Borderlands Brewing Co. Science Café

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Series Title: Lessons from the Past Shaping Horizons of the Future

The Science Cafe Series at Borderlands Brewing in Downtown Tucson features graduate students in the Carson Scholars program at the UA Institute of the Environment. Their research focuses on environmentally related science and solutions.

Borderlands Brewing Company


PhD Candidate graduate student speakers are selected from the Carson Scholars Program, sponsored by the UA Institute of the Environment.


Spring 2019 Science Café Presenters:

Thursday, January 10, 2019 at 6:00PM

Journey of a Drop: Harvesting Rain in Arizona

Rodolfo PeonPresenter: Norma Villagomez-Marquez, Ph.D. Student, Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science. Agnese Nelms Haury Fellow.

Imagine a room with 9 people in it, 8 of those people may grab a cup full of water from a pitcher in the room but 1 person must walk thirty minutes each way for the same cup of water. Today, water shortages affect 1 out of 9 people worldwide. Water shortages are not limited to dry environments, like Tucson, places with a stable water supply can, unfortunately, lack the infrastructure to provide access to safe drinking water. However, there are places where you do not have to walk thirty minutes each way for it because there is an abundance of groundwater but the infrastructure to supply is yet to be constructed. You may be thinking, drilling wells, pumping groundwater, treating it to safe drinking standards and designing the delivery system will be rather costly. It is. But are there economical alternatives that can provide safe drinking water to rural communities around the globe?  Luckily for us, there are, and one, in particular, we have been practicing for over 4,000 years: rainwater harvesting.

Come hear about Project Harvest and how they are engaging community members through citizen science about the health of their roof-harvested rainwater, soil, and plants.  Learn about four communities across the state of Arizona working alongside scientists who collect rainwater, soil, and plant samples for analysis of bacteria, organic, and inorganic contaminants! 

Norma Villagomez-Marquez Science Café Talk


Thursday, February 14, 2019 at 6:00PM

Gaming the Environment: A Virtual Portal to the Living World

Amy HudsonPresenter: Adam Chumrzynski, PhD student, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Institute of the Environment Fellow.

Global variation in plant form and function is dramatically captured by forests around the world. Laser scanning tools promise to provide highly detailed models of tree architecture, which will lead to better physiological predictions of tree performance under climate change. The ongoing advancement of technological approaches in ecology and environmental science will lead to more and more accurate predictions of change.

Adam Chumrzynski Science Café Talk




Thursday, March 14, 2019 at 6:00PM

Shaping the Future of Solar

Genevieve ComeauPresenter: Bharati NeelamrajuPh.D. Student, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Agnese Nelms Haury Fellow.

Renewable energy has been in the forefront of science, with solar energy being one of the biggest areas of research. When we think of solar energy, we think of humungous silicon based solar panels which have a high cost of manufacturing, transportation and installation. So while they have their advantages, they also lack in certain functionality. This is where organic electronics comes in to do things silicon cannot. Organic (c-based) materials are recyclable, biocompatible, printable, low cost, semi-transparent and flexible!

These materials make semi-transparent solar windows that can produce up to 25% of a building’s energy requirement possible. However, organic materials have to overcome certain challenges, especially in terms of degradation, lifetime and device performance.  In this talk, we try and understand why we use organic electronics and how my lab tries to understand the device physics and degradation mechanisms to increase their lifetime.

Bharati Neelamraju Science Café Talk


Thursday, April 11, 2019 at 6:00PM

Stories from Alaska's Melting Edge

Presenter: Hannah Hindley, Ph.D. Student, Department of English, Institute of the Environment Fellow

As a nonfiction writer, Hannah's current research revolves around endangered landscapes—in particular, Alaska’s glacier country. Last summer, Hannah embedded herself in the post-boom mining town of Kennicott, nestled in the heart of Wrangell St. Elias National Park. There, she gathered stories from scientists, seasonal workers, and long-term residents in America's largest glacial landscape. Learn about the immense park, the tiny town, and the community's evolving relationship with the warming landscape.

Hannah Hindley's Science Café Talk


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