Sweet Science Series – Is Forensic Science Infallible?

Thursday, 13 April 2017, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Milton J Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology – Syracuse, NY


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Michael Marciano, a research assistant professor and lead of the bioforensics laboratory at Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences Forensic and National Security Sciences Institute, will present Is Forensic Science Infallible?, a discussion about DNA and the evolution of forensic science, as part of the Technology Alliance of Central New York’s 2016-2017 Sweet Science Series.

People interested in learning more about forensic science are invited to attend the free Sweet Science Series presentation on Thursday, April 13, 2017, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Space Gallery meeting room of the Museum of Science & Technology in Syracuse’s Armory Square. Admission is free and open to the public. Light snacks will be served. Walk-ins are welcome, but we ask that people RSVP by emailing sweet.lecture@tacny.org by April 11. Parking is available on the street and in the lot behind the MOST.

Safety and freedom are among the two most fundamental values and rights we share as individuals. Since the late 19th Century, forensic science has played a significant and vital role in assuring these values are upheld. Modern advances in science and the cultural obsession with forensic science has caused the field to come under a high level of scrutiny. This scrutiny has both served to improve forensic science and slow the pace of adoption of new technologies; contrary to the rapid innovation observed in biotechnology. Using forensic DNA analysis as a guide, this talk will examine the current state of the science, discuss the impact of popular culture and explore future directions.

Presenters

Marciano is a Research Assistant Professor and lead of the Bioforensics laboratory in the Syracuse University College of Arts and Sciences Forensic and National Security Sciences Institute. He previously spent 5.5 years employed as a Forensic DNA analyst at the Wallie Howard Jr. Onondaga County Center for Forensic Sciences. He later joined SRC Inc., a non-profit defense contractor, where he focused on research and development of DNA-based methods addressing human and non-human genetic identity and the exploitation of biologicals to aid in tagging, tracking, and locating targets. This research and development continues at Syracuse University, where he has helped secure over $700,000 in funding from the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office and National Institute of Justice. He has developed several new methods and technologies and is an inventor on five pending patents. He currently teaches Forensic Analysis of Biological Evidence and Forensic DNA analysis. Michael is the recipient of the 2017 TACNY Celebration of Technology Project of the Year award!

TACNY John Edson Sweet Lecture Series

TACNY John Edson Sweet Lectures, a program founded in 1913, features discussions about topics in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in an informal atmosphere. A minimum of six Sweet Lectures are held each year.

Technology Alliance of Central New York

Founded in 1903 as the Technology Club of Syracuse, the nonprofit Technology Alliance of Central New York’s mission is to facilitate community awareness, appreciation, and education of technology; and to collaborate with like-minded organizations across Central New York.

For more information about TACNY, visit www.tacny.org.

NASA Space Place – What It’s Like On A TRAPPIST-1 Planet

Poster’s Note: One of the many under-appreciated aspects of NASA is the extent to which it publishes quality science content for children and Ph.D.’s alike. NASA Space Place has been providing general audience articles for quite some time that are freely available for download and republishing. Your tax dollars help promote science! The following article was provided for reprinting in March, 2017.

By Marcus Woo

2013february2_spaceplaceWith seven Earth-sized planets that could harbor liquid water on their rocky, solid surfaces, the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system might feel familiar. Yet the system, recently studied by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, is unmistakably alien: compact enough to fit inside Mercury’s orbit, and surrounds an ultra-cool dwarf star—not much bigger than Jupiter and much cooler than the sun.

If you stood on one of these worlds, the sky overhead would look quite different from our own. Depending on which planet you’re on, the star would appear several times bigger than the sun. You would feel its warmth, but because it shines stronger in the infrared, it would appear disproportionately dim.

“It would be a sort of an orangish-salmon color—basically close to the color of a low-wattage light bulb,” says Robert Hurt, a visualization scientist for Caltech/IPAC, a NASA partner. Due to the lack of blue light from the star, the sky would be bathed in a pastel, orange hue.

But that’s only if you’re on the light side of the planet. Because the worlds are so close to their star, they’re tidally locked so that the same side faces the star at all times, like how the Man on the Moon always watches Earth. If you’re on the planet’s dark side, you’d be enveloped in perpetual darkness—maybe a good thing if you’re an avid stargazer.

