Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Final
Science on Tap

Nanotechnology: The Teenage Years

Interest in nanoscience -- and derivative nanotechnologies -- has grown explosively because of the perceived potential to beneficially impact almost every aspect of our lives.  The remarkable scientific discoveries obtained by working at the nanometer length scale will disappoint humankind if they cannot be exploited by integration into technologies providing unprecedented functionality and performance.  In 2000, the U.S. government launched the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) to coordinate and accelerate nanotechnology-related activities across twenty Federal agencies and departments.  As this initiative enters its second decade, how far have we come towards achieving the vision of a future in which applications of nanotechnology will lead to a revolution in technology and industry that benefits society?  Perhaps more importantly, where should we be going?
December 5, 2013
5:30 pm
Cosmos Tapas
4200 Central Ave SE


Neal D. Shinn is the Co-Director for the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT) and the Senior Manager of the Integrated Nanotechnologies Group at Sandia National Laboratories.  CINT is National User Facility jointly operated by Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories for the U. S. Department of Energy, Office of Science.  Dr. Shinn received the B.S. degree in Chemistry and Mathematics from Penn State and a Ph.D. degree in Chemical Physics from MIT.  Thereafter, he was a National Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellow at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.   In 1985, he joined Sandia National Laboratories, later becoming Manager of the Surface and Interface Science Department.  In 2002, he joined CINT to launch the user program and manage the CINT construction project, which was honored with a DOE Award of Achievement.  Neal’s research interests involve the physics and chemistry at solid surfaces.  He has published over 85 scientific papers, was President of the AVS Science & Technology professional society, and currently serves on the Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics.

Science on Tap
February 6, 2014!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mark your Calendars

Science on Tap

November 7, 2013
5:30 pm
Cosmo Tapas
4200 Central Ave SE

Touring the early solar system with Dawn

The NASA Dawn mission will explore the two largest objects in the main asteroid belt, the dwarf planet Ceres and the giant asteroid Vesta. Ceres and Vesta are planetary embryos, relics of the ancient solar system that provide clues about how the four innermost, rocky planets formed. Since their discovery in the 19th century, our view of asteroids has undergone dramatic change – from the missing “fifth planet” to a multitude of small bodies that are the source of most meteorites. Until recently, telescopic observations and meteorite studies were the basis of our knowledge of the asteroid belt. In 2011 and 2012, the Dawn spacecraft took a close-up look at Vesta, transforming this New-Mexico-sized asteroid from a fuzzy patch of light into a complex, geological world. Dawn’s exploration of Vesta has provided new insights into magmatic processes and impacts that shaped this igneous asteroid. In 2015, the Dawn spacecraft will arrive at Ceres, becoming the first to successively orbit and map two solar system objects. Dawn will be at Ceres when New Horizons arrives at Pluto, providing a simultaneous first look at two, icy dwarf planets. Adding to the excitement is the possibility that Ceres may harbor a subsurface, briny liquid-water ocean.  Dawn’s instruments could detect surface expressions of a sub-crustal ocean, which if present may have implications for the origins of life.  I’ll describe the Dawn mission, including its pre-history, genesis and development, successful exploration of Vesta and prospects for Ceres.

Image credits: NASA, JPL-Caltech, UCLA, MPS, DLR, IDA, PSI

Tom Prettyman, Ph.D. is a Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute “PSI,” a not-for-profit NASA research institute centered in Tucson. He is one of several PSI scientists working in New Mexico and is proud to call Albuquerque home. Tom’s doctorate is in Nuclear Engineering and his area of expertise is planetary remote sensing. He has experience working on NASA planetary missions, including Lunar Prospector and 2001 Mars Odyssey. He is a co-investigator of the Dawn mission to the main asteroid belt, for which he serves as the lead for the Gamma Ray and Neutron Detector “GRaND,” the only US payload instrument. In addition, Tom is as an Adjunct Professor at the University of New Mexico's Institute of Meteoritics and a Fellow of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts program, which aims to turn science fiction into reality.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Come one Come all!


Science on Tap

Thursday, October 3, 2013
5:30 pm
Cosmo Tapas
4200 Central Ave SE


Parasites, bugs, and creepy-crawlies in our backyard:

Raising Chagas Disease awareness in local communities

What we don’t know about our environment can have a direct impact on our daily lives, health, and well-being.  Chagas’ Disease is a long-term chronic disease that causes heart disease and digestive problems yet resides latent for decades with no apparent symptoms.  While Chagas is often thought of as “the disease on the other side of the border,” and associated with substandard housing, it also has the potential to emerge in New Mexico as human interactions with the environment increase.  Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas, is found in the Kissing Bug (Triatoma) vector, which are known to cohabitates with Neotoma (rats).  All three, parasites, bugs, and rodents have been found to live in New Mexico’s recreational backyards such as
the Gila Wilderness.  Scientists  located T. cruzi in Triatome bugs 50 years ago near Tyrone, but until 2011, no one continued the search for the parasite.  This talk will provide an overview of the 1959 discovery of T. cruzi and the 2011 efforts to locate it in specific geographic areas.  This fun and informative talk will convey the interesting interactions of the parasite/bug/rodent and how it affects our day-to-day living. 



