The Parkland College Blog

Kaler Science Lecture Puts Bacterial Viruses Under Microscope

Staerkel Planetarium to host microbiologist Dr. Asma Hatoum-Aslan

The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College will host a presentation on microbiology for the James B. Kaler Science Lecture Series at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 4.
 
Dr. Asma Hatoum-Aslan, assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology at UIUC, will give a talk titled, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend: Enlisting bacterial viruses to combat drug-resistant infections". The lecture is available to the public for free through Zoom.
 
The rising tide of drug-resistant bacterial pathogens, coupled with the sharp decline in the discovery of new antibiotics, underscores a pressing need to find alternatives to conventional antibiotics. Bacterial viruses, also known as phages, are major causes of bacterial mortality in nature, and can be harnessed as powerful weapons to combat pathogenic bacteria. Dr. Hatoum-Aslan's talk will highlight the ongoing efforts to discover and characterize new phages that are lethal to Staphylococcus bacteria, and the immune systems that these bacteria use to fight back. These efforts are adding to the arsenal of alternative antimicrobials with potential for therapeutic use.
 
Dr. Hatoum-Aslan earned her B.S. in Molecular Biology from the Florida Institute of Technology, her M.S. in Biochemistry from the American University of Beirut, and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Cornell University. Before joining the University of Illinois in August, she completed her postdoctoral training at the Rockefeller University, where she investigated mechanisms of the bacterial immune system called CRISPR-Cas. Her research program investigates CRISPR-Cas and other immune systems that bacteria use to defend against their viruses (phages). Synergistically, knowledge gained from bacterial immune systems is applied to discover and engineer new phages as a basis for novel antimicrobials. Her work is currently supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award and a PATH award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.
 
The Staerkel Planetarium is presenting programs virtually to the public, to schools, and to private groups. Public shows are rebroadcast on the planetarium's YouTube page. The planetarium staff will present a special edition of Fall Prairie Skies on the same Zoom meeting after the conclusion of the Kaler lecture at 8 p.m. This show is an interactive tour of the night sky, including a focus on the closest conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in the sky in almost 400 years. For a full show schedule and for links to the Zoom meetings, visit the planetarium website or email planetarium@parkland.edu. 

Parkland College's Giertz Gallery to Host Virtual Architecture Tour

Join Giertz Gallery on Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. on Zoom

Parkland College's Giertz Gallery will be offering an exciting and informative virtual Chicago River Architecture Tour on November 19, at 7 p.m. on Zoom.

The tour, hosted by Hillary Marzec, founder of top-ranked tour company Inside Chicago Walking Tours, will offer supplemental information for those who have been on the Boat Tour in previous years, and an enticing introduction to Chicago architecture for those who have not been on the tour before.

The trip will start on the Chicago River from the point of view tourists experience when boarding the cruise ship, but the virtual tour will allow extension past street-level details to the interiors of well-known buildings, with historical context provided by Marzec. 

This event is sponsored by Ford City. Admission is free, but registration is required. To sign up for the Chicago River Architecture Tour, click here. Donations welcome. All proceeds will go to the Giertz Gallery.

Staerkel Planetarium to host Kaler Science Lecture on Nuclear Energy

Nuclear engineer Dr. Katy Huff to present "Atomic Advancements"

Parkland College's William M. Staerkel Planetarium will feature nuclear energy research as the subject of the next edition of the James B. Kaler Science Lecture Series on Friday, November 6 at 7 p.m.
 
Dr. Katy Huff, assistant professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering, and Blue Waters Assistant Professor with the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at UIUC, will be presenting "Atomic Advancements" on Friday. The lecture will be held on Zoom and is offered free to the public.
 
The energy density of nuclear fuel is unmatched by any other fuel source. Conventional nuclear reactors supply most of Illinois's electricity and over 80% of its carbon-free electricity. These devices have an unparalleled record of safety, reliability, and sustainability, and the next generation of reactors incorporate decades of experience, research, and technological advancements which enable walk-away safety, meltdown-proof fuels, and flexible integration with renewables. Dr. Huff's talk will demystify transformative new reactors, fuels, and recycling technologies ready to support a clean energy future worldwide.
 
