Science on the Edge Lectures

Science on the Edge Lectures

The RMSC Richard C. Shultz Science on the Edge lectures in Bausch Auditorium have provided insight and understanding about current research in a broad array of topics for a general audience for more than 30 years.

Science on the Edge sparks intelligent conversations throughout the community. Designed to engage those interested in broadening their scientific understanding, lectures promote the continuation of education and sharing of ideas.

Enjoy a lecture, Museum exploration, and meeting with the speakers in a unique after-hours experience. Seating is limited, pre-registration is highly encouraged. Call 585.697.1942 to register.

Museum open at 5:30pm before the start of the lecture.

Ticket Prices:


RMSC Member: $8

General Public: $10


RMSC Member: $5

General Public: $6

RMSC Employees, Docents/Volunteers, Rochester Engineering Society: $2

*Students through grade 12 or college students with valid college ID.

Spring 2018 Series

Upcoming Lectures: 

james weinpress SOTE minThe Zoo & You: Connecting Rochester with Wildlife Through Inspiration and Education
James Weinpress, Zoologist, Seneca Park Zoo

Thursday, March 22 7:30pm

Today's modern zoo serves both as a recreational facility for families as well as a multifaceted organization focusing on education and  conservation. Monroe County's Seneca Park Zoo strives to combine these attributes in order to foster a sense of stewardship for the preservation of biodiversity both locally and on a global scale. Utilizing the public's desire to connect with the animals under our care, we will discuss the inner workings of the Zoo and how we hope to achieve the goal of connecting Rochester with wildlife!


Past Lectures: 

andrew gibson We Don't Expand the Plate: Baseball Statistics After Moneyball
Andrew Gibson, Pittsburgh Pirates Quantitative Analyst

Thursday, Feb. 1 7:30pm

It has been 15 years since the Oakland Athletics introduced Moneyball into Major League Baseball, and every professional baseball organization is pouring resources into applying statistical analysis to help win baseball games. When the very rich organizations, including the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers, are using the same predictive analytic techniques as the small market teams, those small market teams need to adapt their approach to survive. Andrew Gibson works as a quantitative analyst with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and will be talking about his experiences in trying to find that next-level analytical edge in professional baseball.


Anthropologists Reflect on Ripley's Believe It or Not!
Kristin Doughty, Robert J. Foster and Hirokazu Miyazaki

Wednesday, Dec. 6 | 7:30pm

How do anthropologists understand cultural difference in today's world?  What sort of considerations and responsibilities go into representing unfamiliar people and things to the general public?  In this symposium, three anthropologists address these questions by drawing upon their research in Africa (Rwanda), Asia (Japan) and the Pacific Islands (Papua New Guinea)—all places that have been and continue to be rendered exotic for American audiences.

Kristin DoughtyKristin Doughty is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at University of Rochester. She has been conducting ethnographic research in Rwanda since 2002 into issues of reconciliation, law, and more recently, electrification. Her book, Remediation in Rwanda: Grassroots Legal Forums (2016, University of Pennsylvania Press, Ethnography of Political Violence Series) examines how Rwandans navigated the combination of harmony and punishment in local courts purportedly designed to rebuild the social fabric in the wake of the 1994 genocide. She is currently conducting ongoing ethnographic research on the cultural politics of energy and unity in post-genocide Rwanda, with a focus on methane extraction in Lake Kivu, funded by the National Science Foundation and Wenner Gren Foundation. 

Robert FosterRobert J. Foster is Professor of Anthropology and Visual & Cultural Studies and Richard L. Turner Professor of Humanities at the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA.  His research interests include globalization, corporations, commercial media, museums and material culture.  He is the author of Social Reproduction and History in Melanesia (Cambridge, 1995);Materializing the Nation: Commodities, Consumption and Media in Papua New Guinea (Indiana, 2002); and Coca-Globalization: Following Soft Drinks from New York to New Guinea (Palgrave, 2008).  His current projects include a comparative study of the moral and cultural economy of mobile phones in Papua New Guinea and Fiji funded by the Australian Research Council (with Prof. Heather Horst).


