Season Schedule

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September 2017

Weight, wait... I didn't know that: strategies for a more healthful you!

Mike Hoog, Physical Therapist


Presenter's Essay and Bio

Presenter's Essay

I have been a practitioner of physical therepy for over 27 years. So why would a PT be providing a lecture on weight control and mindful eating? I guess the simplest answer is that I look at my patients from a holistic point of view, rather than a simple diagnosis. I treat the “whole person,” and believe it or not diet can play a huge role in a patient’s recovery and positive outcome. 2 out of 3 Americans are either overweight or obese in this country. Almost every patient that walks through our doors has some issue with food, either too heavy or too thin or malnourished due to poor eating habits.

I felt like I needed to "up my game", in areas of: Mindful or Mindless eating, weight control, and nutrition to better serve my patients. The one book that really influenced me on this quest for knowledge is titled “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think” by Brian Wansink,. Brian is a Stanford Ph.D. and the director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab. This book is easy to read and chuck full of information regarding human behavior towards food and what we can do to manipulate our environment to reduce our need for will power and begin to eat more mindfully.

About the Presenter

Mike Hoog

As a teenager and a young adult, I guess I have always been influenced by my parents. My mom was a CRT operator and my Dad was a physical therapist for the Public Health service. My mother was a talker, super social and loved people and interactions with everyone. She would always say things like, "guess who I bumped into at the grocery store." My dad, he too was a talker but he was more reserved and passionate. These two crazy people were responsible for who I am today. I got the gift of gab from my mom and the calm passion influence from my pop. These two qualities I feel are a nice combination for my profession.

My grades out of high school were not that great. I went to a junior college for two years then transferred to San Francisco State University. My grades improved and I worked at a PT office in Marin County part time while picking up night classes: anatomy, kinesiology etc. I graduated with a BA in Physical Education from SF state. I applied to PT schools and in the meantime I took EMT courses. I decided if I didn’t get into PT school I would try to become a firefighter. During the EMT training I realized that I really missed the interactions with people. The Emergency Medical profession is all about rescue and racing to the ER. I wanted to know about the people I was helping, how they were post trauma, etc. I wanted a relationship with them…but the profession did not provide this interaction.

After 4 months of anxious waiting, "the letter" arrived from New York University (pause for triumphant music)…. I lived in Manhattan for 2 ½ years studying and learning, both in life and therapy. For a short time, I loved living in a big city. I felt as if I was living at the epicenter of the world. The twin towers were still standing when I graduated in 1990.

I have been a physical therapist for 27 years now, mostly working in an outpatient setting. My patient population is young adult to seniors and I love them all. People ask me if I ever get bored working on the same body part, back, neck etc., and I say "heck no," because each body part is attached to some really interesting individual that I have the privilege of getting to know.

In addition to working with people, the other thing I think is really great about my job is that I am constantly learning and adjusting my practice to be as effective and efficient as I can be while still trying to make therapy fun and challenging for my patients. I have been a yoga practitioner for over 10 years and I have recently integrated Dry Needling to my practice to help with musculoskeletal healing. I focus on the “whole person,” not just a body segment. I am taking a more integrated approach and it seems to be benefitting my patients as well as my own longevity as a physical therapist.

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September 2017

Math Circles

James Taylor


Presenter's Bio

Presenter's Bio

James Taylor

James Taylor founded the Math Circles Collaborative of New Mexico and the Math Teachers' Circle of Santa Fe. James has led math circles, Julia Robinson Math Festivals, and math wrangles in New Mexico and Arizona. He recently retired after 21 years at Santa Fe Preparatory School as computer department chair, computer science and mathematics teacher. He has been working with math circles for students and teachers since early 2006. Most recently James has led an eight-day workshop of math circles with computational extensions at Northern New Mexico College (NNMC), and has helped found several New Mexico math circles at 7-12 grade schools, as well as at NNMC and New Mexico Highlands University. He has been involved with the Alliance of Indigenous Math Circles, the Navajo Math Circles Project, Julia Robinson Math Festivals, and many math circles in classrooms.

