The College of Science is offering a virtual Discover Science Speaker Series experience amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This fall the virtual lectures will feature leading scientists in the College. Learn about exciting new research and groundbreaking science from the comfort of your own home.
“While our traditional in-person lectures will be postponed to keep our community safe and healthy during this time, we hope you will join us from your couch for Discover Science at Home,” Jeff Thompson, dean of the College of Science said.
The first talk features Bridget Ayling, the Director of the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy. Her talk, titled, “Renewable energy underground – searching for hot water and hot rocks in the western USA,” will describe the Great Basin region of the western United States, which is a world-class geothermal province with substantial untapped resource potential.
“Geothermal energy is the heat of the earth, and this vast resource has been harnessed for electricity generation, heating and bathing for more than 100 years,” she said. “To facilitate greater use of this renewable energy source, we are working to understand: where do these resources exist and why; how do fluids circulate in geothermal systems; and how can we improve our chances of discovering viable geothermal systems for power generation? In this talk, I’ll review our current understanding and latest research that aims to answer these pressing questions.”
Ayling is an associate professor at the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology and the College of Science at the University of Nevada, Reno. In her role as director of the Great Basin Center for Geothermal Energy, Ayling is responsible for developing research and education programs in the field of geothermal energy, overseeing research to understand the complexities of fluid flow in the upper crust and the implications of this for geothermal resource exploration and management, managing the public dissemination of geothermal datasets for Nevada and supervising graduate students.
She joined the University in early 2016 after working at Geoscience Australia, the Australian Government’s geoscience agency, and the Energy and Geoscience Institute at the University of Utah. Dr. Ayling holds a bachelor’s of science degree with honors in geology and physical geography from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. She received her doctorate in paleoclimate and environmental geochemistry from the Australian National University in 2006.
The next two lectures in the Discover Science at Home Speaker Series are:
- Oct. 22: Biologist Beth Leger, who is director of at the University of Nevada, Reno Museum of Natural History, will give her talk titled “Tales from the crypt: What can we learn from natural history museums?” Beyond the sometimes old-fashioned displays (dioramas, skins, and skeletons), there is a whole world of irreplaceable collections hidden away in scientifically controlled environments, representing a record of the history of life on earth that exists nowhere else. In addition to educating the public, these collections are important for lines of research that include questions about responses to climate change, managing invasive species, and the identification of new diseases, among many others. Leger will give the audience a tour of that world.
- Nov. 19: Neil Lareau, an atmospheric scientist and assistant professor in the Department of Physics, will give his talk, titled “Radar and Lidar Observations of Wildfire Plume Dynamics,” about how large, high-intensity wildfires can generate their own extreme weather, including fire-generated thunderstorms (i.e., pyrocumulonimbus) and rare fire-tornados. His research aims to understand these phenomena using state-of-the-science radars and lidars, which can probe the internal dynamics of wildfire convective plumes.
The Discover Science Lecture Series was founded by the College of Science in 2010, with the goal of bringing the country's top scientists to the University to share their knowledge, research and wisdom with the community.
"Science encompasses a wonderfully diverse collection of explorations into the unknown. We invite science lovers and the science-curious to join us and experience the extent of the science universe as the best scientists on the planet visit the University of Nevada, Reno for our Discover Science Lecture Series," Thompson said.
Past speakers in the series include astrophysicists Michio Kaku and Neil deGrasse Tyson; Robert Ballard, who discovered the wreck of the Titanic; and Bill Nye the Science Guy.