If you’re on some of the farther planets, though, the dark side might be too cold to survive. But on some of the inner planets, the dark side may be the only comfortable place, as the light side might be inhospitably hot.

On any of the middle planets, the light side would offer a dramatic view of the inner planets as crescents, appearing even bigger than the moon on closest approach. The planets only take a few days to orbit TRAPPIST-1, so from most planets, you can enjoy eclipses multiple times a week (they’d be more like transits, though, since they wouldn’t cover the whole star).

Looking away from the star on the dark side, you would see the outer-most planets in their full illuminated glory. They would be so close—only a few times the Earth-moon distance—that you could see continents, clouds, and other surface features.

The constellations in the background would appear as if someone had bumped into them, jostling the stars—a perspective skewed by the 40-light-years between TRAPPIST-1 and Earth. Orion’s belt is no longer aligned. One of his shoulders is lowered.

And, with the help of binoculars, you might even spot the sun as an inconspicuous yellow star: far, faint, but familiar.

Want to teach kids about exoplanets? Go to the NASA Space Place and see our video called, “Searching for other planets like ours”: spaceplace.nasa.gov/exoplanet-snap/

This article was provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Caption: This artist’s concept allows us to imagine what it would be like to stand on the surface of the exoplanet TRAPPIST-1f, located in the TRAPPIST-1 system in the constellation Aquarius. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (IPAC)

About NASA Space Place

With articles, activities, crafts, games, and lesson plans, NASA Space Place encourages everyone to get excited about science and technology. Visit spaceplace.nasa.gov (facebook|twitter) to explore space and Earth science!

TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique: “Flying In The Face Of Gravity: How Aircraft Gas Turbine Engines Get It Off The Ground”

Saturday – March 18, 9:30-11:00am

Milton J Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology – Syracuse, NY


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Please RSVP to jrcafe@tacny.org

Presenter

Charles A. Mayaka, MS, Design Engineer, Pratt & Whitney (twitter)

Talk Overview

For aircraft to fly, they require propulsive force (thrust). Engines contribute a majority of this force. But how do they produce thrust and how does thrust contribute to flight? Charles will explain the scientific principles that make thrust possible and introduce one of the latest advancements in gas turbine engine technology that is making flights quieter, greener and more efficient. He will also speak about his experiences as a student in a STEM field, and briefly on the Link Trainer, which recently found a new home at the MOST!

Presenters

Charles Mayaka works as a Design Engineer for Rotors in the Compression Systems Module Center department under the Advanced Engines Program at Pratt & Whitney in Middletown, Connecticut. Briefly before joining Pratt & Whitney, Charles worked as an Aerodynamics Engineer at Belcan Corporation in Windsor, Connecticut.

Charles was born in Kisii, a little town in Kenya. Always curious about aviation, he was admitted to one of only two schools in the entire country that offered Aviation Technology as a technical elective. Through the guidance of his AT instructor (Mr. Owiti), his desire to pursue a career in aviation was further cemented. Upon high school graduation, Charles came to the United States and was later enrolled in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University where he obtained both his Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering and his Master of Science degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering last year.

At Syracuse University, Charles worked as an Experimental Researcher under Prof. Thong Dang building intricate aircraft wing sections for use in wind tunnel experiments. Charles also served as the President of the SU chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics & Sigma Gamma Tau. He was involved in the National Society of Black Engineers and supported NSBE Jr’s tutoring engagement and tutoring program at Nottingham High School, Design Build Fly (DBF) and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). Other at-large community involvement while at Syracuse University included volunteering as a tutor at The Dunbar Center in the South Side and at The Samaritan Center right in Downtown Syracuse. In his spare time, Charles likes golf, building RC Aircraft and flying them, running (like every Kenyan), soccer, tennis, chess, & cooking Kenyan dishes.

TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique

TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique, a program for middle-school students founded in 2005, features discussions between scientists and students about topics in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in an informal atmosphere and seeks to encourage students to consider careers in these areas. Students must be accompanied by an adult and can explore the MOST at no cost after the event.

Technology Alliance of Central New York

Founded in 1903 as the Technology Club of Syracuse, the nonprofit Technology Alliance of Central New York’s mission is to facilitate community awareness, appreciation, and education of technology; and to collaborate with like-minded organizations across Central New York.

For more information about TACNY, visit www.tacny.org.