Oct
28
Sat
Saturday University Cody @ Buffalo Bill Center of the West
Oct 28 @ 8:30 AM – 12:30 PM
Saturday University Cody @ Buffalo Bill Center of the West | Cody | Wyoming | United States

Go back to school for a day, minus the tests, stress and homework.

Each Saturday U term features lectures from three outstanding University of Wyoming professors. Following the lectures, all three professors will participate in a final round-table discussion. Participants may attend one, two, three, or all four sessions. No registration is required, and there is no charge.

8:30 am: Doors open for coffee and donuts

9:00 am: “How Did Shoshone Cavern National Monument Become Just Another Hole in the Ground?: A Case Study in State/Federal Debates over Control of Public Lands,” Dr. Phil Roberts, Professor of History

Shoshone Cavern National Monument, five miles from downtown Cody, became Wyoming’s second national monument soon after it was discovered by Ned Frost and his dog in the early 20th century.  The cavern mouth’s location unfortunately made access difficult, even with horses. Development as a tourist site never overcame this problem. After years of conflict between the Park Service and Cody residents, Congress delisted the monument and transferred it to the City of Cody. The result could have been a model for the success of local control over former federally-owned lands. Instead, the story forms a cautionary tale of how local towns often are unable to manage public lands any better than the federal government—and these failures often result in damage of the resource.

10:15 am: “How the Brain Learns to See: Studying Tadpoles to Understand People,” Dr. Kara Pratt, Assistant Professor of Zoology and Physiology

Brains process information through neural networks, but a new brain has contains masses of neurons without connections. How are the proper connections made? The study of Xenopus tadpoles—whose see-through skin lets us view the brain directly—reveals how the brain creates itself by self-assembling neurons into networks that transform external stimuli from the environment into internal perceptions. One key discovery is that visual experience—the act of seeing—actually guides the precise wiring up of the visual system. This talk will describe this exciting research and explain what it reveals about the nature of human sight.

11:30 am: “Will We Ever Have Beautiful Forests Again? Bark Beetles, Resilience, and Future Forests,” Daniel Tinker, Associate Professor of Botany, University of Wyoming

The Intermountain West’s bark beetle epidemic that began in the late 1990s is unprecedented in our recorded history. Its intensity and geographic scale has been overwhelming—and it continues today in many forests of the Western USA. The ramifications for such an intense and prolonged epidemic are far-reaching and many are not well understood, especially considering the changes in our climate happening at the same time. This talk will explore the bark-beetle phenomenon, its ecology and management, and the resilience of current and future forest systems.

Nov
2
Thu
Saturday University Gillette @ Campbell County Public Library
Nov 2 @ 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Saturday University Gillette @ Campbell County Public Library

Go back to school for a day, minus the tests, stress and homework.

Each Saturday U term features lectures from three outstanding University of Wyoming professors. Following the lectures, all three professors will participate in a final round-table discussion. Participants may attend one, two, three, or all four sessions. No registration is required, and there is no charge.

5:30 pm: Door open.  Free, light dinner and snacks.

6:00 pm: “Tropical forests in Wyoming? Only 55 Million Years Ago,” Dr. Ellen Currano, Associate Professor of Botany, Geology and Geophysics, University of Wyoming

Wyoming fossils are world famous, particularly those from the Paleocene and Eocene periods (66-34 million years ago). Using our trusty picks and shovels, we can travel back in time over 50 million years, to a Wyoming resembling modern-day Florida, covered in palm trees and populated by alligators. This talk will describe Wyoming’s fossil plants from this last great warm interval and discuss how they can be used to reconstruct past climates and landscapes.

7:15 pm: “Bigger Than We Can Imagine: How Mathematicians Grapple with Infinity,” Dr. Myron Allen, Professor of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Wyoming

From the time of the ancient Greeks, people have wondered about the infinite. During the past two centuries, in resolving classical paradoxes involving infinity, mathematicians have discovered many surprising and seemingly paradoxical facts about infinite sets. This presentation reviews this history and some of the fascinating logic behind one of humankind’s most challenging concepts.

8:30 pm: “Finding Religion in a Globalized World,” Dr. Mary Keller, Senior Lecturer of Philosophy and Religious Studies, University of Wyoming

Since many of the world’s human cultures lack a word for “religion,” does that mean they are not religious? Or is there a religious nature in humanity that needs no explicit name? Join me as we study actions and cultural attitudes from the Crow Indian nation, the Caribbean Republic of Benin and the United States and learn how to evaluate their implicit and explicit religious nature.

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