New Year, New Science!

Mark your calendars for our spring 2017 cafes, and check out titles and taglines for our first two events:spring-2017-science-cafe


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.

Forbidden Love: Crickets in the Hybrid Zone

Dr. Charles Ross of Hampshire College gave us a cricket’s eye view of the world, exploring how species interact, hybridize, and yet stay distinct.  On the horizon in cricket work are teeny tiny cricket trackers that he intends to use to track how crickets are interacting with one another.  Very cool.