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Clarkson University Sets Science Cafes for Fall in Potsdam & Canton

Local scientists and university professors will again take to the stage starting Wednesday, September 11, for the "Science Cafe."

Science Cafe logo: 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.

All Canton Science Cafes will take place Tuesdays at 7:15 p.m. in the Park View Common Room, above the Blackbird Café, 107 Main St. in Canton, N.Y.

All Potsdam Science Cafes will take place Wednesday evenings at 7:15 p.m. in the Potsdam Civic Center Community Room, 2 Park St. in Potsdam, N.Y.

Here's a rundown of this fall's topics and speakers:

The Technology of Luge Sleds
September 11: Potsdam
September 17: Canton
Olympic luge sleds careen down the tracks at over 90 miles/hour. Optimizing their design to shave even hundredths of a second is critical to a team’s chances to win. In this thrilling presentation, Clarkson University Professors Brian Helenbrook and Doug Bohl (Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering) describe their joint work with Olympic luge sledder Duncan Kennedy to improve the manufacturing and design of U.S. luge sleds and the ideas intended for incorporation in the 2014 Olympic sleds.

Crab Accounting: Reducing Dredge Impact on Fishery
October 1: Canton
October 2: Potsdam
Periodic dredging of the shipping channel through Grays Harbor estuary along western Washington coast kills many Dungeness crabs. Juvenile survival rates improve with the construction of intertidal oyster shell habitat, replacing population losses and relieving opposition from crab fishermen and ecological advocates alike. Join St. Lawrence University General Biology Non-Majors Biology Specialist Eileen Visser as she discusses crabby behavior, mud-slogging, and the promising mitigation efforts in this western estuary.

Who Wrote That? The New Science of Stylometry
October 15: Canton
October 16: Potsdam
When the 15th book of Oz was released there were two covers ... one listing L. Frank Baum as the author and another listing Ruth Plumly Thompson. Who really wrote this book? St. Lawrence University Mathematics Professor Dan Look takes us on a fascinating tour of stylometry, a new exciting hybrid discipline of mathematics and literature, demonstrating how they blend together beautifully, and how they help settle difficult questions of authorship.

Venus and the Golden Ratio
October 29: Canton
October 30: Potsdam
Venus reaches a milestone as the evening “star” on November 1. Learn how Venus’ evening elongation is linked to numerous of Venus’ cycles, plus this planet’s intriguing relationship to Phi (the Golden Ratio) and the Fibonacci numbers. Make friends with the Golden Triangle and the pentagram and gain a lifelong appreciation for Venus, the goddess of beauty. Stargazer Bruce McClure, script writer for the nationally syndicated radio programs "StarDate" and "Earth and Sky," explores the inherent beauty of the many of Venus’ cycles that recur five times every eight Earth years and every 13 Venusian years.

No Pain, No Gain: How Distress Underlies Success
November 19: Canton
November 20: Potsdam
The capacity for self-control -- that is, the ability to curb our base impulses in the service of our broader goals -- is a defining feature of successful performance across life domains. But what psychological factors promote good self-control? Join Clarkson University Psychology Professor Lisa Legault as she examines the motivational and neurophysiological underpinnings of successful goal regulation and discusses the surprisingly adaptive role of emotional distress in boosting performance.

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 .

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.

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

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