Fall 2020 Virtual SUTS Schedule

Thanks to everyone who responded to our Google poll! You all gave us valuable feedback on how to move forward with SUTS in a socially-distant world. We received overwhelming support for having a Science Under the Virtual Stars this semester. We will host three lectures by UT Austin graduate students in October, November, and December. Pre-recorded lectures, tours of Brackenridge Field Lab, activities and more will be posted to our website and Facebook on the first Thursday of the month. Then on our regular second Thursday of the month, we will have a live Q&A session with the speaker! A form will be provided for you to submit questions ahead of the Q&A, or feel free to ask them during the live event. Below is the schedule of speakers, with more details to come soon. Thank you all for your support!

  • October 1 (lecture posted) & October 8 (live Q&A): Christina Balentine – Super humankind: how humans have adapted to thrive all over the world
  • November 5 (activities and event link posted) & November 12 (live lecture and Q&A): Tristan Kubik – Planet of the Insects
  • December 3 (lecture posted) & December 10 (live Q&A): Isaac Miller-Crews – Animal brains!

Note: We will post the links for the videos/activities/live Q&A for each event in a separate, event-specific post. Follow this blog or our Facebook page to get event notifications.

Science Under the Stars is a free public outreach lecture series based in Austin, Texas.

Science Under the (Virtual?) Stars Interest Poll

Hello all and welcome to the new academic year! Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we are still unable to hold SUTS in person. However, we would like to know if there is interest in a Science Under the (Virtual) Stars this year. We are thinking of posting a pre-recorded lecture once a month (or more frequently, if there is enough interest) followed by a Q&A session with the speaker (either live or pre-recorded answering questions that are emailed/posted here). We are also thinking of posting video tours of the Brackenridge Field Lab, natural history facts, and instructions for kids activities related to the lectures on our website. Since this is Science Under the Stars, we encourage you to participate outside! (If the internet connection allows for it, of course.) Please vote in the Google poll linked here to help us gauge interest. Thank you! 🙂


Spring Talks Canceled

Dear all,
We are saddened to announce that we will be canceling the remaining Science Under the Stars and Neighborhood Science talks for this semester. UT Austin has implemented restrictions of university-sponsored gatherings of 10 or more people to help curtail the COVID-19 pandemic, and we will be adhering to these new regulations. The health and wellbeing of our community is of the utmost importance.
We plan to reschedule the talks to next fall and spring semesters. So keep an eye out for announcements in August.
Thank you for your understanding. We send our best wishes and hope everyone remains healthy.
Science Under the Stars organizers

March SUTS Canceled

Dear all,

Due to the emerging COVID-19 epidemic, we are sorry to announce that we are canceling this month’s Science Under the Stars lecture which was scheduled for this Thursday, March 12th.

We weighed many factors known about the virus and its transmission in making this decision, and decided that it is not worth the (however small) risk it could pose on the community, especially given that our events often have dozens of attendees across a wide age range. Safety is our number one priority, and so we are doing this out of an abundance of caution.

We are hoping to have our regularly scheduled April SUTS talk, but will reevaluate over the next month as the outbreak progresses. Please stay tuned for those announcements.

Thanks very much for your understanding.


Science Under the Stars organizers

March 12, Tristan Kubik

Fermented fantasia: a leavenly evening sure to spoil you rotten!

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Planet Earth is infested with germs. They coat everything from the surface of our skin to the machines we use, and yes, even the food we eat. Some of these germs can make us sick, some disgust us with their putrid byproducts, while still others poison the very air we breathe. But hiding amidst these tales of illness and foul decomposition is a love story of epic proportions. Amidst the fray of villainous viruses, bad bacteria, and insidious fungi are a few unsung heroes and gifted culinary artisans. What happens when animals break bread with these good microorganisms? What possibilities are unlocked when two unlikely allies team up and turn terrible into terribly wonderful. Together we’ll embark on an unexpectedly delicious adventure. Join me for a leavenly evening as I relate one of the world’s lesser-known love stories, a tale of deliberate food spoilage we affectionately refer to as fermentation!

Science Under the Stars is a free public outreach lecture series in Austin, Texas. The talk will be held outdoors at Brackenridge Field Laboratory, 2907 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, Texas 78703. Here’s the schedule for this month’s event (please note time change due to Daylight Savings!):

  • 7:00 pm: Snacks, kids activities, and displays of local animals and plants found at Brackenridge Field Laboratory will be available.
  • 7:15 pm-7:45 pm: Guided tour of the field lab (wear sturdy shoes and bring water)!
  • 8:00 pm: Settle in, because the talk begins now!
  • 8:45 pm: Q&A with the speaker.

First time visitor? Please read our pet policy & field station rules here, and find parking info and directions here.