Tag Archives: Science is Sexy

Night Lab: The Science of Extinction

If you can imagine it, mammoths, camels, saber-toothed cats and massive ground sloths once walked the ground that has become Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.  Walking down Michigan Avenue today, you’d never guess that these huge creatures foraged on the marsh land now buried beneath city’s streets.  Just as the first humans settled the Americas, these Ice Age giants vanished forever.  New research on these extinctions offers insights for modern conservation – understanding the demise of the mastodon may help us create strategies to protect today’s endangered elephants, rhinos, tigers and wolves.

Some conservation biologists take the argument further: they now suggest that in some cases, deliberately introducing exotic animals may be critical to restoring damaged ecosystems.  Should we strive to replicate the animal populations found by the first Europeans as they colonized the globe, as traditional conservation efforts assume?  Or should we instead work to rebuild whole ecosystems, using substitutes to fill niches left empty by the top predators and large herbivores humans have driven to extinction?  Join us to find out about what science can tell us about our Earth’s past and future at Night Lab, Chicago’s science series for adults, for a discussion with science writer Sharon Levy, author of Once and Future Giants: What Ice Age Extinctions Tell Us About the Fate of Earth’s Largest Animals.

Schubas (3159 N. Southport)
May 1, 2011
7-9 PM
Red Line to Belmont

About Once and Future Giants:

In Once and Future Giants, science writer Sharon Levy digs through the evidence surrounding Pleistocene large animal (“megafauna”) extinction events worldwide, showing that understanding this history-and our part in it-is crucial for protecting the elephants, polar bears, and other great creatures at risk today. These surviving relatives of the Ice Age beasts now face an intensified replay of that great die-off, as our species usurps the planet’s last wild places while driving a warming trend more extreme than any in mammalian history.  Deftly navigating competing theories and emerging evidence, Once and Future Giants examines the extent of human influence on megafauna extinctions past and present, and explores innovative conservation efforts around the globe. The key to modern-day conservation, Levy suggests, may lie fossilized right under our feet.

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Night Lab: The Science of Sex and Attraction and Kiss-In

Night Lab, Chicago’s science series for adults, returns to Schubas just in time for Valentine’s Day. Molecular geneticist and cell biologist Stephanie Levi, Ph.D. will be demystifying the science behind love, lust, attraction and everything in between-and the audience will pick the topics. If you’ve ever wondered about differences in the brains of men and women during orgasm, the science behind breakups, or how pheromones-chemical signals that are processed by the nervous system and influence reproductive behavior-work, and what science is showing us about how they influence lust and love, come by for a drink and stay for the discussion.

Stephanie will share a statistical analysis of hookups and breakups on Facebook while you add your favorite songs to Night Lab’s first-ever make-out playlist. Take part in Chicago’s first kiss-in, where you can put science to the test. One lucky trivia winner will receive a copy of The Science of Kissing by Sheril Kirshenbaum and sexy gifts from Early to Bed. Scientific valentines will be on hand to exchange as we unravel the molecular mysteries behind love and lust.

February 13, 2011

7:00 PM-9:00 PM

Schubas (3159 North Southport Avenue)



Red Line to Belmont


Stephanie started Night Lab to bring science to the masses in November 2008.  It is designed to give non-scientists a short and sweet taste of science in their everyday lives-without turning it into science lite.  If you failed outta freshman bio, are afraid of math, or think physics is boring, Night Lab is for you.  Scientists are welcome too, of course!

Drop Stephanie a note at Night.Lab.Chicago@gmail.com with questions.


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