Marjorie McConnell holds a Master's degree in Social Science from Utah State University, and earned a PhD in Medical Sociology from the University of New Mexico. Her dissertation involved measuring behavior changes in response to hantavirus outreach programs in northwestern New Mexico, Panama, and Chile. Her experience with interdisciplinary teams expanded in 2010 with the creation of the Geo-Epidemiology Research Network (GERN), including team members from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the New Mexico Consortium, New Mexico universities, University of Texas at El Paso, and the University of Kansas. GERN takes an interdisciplinary research perspective in the Geo-spatial nuances of infectious diseases. Her current research interests are within the social-epidemiology and ecology of hantavirus, Chagas, and emerging infectious diseases.  In addition to her appointment as a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology, she has duties and responsibilities as Director of Core Services at the Long Term Ecological Research Network Office housed at the University of New Mexico.  Marjorie is also a Certified Research Administrator, with more than 21 years of direct experience in grant, cooperative agreement, and contract management.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

A time to eat, drink & talk about science!


Science on Tap

Thursday, September 5
5:30 pm
Cosmo Tapas
4200 Central Ave SE
When is a “Law” not a Law? When it’s Moore’s

Joe Cecchi
Professor of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering
University of New Mexico

In 1965, Gordon Moore, who would go on to co-found Intel, published a paper in which he observed that from 1959 to 1965, the number of components in an integrated circuit (a.k.a. computer chip) doubled approximately every year. He further opined that it could go on “for at least 10 years[1].” Five years later, when this geometrical increase was still continuing, Cal Tech professor, Carver Mead, dubbed this forecast, “Moore’s Law.”

Predictions are always challenging, especially when they are about the future. But Moore’s Law has turned out to be essentially correct for more than 45 years! Was that destiny, or a self-fulfilling prophecy? And if it’s not a law, what is it and why does it matter? Has Moore’s Law become the de facto standard for all technological advancement as many would have us believe?

But don’t worry. Aside from a few gee whiz examples, this discussion will not be about numbers. Rather it will be about a world transformed by what is arguably the quintessence of technological achievement and unimaginably precise manufacturing.

[1] Gordon E. Moore, Cramming more components onto integrated circuits, Electronics, 38, April 19, 1965.

For the past 20 years, Joe Cecchi has been Professor of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering at UNM.  After spending 15 years on the “dark side,” (chair and dean), Joe is happy to return to teaching and research in semiconductor manufacturing and nanotechnology.  He has authored more than 100 research publications and is an inventor on 8 patents, but he is most proud of the 25 masters and doctoral students whose work he supervised.  Joe received his bachelor’s degree in physics from Knox College and his masters and doctorate in physics from Harvard University.  Later in life, he also earned an MBA from UNM.  Joe’s research career started about the same time as Moore’s Law, and it has certainly made for “living in interesting times.”

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Science on Tap
Season 2 • The Fun Continues

Thursday, August 1, 2013

5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Cosmo Tapas Restaurant

4200 Central Ave SE

Watching the watchmen: Can you "see" Internet surveillance?
This talk will explore a question in the science of information and computation, which is: can you see when somebody is performing surveillance on you online?  I'll start with some background about the global scene of Internet censorship and surveillance, explaining some of the techniques that we've used to document these two distinct, but related, phenomena.  Censorship is relatively easy to detect.  For example, if you try to post something sensitive on a social media site and your friends can't see the post, then it has probably been censored.  Surveillance is much harder to detect, however, and in most cases detection is virtually impossible.  I'll describe some on-going research at UNM about how to infer through scans what's going on deep in the bowels of the Internet, which may provide clues about different kinds of Internet surveillance infrastructures around the world.

