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Understanding Science: The Day the Dinosaurs Died
June 19 @ 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PDTFree
Understanding Science: The Day the Dinosaurs Died – A Lesson in Planetary Ecology
This series of presentations started with the worlds of the very small (particle physics) and very large (our solar system and beyond). Last time we looked at one of the artificial worlds we have created from our knowledge of science, that is, the technologies of computing devices. This month we examine ecology, the study of living things and their surrounding world, by looking at one of the living worlds that existed long before us and understanding what happened when that world was suddenly shattered by an asteroid.
Our scientific study of the world in which we are a part has enabled us to create technologies to change the world around us to better suit our survival. Yet we are powerless to change some things. One of these is that we live on the surface of a relatively small, rocky planet with a thin atmosphere and crust. Another is that there is a lot of debris out there in space that we did not create that sometimes encounters the Earth. Our atmosphere, and the magnetic field that surrounds the Earth, provide some protection from certain types of wave and particle radiation, and even from small objects that disintegrate and burn up before reaching the surface, but not from larger objects.
In this presentation we will first explore this world of objects floating around space and what happens when the Earth and they meet. Then we will examine what has happened to the Earth and to life on it when large objects collided with the Earth in the past. This is not only fascinating and terrifying, but it is instructive because it will surely happen again. We just do not know when exactly, but we have good evidence of how often objects of various size collide with the Earth.
In particular, we will examine what happened on the day the dinosaurs died, and what happened in the ensuing days and years, and how that changed the history of our world. We can also speculate what would happen if the same event occurred tomorrow or in the near future and how our world would change.
Presentation by Dr. Phil Youngblood
|Dr. Phil Youngblood|
|Reference work in the library|
|Previous lectures on film|
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