Nashua Science Cafe New Hampshire

Free two-hour gatherings with a panel of experts that answer audience questions, held in Killarney’s Irish Pub in Nashua from 6 to 8 p.m., third Wednesday of the month.

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We’re taking December off. Topics for 2015:

The science of sugar – Are the holidays poisoning us?
Geothermal energy – what exactly is it?
Who lived in N.H. before Europeans came, and how do we know?
Traffic – how do engineers decide where to build (or not build) roads?

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PAST CAFES

*Nov. 19: Medical screening – Are we doing too much of it? Questions are being raised about whether frequent and early screening for breast cancer and prostate cancer might do more harm than good. What should patients know?

Panelists:
Dr. Jose Montero, head of the NH Department of Public Health Services
Dr. Sanders Burstein, family physician and geriatrician, medical director at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Nashua and co-directer of Honoring Care Decisions, a new program to promote and improve Advance Care Planning at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and local communities.
Dr. Salvatore Vella, internist with Southern New Hampshire Health Services

* Oct. 15 Flexible and printed electronics: Read the Telegraph story here.:

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Craig Amiento, professor of electrical and computer engineering at UMass-Lowell; director, Center for Photonics, Electromagnetics and Nanoelectronics; and co-director the brand new Raytheon-UMass Lowell Research Institute
Joe Junze is the president of SI2 Technologies of North Billerica, Mass., a small business in the flex electronics area, especially electromagnetic systems for military and government platforms constrained for space, weight and power.
Chris McCarroll is a research scientist in Director of Engineering in Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems, the Director of Technology for Above Water Sensors (AWS) in Seapower Capability.

* Sept. 19: The science of marijuana: What do we know, and not know, about how it affects our brains, our health and our bodies?

Panelists:

Dr. Alan Budney, professor of psychiatry at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, and an investigator at the Center for Technology and Behavioral Health at the school. He and his lab have done extensive research on cannabis addiction, use and treatment.

Dr. Staci Gruber, director of the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core at McLean Hospital’s Brain Imaging Center and an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Her clinical and research focus is the application of neurocognitive models and multimodal brain imaging to better characterize neurobiological risk factors for substance abuse. Her lab has examined the etiologic bases of neural models of dysfunction in patients with bipolar disorder as well as marijuana-abusing adults.


* June 18:
Fluoridation in public water systems:

Panelists: Dr. Sarah Finne, dentist, from New Hampshire Dental Society.

* May 21, 2014: Organic Gardening: Does it make sense in NH? (Telegraph story here)

roger swain Roger Swain, known from his many years as host of
The Victory Garden” on PBS.

 Margaret Hagen, UNH Cooperative Extension educator and gardening writer and newspaper columnist.

*April 16, 2014 -  Telemedicine: Promise & problems of doctoring from afar

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* Lisa Snow RN, who has 32 years of experience in health care, including the last 6 years as Telehealth coordinator of Home Health & Hospice Care in Merrimack.
* Ned Semonite, head of product development and marketing at VGo, a Nashua firm that makes “telepresence” robots used in telemedicine and other fields.
* George Fryburg, Director of ConnectNH (formerly the Granite State Distance Learning Network) at UNH involved in growing its membership and infrastructure capabilities for videoconferencing and distance learning.

 * March 19, 2014 – Bitcoin: What the heck is it? (Telegraph article here .)

March 19 2014 - bitcoin

Prof. Michael Carter, chairman of UMass Lowell’s Economics Department. His research interests are monetary policy, and risk and globalization of financial markets. He has his B.A. from Yale and M.A., Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Mike Segal is a Manchester-based software developer specializing in cryptography and machine learning algorithms.  Since 2011, he has been an active member of the Manchester Bitcoin community and helps merchants accept bitcoin.

Andrew Stone is a software architect who has been a Bitcoin investor since early 2012. He originally became interested in Bitcoin as a solution to reduce the fees assessed when sending and receiving international payments to fabricate and sell an Open Source Hardware circuit board he designed.

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* Feb. 19, 2014 – Allergies: it seems like they’re getting worse; but are they really?(Telegraph article here.)

