2009 Annual Science Report

Carnegie Institution of Washington Reporting  |  JUL 2008 – AUG 2009

EPO Activity: Capital Science Lectures

Project Progress

To make science more accessible to the general public, the Carnegie Institution of Washington began the Capital Science Lectures in the fall of 1990. These free public talks are designed to help non-scientists understand scientific thinking and to appreciate the importance of basic research in our lives today. Over the past nine years, many speakers have been chosen to focus on the institution’s interest in astrobiology. The 2008/2009 series (5 lectures total), for instance, featured: Susan Kieffer (University of Illinois) talking about ‘Geysers of the Solar System’, Steven Beckwith (University of California) on ‘The Creation of Everything: The First 2 Billion Years’ and Margaret Tolbert (University of Colorado) with a talk entitled ‘Hazy Skies on Earth: Lessons from Saturn’s Moon Titan’. Prior to the lectures, these presenters met with middle school students from Carnegie’s Saturday science school, First Light, to discuss their research and how it applies to astrobiology. Students from several area schools serving a high minority population have been attending the lecture series since its inception. Approximately 450 members of the general public also attended each lecture.