February 25, 2017 @ 8:30 AM – 1:45 PM
Sheridan College, Whitney Academic Center
3059 Coffeen Ave
Sheridan, WY 82801
Saturday U Sheridan @ Sheridan College, Whitney Academic Center | Sheridan | 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 – 8:50 am: Free coffee and pastries

8:50 – 9:00 am: Welcome and opening remarks

9:00 am: “How the Brain Learns to See: Studying Tadpoles to Understand People,Kara Pratt, Assistant Professor of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming

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.

10:00 – 10:10 am: Break

10:15 am: “Democracy’s Past, Democracy’s Future: Problems and Possibilities,Scott Henkel, Assistant Professor of English, University of Wyoming

Now that the fall election has passed, we can take a moment to look more broadly at the history and the future of democracy. Scott Henkel’s lecture will examine how writers and thinkers have understood democracy and have imagined its possibilities. What has democracy been in the United States, in ancient Athens, in cooperative workplaces, even on pirate ships and space ships? Who should participate in the democratic process, and what should that participation be? What might the future of democracy look like?

11:15 – 11:25 am: Break

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.

12:30 – 1:45 pm: Lunch and question and answer session with presenters

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