James has also been involved since the late 1990s in teaching computational science and computer modeling in the US and Mexico, including teaching modeling workshops at the Santa Fe Institute and the MIT.

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October 2017

A Magus, Magic, and the Magnus Effect: And even maybe some amusing mathematics

Gordon McDonough and Elizabeth Martineau, Mathamuseum


Presenter's Essay and Bio

Presenter's Essay

This evening of science magic with Liz and Gordon will involve strange polymers, sleight of hand, weird math, and peculiar experiments with fluid dynamics

You will be challenged to observe carefully, think deeply, make wild predictions, ask silly questions, propose unrealistic tests, and communicate your conclusions.

If it sounds a little like The Scientific Method, don’t worry. No scientist actually follows The Scientific Method and neither do we. After all, this is not a science fair, but rather an evening of magic, fun, and mental gymnastics.

About the Presenters

Gordon McDonough

When I was born, in 1951, Harry S Truman was in his last months as President. That makes me older than most radioactive fallout. I grew up in a neighborhood outside Boston that was settled by faculty and staff of MIT and Harvard. There was a lot of education and even, eventually, a Nobel Prize. In some ways it was much like Los Alamos is today.

I couldn’t read effectively until I was in 7th or 8th grade when I discovered nonfiction. I found a copy of The Silent World by Jacques Yves Cousteau, and in spite of its having hardly any pictures and many pages, I devoured the book. I decided I was going to be a marine engineer and design and operate submersibles. Memorable reads in high school were a book about sports car design and another about pre-stressed concrete engineering.

The late 1960s were a time of major political unrest. Television was full of Vietnam. Dr. Martin Luther King, with whom I had once marched, was assassinated. The Chicago Seven were on trial, the ghettos were in flame, and the first computer game I ever saw was a version of Bombardment played on a time-sharing terminal with the gameplay printed out on green bar paper, whatever that was (hint—there was no video). I spent a lot of time making wordy pseudo-psychedelic posters about liberal causes and for my own forlorn campaign for President in 1988, when I would finally become of age. I didn’t win.

Pretty shy, I was bullied in the locker room, my friends were a small group of dorks, I tagged along behind a couple of truly engaged kids. I loved my physics class. I had a crush on my French teacher, though it didn’t help me do my homework. I sweated out my lines for a drama class. I had a job in a private girls’ school cafeteria kitchen with a bizarre assortment of misfits. I spent many hours walking alone in the woods. It was a pretty normal adolescence.

My aptitude test pegged me to become 1) a nurse, 2) a teacher, anddown around 5)an engineer. I flunked out of a medium quality engineering school in one semester. My mistake was other than support from my parents; it was not ever asking anyone for help. I flip-flopped around several departments before settling as an art major. I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1973.

Since then, besides making art, I have been a restaurant steward, a home repairman, a commercial fisherman, a library clerk, a piano mover, a tent maker, a bakery pan washer, a library security guard, a children’s museum exhibit designer/builder, a tutor, a public middle school “Highly Qualified” science and social studies teacher, and a science outreach educator for the Bradbury Science Museum. I played Officer O’Hara in Los Alamos Little Theater’s most recent production of Arsenic and Old Lace. Now as I retire, I look forward to bringing up the Mathamuseum, making art, reading, riding my bikes, and helping make my world a better and more beautiful place.

Elizabeth Martineau

I was raised as a military brat, criss-crossing the US and Europe with my parents and sister. This required me to be in constant motion, always adjusting to new people and schools. Although I hate moving, I love experiencing new places. I am proud of hiking Cinque Terra (Italy), the Inca Trail (Peru), Maroon Bells, and a 14er (Colorado). My travels have instilled in me an appreciation for diversity and an insatiable curiosity to explore the world.

After earning an Education degree from Kansas State University, I began my teaching career in a small farm town. Later, I moved to Los Alamos, where I taught a variety of grades and subjects from kindergarten through middle school. I thought that I would be a school teacher for life, but life had other plans for me. I began working in a science museum, taking science programs around northern New Mexico. (If you ever had “Science on Wheels” visit your school, it could have been me!)

