The University of Arizona

This Homecoming, Step Into UA Science

By Daniel Stolte, University Communications | November 1, 2011

During the 2011 Collegiate and Campus Showcase, research labs and science and engineering departments across campus will open their doors to the public to learn about the broad and often surprising range of scientific research through a host of activities and events.

The Steward Observatory's Mirror Lab underneath the UA football stadium, where the world's largest and most lightweight telescope mirrors take shape, is but one of the many UA facilities showcasing science to the public during Homecoming.
(Photo: Howard Lester/LSST Corp.)
The Steward Observatory's Mirror Lab underneath the UA football stadium, where the world's largest and most lightweight telescope mirrors take shape, is but one of the many UA facilities showcasing science to the public during Homecoming. (Photo: Howard Lester/LSST Corp.)

How do optics reveal drawings under the paint of Renaissance masterpieces? Might there be an economic silver lining to climate change? How are telescope mirrors made underneath the UA's football stadium?

Find out during Homecoming this week at the University of Arizona.

During the 2011 Collegiate and Campus Showcase, presented by the UA Alumni Association, research labs and departments across campus will open their doors for the public to learn about the broad and often surprising range of scientific research happening at the UA.

"Oftentimes in the media, we read, ‘Experts say...,'" said Andrew Comrie, associate vice president for research and dean of the UA's Graduate College.

"Who are those experts? Ninety percent of the time, they are at a university. Attending the UA is not just about getting your undergraduate degree, rather it's about understanding how the world works. Research and education – as obscure as they may sometimes seem – reveal what we know about the world."

"These events are a way for alums and the public to get a feel for how the science we do here at the University really connects to everyday life," Comrie added.

At the University of Arizona Genetics Core, for example, visitors will have the opportunity to watch as scientists decipher the genetic library of entire organisms within a matter of days.

“We will showcase the latest in sequencing platforms and high-throughput DNA analyzing technology, the kind that allowed scientists to decipher the human genome but has come a long way since then,” said Barbara Fransway, outreach coordinator and research specialist with Arizona Research Labs.

“These days, we do projects on the scale of the Human Genome Project on a daily basis. Now we can compare whole genomes from many different individuals or types of organisms – microbes, plants, animals and humans – at the same time.”

For more information on this and other tours, presentations and demonstrations highlighting UA science, see the listing below. Please note that some events have limited space and require RSVP.

For a complete list of events, please visit to the Alumni Association's Homecoming events website

Tours:

  • "Boldly Going Where No Research Park Has Gone Before." RSVP required by Oct 31. Speaker: Bruce Wright, associate vice president, University Research Parks. Nov. 4, 9 a.m. at UA Tech Park, Suite 1750, 9070 S. Rita Road (transportation provided from Old Main, 1200 E. University Blvd). Visitors will tour the UA Tech Park to see how academia and industry unite to create a powerful economic engine and learn about the Solar Zone, the park's ambitious green development project. For more information or to RSVP, contact Jessa Turner at 520-382-2485 or jbturner@uatechpark.org.
  • "The Genetics Frontier." RSVP required by Nov. 4. Speaker: Barbara Fransway, outreach coordinator and research specialist. Presentation and Tour of the Arizona Research Labs and the University of Arizona Genetics Core. Nov. 4, 10 a.m., Thomas W. Keating Bioresearch Building, Room 103, 1657 E. Helen St. For more information or to RSVP, contact 520-626-1672 or bbf@email.arizona.edu.
  • Steward Observatory Mirror Lab Tour. RSVP required by Oct. 31. Nov. 4, 10 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., Steward Observatory Mirror Laboratory, 527 N. National Championship Drive. This is a behind-the-scenes tour showcasing the engineering, science and technology that goes into producing the world's largest and most-challenging telescope mirrors. RSVP to 520-626-8792 or MirrorLab@as.arizona.edu. For more information, contact Cathi Duncan at 520-626-8792 or cduncan@as.arizona.edu.
  • Museum of Optics. The College of Optical Sciences Tour is open for self-guided tours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can pick up a flyer in the third-floor lobby and proceed to explore the award-winning Meinel Building and the antique wonders of the Museum of Optics.
  • Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Reception and Tour. Friday, Nov. 4, 1 p.m., AME building, Room N715. A tour of the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Building including the wind tunnel. Refreshments will be served at the reception. For information, contact Dianne Smith at 520-626-8724.
  • Chemical and Environmental Engineering Reception and Tour. Friday, Nov. 4, 1- 3 p.m. For information, contact Jo Leeming at 520-621-6044.

