollen- widely into the air hoping enough will reach their female counterparts on other trees and grasses to replenish the species. Others reward animals to do the transfer work for them, sticking pollen to the bodies of bees, wasps, and flies, among others, as they forage for their sweet nectar bribes. We’ll discuss the striking diversity of pollination mechanisms in plants, and suggest how they may be changing, for both natural and environmentally unsound reasons.
For the vast majority of its 4.5 billion year history, the Earth has been much warmer than it is today. The presence of permanent ice in glaciers has occurred only about 20% of the time. We have glaciers now, and we are still in an ice age. The continental ice sheets have been retreating for the last 20,000 years, and we are experiencing one of the interglacial warm periods that happen in typical ice ages. But if the warmth continues, the glaciers won’t be back for a long time, and we’ll be in a kind of “greenhouse Earth” that has prevailed over about 80% of Earth’s history. What are the possible causes of these periodic warm and cold cycles? What is a possible human contribution? What can humans do to prevent warmer ocean waters and rising seas from degrading things we value, like the coastal cities and beaches we’ve built all over the planet? How could human intervention possibly help us keep a climate we like? Or not?
Flowering plants are the most recently evolved group in the plant world. Yet they have by far the most diversity. Why? They also engender the most human interest- they are the charismatic lions and tigers of the plant world. As a result, far too many photographs of flowers have already been made- why should we keep trying? What can we try with flower photography that would be new and exciting?
Since the mid-1970s, photography has achieved a parallel status to painting and sculpture in the world’s great art collections. It has also been exceedingly influential in shaping our understanding of nature and culture. Who were the pioneers? Who are revered for their contributions and why? We’ll consider the portfolios of numerous photographers whose work can inspire us to create or immerse ourselves in this great tradition. (2 class sessions minimum)
Each of these presentations, for extended learning and enjoyment, is designed for a 1 hour time slot that would include a question/answer period. They are aimed at the advanced high school level, and include some analysis of the leading edge of research in the field. Most are interdisciplinary, reflecting the speaker’s many decades of deep immersion in science and the arts.
Perfect for social clubs, senior centers, independent living centers, garden clubs, independent schools, and other groups. Contact us now at firstname.lastname@example.org