When the Cerro Grande Fire ripped through my community I saw homes destroyed and was forced to reevaluate what was important in life. I believe in the power of community, collaboration, and volunteering. So, you can often find me volunteering for community organizations, working at the Nature Center, teaching at the Art Center, and advocating for education and children.

I am recently retired and am enjoying the outdoors, quilting, and starting a business called the Mathamuseum. I do not know what my future holds, but I am looking for new opportunities.

Contact the presenter - remember to include your email address if you want a response.

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October 2017

Does Distance to a Health Facility Matter: To Whom?

Billystrom Jivetti, University of New Mexico


Presenter's Essay and Bio

Presenter's Essay

In rural areas of western Kenya, the distance from a health care facility determines the healthcare-seeking behavior of the residents. Alternative places for healthcare in rural areas include traditional healers, community health workers, chemists or unlicensed drug sellers, and village shops. Against this background, the distance, frequency, pattern, and diseases burdening residents in the rural communities are crucial for determining health interventions.

The purpose of my research is to explore the differential healthcare seeking behavior at a peripheral health facility in Western Kenya. Given the location of the health facility, the study seeks to define who gets deterred from seeking primary healthcare services because of distance. The main questions are: Within the distance to the facility, what is the variation in the healthcare-seeking behavior? Does place of residence matter in relation to the health facility? Who gets deterred by distance more, men or women?

For the data collection and analysis part of this research, health utilization data was obtained from the daily and monthly records of diagnosis for adults and children made at the outpatient Shaviringa Health Center in Western Kenya for 2014.

In this Café, the health conditions for which patients seek diagnosis will be grouped according to the ICD classifications. A typology of users will be constructed based on age, distance, and diagnosis. Characteristics of the villages from which the patients reside will also be identified. Then charts made in Excel that show a representation of the ages, sex, and diagnoses.

The findings of this research will extend knowledge about rural health interventions and how they fit in the global efforts of sustaining primary healthcare access. The statistical analysis will enable us to make decisions about healthcare seeking behavior and make recommendations for policy or future research.

About the Presenter

Billystrom Jivetti

I grew up in a rural community in western Kenya. We improvised most of what we played with and soccer was our favorite activity. There was separation of chores for boys and girls. Herding cattle was a common activity for boys, while girls ferried water from the river and collected firewood for cooking meals. We walked about four miles to school every day because there were no school buses. Most high schools have a boarding system, so we stayed in school for three months before going home for a four-week vacation. Hospitals are few and distant, so we had to walk far when we fell sick.

My father taught math and sciences in elementary school, and he always marveled at scientific inventions. My elder brother was pursuing a physics course in college, and he used to fascinate me with stories about the solar system. Consequently, I ended up being inclined towards science.

Since televisions and other forms of popular entertainment were hard to find, story-telling was the norm. The elders in our community told some interesting stories to the young ones in the evenings. Those stories carried a lot of teaching; this is called traditional knowledge. My favorite is traditional ecological knowledge, which captures how communities interacted with their environment sustainably. I became interested in natural conservation after listening to stories about herbal medicine, hunting game, and how to preserve our environment. As a result, I am now an avid conservation biologist. Currently, the issues affecting access to health care are informing my research.

I have made several turns before I got to my current position. I wanted to be a medical doctor, but didn’t get good high school training: I missed biology in high school. In college, I pursued botany and zoology and environmental management in graduate school. To be able to respond to the issues affecting human health, I studied international development, too. Currently, I am working in a position that enables me to study how population growth affects resource use.

My present research is informed by the growing realization that the world is a global village. The issues affecting people in developing countries also affect those countries that are already developed, like America. We need to understand how people eat, live, the kind of sicknesses, water needs, infrastructure needs, security, natural resources. This is branch of science called demography. We use a lot of statistics to set trends and projections of population growth.

