December 14, 2009 - WASHINGTON – Beginning in January, the Marian Koshland Science Museum is offering several public programs and free "science cafés" that explore a wide range of topics, from identity theft to the U.S. Census to viruses such as influenza and AIDS. The public programs will take place at the Koshland Science Museum; the science cafés will be held at Busboys and Poets. A schedule of events follows.
Public Programs at the Koshland Science Museum
African American History Month Family Day: Counting America
Rescheduled to Saturday, Feb. 27, noon - 5 p.m.
The 2010 U.S. census is fast approaching, and researchers have worked hard to ensure that the numbers are as accurately as possible. Everything from school funding to how many delegates a state has in the U.S. House of Representatives is determined by the census count. In addition, the demographic information collected by the census paints a vivid picture of who we are as a people. At this free family day, participants will explore plans for the 2010 census, take part in activities that illuminate the statistics behind the count, examine how cultural issues and perceptions of race affect the census, and study how census taking and racial descriptions have changed over time.
The Odor of Love: Is Attraction All in the Nose?
Thursday, Feb. 11, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Admission: $30 (valid ID required)
Our sense of smell and natural body odors may play a much bigger role in sexual attraction than previously thought. Learn more about scientist Johan Lundström's intriguing research on the connections between the nose, the brain, and attraction. Lundström, of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, will discuss recent findings and help participants explore the power of smell through "nose-on" activities. The event, co-hosted by Professionals in the City, a social and networking organization, will also include light refreshments and a chance to mix and mingle.
Pandemics in Retrospective
Thursday, March 11, 6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Admission: $7 / $5 students
What have we learned about how the H1N1 pandemic has been handled so far in the United States? Join Nicole Lurie, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services, and Katherine Edwards, professor of pediatrics of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, Nashville, for a discussion of the pros and cons of public health responses to H1N1, how responses to the current outbreak differed those from past influenza pandemics, and the media's influence on public perceptions. Rob Stein, science editor of the Washington Post, will serve as moderator.
Science Cafés held at Busboys and Poets
These informal venues -- planned in conjunction with the science journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences -- provide opportunities to discuss complex issues in depth with experts. All science cafés will be held at Busboys and Poets, 5th and K Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C. Admission is free; those who attend must be 21 and have a valid ID.
The Dish: It's All in the Numbers -- Privacy, Math, and Social Security
Wednesday, Jan. 20, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
The popularity of online shopping, banking, and social networking sites has made identity theft easier and far more common than ever before. New research conducted by Alessandro Acquisiti, associate professor of information technology and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, shows how thieves can accurately guess a person's Social Security number, for example, with a few easily obtainable facts that many people post online. Join Acquisiti to explore how to make personal information less vulnerable and share your ideas for protecting privacy in an increasingly public world.
The Dish: Adaptation and Evolution -- The Life of an RNA Virus
Wednesday, Feb. 17, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Nothing has posed a more persistent threat to human health than viral diseases. RNA viruses such as HIV, influenza, SARS, and hepatitis C challenge our immune systems like no other infectious agent. Unlike other viruses, RNA viruses mutate rapidly, making it very difficult for people to build immunity to them. In addition, RNA viruses can literally become part of our DNA; studying them provides insights into the patterns and processes of evolution over real time. Join Eddie Holmes, professor of biology with the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, Pennsylvania State University, to discuss the genetics and evolution of RNA viruses and how to combat these often deadly agents.
The Dish: Finding Patient Zero
Wednesday, March 17, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Tracing the origin of an outbreak is a critical clue in curing a disease, but doing so for a disease that is thousands of years old presents its own unique challenges. Join researcher Nathan Wolfe, Lorry I. Lokey Visiting Professor in Human Biology at Stanford University and director of the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative, to discuss how his team discovered the origin of malaria -- which still kills thousands each year. Share your thoughts on how their findings could be used to fight the disease.
The Dish: Do We Need a Climate Solution for Indoors?
Wednesday, April 21, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Most people typically spend close to 90 percent of their time inside. While outdoor air quality is very important, so too is the quality of the air at home, at school, and at the office. However, most people know little about the condition of their indoor climate. The chemicals that are present indoors today are quite different from those of just a few decades ago. Join researcher Charles J. Weschler, adjunct professor in the UMDNJ-RWJMS Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine and visiting professor at the International Centre for Indoor Environment and Energy, Technical University of Denmark, for a discussion about the marked changes in indoor air quality over the last 50 years and explore ideas for protecting personal health and well-being.
Tickets and additional information for all Koshland events are available through the museum at 202-334-1201 or at the events page; advance registration is suggested. Reporters who wish to cover these programs should pre-register.
The Marian Koshland Science Museum engages the general public in an exploration of the current scientific issues that affect their lives. The museum's state-of-the-art exhibits, public events, and educational programs provide information that stimulates discussion and provides insight into how science supports decision making. Located at 6th and E streets, N.W., the museum is within close walking distance of the Gallery Place/Chinatown and Judiciary Square metro stops.