Discover Science Lecture Series

  • Past presenter: Bill Nye the Science Guy
  • Past presenter: planetary scientist Carolyn Porco
  • Past presenter: astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • Past presenter: physicist Michio Kaku
  • Past presenter: NASA's ISS Chief Scientist and College of Science alumnus Julie Robinson
  • Past presenter: Scott E. Page, author of the Diversity Bonus

Discover Science Lecture Series

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," Jeff Thompson, Dean of the College of Science 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.

Attending the event

The Discover Science Lecture Series is always free and open to the public. Lectures start at 7 pm at the Davidson Math and Science Center, Room 110. Free parking is available on the top level of the Brian Whalen Parking Complex.

Map of the Davidson Math and Science Center

Discover Science Lecture Series 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. 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.
Headshot of Neil deGrasse Tyson on a green background

2018-2019 Speaker Schedule

For the 2018-2019 season of the Discover Science Lecture Series, the College of Science invited speakers from a range of backgrounds. Learn about this season's past and upcoming speakers.

  • Jamie Casap, Education Evangelist for Google

    Jaime Casap, Education Evangelist for Google, presented his lecture titled "Generation Z is going to college; are you ready?" on August 22, 2018 in the Redfield Auditorium in the Davidson Math and Science Center at 7 p.m. Casap also spoke to the Science Fit freshman on August 21 about learning to thrive in this new digital era shaped by technology and the web.

    Read more about Casap's lectures

  • Jim Bell, planetary scientist

    Dr. Jim Bell's September 20 lecture, titled "The Ultimate Interplanetary Travel Guide: A Futuristic Journey Through the Cosmos," took the audience on a tour of what the solar system has to offer: hiking, sightseeing, photography, musical performances, fine dining, extreme sports, even citizen science research opportunities on places like Mercury, gas giants, moons of the outer planets and even beyond.

    After his lecture, Bell will be signing his book " The Ultimate Interplanetary Travel Guide: A Futuristic Journey Through the Cosmos." Released in April of 2018, this imaginative tour of the solar system offers readers science-inspired vacations on Mars, jazz concerts on Phobos and skiing on Pluto. Along the way, you'll experience what it's like to hike across lunar craters, soar through the winds of Venus, and raft down the rapids of Titan. Informative summaries of every destination are based on knowledge gleaned from more than 50 years of space exploration. The book contains eight removable NASA posters highlighting the wonders of space, gorgeous full-color photography, and stunning art. Bill Nye, of Bill Nye the Science Guy and CEO of the Planetary Society, gave a glowing review of the book:

    "Like any good travel book, Jim Bell's guide gives you some good advice on what to bring and what to wear. Of course, we don't leave for a few hundred years. For now though, check out these images – the pictures alone will make you want to start packing!" Nye said.

    Read more about Jim Bell's lecture

  • David Hillis, Evolutionary Biologist

    David Hillis, evolutionary biologist, professor and developer of the Hillis Plot, presented his lecture, “Applications of the Tree of Life” on Nov. 15, 2018 at the University of Nevada, Reno.

    In his lecture, Hillis will discuss the many new applications of phylogenetic information (data relating to the evolutionary development of a species) such as the use of detailed genomic information to solve murder investigations, in the development of vaccines, for study of disease outbreaks, and for building new automated identification technology that was once only imagined in science fiction stories.

    Learn more about Dr. David Hillis

  • March 14, 2019: Karen Lloyd, Marine microbiologist

    Karen Lloyd studies novel groups of microbes in Earth's deep surface biosphere, collecting them from disparate remote places such as Arctic fjords, volcanoes in Costa Rica, even deep in mud in the Marianas Trench. She will be speaking at the Davidson Math and Science Center on March 14, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.

    Lloyd applies molecular biological techniques to environmental samples to learn more about microbes that have thus far evaded attempts to be cultured in a laboratory. She has adapted novel techniques to quantify and characterize these mysterious microbes while requiring minimal changes to their natural conditions. Her work centers on deep oceanic subsurface sediments, deep-sea mud volcanoes and cold seeps, terrestrial volcanoes and hot springs, serpentinizing springs, Arctic marine fjord sediments and ancient permafrost. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee.

  • April 25, 2019: Bob Ziegler, plant pathologist

    Dr. Robert "Bob" Zeigler is an internationally respected plant pathologist with more than 30 years of experience in agricultural research in the developing world. He is the first Director General Emeritus of the International Rice Research Institute. He will be speaking at the Davidson Math and Science Center on April 25, 2019.

    Bob's professional life spanned Africa, Latin America, US, and Asia. He has had a productive research career on diseases of rice that focused on host-plant resistance, pathogen and vector population genetics, and their interactions to develop durable resistance and sustainable disease management practices.

Learn about Discover Science speakers

Read interviews with and stories about our past and upcoming speakers.

dry grass

Science and policy: the Yin and Yang dynamic of global food security

Plant pathologist Bob Zeigler to present at Discover Science Lecture Series

Karen Lloyd near a small body of water.

Microbes in weird places: what life is like in the deep Earth

Karen Lloyd will speak on her recent research at the Discover Science Lecture, Thursday March 14

Dr. Karen Lloyd (left) and Dr. Robert Zeigler

Discover Science Lecture Series announces its spring speaker schedule

The College of Science welcomes two leading researchers to campus during the spring 2019 semester.