I run about 7 miles every day. I am also a bass guitar player. I hope to play the saxophone one day. To balance, I wake up early to go and run. I try to play my bass guitar at least three days a week. Personal health makes me watch my lifestyle, including eating habits.

As a scientist, I tell my stories with numbers.

Contact the presenter - remember to include your email address if you want a response.

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October 2017

Taming Turbulence: The Fundamentals of Aerodynamics

Brennan Taylor, Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirtland Air Force Base


Presenter's Essay and Bio

Presenter's Essay

The classic question of aerodynamics has always been, “How do airplanes fly?” You may have heard the terms lift, thrust, and drag, but do you know what they mean? Have you ever heard of an old scientist named Bernoulli? More importantly, why is an engineer from the Laser Division of AFRL focused on air?

Our discussion will dive into the fundamental principles of fluids and fluid motion, looking at things like pressure differences and turbulence. Hands on demos will help us explore some of these fundamental premises as we build toward an understanding of the forces at play in a standard aerodynamic environment. Ultimately, we will look at why this matters to laser research!

About the Presenter

Brennan Taylor

I was always a nerd growing up. I enjoyed math and science, loved building things (especially with Legos), and was fascinated to learn how things worked. In 7th grade I was reading a Popular Science magazine and in an article about some crazy, new technology saw the phrase, “developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory.” I was immediately hooked and decided then and there that was my dream job! I wasn’t sure what all happened at this Air Force Research Laboratory but I was convinced they were building awesome new stuff and I wanted in! About a year later I was given a book called, “The Department of Mad Scientists: How DARPA is Remaking Our World” and discovered another government agency called the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which suddenly was added to my list of dream jobs.

I soon was thrust into high school and college started looming on the horizon. I had decided I wanted to be an aerospace engineer and thus limited my search to schools that offered that degree. I also knew I didn’t want to go to a big school so I decided to look at undergrad only programs. Two schools topped every chart: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the United States Air Force Academy. I did my research and visited both schools. I ended up applying to both and in April of my senior year I received a notification that I had been offered admittance to USAFA (Riddle’s acceptance had come a couple months prior). I decided to choose USAFA for the leadership opportunities and extraordinary experiences only possible there. Thus, in the summer of 2012 I went to Basic Cadet Training and began my experience in the Air Force.

As a cadet I decided to pursue a mechanical engineering degree, rather than aeronautical engineering as "Mech" was described as more broad and offered a wider range of opportunities after college. During my time at USAFA, I had the opportunity to fly a glider, complete 5 solo free fall jumps, lead several organizations of over 50 cadets, and work with the FORMULA SAE team to design and build a ½ scale Formula 1 race car, which we took to a competition in Michigan.

During the fall of my senior year I received my first assignment: I was going to be working for the Directed Energy Directorate of the Air Force Research Lab at Kirtland AFB; nearly 10 years after I had first heard about it, I was going to get my first dream job and be a Developmental Engineer at AFRL!

I have now been on the job for over a year and am working with the Aero-Effects Branch. We do research to study the effects of turbulence and other aero disturbances on propagating laser beams to support the development of future laser weapons.

Contact the presenter - remember to include your email address if you want a response.

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November 2017

How to Balance a River: Water and sediment for the environment and people

Nicholas Sutfin, Los Alamos National Laboratory


Presenter's Essay and Bio

Presenter's Essay

Have you ever thought about where your water comes from before it comes out of your kitchen faucet or tap? Those molecules of water have traveled around Earth as rain drops, flowed through rivers, sat deep beneath the ground, moved through the oceans, helped keep plants alive, and maybe even been drank by other animals before it ended up if your glass! Water molecules have moved around Earth like this for millions of years in what is called the hydrologic cycle. My research looks at the movement of water across the surface of the Earth, mostly through rivers and streams. It is easy for us to see how water moves across the Earth in rivers, which are very important for us and the environment. Rivers are the arteries of Earth, delivering vital nutrients to the organs of the landscape and bringing life to even the most remote places of society. However, due to humans, the Earth has developed a very unhealthy diet, which harms the natural processes of rivers and their ability to deliver water, nutrients, and sediment.

