August 20, 2013 Science Lecture Series to Address Hurricanes, Cosmology, Nanotechnology, Gregor Mendel and More

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The fall lecture series from the Science, Technology and Business Division at the Library of Congress will include illustrated talks by NASA scientists on hot towers in hurricanes and the history of cosmology, and lectures by experts on Gregor Johann Mendel, the use of nanotechnology in treating cancer and the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA structure.

The series runs from Sept. 10 to Nov. 8. All lectures, which are free and open to the public, will take place in the Library’s James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. Tickets and reservations are not needed.

More detailed information about the topics and speakers will be highlighted in the next several months on the Library’s science blog “Inside Adams” at

Series Schedule

At 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 10, in the Mary Pickford Theater, Owen Kelley, research scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, will present “Finding Hot Towers in Hurricanes.” During the past decade, NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite has been able to collect definitive statistics on the association of hot towers (towering thunderclouds) and hurricane intensification. Kelley will talk about the science, the technology and the researcher who coined the term “hot tower” 50 years ago.

At 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 21, in the Mary Pickford Theater, Robert Ivkov will present “Cancer, Magnets and Heat: Can Nanotechnology Provide New Solutions for Old Treatments?” Ivkov, visiting assistant professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, will discuss the promise and challenges of using magnetic nanoparticles in targeting cancer cells.

At 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23, in the Mary Pickford Theater, Michelle Thaller, astrobiologist and assistant director for science communication at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, will discuss “Our Place in the Universe: Cosmology from the Greeks to Today.” According to Thaller, ancient Greeks had sophisticated, gear-controlled astronomical “computers,” which remained unrivaled in accuracy and complexity until the 18th century. With the advent of space-based observatories and supercomputers, the Earth’s position has been mapped relative to millions of other galaxies covering billions of light years of distance.

At 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7, in the Montpelier Room, the Library will host a panel discussion, titled “Bench to Bedside,” on the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA structure. The panel will focus its discussion about genetics to translational medicine, which takes discoveries in the laboratories (bench) and uses it in the field (bedside). Participants will include Orla M. Smith, managing editor of Science Translational Medicine, who will chair the panel; Nobel Laureate James Watson of Cold Springs Harbor Laboratories; and others.

At 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 8, in the Montpelier Room, author Jan Klein and illustrator Norman Klein will discuss their book “Solitude of a Humble Genius – Gregor Johann Mendel Professor: Volume 1 – Formative Years.” Jan Klein is the former director of the Max Planck Institute for Biology at Tübingen, Germany, and currently the Francis R. and Helen M. Pentz Visiting Professor of Science and adjunct professor of biology at Pennsylvania State University.

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PR 13-143
ISSN 0731-3527