Jun 7, 2011 View this email as a webpage.
Science & the City Weekly - The New York Academy of Sciences Science & the City
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Scientists have long been on the search for extra-terrestrial life, but what happens if—or when—we actually find living organisms on other planets? That's the sort of question comparative exoplanetary scientist Ben Oppenheimer grapples with all the time in his own work. He searches for "biologically active" planets in other solar systems using something called adaptive optics (AO), technologies that allow him to get a clearer picture of the radiating energy from far-away planets and stars from right here on Earth. That better picture has allowed Oppenheimer and scientists like him to describe what a life-supporting planet would look like. Oppenheimer came to the Academy earlier this year to speak about "intergalactic biodiversity" and astrophysicists' search for other habitable worlds, but if you missed him, it isn't the end of the world(s)—you can catch his presentation in our newest Open eBriefing, free online!
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Meet the Author
A 'Toxic Love Story' of a Different Kind
No, Susan Freinkel's new book is not about her last bad relationship. This Toxic Love Story is about plastic. It takes an in-depth look at our modern dependency on and "love affair" with that ubiquitous substance and begs the question: is our relationship a healthy one? The answer is a pretty evident "no" for Freinkel. Plastics draw on dwindling fossil fuels, often leach harmful chemicals and litter landscapes by refusing to decompose, among other big minuses, and yet each year we use and consume more and more, she says. Freinkel concludes that we've reached a crisis point in our relationship with plastic today, and that we need to take a new direction. Tonight, hear the gory details and learn about the road to recovery when Freinkel gives a book talk at Book Court.
Tue Jun 7
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Book Court, 163 Court St., Brooklyn
Secret Science Club
Feast Your Ears
Did you know that our ears process information 1,000 times faster than our eyes? And that our sense of hearing is so discriminating that we can distinguish more than 300,000 sounds? In fact, if our ears were any more sensitive, we would hear the motion of air molecules bumping against our eardrums. For the Secret Science Club's June fête, join world-renowned sensory neuroscientist Jim Hudspeth and explore a side of sound you may never have known. After the lecture, don't miss the chance to test-out your own ears (and hips!) as you groove to some electromagnetic tunes.
Thu Jun 9
8:00 PM - 11:00 PM
The Bell House, 149 7th St., Brooklyn
Free; 21+ Only
Designing the Future
The Challenge of Rising Water in the City
New York City ranks among the top most vulnerable urban areas to rising sea levels. So does Amsterdam. It's perhaps no wonder then that designers from the two cities have an intense interest in collaborating in response to the question, What will happen as water levels rise due to global climate change? The Center for Architecture will host a lively panel discussion this Friday on the future of the city in the face of rising tides. How does the new boundary between water and city take shape? What are the potentials of water as an urban fabric? How can the next generation of designers tackle these new challenges? Top design professionals and students from both the US and the Netherlands will be on deck to answer these questions and more.
Fri Jun 10
12:00 PM - 3:00 PM
The Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Pl.
Free; Registration required
Family Day
Activate Your Inner Designer
Get together as a family and jump into active design! Saturday at the Harlem Y, your family will have a chance to learn how design can be used to encourage an active and healthy lifestyle as you take on the challenge of redesigning a city block to create a place where activities such as walking, biking, active play, using public transportation and dog walking are encouraged and integrated into the streetscape. Go on, share your good ideas for improving New York City's street life!
Sat Jun 11
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Harlem YMCA, 180 West 135th St.
Free; Registration required
Sunday Night Science
Singing in the Brain
Being called a "bird brain" may not be a compliment, but it may not always be such a bad thing either. Scientists studying (literal) bird brains—or the complexities of bird songs and their relationship to birds' capacity for learning and memory, more specifically—are using them to explore what makes learning possible in general. Join Entertaining Science at Cornelia Street Café and presenter Tim DeVoogd this Sunday and get inside the avian cranium: learn about brain capacities and constraints and what bird's song memory can tell us about our own. Robin Beckhard (vocalist) and Harry Segal (pianist) will be joining in on the science with music to inspire your thinking—and singing.
Sun Jun 12
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia St.
The Sci/Tech Kitchen
Nathan Myhrvold
Tales from the Brain
V. S. Ramachandran
About the Science Education Initiative

Science & the City is a program of the nonprofit New York Academy of Sciences. Our mission is to increase public science literacy. We publish a comprehensive calendar of public science events in New York City, host events featuring top scientists in their fields, and produce a weekly podcast covering cutting-edge science.

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Nadja Popovich

Nadja is the Calendar and Weekly Newsletter Editor at Science & the City. You can reach her at npopovich@nyas.org.

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