The TSRC Town Talks are free public presentations by world-renowned scientists on topics of great current importance in science, technology, education, and public policy. These talks provide the Telluride community with an opportunity to hear about a stunning variety of topics related to molecular science, nanotechnology, biomedical research, energy, materials, and the environment. In 2021, the Town Talks will feature a special panel conversation format in a new venue in downtown Telluride.
Program 6:30 – 7:30PM, Cash Bar starts at 6:00PM.
Within a five-year time frame, things we’ve counted on for generations will be obsolete. AI will change the way we solve problems and operate our economy. Treatments for cancer, genetic disease, respiratory disease, and viruses will be large biomolecules made within living organisms in a lab or on a farm, not pills made in a factory. Energy sources and how we use them will be dramatically different. The implementation of new tech will change our landscape and how we function within it.
A conversation featuring MIT Energy Initiative.
June 22 – Science is Human because Humans Do Science
Although nature functions without us, we capture its secrets in the human construct we call science. It is so intertwined with us that to advance science, we cannot separate it from our own values. We will address how diversity, inclusion and innovation are inseparable from science. We will also find context in a range of examples involving the promise and danger of new scientific principles and applications, such as engineered nanoparticles, autonomous computing materials, and emerging molecular tools to advance energy production and storage. In order to fully harness advancements in technology, we must have diverse innovators engaging in an inclusive science community.
A conversation featuring Rigoberto Hernandez of Johns Hopkins University, Amber Krummel of Colorado State University, and Stephen Bradforth of University of Southern California.
June 29 – The Big Chill – Cryopreservation: The Science of Second Chances
A second chance at life – it's an innately human desire that's been held long before the first person, Dr. James Bedford, was successfully frozen in January 1967. Reanimation through cryonics isn't possible and doesn't look to be possible at this point, but the science of cryogenics and cryopreservation is already providing new life through fertility treatments, preserving plant and animal species through conservation, and promoting health and wellness through techniques that allow cell therapy to work for patients suffering from ailments ranging from cancer to spinal cord injuries to neurological disorders.
This panel discussion on the technological developments, uses, and potential of cryopreservation features Alison Hubel of the University of Minnesota and Blue Cube Bio, Songi Han of the University of California Santa Barbara, and Immediate Past President of TSRC Nancy Levinger of Colorado State University.
July 13 – Serendipity in Science – Why basic science matters and how developments in molecular biology prepare us for the unknown to come
As Louis Pasteur once remarked, "In the fields of observation, chance favors only the prepared mind.” Many scientific breakthroughs have been chalked up to happy accidents - from penicillin to Velcro, but making those creative connections among seemingly unrelated things isn't just luck and happenstance.
Teaching students to independently solve problems and instilling the confidence to explore new directions are paramount to ensure the continuation of the dynamic scientific community that has brought us so many breakthroughs thus far. And, providing students with solid fundamental knowledge and skills will prepare the next generation of scientists to be ready when serendipity strikes. This week's panel will discuss the inestimable value of basic science and how allowing space for curiosity in research creates opportunities for serendipitous discovery.
Featured speakers include Philip Bevilacqua – Co-Director, Center for RNA Molecular Biology and Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State University, Kathleen Hall – Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and Scott Showalter – Professor of Chemistry and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State University.
July 20 – Scientific Exploration with Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence already impacts our everyday lives, and, in the form of machine learning, AI has the potential to completely transform many fields of science. Experiments and studies that would have once required years to complete may now be compressed into hours, sometimes even just minutes, of computer time. However, this work is not without practical and ethical concerns. The potential of AI is simultaneously exciting and alarming.
Featured speakers include Natalie Stingelin – Professor of Materials Science and Director of the Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Jon Tapson – local Telluride resident, long-time Telluride Neuromorph and Chief Technology Officer at IONA Technologies, and Sergei Tretiak – Physics and Chemistry of Materials deputy group leader in the Theoretical Division and a Staff Scientist for the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
July 27 – Healthy Air, Climate and Environmental Equity in Cities
Cities are actively leading the way to a carbon free world, making commitments that build on and lead national and state commitments. Cities are also the nexus of poor air quality and where inequities in exposure to poor air quality affect the most people. This panel will discuss scientific support for understanding and planning for reducing the urban carbon footprint while simultaneously improving air quality and reducing disparate impacts and the scope of environmental inequities.
Kevin Gurney of Northern Arizona University will speak to urban CO2 and CH4 emissions, Amy Mueller of Northeastern University will speak to new capabilities for mapping urban air quality, and Ron Cohen of the University of California Berkeley will speak to the nexus at the intersection of CO2, air quality and environmental justice.