Plymouth’s first Science Café was held on October 15 at Biederman’s Deli and Pub. Even though the Red Sox were playing an important post-season game, over fifty people, including community members and PSU students, came to learn about science in an informal setting.
The topic on tap for the first Science Brew Café was “Sensing New Hampshire’s Streams and Rivers.” Hydrologist and assistant professor Mark Green gave an overview of a research project using 200 sensors at 100 sites to study water quality and flow. The sensors collect information on conductivity, temperature and stage every 5 to 15 minutes year round creating a large volume of data. Conductivity serves as a measure of water quality and stage relates to the flow and amount of water in the rivers and streams. Errin Volitis, a research technician working on the project, talked about her work coordinating the installation of the sensors and training volunteers to help with the project. The sensors are hosted by volunteers and organizations around New Hampshire and each has a specific research question which the data from the sensors will help to address. Ashley Hyde, a graduate student in Environmental Science and Policy, explained how the data are also being used by school teachers and students at all levels throughout the state to give them experience in understanding their local environment and data analysis.
Science Cafés take place all over the globe with the goal of bringing science and scientists into a community in a casual setting. Please see http://www.sciencecafes.org for more information. New Hampshire recently formed a Science Café Coalition http://sciencecafenh.org. The State currently has ongoing Cafés in Portsmouth, Nashua, and Lebanon.
The Plymouth Science Brew Café was organized by assistant professor Shannon Rogers and Plymouth State University’s Center for the Environment. Thank you Biederman’s for hosting the event and also to the presenters. Support for this event was also provided by NHEPSCoR and the National Science Foundation. http://www.epscor.unh.edu.