Horizons 2023 Season Ticket

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Horizons 2023 Season Ticket

A Spring Speaker Series Sponsored by the Tallahassee Scientific Society

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Challenger Learning Center 200 South Duval Street Tallahassee, FL 32301

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  • 84 days
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Author and Environmentalist, Gainesville, FL

The Sound of the Sea: Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans

The human fascination with seashells is primal. In the 1950s, the nation burned with a shell-collecting fever only a Florida beach vacation could cure. Traveling from Florida to the Bahamas to the Maldives, West Africa, and beyond, Barnett uncovers the ancient history of shells as global currency, their use as religious and luxury objects, and the rarely appreciated but remarkable creatures that make them. While shells reveal how humans have altered the climate and the sea—down to its very chemistry—they are also sentinels of hope for coastal adaptation for climate change, alternative energy and other solutions that lie beneath the waves. Barnett illuminates the beauty and wonder of seashells as well as the human ingenuity and scientific solutions they represent for our warming world.


Project Scientist for the JWST, Laboratory for Observational Cosmology, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD

The James Webb Space Telescope Mission

The James Webb Space Telescope was launched on December 25th, 2021, as a successor to the Hubble Telescope. It is the largest space telescope ever constructed and will extend humanities' high definition view of the universe into the infrared spectrum. The Webb will observe early epochs of the universe to reveal how its galaxies and structure have evolved over cosmic time and to search for exoplanet atmospheres for evidence of life. The Webb's science instrument payload includes four sensor systems that provide imagery, coronagraphy, and spectroscopy over the near- and mid-infrared spectrum. Astrophysicist Dr. Matthew Greenhouse, of the Webb Project Science team, will discuss the remarkable history and ongoing accomplishments of the JWST mission.

April 19 • THOMAS M. SCOTT, PhD, PG

Assistant State Geologist Emeritus, Florida Geological Survey, Tallahassee, FL

Florida's Geology – A Story of Beaches, Lakes, Sinkholes and More!

The State of Florida is the emergent portion of the Florida Platform. The foundation of the Florida Platform is a piece of the African Plate that remained attached to the North American Plate when Pangea broke apart some 200 million years ago. The landscape of Florida was created over millions of years by marine and fluvial deposition and erosion. Karstification played a significant role in the geomorphology. Sinkholes and other karst features are abundant and are occasionally a geologic hazard. Carbonate sediments form the Floridan aquifer system and supply much of Florida's water. Mineral resources include petroleum, phosphate, and more.


Professor and Curator of Lepidoptera, McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Evolution and Diversification of Butterflies and Moths: Anti-Bat ultrasound jamming, acoustic deflection, and visual lures.

Butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) are one of the major superradiations of insects, comprising nearly 160,000 described extant species. As herbivores, pollinators, and prey, Lepidoptera play a fundamental role in almost every terrestrial ecosystem. Lepidoptera are also indicators of environmental change and serve as models for research on mimicry and genetics. They have been central to the development of coevolutionary hypotheses, such as butterflies with flowering plants and moths' evolutionary arms race with echolocating bats. In this presentation, Dr. Kawahara will talk about his research on the evolution of butterflies and moths, and how moths have evolved many different defenses, such as ultrasound production to combat bat attack.