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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.

Upcoming Lectures:

andyFab Gear- A Conversation with Beatles Expert Andy Babiuk

Wednesday, Feb. 13 | 7:30pm | Program support thanks to Rochester Music Hall of Fame

The Beatles may be more popular than ever....right now. People always ask "How did they do it?" Andy Babiuk may just have the answer. Andy is a musician, author, consultant, and owner of Andy Babiuk’s Fab Gear in Fairport. He is a founding member and bassist of the super group, The Empty Hearts (est. 2014) featuring Elliot Easton of The Cars, Clem Burke of Blondie, and Wally Palmar of The Romantics, and was also a founding member of The Chesterfield Kings. Babiuk is the author of Beatles Gear (2001), The Story of Paul Bigsby (2009), Rolling Stones Gear (2014), and his latest work, Beatles Gear – The Ultimate Edition (2015). The world’s leading authority on Beatles and Rolling Stones gear and vintage guitars, Babiuk also serves as a consultant to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and to prestigious auction houses in New York, Los Angeles, and London. He authenticated and predicted that John Lennon’s long lost Gibson J-160 E would sell at auction for more than any other guitar, which it did, selling for $2.4 million in November 2015. Andy worked as technical consultant and associate music supervisor for David Chase’s feature film Not Fade Away, released by Paramount Pictures in the fall of 2012. He resides in Rochester with his wife and six children. Andy continues to lecture about all that is Beatles and Rolling Stones gear all over the world at prestigious museums, galleries, and universities. Reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In Beatles Gear - The Ultimate Edition, Andy takes his audiences on an audio/visual journey of The Beatles' music and history, and demonstrates how their musical artistry and innovation prevailed such an enormous influence on the world of music as we know it today. Andy will share insight about the band through anecdotal stories he learned directly from The Beatles themselves as well as their innermost circles. Andy remains an author who continues to work with Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney as well as the families of George Harrison and John Lennon. The presentation is highlighted by hundreds of new, never-before-seen images, rare studio outtakes, and the real story behind John Lennon's missing Gibson J-160E. Beatles fans, music lovers of every genre, history buffs, and pop-culture enthusiasts won't want to miss this very special event!

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.

Past Lectures: 

New Frontiers in Surgery: 3D Printing Organs
Ahmed E. Ghazi, M.D., M.Sc, University of Rochester Medical Center

Wednesday, Nov. 28 7:30pm

University of Rochester Medical Center's Ahmed E. Ghazi discusses creating 3D replicas of human organs for surgeons to practice on. He and his team have been 3D printing molds for model organs that mimic the real organs so closely, that they even bleed when cut.  “Surgery is often like a Pandora’s Box,” says Ghazi. “You don’t know what is inside until you open it up. The fact that we could someday have surgeons practice procedures on these models before going to the operating room helps eliminate the unknown, increases safety, and improves the quality of care. Patients can, in turn, reassure themselves by asking their surgeons ‘how did the rehearsal go yesterday?’ That is going to be the future of surgery.”


Why Rochester? Exploring Music Business in Our Community
Jack Garner, Jeff Spevak, and Brother Wease

Thursday, Nov. 8 | 7:30pm | Program support thanks to Rochester Music Hall of Fame

For more than 30 years they have been the eyes, ears, and mouth of the arts scene in Rochester, New York. Jeff Spevak is a seven-time Associated Press First Place Award Winner, Jack Garner was the National Film Critic for USA Today, and Brother Wease is considered one of the 15 most influential radio hosts in America. Why have they chosen Rochester as their home and, more importantly, why does Rochester have such a dynamic arts culture?  Program support thanks to Rochester Music Hall of Fame.

Jack Garner was chief film critic for the Gannett newspapers and staff film critic at the (Rochester, NY) Democrat and Chronicle for 30 years before he retired in June, 2007. He also continues to write for the paper as a freelancer, doing a weekly film and entertainment column, and DVD reviews. And his occasional work as a film and DVD commentator with Rochester's WHAM-TV and 1370 WXXI-AM continues. He began reviewing films at the Democrat & Chronicle in 1977 -- starting with the original Star Wars. In 1987, Garner was appointed chief film critic of Gannett News Service, and his writing regularly appears in Gannett newspapers nationwide, and in journals worldwide. He holds a B.A. degree in journalism from St. Bonaventure and an M.S. from Syracuse University. Jack has served on the boards of BOA Editions, poetry publishers, and Writers and Books, Rochester's prominent literary organization. In November 2007, Jack was honored at the George Eastman House as only the second recipient of the museum's prestigious George Eastman Award.

Jeff Spevak has been a Rochester arts reporter for nearly three decades, with seven first-place finishes in the Associated Press New York State Features Writing Awards while working for the Democrat and Chronicle. He has also contributed to WXXI, been published in Musician and High Times magazines, City newspaper and Post magazine, and performs spoken-word pieces around town.

Brother Wease has been a Rochester morning radio staple for over thirty years. Wease is known for his openness and has shared much of his personal life with listeners. He is a war veteran, having completed three tours of duty in Vietnam. A motorcycle enthusiast and an avid poker player, his work history includes stints as a mail carrier, concert promoter, and an overnight disc jockey. The champion of all things Rochester, Wease is adored by his listeners and is the city's foremost proponent of cultural events and recreational activities. The Wease Show on Radio 95.1 features, Deanna King, Pauly, Billy D'Ettorre, sports with John DiTullio and news updates from 13 WHAM-TV's Doug Emblidge.


The Migration of Monarch Butterflies: Past and Future

Ernest H. Williams, The William R. Kenan Professor of Biology Emeritus, Hamilton College

Thursday, Oct. 25 7:30pm

The remarkable migration of monarch butterflies depends on milkweeds and nectar sources on their breeding grounds and undisturbed forest on their overwintering grounds, but changes in the landscape are leading to a long-term decline in their abundance. Discover the number of efforts that are underway to try to counter the downward trend of this iconic species.


A Talk with Saxophonist Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis

Thursday, Oct. 11 7:30pm | Program support thanks to Rochester Music Hall of Fame

Join us for a conversation with American saxophonist, composer, and arranger Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis moderated by Democrat and Chronicle entertainment columnist Jack Garner. Don't forget to arrive early to check out our featured exhibit SoundSense for a mindbending journey through sound and music!


Human Limits to Exploring the Red Planet
Dr. James A. Pawelczyk, physiologist and former NASA astronaut

Wednesday, May 9 7:30pm

A human trip to Mars is planned in the late 2020’s, followed by landing operations in the 2030-2040 timeframe. As designed, the 30-month mission will expose humans to reduced loading; heavy, high-energy ionizing radiation; confinement, and environmental conditions far outside Earth’s boundary conditions. Are the physiological challenges survivable, and surmountable? The answers to these questions will require the thoughtful translation of laboratory science to the extraterrestrial environment, and sound engineering and policy decisions to support these efforts. Dr. Pawelczyk, a physiologist and former astronaut, will highlight knowledge gaps and opportunities for human biologists to help reach the most audacious destination humankind has ever contemplated.


Knowledgeable, Empowered and Proactive: Understanding your cancer risk in the era of genomics
Richard Burack, MD, PhD; Michelle Shayne, MD; Carol Lustig, RN MSN ANP-BC

Thursday, April 19 | 7:30pm

Genomics is rapidly changing the way we understand and treat cancer. It is also shedding new light on our risks for developing cancer. Learn about the role of genomics in precision medicine for cancer, how genetics is a factor in a person’s risk for cancer, and what implications to consider if you are interested in genetic testing.


The 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!


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 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 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 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). 


Power 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.


Bringing "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."


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.


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?


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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