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Science on the Edge Fall Lectures Range From “God Particle” to Climate Change at RMSC

    ROCHESTER, NY—Attendees at the Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC) Richard C. Shultz Science on the Edge lectures this fall experience cutting-edge science of all kinds, including particle physics, stormwater pollution solutions and impact of music on the brain. The fall season kicks off Thursday, October 1.

    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, whether it’s with the technical side of science or the general wonders of our planet and beyond. The new, relaxed atmosphere allows adult learners to comfortably expand their knowledge as well as have a unique after-hours opportunity to explore the Museum’s three floors filled with 200 hands-on exhibits.

    The fall 2015 season includes:

    Discovery of the God Particle: A Brief History
    Presenter: Dr. Carl Hagen, University of Rochester
    Thursday, October 1, 2015

    For several decades, the search for a particle hypothesized in the 1960s by Dr. Carl Hagen and five other theoretical physicists was the prime moving force in the world of elementary particle physics. Attendees discover the origins of this remarkable obsession as well as the extraordinary sequence of events, which led to the discovery of the elusive article at the Large Hadron Collider in 2013.

    Green Infrastructure: Solutions to Stormwater Pollution
    Presenter: Caroline Kilmer, Stormwater Coalition of Monroe County
    Thursday, October 15, 2015

    Stormwater runoff is one of the biggest causes of water pollution in the U.S. Green infrastructure provides a solution to this problem. Green infrastructure practices mimic the natural water cycle by infiltrating and keeping stormwater runoff onsite rather than allowing it to enter a storm drain where it becomes polluted and contributes to flooding. Attendees learn about green infrastructure and see local examples of these practices, as well as find out about local water quality educational efforts and challenges our community faces as we work to improve water quality.

    Playing an Instrument Changes Your Brain
    Presenter: Molly Jaynes, PhD candidate, University of Rochester Medical Center
    Thursday, October 29, 2015

    We all know that listening to music can affect the listener, but neuroscientists have been showing that the effect on the musician may be even greater. Playing an instrument requires elaborate collaboration between the motor, auditory and visual areas of the brain, and the benefits of this strengthened network extend into the non-music aspects of everyday life. We will explore some of the exciting physical and functional changes that happen in the brain with musical performance. At the end, you are guaranteed to want to revisit that instrument collecting dust in the attic.

    Completion of a Dream: The Seneca Art & Culture Center
    Presenters: Peter Jemison and Michael Galban, both of Ganondagan State Historic Site
    Thursday, November 5, 2015

    Audiences hear the story of the Seneca Art & Culture Center at Ganondagan. Peter shares his personal experiences with the building as an intersection of technology, architecture, culture and public interest. Also, attendees explore the process involved in the development of the Ganondagan town exhibit with Michael Galban. Learn how cutting-edge archaeology, ground penetrating radar, soil analysis, oral history and documentary research helped shape our understanding of this prominent Seneca community from the 17th century.

    Is Climate Change Real or is it Just a Myth?
    Presenter: Chiara Borelli, University of Rochester research fellow in oceanography and paleoclimatology
    Thursday, December 3, 2015

    During this seminar, attendees explore the science behind the headlines, the common misconceptions of global warming, and the impact that a changing climate is having on the local and global environment, as well as economy and society. Has Earth ever experienced climate changes in the past—and if so, over what timescales have these changes occurred? What is the role of anthropogenic activities in driving these changes today?

    Are We Wired to Think or Just Thinking of Wires?
    Presenter: John O’Donnell, MS, PhD candidate, University of Rochester Medical Center
    Thursday, December 10, 2015

    What makes us who we are? How do tiny electrical signals inside our heads drive our thoughts and actions? As the techniques we have used to understand the brain and its anatomy have evolved, we can see the brain and its connections in breathtaking detail like never before. But what can mapping these complex circuits actually tell us about our behavior? Discover how we came to understand the brain’s connections to modern techniques that for the first time are allowing us to actively shift patterns of thought and behavior.

    Physics of Photovoltaics: From the Beginning to Next Generation Nanotechnologies
    Presenter: Dr. Stephen Polly, Rochester Institute of Technology NanoPower Research Labs
    Thursday, December 17, 2015

    Photovoltaics are an essential enabling technology providing power both where it would be impractical to deliver otherwise and where sustainably produced (and recently, economically competitive) energy is required. Significant effort has gone into increasing the efficiency of these devices since their initial development in the 1950s. Attendees explore a brief history of photovoltaic technologies and their underlying physical mechanisms for conversion of photons to electricity.

    Each presentation is followed by a reception where visitors enjoy snacks and beverages, meet the presenter and explore the Museum.

    Ticket prices: Per lecture ticket: $15 general public; $13 RMSC members; $8 student* general public; $7 student* RMSC members; $2 RMSC volunteers and Rochester Engineering Society Members. Call 585.697.1942 or visit for details and to purchase tickets. Seating is limited; pre-registration is highly encouraged. *Students through grade 12 or college students with valid college ID.

    This year, Richard C. Shultz Science on the Edge transformed from a short series where speakers come from near and far to present in the stadium-style Eisenhart Auditorium to several almost chiefly local experts delivering their cutting-edge science discoveries in an informal atmosphere in the Science Museum building. The new, easy access to the Museum’s exhibits creates a dynamic and immersive experience. The lectures take place in two sessions—one during the spring and the other, fall. Visit for updates.

    For high-resolution images, contact Amanda Bayer, Communications Specialist at 585.697.1962 or

    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 including its rich history of innovation and invention. RMSC receives major funding from Monroe County, where it is 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.