press & News

RMSC to explore impact of microplastics on Great Lakes during April 10 Science on the Edge lecture

    Presenter Matthew J. Hoffman, Ph.D. is Rochester Institute of Technology researcher and lead author of “Inventory and transport of plastic debris in the Laurentian Great Lakes”

    ROCHESTER, NY—Attendees at the Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC) Richard C. Shultz Science on the Edge lecture series experience science of all kinds. Science on the Edge lectures 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 and appeals to a broad audience. The relaxed atmosphere allows adult learners to comfortably expand their knowledge, and provides a unique after-hours opportunity to explore the Museum’s three floors filled with 200 hands-on exhibits.

    Upcoming lectures in the Spring 2019 series include:

    Understanding the fate and impacts of plastic pollution in the Great Lakes with Dr. Matthew Hoffman
    Wednesday, April 10, 7:30 p.m.

    Microplastic pollution has been a concern in the oceans for years and was first found in concentrations similar to the ocean in the Great Lakes in 2013. Although much is still unknown, in recent years there has been increased concern about the fate, transport, and impacts of microplastics in the Great Lakes and freshwater systems around the world. Open water sampling campaigns and beach cleanups have established the presence of plastic particles in the water and in organisms, while modeling studies have tried to map the distribution and estimate the magnitude of the problem. We know that plastic pollution is everywhere, but current estimates only account for about 1% of the plastic that is predicted to be entering the system. Meanwhile, laboratory studies are still trying to quantify the impacts of plastic on freshwater ecosystems.

    Researcher Matthew J. Hoffman, Ph.D., is the director, Applied and Computational Mathematics M.S. program, and associate professor, School of Mathematical Sciences, at the Rochester Institute of Technology and the lead author of “Inventory and transport of plastic debris in the Laurentian Great Lakes,” which was published in Marine Pollution Bulletin in 2016. Dr. Hoffman’s research interests include oceanic and atmospheric dynamics; understanding the fate, transport, and impact of plastic pollution on freshwater systems; data assimilation; remote sensing; hyperspectral vehicle tracking; and cardiac electrical dynamics.

    In this talk, Dr. Hoffman will discuss his work modeling plastic pollution in the Great Lakes, as well as the current state of knowledge of the abundance and impacts of plastic pollution.

    Son House Blues Night: A talk with Geva Theatre Center cast members
    Wednesday, April 24, 7:30p.m.

    Geva Theatre Center’s upcoming production Revival: The Resurrection of Son House tells the story of Eddie James “Son” House, Jr.—from his beginnings in rural Mississippi, through personal crises and his relatively obscure life in Rochester, to the stunning rebirth of his career in 1964. In this lecture, cast members will talk about their experiences performing in this celebration of the musical legacy of a man who inspired generations of blues artists, from B.B. King, Eric Clapton, and Bonnie Raitt, to Susan Tedeschi, Joe Bonamassa, and Jack White. Program support thanks to Geva Theatre Center.

    Hamilton: How the musical remixes American history
    Thursday, May 2, 7:30p.m.

    Rochester has Hamilton-mania! Everyone’s talking about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical, and many have the triple-platinum cast album playing on repeat. Its crafty lyrics, hip-hop tunes, and big, bold story have rejuvenated interest in the real lives and true histories that Hamilton: the Musical puts center stage.

    In this talk—aimed at people who know the soundtrack or who’ve seen the show—historian Dr. Richard Bell explores the musical phenomenon to reveal what its success tells us about the marriage of history and show business. We’ll learn what the musical gets right and wrong about Alexander Hamilton, the American Revolution, the birth of the United States, and why it all matters. Dr. Bell will examine some of the choices the musical’s creators made to simplify, dramatize, and humanize the complicated events and stories on which the show is based, and will also talk about the show’s cultural impact: What does its runaway success reveal about the stories we tell about who we are and the nation we made?

    Dr. Bell is associate professor of History at the University of Maryland. He holds a B.A. from the University of Cambridge and a Ph.D. from Harvard University, and has won more than a dozen teaching awards. He is the author of two books, one about the history of suicide in America. The other,  Stolen: The Astonishing Odyssey of Five Boys along the Reverse Underground Railroad, will be published this October.

    RMSC’s Science on the Edge lectures are supported in part by the Richard C. Shultz Endowment Fund and by the generosity of Daryl Dear Cubitt and Colin Cubitt.

    Tickets to the Richard C. Shultz Science on the Edge lecture series are: $10 for the general public; $8 for RMSC members; $6 for students through grade 12 and college students with valid college ID; $5 for students who are RMSC members; and $2 for RMSC employees, docents, volunteers, and members of the Rochester Engineering Society. The Museum opens at 5:30 p.m., allowing attendees to enjoy Museum exploration, a lecture, and meeting with the speaker(s) in a unique after-hours experience. Seating is limited; pre-registration is encouraged at or by calling 585.697.1942.

    For high-resolution images and additional information, contact Mare Millow, Marketing Communications Manager, RMSC, 585.697.1944,, or visit

    Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC) includes the Science Museum, Strasenburgh Planetarium and Cumming Nature Center. Offering experiences at the Museum with more than 200 interactive exhibits, Planetarium with a 65-foot dome and Nature Center on 900 acres, the RMSC stimulates community interest in exploration. In addition, the more than 1.2 million RMSC collection items tell the story of Rochester’s past and present, including its rich history of innovation and invention. RMSC receives major funding from Monroe County, where it is one of the top three most visited attractions serving children and families. For more information about RMSC, visit Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

    Photos (left to right): Dr. Richard Bell, Dr. Matthew Hoffman