Hirokazu MiyazakiHirokazu Miyazaki is Professor of Anthropology, John S. Knight Professor of International Studies and Director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies at Cornell University.  He has conducted ethnographic field research in Fiji, Japan and the U.S. and has published extensively on theories of exchange, futurity, and hope. His books include The Economy of Hope (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017), Arbitraging Japan: Dreams of Capitalism at the End of Finance (University of  California Press, 2013) and The Method of Hope: Anthropology, Philosophy, and Fijian Knowledge (Stanford University Press, 2004). 




Jen IndovinaPower Up!
Jen Indovina, CEO, Tenrehte Technologies

Wednesday, Nov. 8 | 7:30pm

Jen Indovina is a clean technology entrepreneur and TED Fellow, who is currently working to spread energy efficiency initiatives worldwide. Jen is the CEO of Tenrehte Technologies, an electronics company making products that save massive amounts of energy. Tenrehte's first award winning product was the PICOwatt Smart Plug, an outlet adapter that gives you remote control over the power your devices consume. As a TED Fellow and inventor, Jen collaborates with projects all over the world from electrical energy disruptors, to art installations, and even tiny trackers being used to text elephants in East Africa. Jen is going to talk about turning ideas into actions and actions in products that can affect positive change. Bring your questions and curiosity about the commercialization of ideas! Let’s power up.

Aaron DelehantyBringing "Rochester in 1838" Back to Life
Aaron Delehanty, RMSC Staff Artist

Wednesday, Oct. 18 | 7:30pm

As museums around the nation deal with the issue of what to do with their aging dioramas, the RMSC made the decision to restore its diorama "Rochester in 1838." Part of the museum since 1946, this diorama is one that many Rochesterians have grown up with and has become an icon of the museum. The restoration process took a team of dedicated staff over a year to realize. This talk with staff artist and TEDxFlourCity speaker Aaron Delehanty will take you through the ins and outs of what it took to bring this work of art and science back to life. After much hard work, the diorama is once agin the best piece of living history there is of this time period and one which the next generation can now grow up with, gaze at with wonder and teleport to the frontier life of Rochester, the "Young Lion of the West."


Peres portrait

How to Photograph a Snowflake
Michael Peres, Professor of Photographic Arts and Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology

Thursday, April 27: 7:30pm

In 2003, and at the request of a student, RIT photography professor Michael Peres started photographing snowflakes with his class. Rochesterians know well the realities of winter. The cold and variability of day to day weather and precipitation can be difficult to deal with. Rochester receives on average more than 100 inches of snow and within those snowfalls are an enormous number of ice crystals. All snow is not the same and there are an infinite number of natural designs to the crystals that form once the temperatures drop below 32F and the conditions are right. This visually rich lecture will share Professor Peres photographs showcasing these natural wonders that are truly unique and in some cases exist for very short periods time.  Peres will share his methods for making these photographs sharing the challenges and successes. Michael has been at RIT for more than 30 years and his photography has been featured in Time, by CNN, the weather channel and countless other publications.


susan spencer 540 Megawatts by 2025: A Solar Revolution for Our Region
Susan D. Spencer, Ph.D, ROCSPOT President and CEO

Thursday, May 11: 7:30pm

Explore solar technology and the most current developments as Dr. Susan D. Spencer provides a brief history. Learn about how this technology can be applied around the world and zoom in on the U.S., New York State and Rochester to discover exciting advancements. How will we achieve 540 megawatts by 2025 and what will happen when we do?



azzara headshot

Creativity at the Core: Inspiration and Meaning for Music
Christopher Azzara, Professor of Music Education at the Eastman School of Music 

Wednesday, Feb. 1: 7:30pm

Improvisation in music is the spontaneous expression of meaningful musical ideas—it is analogous to conversation in language. Key elements of improvisation include spontaneity, interaction, and being “in the moment.” We are born improvisers, as evidenced by our behavior in early childhood. Improvisation enables musicians to express themselves from an internal source and is central to developing musicianship in all aspects of music education.



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