2013 Annual Science Report

Carnegie Institution of Washington Reporting  |  SEP 2012 – AUG 2013

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. Since 1999, many speakers have been chosen to focus on the institution’s interest in astrobiology. For instance, the 2012/2013 series (8 lectures total) included a presentation by French astronomer and cosmologist Dr Joseph Silk entitled ‘From Here to Eternity’. Another of the lectures featured Dr Jesse Ausubel of Rockerfeller University talking about the finding of the first Census of Marine Life. Prior to the lectures, these presenters met informally with middle school students from Carnegie’s Saturday science school, First Light, to discuss their research and how it applies to astrobiology and to the students’ own lives. Students from several area high 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.