Thursday, March 27, 2014

Reynolds Celebrates 10th Annual Science Night

This year’s Science Night at Reynolds Community College entitled, “Back to Basics”, featured discussions on weird physics, autistic worms and glowing mice. The 10th anniversary celebration of Science Night took place on Wednesday, March 26 in the Massey Library Technology Center’s Lipman Auditorium, Parham Road Campus.

The program included the presentations: “Serendipity – The Case for Being at the Right Place at the Right Time” by Chemistry Professor Dr. Ann Sullivan, “Weird Physics” by Physics Professor Dr. John Ochab and “Autistic Worms and Glowing Mice: The Use of Model Organisms in Science” by Biology Professor Dr. Jerrod Hunter.

“Scientists are individuals who believe in a method of discovery that has led to exciting and great advances in medicine, electronics and many other fields,” noted Sullivan about her presentation. “However, there are many examples throughout history where an important discovery was not the actual vision of the research. Serendipity is the accidental discovery that results when minds are prepared to see beyond what is there.”

Thanks to Sullivan’s presentation, guests of Science Night were able find out why silly putty, microwave ovens and penicillin have a lot in common.

"There are many strange physical phenomena that nature presents to us,” explained Ochab. “Some phenomena appear simple in character, so we try to understand the basic mechanics involved.” Ochab also gave examples of such phenomena in the fields of mechanics, fluids, electrodynamics, and quantum mechanics.

“Scientists can be very bad at making the important work they do accessible to the community, and this is very true when it comes to explaining why we do things the way that we did them,” says Hunter.

During his presentation Hunter talked about why we care about fruit fly genetics, yeast chromosomes and the nematode C. elegans as well as why we study yeast to understand Down syndrome.

Science Night is always a popular event at the college, but this year rooms were packed to capacity. The event still maintained its informal that allowed the audience to get to know Reynolds Science faculty.

If you missed the event be sure to attend Science Night next spring!