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, co-sponsored by the non-profit community service organization Hopa Mountain, and hosted by the Museum of the Rockies, the talks for the 2024 winter/spring series will be presented in-person in the Museum of the Rockies’ Hager Auditorium on Wednesday evenings at 6 pm, followed by a question-and-answer period.
The talks are free to the public. Face masks are recommended but not required.
2024 Winter/Spring Science Inquiry Series
Feb 21 – Science at High Altitude
How has the sport of mountaineering fundamentally transformed scientific knowledge? Dr. Michael Reidy, a historian of science and Chair of the Department of History & Philosophy at MSU, will discuss how the advent of mountaineering in the nineteenth century helped direct the sciences of evolution, geology, and meteorology by turning mountains into vertical laboratories. He will explain how the relationship between mountaineering and science continues to direct the understanding of ecology, high-altitude physiology, and climate science, and how MSU and the Bozeman community are contributing to exciting developments.
Mar 20 – From Dirt to Display: the Art and Science of Preparing Fossils
What is fossil preparation and how does it contribute to our understanding of plants and animals from the past? Cassi Knight, Paleontology Fossil Preparator at Museum of the Rockies, will share her experience in making fossil specimens ready for research or display while preserving the important information hidden in the dirt alongside those specimens. This information provides context to the fossils scientists study and helps to form a more complete picture of the past. Knight will also look specifically at what plant fossils can reveal about ancient climates.
Apr 24 – Telecommunications to Teleportation: Making Light Work
How do photons—quantum particles of light—enable diverse applications ranging from the well-known to the exotic? Dr. Krishna Rupavatharam, Director of MSU’s Spectrum Lab, will share his experiences in photonics—the science of light—and how it can be manipulated for applications ranging from remote sensing and holographic imaging to quantum teleportation and communication. He will also provide insights into the growth and evolution of the photonics ecosystem in Montana and innovative research at MSU. (Note the change in date to Apr 24.)
May 15 – Feeding the World with Fewer Resources
How can the application of science and technology improve agricultural production with fewer resources? Dr. Paul Nugent, Research Professor in the MSU College of Agriculture, will discuss how “precision agriculture,” including technological advancements and automation, can address resource use and labor declines to ensure efficient and sustainable agricultural practices while maintaining output and safeguarding the foundation of future food systems.