Science by the Pint

Our SbtP events in February feature…

Dr. David Charbonneau
How to find an inhabited exoplanet

Monday, February 6, 6:30-8:30pm at The Burren (247 Elm Street, Somerville) (directions)

David Charbonneau is a Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University. His research focuses on the development of novel techniques for the detection and characterization of planets orbiting nearby, Sun-like stars. These distant worlds are called exoplanets. As a graduate student in 1999, he used a 4-inch telescope to make the first detection of an exoplanet eclipsing (or transiting) its parent star, which yielded the first ever constraint on the composition of a planet outside the Solar system. Charbonneau was a founding member of the Trans-Atlantic Exoplanet Survey, which used a worldwide network of humble automated telescopes to survey hundreds of thousands of stars to detect 5 more exoplanets by this technique. Charbonneau also pioneered the use of space-based observatories to undertake the first studies of the atmospheres of these distant worlds: In 2001 he used the Hubble Space Telescope to study directly the chemical make-up of the atmosphere enshrouding one of these exoplanets, and in 2005, he led the team that used the Spitzer Space Telescope to make the first direct detection of the light emitted by an exoplanet. He is currently leading the NSF-funded MEarth Project and is a member of the NASA Kepler Mission Team. Each of these projects aims to detect Earth-like planets that might be suitable abodes for life beyond the Solar system.

Dr. Megan McCrory
Patterning your diet: the science of weight loss

Thursday, February 23, 6:30-8:30pm at Aeronaut Brewery (14 Tyler Street, Somerville) (directions)

Dr. Megan McCrory is a clinical associate professor at Boston University and an editorial board member for “Advances in Nutrition”, a leading review journal of the American Society for Nutrition. Recently, Dr. McCrory has been a guest editor on a special issue of the journal “Nutrients,” focusing on the role of dietary fiber in human health. Dr. McCrory’s current research investigates how eating patterns and dietary composition influence appetite, obesity, metabolism, and chronic disease risk. She also develops novel approaches to measuring dietary intake. You are what you eat, so come learn how to pattern your diet to improve your health!

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