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Clarkson University Science Cafe Returns to Downtown Potsdam February 1

[A photograph for media use is available at]

Local professionals and university professors will again take to the stage starting Wednesday, February 1, for the "Science Cafe."

Science Cafe logoAll spring semester 2012 Science Cafes will take place Wednesday evenings at 7:15 p.m. on the second floor of La Casbah at 6 Elm Street in Potsdam, N.Y.

Science Cafes bring together local university and college professors and townspeople in a relaxed, informal setting, such as coffeehouses and pubs. The speaker makes a short presentation about a topic in his or her field, and then opens up the floor to discussion.

Each Science Cafe will take place at 7:15 p.m. on February 1 and 15, March 7 and 28, and April 18.

Here's a rundown of the topics and speakers:

February 1: Math in the Movies

The movie A Beautiful Mind, which won four Oscars in 2001, tells the romanticized story of John Nash, a brilliant mathematician whose work in economic game theory won him the Nobel Prize in 1994.

Join Sam Vandervelde, mathematics professor at St. Lawrence University, for a lively discussion as he conducts a game-play simulation to illustrate Nash equilibria and explains why it pays to bluff in poker, among other things.

February 15: The Iroquois Confederacy: America's First Democracy?

In the western tradition, ancient Greece is famed as the birthplace of democracy. But several sources, not to mention the Iroquois themselves, point to their Confederacy and its Great Law as a “home grown” democracy. And Ben Franklin agreed with them.

Join Susan Stebbins, SUNY Potsdam professor of anthropology, as she discusses archaeological and ethnographic information about the Iroquois in northern New York, Ontario and Quebec, their cultural traditions, and the impact of the Confederacy on the relations between the Iroquois and the establishment of the United States.

March 7: The Puzzle of Left-Handedness: Separating Fact from Fiction

For centuries, myths about left-handedness have abounded. Left-handers have often been viewed with suspicion, faced prejudice and discrimination — the very word “left” in English derives from the Anglo-Saxon word “lyft,” meaning “broken” or “weak.”

Join St. Lawrence University Professor of Psychology Alan Searleman for demonstrations and a dynamic discussion of handedness, including sighting eye dominance, and how hand and eye preferences can have a major impact on our ability to play various sports.

March 28: Teeth -- They are a Blast!

We all have teeth and we'd like to keep them, but we might not know much about them. Did you know that the ameloblast is a cell important to the growth of enamel? That an odontoblast is crucial for the development of dentin? That fibroblasts help in teeth healing?

Come learn about the secret life of teeth with Elaine Kuracina, DMD, a general dentist in Potsdam, during this entertaining and informative discussion.

April 18: Biosensors in Everyday Life

The glucose meter used to monitor sugar in your blood is a well-known example of biosensor technology that is used in everyday life. Biosensors, in general, integrate bioactive materials with an electronic component to detect various substances, and they are important in a number of practical applications.

Clarkson University Professor of Chemistry Silvana Andreescu will survey the exciting, modern technology and design of biosensors and will discuss examples of their application in health care, food and environmental monitoring.

Find out more about Clarkson's Science Cafe at .

E-mail Daniel ben-Avraham at with any comments, questions or suggestions for future Science Cafe topics.

Find out more about Science Cafes in general at .

For out more about La Casbah at .

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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