Presentations:

  • "Social Media in Your Expanding World." Speaker: Sheila D. Merrigan, coordinator of information technology, Arizona Cooperative Extension, College of Agriculture and Life Science. Nov. 4, 10 a.m., UA Bookstore, Student Union Memorial Center, lower level, 1303 E. University Blvd. Do Facebook and Twitter sound like a foreign language? Join Sheila Merrigan of the UA Cooperative Extension program for an informative session on today's social media for both business and personal use so that you, too, can get plugged in, connected, and online. For more information, contact Joanne Gonzalez-Eader at 520-626-3036 or jmg@ag.arizona.edu.
  • "Can We Predict Adult Disease in Childhood?" Speaker: Fernando Martinez, director, BIO5 Institute and Arizona Respiratory Center. Nov. 4, 11:30 a.m., UA Bookstore, Student Union Memorial Center, lower level, 1303 E. University Blvd. By following children from before conception to age 21, Martinez will examine the root causes of devastating diseases such as asthma, coronary disease, diabetes, autism and obesity and gain insight into the future of disease prevention. For more information, contact Daphne Gilman at 520-626-3422 or dgilman@bio5.org.
  • "Early Signs and Early Intervention in Autism: What Parents Need to Know." Speaker: Ann Mastergeorge, associate extension specialist/associate professor in family studies and human development, Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Nov. 4, 11-11:45 a.m., McClelland Park, Room 105. This event is open to the public. More information on the event website.
  • Fall Master of Public Health Internship Conference and Keynote Lecture. RSVP required. Speaker: Gail Emrick, executive director, Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. Nov. 4, 1-5 p.m., DuVal Auditorium, The University of Arizona Medical Center. Master of Public Health students will present their internship projects as the culminating experience of the MPH curriculum. For more information and to RSVP, contact Judy Goosherst at judyg@email.arizona.edu.
  • "The Secret Life of Paintings: Advanced Image Processing for Art Conservation and Art History." Speaker: Robert G. Erdmann, assistant professor, department of materials science and engineering, College of Engineering. Nov. 4, 1:30 p.m., Student Union Memorial Center, Union Kiva, 1303 E. University Blvd. Hear nontechnical case studies of how image-processing techniques helped reconstruct a painting by Matisse from partial historical photographs, find the sequence in which Van Gogh produced his paintings, and reveal sketches by Picasso and Memling underneath their paintings. For more information, contact Barry Benson at 520-621-7685 or barrybenson@email.arizona.edu.
  • "It Started with van Eyck: How Optics Revealed New Secrets of Old Masters." Speaker: Charles M. Falco, chair of condensed-matter physics, professor of optical sciences and physics, College of Optical Sciences. Nov. 4, 2 p.m., Meinel Optical Sciences, Auditorium 307, 1630 E. University Blvd. Falco will discuss his research on the question of optical aids and master artists of the Renaissance and his decade-long collaboration with artist David Hockney. Their discoveries reveal that van Eyck, Bellini, Caravaggio, and others used optical projections to help them create portions of their most-famous paintings.  For more information, contact Kaye Rowan at 520-626-8754 or rowan@optics.arizona.edu.
  • "Nature's Patterns: From Sand Ripples to Plants to Fingerprints." Speaker: Regent's Professor of Mathematics Alan Newell, department of mathematics, College of Science. Nov. 4, 3 p.m., UA Bookstore, Student Union Memorial Center, lower level, 1303 E. University Blvd. Nature's patterns are everywhere: sand ripples, fingerprints, even laser beams. Remarkably, pattern textures in different contexts have much in common. Learn why this occurs from an award-winning scientist who also loves poetry and is a self-proclaimed Irish "wannabe storyteller." For more information, contact Guadalupe Lozano at 520-621-1562 or guada@math.arizona.edu.
  • "Warming Up to Climate Change: Turning Hot Days into Hot Prospects." Speaker: Jonathan Overpeck, co-director, Institute of the Environment. Nov. 4, 4:15 p.m. UA Bookstore, Student Union Memorial Center, lower level, 1303 E. University Blvd. According to Overpeck, climate change isn't all bad news for Arizona: "We have the opportunity to lead the nation in the development of tools and technologies for adapting to our changing environment – all while boosting our economy and improving citizens' well-being." For more information, contact Betsy Woodhouse at 520-626-1805 or woodhou1@email.arizona.edu.