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Saturday Morning Science returns with ‘Twisty Puzzles,’ ‘Green Goo,’ ‘Talking Trees’

If you’re curious about solving the Rubik’s Cube or the break of a pitcher’s curve ball, ask a mathematician or scientist.

Saturday Morning Science is back for 2018 at The University of Toledo with six programs to give the community the opportunity to learn about hot topics in modern science.

The free, public talks are presented by the UT College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and kick off Saturday, Feb. 3, at 10 a.m. in Memorial Field House Room 2100 with “A Brief History of Twisty Puzzles,” most famously the Rubik’s Cube.

“Puzzles are more important than most people realize,” said Dr. Nathaniel Iverson, lecturer in the UT Department of Mathematics and Statistics, who will lead the session and teach strategies to solve a Rubik’s Cube.

“Mathematics is not just about numbers and calculations, but also about analyzing the world around you and solving problems. Puzzles are valuable for developing dexterity, problem-solving strategies, spatial reasoning, refinement of practice techniques, and intuition for higher-level concepts in mathematics.”

A limited number of custom UT/Saturday Morning Science cube puzzles will be given away to attendees of the Feb. 3 presentation.

Listed by date, additional programs and speakers are:

• Feb. 17 — “Bio-Inspired, Bio-Hybrid, and Organic Robots: The Many Roles of Nature in Robotic Development” by Dr. Roger Quinn, director of the Biologically Inspired Robotics Laboratory at Case Western Reserve University, and Dr. Victoria Webster-Wood, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, in Memorial Field House Room 2100.

• Feb. 24 — “From Fork to Fauna: Unlocking the Secrets of Nutrition to Optimize Our Health” by Sally Itawi and Manish Karamchandani, medical students in the UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences, in Wolfe Hall Room 1205.

• March 17 — “Talking Trees and Babbling Bushes: How Plants Communicate with Each Other” by Dr. Jack C. Schultz, senior executive director of research development at UT and director emeritus of the Bond Life Sciences Center at the University of Missouri, in Wolfe Hall Room 1205.

• April 21 — “The Great Green Goo of Lake Erie: Harmful Algal Blooms and Your Drinking Water” by Dr. Tom Bridgeman, UT professor of ecology in the Department of Environmental Sciences, in Memorial Field House Room 2100.

• April 28 — “The Physics of Baseball” by Dr. Alan Nathan, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in Memorial Field House Room 2100.

“One theme running through this year’s series is our relationship with nature,” said Dr. John Bellizzi, UT associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and co-director of Saturday Morning Science. “We’re connected to the environment through the food we eat and the water we drink, and we can also draw inspiration from understanding how animals move and plants communicate.”

All talks begin at 10 a.m. and include complimentary light refreshments.

For more information about the upcoming events, visit facebook.com/saturdaymorningscience.