College of Science, Technology, and Health

Fall Science Cafés held in Portland to recognize 50th anniversary of Silent Spring

The University of Southern Maine and Cornerstones of Science announce the first in a series of Science Cafés to be held at Portland Public Library on the last Thursday of each month from 5:30-6:30 pm throughout the fall. The fall 2012 Science Cafés in the Atrium will center around the 50th anniversary of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring, to explore how far we have come and what challenges remain, since its publication on September 27, 1962. Researchers from USM’s College of Science, Technology, & Health will lead the discussions based on the research underway that is seeking to better understand human-environment relationships in the fields of biology, chemistry and ecology. 

Along with student facilitators from USM, the discussions will be led by:

The first discussion will be led by Dave Champlin on Thursday, September 27th:

Topic: We're all on Steroids: the role of hormones in animal (and human) growth and behavior. 

Description: From the smallest to the largest living creature, the role of steroids - a type of hormone found in all of us - helps to regulate growth, reproduction and behavior. Dave Champlin will discuss his research on insects, and how their life cycles can help us understand the growth of cancer in human beings.

Upcoming discussion topics include:

 Travis Wagner on October 25, Who should be accountable for waste & pollution? The evolution of thought since Silent Spring, and,

Lucille Benedict on November 29 - Street Dust's dirty little secrets.

These local scientists will share the real stories behind their research in Maine and why it’s important to us today, and in the future.  The Science Café format is an informal approach to discussing and understanding scientific research and its relevance to people in their everyday lives.

The events will be held in Portland Public Library’s open, glass-walled atrium that faces Monument Square in Portland and will offer light refreshments in an informal, casual atmosphere. Students, young professionals and anyone interested in getting the inside look at what scientists are doing – and why – are invited to attend.  The events are free and open to the public.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Dean, USM College of Science, Technology, and Health, at 207-780-4149 or

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