Science Happy Hour

I’ve lived in several neighborhoods in my lifetime. Each of them had a certain “feel” to it.

My suburban Seattle neighborhood felt, well, suburban, and dominated by Interstate 5. I feel no need for journalistic objectivity, and show you the nastiest image I could find. This was I-5 earlier this week:

My Como Park neighborhood in St. Paul felt pastoral and dominated by the park. On summer weeknights, we walked down to Como Lake with our kids to hear concerts at the pavilion. Below is the pavilion, great place for barbershop quartets:

In contrast to my earlier neighborhoods, Southeast Minneapolis feels very urban and dominated in many ways by the sprawling University of Minnesota. We marvel at the multi-tasking driving, bicycling and walking habits of the students. But the university’s grip on this neighborhood is also what attracted us. Who else but academics would organize a neighborhood happy hour featuring a breezy science lecture?

I learned about Science Happy Hour a few weeks ago. It began at the Red Stag Supperclub, but now has moved to the Aster Cafe at 125 SE Main Street.

The National Center for Earth-surface Dynamics (don’t be daunted by their many-syllabled name) sponsors this lively event at 5:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of every month. The group, in its own words, tries to understand how landscapes and ecosystems evolve together.

Dr. Gordon Grant, a river-loving hydrologist, spoke in November. He helps people all over the country figure out how to remove dams, and in one case, blow up a dam. The time-lapse photographs were well worth the price of the beer. More on what I learned from him in a future post.

Next week I plan to walk to the Aster Cafe, buy a beer, and learn about climate change and how it might affect my state from Mark Seeley, a U of M climate professor. It seems like a very civilized way to spend an hour on a Wednesday evening.

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3 Responses to Science Happy Hour

  1. Alma De Anda says:

    That sounds like a great time! Mark Seeley has contributed to MPR previously (currently?). You’ll have to tell us about that meeting.

  2. Anna says:

    You fit into the new fashion of crawling from suburban to urban, right? For the better. Icky photo of I-5.

  3. Betsy says:

    Nice Lisa! I like your blog, the subject matter, and keeping in touch. Our science teaching/beer brewing son John would love to join the Science group when in town – or maybe start one in Anchorage. I’ll look forward to future postings.