Upcoming Presentations

Science Inquiry Series


Explore cutting edge science topics, their latest developments, and their relevance to society through speaker presentations followed by conversations between speaker and audience.

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 talks for the 2021 fall series will be presented virtually via the Zoom video conferencing platform on Wednesday evenings at 7 pm, followed by a brief question-and-answer period using the Zoom chat function.

The talks are free to the public.

To join the Zoom session on the evening of the talk, click the Zoom link below:

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.


2021 Fall Science Inquiry Series


Sep 22 – How and Why We Study the Sun from Space

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 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.



Oct 13 – When Viruses Jump:  Disease Transmission from Animals to Humans

How and why do some pathogens in wild animal species make the jump to domestic animal and human species? Dr. Raina Plowright, MSU Associate Professor of microbiology and immunology, will describe the mechanisms of such disease “spillover” and strategies to mitigate or prevent such occurences.

COVID-19 Public Domain


Nov 10 – Wildfires in Montana: What Does the Future Hold?

What are the factors driving large and destructive wildfires in the West, and how can we protect communities from a future projected to include more? Dr. David McWethy, Associate Professor in MSU’s Department of Earth Sciences, will discuss the causes and threats of increasing wildfires and how communities can better adapt.

Bridger Foothills Fire – Courtesy Janice Gaedtke