Historically, many societies gathered around rivers and developed cities and villages. With the goal to develop the land, humans have greatly changed the shape and behavior of rivers. These changes are a result of mining, timber harvest, digging out the bottom of rivers so large boats can move up them, building cities and roads around them, and changing the amount of water that flows in rivers. To collect freshwater for drinking, growing food, and making every-day products, we have left only a small amount of water that naturally flows through some rivers. This is true especially in the western United States, like New Mexico, where populations in cities are growing and demand for water pulls a lot of water out of rivers. This changes the shape of rivers and the ability for rivers to support wildlife and the environment. The impact of societies on natural river systems is made worse by a changing climate. As temperatures increase, the demand for water becomes higher. My research and collaborative efforts with other scientists seek to explore the natural processes of rivers and how land use and climate change influence these processes. I do this by comparing how rivers move water and sediment over time, how the shape of rivers change sediment and water movement, and how humans change the shape of rivers.

This Café will be about how we get water from rivers, how this impacts the natural flow of rivers and wildlife, and what we can do to help. One of the main reasons we take water from rivers is for drinking water in cities and growing food, we do this by build dams to store that water in reservoirs. Dams and reservoirs store water that we can use throughout the year and can create electricity for use where there is a hydropower dam. Although reservoirs save water for when we need it and provide fun activities for families to go swimming and boating, it changes our rivers and hurts the river ecosystem (plants and animals living in and around the river). Dams can hurt the ecosystem by allowing less water to flow in rivers and by trapping sediment that normally moves down the river with water. This is important also for the coast and beaches along the ocean. When we trap sediment behind dams, beaches, and important habitat for wildlife can disappear. Some fish grow up as they swim down the river, live their life in the ocean, and then swim back up the river to have offspring where they were born. Dams often stop fish from swimming back up the river, but some dams include fish “ladders” that help them get past the dam. This is one thing that can be done to lessen the impact of dams, but finding ways to decrease the number of dams we need is probably the most important. We can help by conserving water and trying to find ways to use less water. I do this by turning off the shower while I am washing and then turning it back on again to rinse. We can also turn the sink or faucet on lightly when we use it, and turn it off when we are not, so it’s not blasting out lots of water that we don't need. Using less electricity can decrease the amount of water needed when we get our power from hydroelectric plants.

As a society, we can (1) continue to develop solar and wind power so we do not have to build more dams, (2) make more efficient buildings so we do not need to use as much electricity, (3) use less electricity at home, (4) build dams with fish ladders and devises that help ecosystems live with dams, (5) increase the efficiency of our water use, especially in agriculture and growing food, (6) xeriscaping our yards so we do not have to use so much water on grassy lawns (this is the largest use of water in the US aside from agriculture), (7) eat less meat because it takes a lot of water to grow the food animals eat. Find out more about what you can do to help conserve water (https://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/urgentissues/water/how-you-can-help/index.htm ) and your personal water footprint (http://waterfootprint.org/en/water-footprint/personal-water-footprint/) or how much water you use by calculating your water footprint here https://www.watercalculator.org/wfc2/q/household/ .

About the Presenter

Nicolas Sutfin

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January 2018

Climate Modeling, Ice Sheets and Sea Level

Jeremy Fyke, Los Alamos National Laboratory


Presenter's Essay and Bio

Presenter's Essay

Humans now control planet Earth. Year by year, by emitting climate-warming greenhouse gases into the atmosphere we increase the temperature of the air, decrease the amount of snow in the mountains, increase the acidity of the oceans, and even strengthen devastating hurricane impacts. These impacts are now being felt by individuals, communities, states, and countries all over the world, and the changes will only accelerate as human emissions of greenhouse gases continue. Perhaps the most profound long-term impact of human-driven climate change will be increased sea level resulting from melting of the massive Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. These giant glaciers together have the ability raise global sea level by an astounding 210 feet if they melted completely, flooding vast areas of land that is home to hundreds of millions of people.

