Boulder Science Festival 2013

Boulder, Colorado
Saturday, October 12, 2013
Our keynote speaker, Dr. Carolyn Porco, is a world-renowned expert on the moons and spectacular rings of Saturn. She is the leader of the Cassini spacecraft's Imaging Science Team and the Director of the Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations (CICLOPS) at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado ( Dr. Porco has served as character consultant on the movie 'Contact' and was a consultant on the 2009 movie 'Star Trek'. She received the 2010 Carl Sagan Medal from the American Astronomical Society and was one of TIME Magazine's 25 Most Influential People in Space 2012. Her current focus is on Saturn's icy moon Enceladus, which is spewing huge geysers of water into space — indicating it may have an ocean of liquid water just beneath its surface.

We are very excited to have Dr. Porco as our keynote. Besides being a top-notch scientist and researcher, she is also a dynamic and engaging speaker, passionate about exploring the outer solar system. In her talk, she'll show us beautiful and enthralling photos of Saturn, its rings, and its moons and describe the amazing science behind them. When you hear her speak, you'll understand why Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin calls her "Our Ambassador to the Solar System".

Dr. Phil Plait is an astronomer, author, and one of the organizers of the Boulder Science Festival. An internationally sought-after speaker, Plait has given talks across the country and the world, bringing his joy of science to the public. He is best known for his Bad Astronomy blog on, where talks about new discoveries in science and uses his experience as a professional astronomer to describe the Universe. He's written two books, Bad Astronomy, and Death from the Skies!, and has been on numerous television science documentaries, including his own show on Discovery Channel called "Phil Plait's Bad Universe".

Colorado native Reva Golden began homebrewing in college while earning a dual degree in biology and chemistry at Metro State College of Denver. While working for Coors, she became more interested in the hands-on brewing process and got into the Intensive Brewing Sciences and Engineering Program at American Brewers Guild. There she learned the more in depth science behind brewing, apprenticed for Oskar Blues, and came out with a Certificate in Craft-Brewing.

Reva will tell us about the evolution of brewing and the biology and chemistry involved in brewing and fermentation processes. She will also give fun examples of how science is used in beer brewing.

Jaelyn Eberle is Curator of Fossil Vertebrates at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, and Associate Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at CU-Boulder. A Canadian paleontologist, Jaelyn has spent over a decade leading field expeditions to search for fossils in the Canadian High Arctic and Alaska. Jaelyn studies fossil mammals, particularly those that lived during times of global warming such as the Eocene Epoch (ca. 55 - 34 Mya).

When not in the Arctic, Jaelyn spends her summers in the Denver Basin, where she studies fossil mammals that survived the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary (which saw the extinction of the dinosaurs).

Lon Abbott grew up in Boulder and fell in love with geology because he wanted to better understand how the magnificent landscapes of his youth came to look the way they do. He researches mountainous landscapes and he has a passion for sharing with others the amazing stories the rocks have told him. He has taught earth science for over 17 years, first at Arizona’s Prescott College, then at Red Rocks Community College, and, for the last six years, at the University of Colorado.

Lon will tell us about Colorado's geologic history and show us how scientists use rocks to learn how the Rocky Mountains came to be as we see them today. Ron and his wife Terri Cook recently published the book Geology Underfoot Along Colorado's Front Range.

After earning her Ph.D. from MIT, Diane McKnight began working for the U.S. Geological Survey and in 1980 studied lakes in the blast zone of Mount St. Helens. In 1996, she came to CU-Boulder as a professor in civil, environmental and architectural engineering. McKnight is also a Fellow at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR).

Diane McKnight’s research has taken her to some of the most spectacular places on Earth, where she studies relationships between freshwater organisms, trace metals and natural organic material. Much of McKnight’s research time has been focused on Antarctica’s McMurdo Dry Valleys Long-Term Ecological Research site, where she is principal investigator, and, closer to home, at the Niwot Ridge Long-Term Ecological Research site. While doing field work at McMurdo one year, her group came across a young Weddell seal that was miles from home. McKnight used the encounter, and the seal’s subsequent rescue, to write The Lost Seal a book that teaches young children about the area’s cold desert ecosystem.


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