Panel – Postponed!

Due to the expected Snowpocalypse tomorrow, we’re postponing our much-anticipated panel two weeks.  The new date will be Thurs. Feb. 23rd at 6pm.  Venue currently TBD – we will update you as soon as we have that information.  Thanks for your patience – see you in a few weeks!  Our other events for this semester are continuing as scheduled.snowflake_macro_photography_1

Don’t Miss Our First Café of the Semester!

Science Café is bringing back the panel format!  First used for our event on scientific literacy in the digital age, we’re now excited to bring you an hour and a half long panel that will center the stories of three biologists working in the Pioneer Valley.  The panel will take place on Thur. Feb. 9th at 6pm in the Nacul Center.  Check out the full poster below:


updated panel poster.jpg

Drumroll, Please…

Check out our full Spring 2017 lineup, featuring a special hour-and-a-half long panel on what it’s like to be a scientist in the Pioneer Valley, as well as three fantastic standard-format cafés!  We can’t wait to bring you another full semester of sience at the Nacul Center.  Have a look at our dates, speakers, and titles below:


The panel will include Dr. Allison Roy (United States Geological Survey), Jeff Boettner (UMass Amherst), and Dr. Patty Brennan (Mt. Holyoke College).  Hope to see you there!

Smell: the Secret Sense

Eiting_poster_smallTom Eiting reminded us why our sense of smell might be the most interesting of our senses.  Thanks for showing us the big bat skull (and nasal cavity) printed on a 3D printer, and tricking us into thinking our coconut jelly-beans tasted merely of sugar.

We are also pleased to report back on our stumper of a question!  Here’s the question, and what Tom reports back:


Q: What causes people to be born without a sense of smell?

A: There are several factors that can cause people to be born without a sense of small (“congenital anosmia”). One such factor is that it is associated with people who have other disorders, such as Kallman syndrome. When congential anosmia occurs in the absence of other disorders, it is called “isolated congenital anosmia.” In cases such as this (which are extremely rare), it is thought that there are genetic or developmental errors that prevent the olfactory system from forming properly.