Jed Crandall is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of New Mexico.  With the goal of protecting free and open communications online, Crandall's research group develops cutting-edge techniques for inferring what's really going on the Internet and in software that connects to the Internet.  This entails things like network scanning techniques, reverse-engineering of machine code, and automated Asian-language natural language processing.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mark Your Calendars

for the next

Science on Tap

Thursday, May 2nd
5:30 pm
Cosmo Tapas

“The Inside Story: The Science of Blood Doping”

Lester Gyongyosi

Presbyterian Healthcare Services

His talk will address enhancing athletic performance as well as legitimate indications. Gyongyosi has more than 30 years experience as a hospital pharmacist.
The talk is part of  a series of informal talks on a wide range of topics in science and technology. They are co-sponsored by the UNM Nanoscience and Microsystems (NSMS) and the Chemical and Nuclear Engineering (ChNE) departments, Cosmos Tapas Restaurant in Nob Hill, and the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History. Admission is free, and you must be 21 years to attend.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The next Science on Tap is just around the corner!

"Distribution and abundances of water in the inner Solar System"

Francis McCubbin, Senior Research Scientist of the University of New Mexico's Institute of Meteoritics, will speak on the distribution and abundances of water in the inner solar system at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 4. McCubbin will discuss the current thinking for how we use meteorites and remote observations to understand the amount of water within planetary bodies and the role of water in sustaining life on other planets. The planetary bodies will include Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, The Moon, and asteroids.

Francis McCubbin, Senior Scientist, received a Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Dr. McCubbin received his award in a ceremony at the White House. McCubbin was recognized for studies of the geochemical role of water and other volatiles in extraterrestrial materials from the inner solar system. Francis was also interviewed recently by National Geographic about his article in Geology (which includes UNM co-authors Stephen Elardo, Kathleen Vander Kaaden and Charles Shearer) and NewScientist about an article which appeared in Science (DOI: 10.1126/science.1220715).

The talk is part of "Science on Tap," a series of informal talks on a wide range of topics in science and technology at Cosmo Tapas Restaurant, 4200 Central Ave. SE in Albuquerque. 

The talks are co-sponsored by the UNM Nanoscience and Microsystems (NSMS) and the Chemical and Nuclear Engineering (ChNE) departments, Cosmos Tapas Restaurant in Nob Hill, and the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History. Admission is free, and you must be 21 years to attend. Please visit for more information.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Countdown to the next Science on Tap


Mark Peceny
Dean, College of Arts and Sciencs

March 7, 2013
5:30 pm
Cosmo Tapas

Bring a friend or friends, make a night of it!


Political Science Professor Mark Peceny was appointed dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Peceny has a record for creating one of the most diverse faculties in the nation among departments of political science at similar institutions and is interested in building on last year’s successes in shared governance. He also has the goal to enhance teaching and research by developing a sustainable strategy for hiring and retaining tenure track faculty. Peceny joined UNM in 1992 and has served as chair of the Department of Political Science.

Peceny grad­u­ated from the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan in 1984 with a BA in polit­i­cal sci­ence and earned his Ph.D. from Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity in 1993. He joined the UNM fac­ulty as an assis­tant pro­fes­sor in 1992. He was pro­moted to full pro­fes­sor and named chair of the polit­i­cal sci­ence depart­ment in 2005. His research exam­ines democ­racy, dic­ta­tor­ship, and war with spe­cial atten­tion to the pro­mo­tion of democ­racy dur­ing U.S. mil­i­tary interventions.

His book, Democ­racy at the Point of Bay­o­nets, was pub­lished by Penn State Press and his research has appeared in the Amer­i­can Polit­i­cal Sci­ence Review, the flag­ship jour­nal of his dis­ci­pline and in Inter­na­tional Orga­ni­za­tion, the top jour­nal in the sub­field of inter­na­tional rela­tions. He has won UNM university-wide and college-wide teach­ing awards.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Welcome back! February Science on Tap!

See you next Thursday, February 7th for another
Science on Tap

Bring a friend or friends, make a night of it!
Of Valentines and Lupercalia: The Evolution of Human Sexuality

Steven Gangestad, PhD

 It’s broadly thought that humans evolved to engage in biparental care, facilitated by pair-bonding. Put simplistically, reproduction, and hence sex, in this view came to be associated with attachment to and “love” for partners. Yet even if so, humans evolved, in the past 5 million years from ancestors (similar to chimpanzees or other close relatives) that did not engage in biparental care or form close pair-bonds. How, in more precise terms, are we to understand the evolutionary transition that took place? What has changed, and what has maintained features shared by distant ancestors (and hence, close relatives)? This talk will concern a piece of this question. Specifically, the talk will present the thesis, and supporting data, that major modifications exist in both the extent and nature of women’s sexual interests outside of the fertile phase (outside of a several day period preceding ovulation). Women’s sexual interests during the fertile phase, by contrast, may possess features shared by distant ancestors. Outstanding questions for future research will also be discussed.