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Showing blog posts tagged with SciCafe

SciCafe: Hidden Reptiles of Madagascar

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After more than 200 years of exploration, new species of snakes, chameleons, geckos, and skinks are still being discovered in Madagascar, the fourth-largest island in the world. At the next SciCafe on Wednesday, June 1,  Christopher Raxworthy, associate curator in the Department of Herpetology who has spent decades working in Madagascar, will discuss the mix of modern technologies—including satellite imagery and DNA sequencing—and “muddy boots” field biology to remote parts of the island that is making discovery possible today.

Tags: SciCafe

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Podcast: SciCafe: Robots Inspired by Nature and Beyond

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In the world of cutting-edge robot design, scientists are looking to biology and nature for inspiration. In this podcast, join Professor Dennis Hong, director of the Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory at Virginia Tech, as he describes some of his more fantastic robots. 

The talk was recorded at the Museum on April 6, 2011.

Podcast: Download | RSS | iTunes ( 57 mins, 69 MB)

Tags: Podcasts, SciCafe

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May 4 SciCafe: The Race for Rare Earths and Other Metals

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Cell phones, hybrid cars, missile defense systems — and many other modern technologies — depend on components that include elements known collectively as rare earth metals. At the next SciCafe on Wednesday, May 4, Curator James Webster of the Museum’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences will be discussing these elements’ properties as well as the pressing issues of supply and sustainability. Dr. Webster recently answered a few questions about the topic.

What are rare earth metals?

It depends on who you ask. To many, the rare earth metals are 17 of the heavier known elements that exhibit similar but unique chemical, magnetic, optical, and electrical properties. They are silver to gray in color, relatively soft, chemically reactive, exhibit high melting temperatures, and are crucial to many modern technologies. But these metals have been mischaracterized and are incorrectly named. Most of the rare earth metals are simply not that rare: they are actually more abundant in the crust of our planet than metals like silver and lead.

Tags: SciCafe

Podcast

Podcast: SciCafe: The Cultural Origins of Medicinal Plants

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Humans have always relied on plants for food, clothing and medicine. Today, traditional plant use continues and thrives — even in urban environments, where pharmaceutical medicines are widely available.

In this podcast from a recent SciCafe, Dr. Ina Vandebroek leads an ethnobotanical tour from the Bolivian Amazon to New York City. Join the discussion as Dr. Vandebroek traces the importance of medicinal plants among indigenous peoples and immigrant communities.

The next SciCafe, “Robots Inspired by Nature and Beyond,” takes place on April 6, 2011. Learn more about this popular after-hours series featuring cocktails and conversation about cutting-edge science topics.

The talk was recorded at the Museum on March 2, 2011.

Podcast: Download | RSS | iTunes (50 mins, 61 MB)

Tags: Podcasts, SciCafe

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