Explore cutting edge science topics, their latest developments, and their relevance to society through speaker presentations followed by question-and-answer period with the audience.


The Fall 2021 Science Inquiry Series Announced

Given the current surge in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fall 2021 Science Inquiry Series will be conducted virtually, via Zoom.

On September 22, Dr. Dana Longcope, MSU Professor and Head of the Physics Department, will discuss how the sun affects our everyday lives through its energetic behavior.  On October 13, Dr. Raina Plowright, MSU Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, will relate how pathogens like COVID-19 can spill over from wildlife to domestic animals and human populations.  And on November 10, Dr. Dave McWethy, Assistant Research Professor in the MSU Department of Earth Sciences, will discuss the causes and threats of increasing wildfires in the West and how communities can better adapt for the future.

Use the Zoom link provided on this page (below) to tune in to these timely and relevant presentations.


Science Inquiry Series Investigates the Sun’s Effect on Earth

What are we learning about the Sun’s energetic events and how they affect us on Earth?  Dr. Dana Longcope, Professor and Head of the Physics Department at Montana State University, will discuss the consequences of solar activity on our daily lives in the first virtual presentation of the Fall 2021 Science Inquiry Series.

The talk will be presented online via Zoom on Wednesday, September 22 at 7 pm, sponsored by the Gallatin Valley Friends of the Sciences, and co-sponsored by the non-profit community service organization Hopa Mountain and the Museum of the Rockies.

The series explores cutting edge science topics, their latest developments, and their relevance to society through speaker presentations followed by questions from the audience.  The talks are free to the public.

Courtesy of NASA SDO/AIA.

In his presentation, titled “How and Why We Study the Sun from Space,” Longcope will discuss research into the Sun’s hot corona and its energetic events such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections.  These events, whose intensity varies over a roughly eleven-year cycle, can lead to beautiful aurora borealis displays as well as power outages and satellite disruptions.

Dr. Longcope holds a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Cornell University, and conducts research on the storage and release of magnetic energy in magnetic reconnection events occurring in solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and other solar events.  He has served as the Chair of the American Astronomical Society’s Solar Physics Division and on the Committee on Solar and Space Physics of the National Research Council.  His awards include a Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering, and the 2021 Arctowski Medal from the National Academy of Sciences for significant contributions to the study of solar physics.

The Zoom presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer period via the Zoom chat function; the event will last approximately an hour.

To access the Zoom link for the talk on September 22, see below.


Click on Zoom Link to join the session:

Science Inquiry Series Zoom Link

Meeting ID: 821 0939 0204
Passcode: 419126

+1 346 248 7799 US
+1 669 900 6833 US

Note: If you have not used Zoom before, you will need to download the Zoom application.  If you cannot or do not wish to connect via your computer, you can connect using one of the telephone numbers above and enter the meeting ID and passcode to listen in.


Keep up on the world of science with this new feature offering links to selected online articles in a variety of disciplines.

September’s Featured Article:

From IPCC:
Climate change widespread, rapid, and intensifying – IPCC

For additional article links, click on the “Science Link” tab above (under the banner).


Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash.

Click on the “Initiatives” tab above (under the banner) to learn about current science-based initiatives.  Current topic: climate change.