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Clarkson University Science Cafe Returns to Downtown Potsdam Feb. 2

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Local university professors will again take to the stage starting Wednesday, February 2, for the "Science Cafe."

All spring 2011 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.Science Cafe

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 2 and 23, March 9 and 23, and April 6.

Here’s a rundown of the topics and speakers:

February 2: Tissue Engineering: The Key to Eternal Life?

In the not-too-distant future, you will simply walk into a specialized clinic, shed your dysfunctional kidney, or liver, and walk out with a made-to-measure new one. Sounds like fiction? Maybe so, but maybe not. Join Clarkson Professor of Biophysics Gabor Forgacs as he explains and discusses this new exciting technology, and judge for yourself whether it is truly just around the corner.

February 23: Headaches can be a Real Pain in the Neck!

Would you try to "fix" that awful sound your car started making by turning up the volume on the radio? No? Then why would you take a pain medicine to "fix" the symptom of a headache? Wouldn’t it be better to figure out what is causing the headache and fix the problem, not just the symptom? Many headaches are caused by muscles and joints in the neck which are in turn aggravated by poor posture, bad habits, stress, old injuries or a sensitized nervous system. It requires real detective work to figure out the clues regarding the real cause of your headache. Just like the mechanic and your car -- you have to know what is causing the problem to be able to fix it. Join Clarkson Professor and Canton-Potsdam Hospital physical therapist Leslie Russek as she describes a variety of headaches, what causes them, and how you can have fewer of them.

March 9: Wild Weather Wishes and Other Curious Chaotic Cases

Why is it so hard to predict the weather? Why is a 10-day forecast so hard to believe, and should I believe The Farmer’s Almanac? Chaos theory tells us that extreme sensitivity to minute details -- the so called "butterfly effect" -- is found all around us, in fields as diverse as engineering, biology, economics and also meteorology and weather forecasting. Join Erik Bollt, Clarkson professor of mathematics, in a fascinating tour of chaos science. Using simple arguments, intriguing video clips and technological toys, he will discuss how, countering intuition, some aspects of chaos are regular and predictable, enabling us to deal with it in some cases, even tame it, in many others.

March 23: Nonverbal Communication: What are we Really Saying?

Although much of the communication that occurs in social interactions is verbal -- what we actually say to each other -- we convey as much or even more information without words. Nonverbal behaviors such as facial expressions or body language can be used as a substitute for words or may provide additional cues in an interaction. At times these nonverbal cues may even contradict the words we say, such as tone of voice when we are being sarcastic. Join Clarkson Psychology Professor Tina Norton as she discusses aspects of nonverbal communication, and become a keen observer of these subtle -- and not so subtle -- hints to what people are really saying.

April 6: A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place

There are nearly 100 chemical elements that make up everything around us. But how are they arranged into solid molecular forms? Answers begin over 150 years ago, with a political hothead Frenchman who developed a type of mathematics called group theory and then got himself killed in a duel. His new math, which seemed useless initially, gives us new ways to look at shapes in space and is of fundamental importance in the development of methods for the determination of molecular structures, many of which, DNA for example, have profound significance for us today. Join Larry Brehm, physics professor at SUNY Potsdam, as he sheds light on this fascinating chapter of science history and its far-reaching, present-day consequences.

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 La Casbah’s location and menu, see .

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six 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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