Dr. Huff earned her B.A. in Physics from the University of Chicago and her Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Before joining the University of Illinois in 2016, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in both the Nuclear Science and Security Consortium and the Berkeley Institute for Data Science. She now leads the Advanced Reactors and Fuel Cycles Research Group.
 
The Staerkel Planetarium is focused on virtual programs to schools, private groups, and to the public until the dome can reopen. The planetarium staff will present Fall Prairie Skies on the same Zoom meeting after the conclusion of the Kaler lecture at 8 p.m. This show is an interactive tour of the night sky, including a focus on satellites and space junk. For a full show schedule and for links to the Zoom meetings, visit the planetarium website or email planetarium@parkland.edu.
 

Staerkel Planetarium debuts free virtual Kaler Science Lectures in October

Series begins with "Looking at the Night Sky with Artificially Intelligent Eyes" on October 2

Parkland College's William M. Staerkel Planetarium will be resuming the James B. Kaler Science Lecture Series virtually this fall, beginning with Dr. Gautham Narayan's "Looking at the Night Sky with Artificially Intelligent Eyes," on Friday, October 2 at 7 pm on Zoom, free to the public.

Dr. Gautham Narayan, assistant professor at the Department of Astronomy at the University of Illinois, earned a B.S. from Illinois Wesleyan and a Ph.D. at Harvard. Before joining the University of Illinois in 2019, he was a postdoctoral scholar at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory and was the Barry M. Lasker Data Science Fellow at the Space Telescope Science Institute.

Wide-field optical survey telescopes are now producing too many observations for humans to look through. Buried in these petabytes of pixels are rare and exotic sources like kilonovae, explosions which can be caused by the mergers of neutron stars. Discovering these events is now akin to looking for a needle among thousands of haystacks.

To cope with the deluge of data, astrophysicists employ artificial intelligence (AI). Dr. Narayan will cover how the same algorithms that underlie driverless cars, voice recognition, and your bank’s ability to detect fraudulent transactions is now telling us about the variable sky, and ultimately the nature of dark energy and the fate of the Universe.

The Staerkel Planetarium is offering virtual programs while the dome is closed to the public. Following the Kaler lecture, the planetarium will present Fall Prairie Skies at 8 pm on the same Zoom meeting. This live-narrated tour of the night sky includes a focus on Mars, which is getting brighter in the evening. For a full show schedule and for links to the Zoom meetings, visit the planetarium website or email planetarium@parkland.edu.
 

Planetarium Announces Virtual Lecture Series for 2020-2021

William M. Staerkel Planetarium will continue Kaler Lecture Series virtually

The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College is pleased to announce the newest lineup of speakers in the James B. Kaler Science Lecture Series, which will continue virtually this year due to the pandemic. 


For more than 25 years, the planetarium has served as a conduit for the local research community to share its knowledge with the general public, and this year will only be slightly different as lectures move to Zoom. Talks occur on the first Friday of the months classes are in session at 7 p.m., and admission will be free.
 
The fall lectures will kick off with UIUC Astronomy Professor Dr. Gautham Narayan speaking about astrophysicists using AI to manage the tremendous amount of data collected by wide-field optical survey telescopes. In November, Katy Huff of UIUC's Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering will present on what's new in nuclear energy.

As we look into the new year, enjoy stunning spring photography from Jeffrey Bryant of Wolfram Alpha, LLC and hear about some of the winged friends we have flying over Central Illinois. Caleb Brooks (UIUC, Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering) will discuss "micro nuclear reactors" based on his work in the Multiphase Thermo-fluid Dynamics Laboratory. 
 
Due to the pandemic, some information might be subject to change. Visit the Kaler Lecture Series page to stay up to date on show listings, or call the show hotline at 217/351-2446. For more information about the Planetarium, visit their website or contact them at 217/351-2567. 

RSS
123456