Dr. Amit Kumar of Southern New Hampshire Asthma & Allergy.
Dr. Kumar earned is his medical degree from SUNY Upstate Medical University, in Syracuse, New York.
Dr. William Siroty of Nashua Medical Group. An authority on allergy and immunology for over 20 years, He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Allergy-Immunology.

* Jan. 15, 2014  – Electric cars: Do they make sense in New Hampshire? (More than 80 people showed up – standing-room-only crowd!).

Dolores Rebolledo, coordinator of Granite State Clean Cities Coalition, a national program supported by the US Dept of Energy (DOE) to reduce petroleum consumption through alternative fuel, advanced technology vehicles and other strategies.She has an MBA from UNH.

Watson Collins, manager of Research and Business Development for the Northeast Utilities system (PSNH’s parent company).  His focus is on transportation electrification and related opportunities.  He is a member of numerous organizations focused on infrastructure and policy approaches to support plug-in electric vehicles, including the Department of Energy’s “U.S.DRIVE” team.

Steve Ncala, a product specialist with Peters Nissan in Nashua who specializes in selling the electric Nissan Leaf; he has sold about 80 percent of the chain’s electric car.

*Nov. 20 – Multiple sclerosis: Why does New England have such a high incidence?

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Dr. Donald McDonah -  A family physician, board certified in Family Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, at St. Joseph Healthcare.  A Nashua resident, with wife Cathy and 3 children, he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis about 30 years ago.

Laura Gifford – A kindergarten teacher in Manchester, diagnosed with MS on Sept. 2009. She has lost her vision multiple times, lost her hair for a year, had to use a cane to walk, been on 7 different medicines and wouldn’t change a single thing.

Allyssa Thompson – Community Program Manager in New Hampshire at the National MS Society, Greater New England Chapter. she is responsible for the implementation and management of community programs, advocacy and clinical activities.

* Oct. 16  The science of genetically modified organisms
(Telegraph report on the cafe can be read here.)

PANELISTS:
Richard Parent has taught biotech at the Applied Technology Center in Milford for 12 years, where kids work with DNA the way their parents dissected frogs.

Mindy Dopler-Nelson, professor of Clinical Laboratory & Nutritional Sciences at UMass-Lowell.

Joel Stake, biology professor at Rivier University in Nashua

Thanks to a donation from Manchester’s Dyn Inc., we now have wireless microphones  – no more watching the moderator trip over cords!

* Sept. 18 – Aquaponics, growing vegetables in water over tanks of fish.
Nashua Telegraph story about the event here.

Anthony Eugenio, Green Harvest Hydroponics, which specializes in commercial and residential gardening supplies, including hydropponics and aquaponics.

Mike Griffin, Aquaponics Farmer (want to visit him? Call 785-1862 or email mike@aquaponics-unlimited.com / www.aquaponics-unlimited.com)

Jessica Normand, UNH-Manchester student, a Biological Sciences major doing research into ways to apply aquaponics in the Northeast.

*June 18 -

PARC drone from CyPhy

PARC drone from CyPhy

“Flying Robots: Autonomous aerial vehicles (drones!) at home and in business”. (Thanks to Gordon Jackson of Nashua for sitting in to replace a missing panelist and give us the hobbyist perspective.)

Jason Walker, lead roboticist and director of operations for CyPhy Works in Danvers, Mass. , which makes the Persistent Aerial Reconnaisance and Communication tethered  drone, among other things.

Nicholas Kirsch, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at UNH.

* May 15 -

“Invisible Wounds: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and brain injuries, in N.H. veterans and others”

 PANELISTS:

 Dr. Jim Whitlock is a rehabilitative neurologist, director of the Brain Injury program and Chief Medical Officer at Northeast Rehabilitation Heath Network in Salem, NH.  Was consulting neurologist to the Polytrauma/TBI Program at the Veterans Administration Medical Center at Manchester from 2008 until September 2012.

Terrie Raposo is an independent clinical social worker, employed as a civilian case manager for the NH Army National Guard Office of the State Surgeon, part of
a team responsible for the medical and behavioral health readiness of soldiers in multiple
deployment cycles.

