Modesto Area Partners in Science

Prior Events Archives Sponsors

MAPS strives to achieve excellence in science literacy in the Central Valley with free Friday night "Edu-taining" science presentations. Please note that all presentations are on a first come - first served basis. They usually last 60 - 90 minutes.

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2006 - 2007 Schedule

Friday, January 26, 2007
7:30 pm, Forum 110, MJC East Campus
Bruce Damer

Bruce Damer discusses the creation, exploration and utilization of virtual worlds.

Bruce Damer is the author of the acclaimed book, Avatars! Exploring and Building Virtual Worlds on the Internet and has been featured on the recent History Channel program, "How William Shatner Changed the World." Bruce will take us on a tour of the virtual worlds of cyberspace and the work and science being done in this fascinating realm.

Bruce is CEO and founder of The Digital Space Commons, and director of the Contact Consortium. Bruce co-directs a research and development consortium bringing virtual worlds and communities to the net. He is a visiting scholar at the University of Washington HIT Lab and through Digital Space is engaged in innovative projects with such partners as NASA and Adobe Systems Inc.

Age range: Middle School and up.

Mr. Damer's Corporate site
Avatars! Book site

Friday, February 23, 2007
7:30 pm, Forum 110, MJC East Campus
Dr. Michael Sims
Working on Mars

Dr. Michael Sims of NASA Ames is a project scientist on the Mars Exploration Rover missions. He will discuss the challenges of current and future Mars missions.

Dr. Sims is Research Scientist with the Center for Mars Exploration and the Computational Sciences Division of NASA Ames. He earned a BS in Physics and a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Mathematics from Rutgers University and has been at NASA Ames Research Center since 1987. His research includes robotics, machine learning, visualization, and tools for enhancing and easing scientific modeling. He was one of the founding members of the artificial intelligence and the intelligent mechanisms groups at Ames. Previously he served as agent for artificial intelligence, robotics and human performance for NASA's Office of Exploration. He is actively involved in plans for future planetary missions including robotic activities and human settlements on the Mars and the Moon. He was a participating scientist on the Pathfinder mission and is co-investigator on the Mars 2003 rover missions.

Age range: Middle School and up.

Mars Rover
Ames Research Center

Friday, March 23, 2007
7:30 pm, Forum 110, MJC East Campus
Dr. Elaine Sison-Lebrilla
California's Energy Future

Dr. Elaine Sison-Lebrilla is manager of the Energy Generation Research Office, part of the California Energy Commission.

Age range: Middle School and up.

PIER Program (Public Interest Energy Research)
California Energy Commission

Friday, April 20, 2007
7:30 pm, Forum 110, MJC East Campus
Dr. Adrienne Zihlman
The Secret Life of Teeth

Dr. Adrienne Zihlman, UCSC Professor of Anthropology has been featured in TIME magazine. She explores how new scientific tools flesh out the emergence of our species.

Age range: Middle School and up.

Dr. Zihlman's Biography
University of California st Santa Cruz Anthropology Department

Prior Events

September 29, 2006
Carbon Dating and Its Modern Applications
John P. Knezovich, Ph. D. Director, Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry

A technology borne out of archeologists' desire to obtain a faster method for dating ancient artifacts has also spawned many exciting applications in environmental and biomedical science. Carbon dating techniques refined at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (CAMS) are being used to address research questions as diverse as "how often do droughts occur?" to "how long do chemicals remain in our bodies?" Dr. Knezovich is a chemist and the director of CAMS, a center that enables more research of this kind than any other in the world. His lecture highlighted the principles of carbon dating and how AMS technology is being used to provide insights into archeology, global environmental processes, and biomedicine.

Dr. Knezovich is also an adjunct professor of Environmental Toxicology at UC Davis and the director of the UC Toxic Substances Research & Teaching Program. John received his B.A. in biology from the University of the Pacific in 1977 and his Ph.D. in chemical ecology from UC Davis in 1983. He is an environmental chemist who has broad interest in experimental approaches for discerning the environmental fate and toxicity of chemicals. As the director of CAMS, John oversees a team of scientists who are applying ion-beam and nuclear physics techniques to a broad range of environmental and biomedical research topics.

Age range: Middle School and up.

Dr. Knezovich's Biography at UC Davis
Dr. Knezovich's Biography at LLNL

Friday, October 27, 2006, 7:30, Forum 110, MJC East Campus.
The Science Behind Weather Forecasting
John Juski and Steve Goldstein, National Weather Service

There is more to weather forecasting than Grandma's knee starting to ache just before it rains. It is more important that a missed golf game, too; farmers can lose millions of dollars worth of crops if someone goofs on the frost report or the hail storm. Come and listen to two experts talk about the science - and the art - of weather forecasting.

Age range: Middle School and up.

National Weather Service

Friday, December 1, 2006, 7:30, Forum 110, MJC East Campus
The science of food production:
Industrial agriculture, industrial cuisine and industrial humans
Nathanael Johnson, freelance journalist

Nathanael wrote "Swine of the Times: The Making of the Modern Pig". He received the 2005 PRNDI (Public Radio News Directors Incorporated) Award for his segment, "Hypnosis." A freelancer, he lives in San Francisco and works at KALW News part-time as well as freelancing. Nathanael has written for Harper's Magazine, The New York Times Magazine,, Salt Magazine and some alternative weeklies.

Age range: Middle School and up.

Interview with Nathanael Johnson

Ed. Note: Google [Nathanael Johnson Food] for some links. Most of Mr. Johnson's pieces are transitory; the links shift as other stories come in. This is a static site.

Friday, December 8 at 7:30 pm, Forum 110, MJC East Campus
The Christmas Star
Bill Luebke, Astronomy professor, MJC

This has been a Modesto favorite for years.

Age range: Entire Family


MAPS 2005 - 2006 Archive
MAPS 2004 - 2005 Archive
MAPS 2003 - 2004 Archive
MAPS 2002 - 2003 Archive
MAPS 2001 - 2002 Archive
MAPS 2000 - 2001 Archive


MAPS is sponsored by:

We thank Dr. Steve Murov for 12 years of MAPS dedication and leadership. This is the current MAPS comittee:

Richard Anderson, Biology
Teri Curtis, Biology
Catherine Greene, Biology
Bill Luebke, Astronomy
Mary Roslaniec, Chemistry

MAPS web site maintained by Ted Pack, long-time MAPS fan