JCC Conversations | Thomas Zurbuchen – Inside NASA

Chuck Newman interviews Thomas Zurbuchen, a distinguished Swiss-American astrophysicist. Dr. Zurbuchen has been the Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA since October 2016. He is responsible for the selection of NASA’s missions and their implementation. Get the inside scoop about NASA’s achievements and plans straight from the source!


JCC Conversations | Andrew Nagy

Little did they know that the Nazi’s would soon invade Hungary and how desperate their fight for survival would be. Join Chuck Newman and hear the amazing story of how Andrew Nagy survived WWII in Budapest in significant part due to the heroic efforts of University of Michigan graduate Raul Wallenberg.

He subsequently escaped Communist Hungary and eventually immigrated to the United States where he became a distinguished Professor of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences at the University of Michigan. He still consults for NASA at the age of 89.

Nerd Nite #71 - The Science of Switch Feel

Push buttons, knobs, touchscreens…Every day, we interact with hundreds of different switches around us, to do everything from prepare our coffee, type out our emails, turn ON the lights, drive our cars and everything in between. But have you ever paused to think about what goes into designing each of those micro-experiences? Have you thought about makes them all feel a certain way? How do you quantify and specify ‘feel’? Join me to learn about what makes our world click. 

Nerd Nite #68 - The Brain "Wants" What The Brain Wants

Over the course of evolution our brains have become excellent at detecting rewards (e.g. food or a potential mate) in our environment and in turn generating motivation to obtain that reward. While this system was originally necessary for survival, it can easily become maladaptive in a world where access to rewards (such as high-calorie food, drugs and alcohol, gambling) are present in abundance. Unfortunately, this reward detection system can become hypersentitive in some individuals, in turn causing excessive desire and craving each time they come across a reward cue in their world.

Legacies Project Oral History: Thomas Overmire

Thomas G. Overmire was born 1926 in Indianapolis, Indiana. His father was a banker and the family saw firsthand the difficulties caused by the Great Depression. He served in the army during World War II before getting his BA from Indiana University in Bloomington. Overmire’s evolving career included teaching high school biology, getting his PhD, serving as a college dean, working at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, and writing a biology textbook, The World of Biology (1986).

Genetic Genealogy: Discrepancies in Your Family Tree

Using actual case studies, learn how you can use your DNA test results to detect and solve potential discrepancies in your family tree, such as mis-attributed parentage. The case studies illustrate the use of autosomal DNA, Y DNA and X DNA test results to support or refute your family tree.

Mary Henderson has 45 years of experience with traditional, document-based genealogy, and 6 years of experience with genetic genealogy.  She volunteers her services to adoptees seeking their birth parents and is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Nerd Nite #66 - Hidden Planets

Could there be a planet lurking at the edge of our Solar System that we haven’t discovered yet? Maybe! It’s happened before. In this talk, Larissa Markwardt explains how the orbits of objects we already know about in our Solar System can be used to infer the existence of yet unseen planets. Larissa also discusses the history and science of the discoveries of Neptune and Pluto, searches for other hypothetical planets (Planet X and Vulcan), and the current hunt for Planet 9. 

About Larissa: 

Nerd Nite #66 - Making the Impossible Possible: Lessons from Apollo

In 1962 under President Kennedy’s direction, our nation committed itself to “landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.” At the time, this goal was physically impossible. In order to accomplish this goal, it had to be broken down into component tasks. Accomplishing these tasks determined the mission objectives of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. Samuel Carpenter discusses not only the accomplishments these early space exploration efforts, but also outlines a general process of how to take on impossible goals.