UW-Madison Science Alliance Updater – January 4, 2021

UW-Madison Science Alliance Updater

4 January 2021

Hi Everyone,

Happy New Year to all!

Two weeks ago many a telescope was pointed towards Jupiter and Saturn for their Great Conjunction.  Some 411 years ago this January 7 Galileo pointed at Jupiter a 20x telescope built by his own hand. Through it he saw for the first time three points of light that later he realized were moons of the Jovian planet.

This discovery helped Galileo place his name among the pantheon, but it was the telescope that helped him make his livelihood.   A device that enables astronomers to see farther also lets seafarers to see sooner which (and perhaps whose) ships are rising on the horizon.  The manufacture of such a tool drew for Galileo princely sums in an era when leaders knew the value of a few extra minutes of early warning when pirates plied the waters.

Thus in 1610, and not for the first time, a scientific innovation became the basis for an improved sentinel system.  But as we learned in 2020, and as we were forewarned in 2017, sentinels require not only technology but also the will to sustain them—and the money, the people, the relationships, the expertise, the commitment.

As we move happily into 2021, events with new strains of covid and with new strains on the covid vaccination system remind us that science isn’t about omniscience, but it can be about prescience, the ability to anticipate, to project ahead, to foresee what might be.  The foresights of science and the insights of technologies will still require the will and the commitment, but like planets in the telescope, those appear to be drawing closer and closer in the coming days.

Thanks again!

Tom Zinnen

Note: please visit https://science.wisc.edu/science-alliance/ for the updater archive.
Notable This Week
1.  Science Alliance meets weekly by Webex at 10:00 am Mondays, including today, January 4. Email Liz Jesse at ejesse2@wisc.edu or Tom Zinnen at zinnen@biotech.wisc.edu to receive the link. The meeting notes are archived on https://science.wisc.edu/science-alliance/.
The draft agenda for January 4 at 10am includes:
  • Welcome
  • Conversation with Tricia Nicoll, Volunteer Services Coordinator; and Julie Auenson, Child Life Manager, American Family Children’s Hospital
  • Science Expeditions Campus-wide Open House  April 9-11:  
    • Online Events  
    • Outdoor Activities on Campus & Other UW-Madison Sites 
    • Possible Indoor Sites  
    • Communications & Promotions
    • Engineering Expo update
  • Other announcements or topics  
2.  Please add your upcoming online programs or resources with learners of any ages to the list at http://science.wisc.edu/ and be sure to include program events in the calendar at http://today.wisc.edu and tag them with “Science” and any other appropriate tag.
3.  Programming Events coming this week and soon:
  • “Wednesday Nite @ The Lab” public science seminar, by Zoom.  Wednesdays at 7 pm CT.  Every Wednesday night, 50 times a year. Register at go.wisc.edu/240r59.   WN@TL resumes on January 6 with Prof Kerri Coon of Bacteriology on “Why Mosquitoes Love You (and Other Things You Never Knew About Mosquitoes and Their Microbiome)

4.  Upcoming Lineup for Wednesday Nite @ The Lab online by zoom starting at 7pm Central.  Register at https://go.wisc.edu/240r59
Schedule and descriptions at https://science.wisc.edu/wednesday-nite-at-the-lab/

Jan 6 Kerri Coon, Bacteriology, “Why Mosquitoes Love You (and Other Things You Never Knew About Mosquitoes and Their Microbiome)”
Jan 13 Nam Kim, Anthropology, “Origins of Warfare in Human History”
Jan 20 Claudia Solis-Lemus, Plant Pathology & Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, “Through the Looking-Glass of Data Science”
Jan 27 Sean Carroll, Howard Hughes Medical Institute,  “A Series of Fortunate Events: Chance and the Making of the Planet, Life, and You” 
5. Paul Brandl and Tom Zinnen, co-organizers of the “PLATO Frontiers in Life Sciences” seminar series, are looking for your suggestions of colleagues who might like to give a ~50 minute talk by zoom on their research to a group of ~25 retirees.  They’re an affirmative and appreciative audience.  Now in its 16th year, “PLATO Frontiers” runs Wednesdays starting at 1pm, beginning on February 24, 2021. Please contact Tom Zinnen with suggestions:  zinnen@biotech.wisc.edu.