MU logoUniversity of Missouri

Join us Saturday

Saturday Morning Science is free and open to
the public. No science background is required.
All ages are welcome.

coffee and bagelsBagels, donuts, coffee, and juice are served before the talks, so come early. Talks start at 10:30 a.m. Doors open and refreshments are available about a half-hour beforehand.
Seating is limited to 250.

Directions and parking

Spring 2016

Talks take place on Saturdays from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in Monsanto Auditorium, Bond Life Sciences Center, Corner of Rollins Road and College Avenue.

Download our Spring 2016 brochure here.

Follow us @satsci on Twitter


January 30
The Microbes We Live With: More Friends than Foes
Craig Franklin, Professor, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri

Millions of microbes (tiny single-celled organisms) occupy different parts of our body and environment. While a few of these agents can be detrimental to health, most are beneficial, aiding in food digestion, immune system development and protection against disease-causing agents. This seminar will discuss our relationship with microbes and the explosion of research into the fascinating realm of the microbiome.


February 6
Finding Meaning in the Broken: What Fossil Shells Reveal about Past Predators and Parasites
John Warren Huntley, Assistant Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Missouri

Sea shells are items of beauty that have enticed humans for thousands of years. While many shellers seek perfect specimens for their collections, it is the broken and ugly specimens that speak of their living occupant’s struggle for life dealing with the predators and parasites. This story has been preserved in the fossil record and is of great utility for evolutionary paleoecologists.


February 13
Why don’t you get it? Talking about Science in an Unreasonable Age
Jack C. Schultz, Director, Bond Life Sciences Center, University of Missouri

Most people aren’t stupid, badly informed, or ‘anti-science’. Yet scientists fail to convince people about issues like the risks of vaccination, the reality of evolution, and the certainty of climate change. Why is this? We’ll look for answers in how our brains work to make us a successful but unreasonable species. It’s all in our heads!


February 20
What does the Bottom of the Missouri River Look like?
Caroline Elliott, Geologist, U.S. Geological Survey Columbia Environmental Research Center

Have you ever looked at the Missouri River and wondered what the bottom of the “Big Muddy” river looks like? Using high-resolution sonar tools we’ll explore the world beneath the surface and learn more about one of the longest and largest rivers in North America, a river that flows just a few miles from Columbia.


March 5
Dialect Patterns in Missouri: More than “Pop” vs. “Soda”
Matthew Gordon, Associate Professor of English and Chair of Linguistics, University of Missouri

Travelling across our state we hear differences in vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar. Some of this variation reflects historical patterns of settlement, but our language is always changing, and many innovations have entered Missouri speech in recent decades. In this session, we’ll talk about the current linguistic state of the state as viewed through research in dialectology and sociolinguistics.


March 12
Big Challenges and Bigger Opportunities: Confronting Climate Change
Richard Alley, Professor, Department of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University

Each degree of warming costs us more than the previous degree. We have already experienced the first degree, and have committed to much or all of the second. Fortunately, we have the technologies to build a sustainable energy system. Adapting to the committed warming and avoiding further warming can be done in ways that improve the economy as well as the environment.


March 19
Zombies, Sports and Cola: Implications For Weather and Climate Communication
Marshall Shepherd, Director, Program in Atmospheric Sciences, Department of Geography, University of Georgia

Weather and climate discussions are as common in hallways, social media, and civic clubs as they are in scientific conferences. Unfortunately, they are often “clouded” by myths, perceptions, and misinforma-tion. Let’s look at the challenges of communicating climate, and offer some pathways forward.


April 9
Mosquito-borne Viruses Affecting Humans – What’s the Buzz?
Alexander Franz, Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri

In many regions of the world, mosquito-borne viruses pose an increasing threat to human health as conventional control efforts are failing. We will discuss what mosquito-borne viruses are, where they come from and how mosquitoes transmit them to vertebrates. We will then explore novel control strategies and look at newly emerging mosquito-borne viruses.


April 16
Health Promotion: The Role of Art and Empathy
Lise Saffran, Director, MU Master of Public Health Program

What is most likely to make you sick now and what will that be in the future? How is our health as Americans connected to the world? Lise Saffran argues that empathy, among both the general public and health professionals, has a crucial role to play in answering those questions and presents way to apply it to important health issues.


April 23
Of Flies, Fish and Men: Understanding Human Biology using Model Organisms
Anand Chandrasekhar, Professor, Division of Biological Sciences and Bond Life Sciences Center, University of Missouri

Over the past century, scientists have obtained profound insights into human physiology and associated diseases. Many of these insights have come from the experiments in less complex “model” organisms like mice, fish, flies, worms, and even yeast cells! We will explore specific examples to illustrate why model organism research is essential for understanding and bettering human health.


View previously scheduled SMS talks


Saturday Morning Science is run by volunteers with financial donations from

MU Office of ResearchChristopher S. Bond Life Sciences CenterThe Mizzou StoreMonsanto