Lt. Col. Stephanie Riley of the New Hampshire Army National Guard is the state’s  Occupational Health Nurse, in which she is a voice for both the Army and Air National Guards on state committees. She is assigned to the 157th Medical Group as a Clinical Registered Nurse and is Joint Medical Liaison at Joint Force Headquarters.A native of Henniker, she also works as a nurse for Concord Hospital’s Urgent Care unit.

Ronald Snow is director of marketing and development for the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire.

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* APRIL 17 -

“Cats or catastrophes?”

Domestic cats are marvelous hunters, which can be a problem for birds and wildlife that they prey on. Is this a problem in New Hampshire, which has one of the highest per-capita rates of cat ownership in the country? If so, how does it compare to the other stresses that birds and wildlife encounter when people live nearby?

PANELISTS:

Brendan Clifford is a Wildlife Biologist with the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.  He coordinates the the protection and management of the federally threatened and state endangered piping plover on Hampton and Seabrook beache.

Anne Richards is a feline veterinarian who practices at The Cat Doctor in Bedford, Mass., and Nashua. She received her B.A. in Biology from Swarthmore College and her DVM from Cornell University.  Worked with cats exclusively since graduation in 2001.

Pamela Hunt is  senior biologist for aviation conservation with New Hampshire Audubon Society. She holds a B.S. in biology from Cornell University, M.A. in zoology from the University of Montana, and a Ph.D. from Dartmouth College. Came to NH Audubon in 2000 after five years as adjunct faculty at Colby-Sawyer College in New London.ELBsciencecafe032013

* MARCH 20: “Mosquitoes vs. Humans: West Nile, EEE and the future of mosquito-carried disease in New Hampshire”

Did you know that bedbugs don’t pass on disease when they bite us, and researcher are trying to figure out if they can make mosquitoes have the same attribute?

UPDATE: Abigail Mathewson, the state’s public health veterinarian, sent along these links, for more information on topics that came up at the cafe:

EPA search tool for selecting the right repellent for you:
http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/insect/#searchform

Website that mentions dengue in Boston in the 1940′s:
http://www.cdc.gov/Dengue/entomologyEcology/climate.html

Article about dengue in Texas and how lifestyle could be influencing
transmission:
http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/9/1/02-0220_article.htm

Link to the NH Arboviral Illness Surveillance, Prevention and Response Plan
that I referenced during the discussion:
http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/arboviral/municipal.htm

Link to the NH test results, bulletin and risk map:
http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdcs/arboviral/results.htm

PANELISTS:

Abigail A. Mathewson DVM, surveillance epidemiology program manager and and acting State Public Health Veterinarian, New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services. At the Bureau of Infectious Disease Control, as part of her participation in routine infectious disease surveillance for New Hampshire, Dr. Mathewson reviews case reports of vector-borne disease.

Heidi Peek, health officer and manager of the public health department for the city of Nashua. She has overseen the city’s mosquito control program since the year 2000.

Gary Nielsen, entomologist and director of training for JP Pest Services in Milford. He spent ten years working in alfalfa integrated pest management before moving to southern NH. He has PhD in botany and plant pathology with a minor in entomology.ALBsciencecafe0220

* February 20: “The Science of Brewing”

Audio recording is now online, hosted by Vetflix, a sponsor site. Check it out here.

At least 100 people packed the funky Bounty Room, with the panelists sitting on the full-sized pirate ship to answer question, as shown above. Here’s a report in The Telegraph.

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* January 2013: “3-D printing” with the MakeIt Lab folks, who brought a printer with them for a demonstration. Perhaps the biggest crowd we’ve ever had. Telegraph story here.

* November 2012: “Dark Skies and light pollution.” We can hardly see the constellations any more, which hurts astronomers and tourism, and takes away part of the pleasure that comes from living in New Hampshire. Can anything be done about it? Presented along with the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center.

* October 2012: “The science of concussions, in youth sports and daily life.” The number of concussions leading to U.S. emergency room visits has almost doubled in the past decade. Why? This cafe was part of a six-day series of stories on the topic by The Telegraph of Nashua, titled Broken Athletes. Check it out here.

 For a list of all topics since we started in May 2011, check this page