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Dr. Mark Moffett

Life Among the Ants


Dr. Mark W. Moffett, research associate at the National Museum of Natural History, author of the book Adventures Among Ants, and protégé of E.O. Wilson, talks about the ways that modern humans are much more like ants than we are like chimpanzees. With our societies of millions, only certain social insects and humans need to deal with issues of roadways and traffic rules, public health and environmental safety, assembly lines and teamwork, market economics and voting, slavery and mass warfare. The talk will be illustrated with a few of the hundreds of images from Mark’s National Geographic Magazine stories, many of subject never seen before. The lecture will transport the audience around the world, to experience the fierce driver ants of the Congo, deadly bulldog ants of Australia, marauder ants of Asia, leafcutter ants of South America, and slavery ants of the USA.

Science Under the Stars is a free, monthly public outreach lecture series founded and organized by graduate students in the Section of Integrative Biology at University of Texas at Austin. Our goals are to host fun, informal science outreach events for Austin citizens of all ages, and give scientists a venue to share their work with the general public.

Michael Gully-Santiago

The Science and Discovery of Stars, Sub-Stars, and Planets!

Do you ever think about how big space is? Join us as Michael Gully-Santiago explains how he is discovering new stars and sub-stars with some of the largest telescopes in the world. Michael will show how we can use these and other discoveries to learn about how stars and planets form from giant clouds of space dust and gas. Science Under the Stars is a free public outreach lecture series in Austin, Texas.

There are hundreds of billions of stars in our Milky Way Galaxy, and “billions and billions” of galaxies in our Universe. In the Milky Way Galaxy we call home, scientists are still making discoveries in our astronomical backyard- the vicinity of space within merely a few hundred light-years to the Sun. Weather permitting, we will use portable telescopes to look at the planet Jupiter, and its largest moons; a star formation region M42, about a thousand light-years away; and the Andromeda Galaxy, 2.5 million light-years distant.

Michael Gully-Santiago is a graduate student in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin. Click here to visit Michael’s website.

Michelle Brown

Adventures in Science at the Bottom of the World

Imagine a place where the sun doesn’t set, the ice doesn’t melt and the landscape is so inhospitable that it is an ideal location to simulate life on the moon.  Conducting research in Antarctica can be challenging, but this icy continent is home to many fascinating science investigations. Middle school science teacher Michelle Brown will discuss her adventures working with two science research teams across Antarctica as part of the PolarTREC team.

PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating) is a program in which K-12 teachers spend 2-6 weeks participating in hands-on field research experiences in the polar regions. The goal of PolarTREC is to invigorate polar science education and understanding by bringing K-12 educators and polar researchers together. Click here to read Michelle’s PolarTREC journal!

Michelle received her Masters in Science Education at the University of Texas at Austin and currently teaches at O’Henry Middle School in Austin, Texas.

Misha Matz

Deep Sea Exploration

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People seeking challenges have a tendency to look up into the sky more than below their feet. This is perhaps why the deep ocean largely remains a mystery. I will review the methods currently used for deep-sea research, tell some stories from my personal experience, and tell about our recent discovery at 3000 ft depth that is perhaps the best illustration of the unexpected things that can be found down there.