How much ice sheet melt have we already committed to? How much more can we emit before we commit to total ice sheet loss? Will ice sheet melting affect ocean circulation, weather patterns, and even volcanic eruptions? These urgent and unanswered questions are now being addressed by the climate science community, as we race to understand the impacts of our actions on planet Earth. To help frame these questions, in this Cafe we’ll travel back in time, to periods of Earth’s history when at times the entire Earth was encased in ice. And we’ll project into the future to estimate how ice sheet loss will affect the sea level changes that future generations will need to adapt to.

As part of this exploration I’ll share the exciting tools and techniques that climate scientists are using to understand past, present, and future ice sheet changes. These include massive ice drills transported by military cargo jets to the middle of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, precise fleets of satellites measuring minute changes to Earth’s gravity fields, and massive computer programs that use the world’s largest supercomputers to simulate the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheet interactions with the surrounding climate systems. It is these complex computer models in particular that I have worked with in my journey to understand ice sheet behavior. In fact, in this Cafe I will actually enlist you to explore active research data from a brand new research experiment which aims to understand Antarctic ice sheet changes.

About the Presenter

Jeremy Fyke

How does our planet work? This is a fantastic question and one that has increasingly piqued my interest through high school, university, and now professional research at Los Alamos National Laboratory. I grew up outside a small town in the forests of central British Columbia Canada. My parents were high school teachers, and when I was in Grade 8 they pulled me and my sister from school and we spent a year living out of backpacks on a world-circling trip. Of all the memories, some of the most vivid were of dramatic natural features: Mt. Merapi spitting fire on Java, vertical living walls of coral reef in Fiji, and the world’s largest peaks in the Nepal Himalaya. Back in Canada, between classes I enjoyed scrambling, skiing, hiking, biking and climbing with friends in the interior BC mountains, where we gained a deep respect for the natural world through outdoor adventures.

After finishing high school, I decided to leave my hometown to enter the Earth and Ocean Sciences program at the University of Victoria, which combined geology and geophysics with math, chemistry, physics, atmospheric sciences, oceanography, and biology to understand Earth system behaviour in a very complete way. In senior undergraduate years (and between several important years off to travel internationally, ski, surf, work and generally have fun/avoid trouble and also meet my wife!) I took fascinating Earth science courses taught by Earth system researchers. More than anything, in these classes I learned of deep mysteries still remaining in Earth’s behaviour and also learned how to start asking real research questions. I was hooked on Earth science! My enthusiasm for asking questions showed, and the leader of a high-powered climate modelling laboratory at the university invited me to start graduate studies with his group investigating the response of sub-sea methane deposits to human-forced climate change. Here I became part of a crew of young and motivated computational climate scientists that, guided by senior researchers, used computer programs as ‘virtual laboratories’ to answer climate questions. So fun!

I then moved to developing computer codes that connected models of ice sheet dynamics to larger models of the climate system to understand how human climate forcing may cause sea level rise by melting the vast Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. It is this effort that I continue today as a research scientist at LANL. My LANL job lets me work on a topic that is challenging and fun with incredible colleagues, has massive implications for global society, and has also become deeply politicized. Contributing to climate progress through understanding ice sheet behaviour is greatly rewarding, even when my brain gets overwhelmed with the complexity and implications of the science. This happens frequently, and I always recover by remembering TS Eliot’s quote “If you aren’t in over your head, how do you known how tall you are?”. I feel fortunate that my enthusiastic geek-out on Earth science in high school and university - which was originally based on nothing more than enjoying playing outdoors with my friends - has led to such a challenging and rewarding career in climate research.

Contact the presenter - remember to include your email address if you want a response.

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February 2018

Science, Security, and Nuclear Weapons

Joseph Martz, Los Alamos National Laboratory


Presenter's Essay and Bio

Presenter's Essay

About the Presenter

Joseph Martz

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March 2018

Applications of Quantum Dots

Hunter McDaniel, UbiQD, Los Alamos


Presenter's Essay and Bio

Presenter's Essay

About the Presenter

Hunter McDaniel

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