MU’s Saturday Morning Science lecture series was born in the fall of 2003. It was a simple concept- hold hour long science-geared lectures on topical issues and use free coffee to lure the general public in away from Saturday morning cartoons. It’s initial purpose was much more profound however. According to Bruce McClure, an MU biochemistry professor, “no profession will continue if we don’t bring young people into it and these lecture series are just one of many recruiting tools.”
At the MU Faculty Council’s annual breakfast meeting with the Board of Curators this October Frank Schmidt, Faculty Council chairman, said he’d like to see this program spill over into other academic departments at MU. He urged faculty to get involved with Saturday Morning Science or to, “create whatever program you wish. Saturday Morning Shakespeare, Saturday Morning Engineering, they’re all great ideas.”
Saturday Morning Science lectures, often given by various MU faculty, now attract 75 to 150 people weekly. The lectures are held from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. every Saturday during the fall and spring semesters in Monasto Auditorium in MU’s Life Sciences Center. Topics of discussion have included themes from all realms of science- why our brains aren’t programed to tell us when we’re full when we eat, the new ways lasers are being used in modern medicine, and how rooted plants track down food.
This semester’s final lecture will be held this Saturday. Carsten Ullrich from MU’s physics and astronomy department will discuss string theory and whether the universe came to be by plain luck, or planned design.