Why do animals perceive certain traits as beautiful and others not? While Darwin explained why the animal world abounds in stunning beauty, he struggled to understand how. Dr. Michael Ryan, one of the world’s leading authorities on animal behavior, tells the remarkable story of how he and other scientists have taken up where Darwin left off and transformed our understanding of sexual selection. Join Dr. Ryan as he explores how beauty is defined through the brain of the beholder.
The red imported fire ant is an invasive species in Texas that can produce life-threatening allergic reactions in people, has major costs to agriculture, and causes severe impacts to native fauna. Dr. Rob Plowes shares insights into fire ant behavior and discusses a remarkable biological control opportunity. Dr. Plowes researches one of the fire ant's deadliest enemies - tiny phorid flies, which actually turn ants into zombie-like living incubators for their offspring! He also describes research approaches to other invasive species in Texas.
Hurricane Harvey was the most significant severe storm of 3-5 days duration in United States history, raining 50 inches or more in parts of Texas. A new National Water Model can forecast water flow in streams and rivers similar to how the National Weather Service forecasts weather. David Maidment shares his experience applying this model to Texas, including his behind-the-scenes experience working in the State Operations Center during Hurricane Harvey and his recommendations for how Texas can become resilient in the face of future large-scale floods. For the Q&A session, David will be joined by a panel of experts on disaster response.
Co-sponsored by Planet Texas 2050, UT’s first grand challenge research initiative that’s bringing together more than 100 researchers from across campus to find ways to make Texas more resilient in the face of rapid population growth and climate extremes. Additional support provided by the Leon Jones Hot Science - Cool Talks Endowment.
Is Mars the next step in human exploration of the solar system? What would it take to live and work on the red planet, and what will future explorers need to know in order to survive Martian extremes? Join Dr. Joseph Levy on a journey of endurance and exploration from Earth’s remotest outposts to the surface of Mars. Special appearance by Dr. Jeannette J. Epps, NASA Astronaut.
Discover how superheroes like the Avengers use chemistry to keep villains in check and save the world, and how forensic chemistry can help real-life crime fighters. Join Dr. Burks as she shares her experiences, from working in a crime lab to being a professor and TV personality, all while developing research tools for chemical sleuthing.
Hurricane Harvey dumped thirteen trillion gallons of rain on southeast Texas in August of 2017. Do extreme storm events like Harvey impact the coral reefs off Texas’ coast, in the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary? Dr. Correa shares ongoing research connecting the Gulf Coast, extreme weather, and reef ecosystems. Supported by the Leon Jones Hot Science - Cool Talks Endowment.
Texas is a demographic and climatic hot spot. In the 21st century, our region is projected to undergo a doubling of its population and a shift to a more drought-prone climate. This poses synergistic challenges for our state's resources, economy, cities, and public health. 21st Century Texas is a lively discussion of Texas’s challenges and potential solutions by leading experts in their fields.
If we all want love, why is there so much conflict in our most cherished relationships? What is evolutionary psychology and how can it provide insights to human mating behavior? Dr. Buss shares insights on how conflict, competition, and manipulation pervade human mating. Due to the content of this talk, we recommend it for high school seniors, college students and adults only.
Madagascar, off the coast of Africa, is the land of lemurs. It is home to over 100 lemur species, including the “sifaka”. Sifaka are unusual primates with crazy-eyed stares, amazing leaping abilities, and societies where females are at the top of the hierarchy (primate Wonder Women!). Join Rebecca Lewis as she talks about the unique challenges of fieldwork in Madagascar and shares her research on the behavior, social relationships, and power in sifaka societies.
Bees are one of the hardest working insects on the planet. Many of the more than 20,000 bee species in the world are key to the pollination of hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of crops including coffee, cotton, blueberries, and almonds! But many bee species are being threatened by human-related activities such as agricultural intensification, natural habitat alteration, and climate change. Join Dr. Shalene Jha as she discusses her research on bee populations and shares the secrets of their amazing world.