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Professors Bring Science to the Pubs, and the Public

July 27, 2016

On August 16, Associate Professor of Psychology Erik Nilsen will discuss his research on cognitive and educational development, exploring whether combining digital and tangible forms of play—in this case, a tablet game where kids press blocks against the screen—can increase opportunities for early childhood learning. Nilsen, who has conducted research with OMSI in the past, will focus on how using both physical shapes and electronic technology may help enhance creative problem-solving skills, emphasizing the importance of play in early childhood learning.

Nilsen is one of three Lewis & Clark professors sharing their original scientific research at Science Pubs held by OMSI, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. These weekly, ticketed events allow attendees to meet and listen to leading researchers, scholars, and scientists who are exploring new ways of thinking about their disciplines, making interesting and complex ideas on the frontiers of science more accessible to the public.

In July, Assistant Professor of Biology Tamily Weissman-Unni gave a talk on entitled, “Mapping the Brain”, which explored Brainbows, a method she helped develop that allows researchers to observe specific cells by color-coding them with fluorescent proteins. Weissman has utilized this method in her research on neural connections in zebrafish, for which she was recently awarded a prestigious grant from the National Science Foundation

Associate Professor of Geological Science Elizabeth Safran will speak in October about a recent study program she led to Mt. Fuji with a group of Lewis & Clark students. Through the lens of earthquake preparedness and geological surveys, she will share her experiences with this unique natural formation and provide insight into how her research in Japan can be applied to the Pacific Northwest.

As much as these talks represent Lewis & Clark’s commitment to engaging the public in the act of scientific exploration, the three professors work daily to instill their students with a passion for science. In addition to their individual research, all three speakers are participating in the Rogers Program, a summer initiative that supports collaborative research between faculty and students. Besides offering professors some extra help in the lab, the program also gives students valuable one-on-one interactions with instructors who are leaders in their field of study.

For more information about OMSI Science Pubs and for a full schedule of events, please visit the OMSI Science Pub Calendar.

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Psychology

Environmental Studies

Emily Price ’18 developed this story.

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