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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Science for the future

Brittan Bates

Astronomy professor Chris Impey in his office. Impey will be speaking at the “Science on Screen” event at The Loft Cinema on Tuesday.

Science and technology are constantly changing, and the University of Arizona is at the forefront.

The UA hosts the Arizona Science Lecture Series which are held at Centennial Hall at 7 p.m. every other Tuesday. The lectures will also be available to watch here

The theme for this year’s lecture series is “Catalysts of Change.” The theme puts light on the rapid changes of science and how these changes will impact humans in the future. 

According to Betül Kaçar, assistant professor of astrobiology at the UA, some changes she has seen are, “the origins of life field has progressed to a remarkable state and our telescopes are powerful enough to survey exoplanetary systems.”

The first lecture will be held on Feb. 4 discussing “Life Beyond Earth,” which is about the search for life on other planets. The first lecture will have two speakers, Chris Impey and Betül Kaçar. 

RELATED: Science Lecture Series speakers discuss experiences as Women in STEM

According to Elliot Cheu, the interim dean of the College of Science, “By having two speakers at the first lecture, it will show the audience how two different scientists approach the same issue.” 

The second lecture will be held on Feb. 18 and be about “Our Rapidly Changing Biosphere.” The speaker for this lecture is Brian Enquist, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the UA. This lecture will go over the importance of sustainability, as well as the future of the biosphere and biodiversity on Earth. 

The third lecture will be held on Feb. 25, talking about “The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence.” The speaker for this lecture is Stephen Kobourov, a UA professor of computer science, who will discuss advances and changes in machine learning. The lecture will also focus on the technological challenges that we face. 

The final lecture will be held on March 3 discussing “Our World is Changing Faster Than We Are.” The speaker at the final lecture is Howard-Yana Shapiro, who is a Mars Advanced Research Institute fellow among other positions. This lecture goes into the challenges society faces with feeding the future population. 

RELATED: Lecture series examines the animal kingdom

These lecture series have been going on for years and continue to bring attention to new science advances and issues that scientists along with society face. These lectures also show the research that the UA conducts and shows students what is happening right on their campus with advancements in science. 

According to Joaquin Ruiz, vice president of global environmental futures, “The goal of these lectures is to spark the imagination of those that watch these lectures.” There are thousands of people who watch these lectures which are recognized around the world. 

The Arizona Science Lecture Series go over the climate and how humans are changing, impacts that will affect humans in the future, the significant impact of the way we live, and most importantly how quickly things are changing.

According to Ruiz, “Things we thought were impossible 50 years ago are now possible due to how fast the rate of change is.” 

The Arizona Science Lecture Series leave the impact and realization that science is all around us.

Follow Jillian Bartsch on Twitter

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