Science on Tap Events Drew Crowds through the Summer


Tom Ewing talks about the Spanish Flu epidemic with an audience that’s been infected with colored sticker “viruses.”

Our Science on Tap events at Rising Silo Brewery continued through the summer with great audience turnout. Held on the fourth Thursday of each month at 5:30 p.m., Science on Tap brings researchers out of the lab and to the community.

First up was Fish and Wildlife Conservation post-doc Nick Caruso, who co-authored the best-seller Does It Fart? The Definitive Field Guide to Animal Flatulence. Nick’s talk on May 24, titled “Beyond Blaming the Dog: The Science of Animal Farts,” allowed him to share some of his gas-related insights with the audience.

June 28 saw an arts-and-science fusion at Rising Silo. Biological sciences graduate student and Nutshell Games winner Brynn O’Donnell spoke about her research on “ghost streams,” streams that run underground. If you don’t know about Blacksburg’s underground waters, you can follow their course by finding the bronze frogs around town and on campus. Robin Scully, art programs director for Virginia Tech’s student centers, led the audience in watercolor painting based on her What Color Is Water? exhibit at the Squires Student Center Perspectives Gallery.

July’s Science on Tap speaker was Tom Ewing, historian and associate dean of graduate studies, who was hosting a group of public school teachers from across the United States to study the Spanish flu epidemic. Ewing’s talk, “Booze and Flu(s): Science and Spirits in the 1918 Spanish Influenza,” introduced the audience to epidemic-related marketing ploys, with whiskey and Vicks Vapo-Rub among the products touted as flu cures and preventatives.

Ending the summer was faculty member Debby Good, whose August 23 talk was titled “Is ’23andMe’ for You? The Promise and Peril of Genetic Testing.” Good helped audience members–including a dog–extract their own DNA and shared information about genetic testing and her own experiences “mining her DNA.” Good is in Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise and has been teaching genetics for many years.

Mark your calendars: Erica Feuerbacher from Animal and Poultry Sciences will tell us all about dog behavior at our next gathering! Don’t miss Science on Tap at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, September 27, at Rising Silo Brewery on Glade Road.

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