2018 Speakers

"Curiosity as a Catalyst" 

Keynote Speaker - Emily Graslie

Keynote Speaker:  Emily Graslie

Emily Graslie

Emily Graslie was born and raised in Rapid City, South Dakota. After moving to Missoula, Montana to pursue an undergraduate degree in fine art painting, she fell in love with the campus vertebrate research collection as a place of artistic inspiration. What started off as a passionate volunteering position within a small museum eventually transformed into a full-time career as an advocate for these under-appreciated repositories. Now she lives in Chicago, and work as The Field Museum's 'Chief Curiosity Correspondent,' where she uses a variety of new media to communicate the importance of natural history museums with the world..

"Cryogenics with Mr. Freeze"

Guest Speaker - Jerry Zimmerman

Keynote Speaker: Jerry Zimmerman

Jerry Zimmerman

Employed as an Engineering Physicist with the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Jerry Zimmerman has volunteered as the Lab's third incarnation of "Mr. Freeze" since 1997. Providing demonstrations to thousands of students each year as his alter-ego Mr. Freeze, Zimmerman is dedicated to motivating and encouraging young people to better appreciate and study science. Making science fun, the Mr. Freeze demonstration shows the interesting and entertaining properties of cryogenics and extreme cold using Liquid Nitrogen (LN2). Sponsored by Fermilab since the 1970s, Mr. Freeze provides an exciting science-based show with lots of surprises mixed with interesting scientific facts. 

"A New View of the Universe: Gravitational Waves"

Guest Speaker - Joe DalSanto

Humanity has always learned about the universe by observing its light. But now we can see the universe in an entirely new way – gravitational waves. Join COD Astronomy Professor Joe DalSanto for an explanation of what these strange phenomena are, how we detect them and what they mean for our understanding of the universe.

"Behind Easter Island's Moai Statues"

Guest Speaker - Dale F. Simpson, Jr.
Many publications document Easter Island's famous ahu (platform), moai (statue), pukao (topknot), and almost millennium–long culture. Yet, little investigation has focused on basalt resources, artifacts, and their geochemistry. As part of a collaborative investigation between the Rapa Nui Geochemical Project, the Elemental Analysis Facility at The Field Museum of Natural History, and the Easter Island Statue Project, we conducted comprehensive fieldwork, material culture and archaeometric analyses focused on Easter Island's archaeological basalt industries. Our results highlight how the prehistoric Rapanui were sophisticated Polynesian stone workers who developed multiple tool reduction sequences for several types of basaltic material, creating unique anthropogenic landscapes in the process. Using laser ablation–inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (LA–ICP–MS) of geological source material from 31 quarries and 83 artifacts from the Sebastián Englert Anthropology Museum, we argue that similar to other culturally valuable stone (i.e. obsidian, scoria, and tuff), there was communal access to and use of Rapa Nui's basalt resources. In turn, the timing of prehistoric communal access to stone hints at patterns of sociopolitical and economic interaction, including cultural connectivity on this eastern Polynesian outpost.


This event is funded pursuant to a grant from the Illinois Community College Board and funded partially through the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006.

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