Items tagged with Science

Reel Science: "The Blob”

Please see full event listing for date.

The Westport Library is teaming up with Earthplace to give Westport a new way to look at science. “Reel Science” is a film series that pairs screenings of popular films with science-focused introductions by professionals from the worlds of science and technology. The evening also includes hands-on MakerSpace activities inspired by the film.

In August, we will screen the campy 1958 science fiction classic, The Blob, (1h 26m) starring Steve McQueen. The introduction will explore the science behind meteors. What really happens when a meteor hits the Earth? We will explore a few of the scenarios surrounding space objects colliding with Earth. The evening will include a “Make Your Own Blob” slime-making activity.

Note location: Earthplace, 10 Woodside Lane, Westport
If it rains, the program will be inside Earthplace.

Teen, Maker Movement, Films
High School
Grade10, Grade9

Reel Science: “Honey, I Shrunk The Kids”

Please see full event listing for date.

The Westport Library is teaming up with Earthplace to give Westport a new way to look at science. “Reel Science” is a film series that pairs screenings of popular films with science-focused introductions by professionals from the worlds of science and technology. The evening also includes hands-on MakerSpace activities inspired by the film.

In July, see Honey I Shrunk the Kids, the 1989 family classic starring Rick Moranis. The introduction to the film will explore the ecology of backyards. What kind of life is in our backyard? Why is that life important? And what can we do to ensure that the living things in our backyards are well cared for? (Film runs 1 hr, 41m.)

Partner & location: Earthplace, 10 Woodside Lane, Westport
If it rains, the program will be inside Earthplace.

Maker Movement, Films, Family
All ages
Maker Kids

The Anne Eyes Science Lecture: Rewriting the Code of Life with CRISPR

Please see full event listing for date.

The Anne Eyes Science Lecture presents Dr. Samuel H. Sternberg, associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Columbia University, in a discussion of the gene editing technology, CRISPR. Register online.

Scientists have long sought to unravel the hidden laws of nature and harness their knowledge to manipulate life. The 20th century witnessed the birth of molecular genetics—the field of biology focused on DNA and its role in heredity, genetic variation, and disease—and culminated in completion of the Human Genome Project, which decoded all 3 billion letters of the human genome. But until recently, the ability to go one step beyond reading DNA and rewrite DNA, directly in living organisms, remained elusive. Now, with a revolutionary technology called CRISPR that was discovered in a most unexpected way, we have entered a new era of precision genetic manipulation, in which diseases and cancers could be erased in patients, but so too could heritable genetic changes be engineered in human embryos. What will we choose to do with this awesome power?

Note location: Westport Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport, CT

This science lecture is made possible by The Anne Eyes Endowment.

Samuel H. Sternberg, PhD, runs a research laboratory at Columbia University, where he is an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. He received his B.A. in Biochemistry from Columbia University in 2007, graduating summa cum laude, and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 2014. He earned graduate student fellowships from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense, and was awarded the Scaringe Award from the RNA Society and the Harold Weintraub Graduate Student Award from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Sam's doctoral research in the laboratory of Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator Dr. Jennifer Doudna focused on the mechanism of DNA targeting by RNA-guided bacterial immune systems (CRISPR-Cas) and on the development of these systems for genome engineering applications. His work has been published in the journals Nature, Science, and Cell, and been covered in The New York Times, Science News, The Scientist, and various other news outlets.

Sam is an invited speaker internationally and remains actively involved in public discussions on the ethical issues surrounding genome editing. Together with Jennifer Doudna, Sam co-authored a popular science trade book about the discovery, development, and applications of CRISPR gene editing technology, which was published in June, 2017. Titled A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution, their book received enthusiastic reviews from The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The New York Review of Books and many other outlets.

Westport Town Hall
Maker Movement
Maker, Science

Award-Winning Journalist & Science Writer Adam Piore on His Book, "The Body Builders"

Please see full event listing for date.

Veteran investigative journalist and science writer Adam Piore discusses The Body Builders: Inside the Science of the Engineered Human, which explores the cutting edge of medicine, science and engineering, where men and women are working to reverse engineer, rebuild and augment human beings. In the 21st century, an exciting frontier of engineering is the human body. Having largely mastered the art of large-scale engineering, today’s pioneers are training their sights inward on a quest for ways to help restore lost bodily function to the injured and unlock new potential in the rest of us.

Note location: Westport-Weston YMCA, 14 Allen Raymond Lane, off Wilton Road (Rt. 33), Westport

Community partner: Westport-Weston YMCA

As he chronicles the wide range of work being done, Piore visits people who have regrown fingertips and regained leg muscles blown off by explosions, introduces us to a woman who can “see” with her ears, probes the development of an experimental drug that could offer extraordinary powers of memory, and shadows doctors trying to give mute patients the ability to communicate telepathically. Weighing the ethical questions that these sometimes controversial advances can arouse, he also explores what these scientific developments could mean for humankind and whether there should be limits placed on the future direction of genetic and bioengineering. 

“An exhilarating look at the cutting edge of bioengineering and how science and medicine are pushing the boundaries of human potential. ... A mind-bending read that will expand your perception of self.”
Kirkus, starred Review

“[An] accessible work on bioengineering... Piore writes gracefully, and with deep insight, about complex scientific endeavors that could ease human suffering but are fraught with myriad ethical perils.”
Publishers Weekly

Adam Piore is an award-winning journalist. A former editor and correspondent for Newsweek Magazine, his narrative features have appeared in Conde Nast Traveler, GQ, Nautilus, Discover Magazine, Mother Jones, Playboy, Scientific American, the Atavist, BusinessWeek and many others

Summer Reading Challenge 2017.


Concussions: Use of Neuroimaging of the Brain for Assessment and Treatment

March 30, 2017
Anthony Silver

Anthony Silver, MS, MA, LMFT, BCIA-EEG, director of Gray Matters, spoke about concussions, the use of functional brain imaging in evaluation and neurofeedback for treatment on March 30, 2017 at the Westport Library. 

You may need: Adobe Flash Player.


The Anne Eyes Science Lecture: Composer & MIT Professor Evan Ziporyn

Please see full event listing for date.

The Anne Eyes Science Lecture presents composer and professor Evan Ziporyn who will speak about ethnomusicology and the intersection between science and art. A concert by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Gamelan Galak Tika will be featured followed by a hands-on demonstration of this unique Balinese percussion instrument. Register online as space is limited.

Learn more about Gamelans. Gamelan Galak Tika has been at the forefront of innovative, cross-cultural music for Balinese gamelan since 1993. Led by composer Evan Ziporyn, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music at MIT, Galak Tika has performed groundbreaking music at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, BAM, several Bang on a Can Marathons, Southern Exposure, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and colleges throughout the northeast. In 2005 the group toured Bali, performing at the Bali International Arts Festival, Kuta Beach, and numerous villages around the island.

This science lecture is made possible by The Anne Eyes Endowment.

Photo credit: Andy Ryan


Talks & Readings
Music, Science

Pancreatic Cancer: Ask the Experts

November 1, 2016

Medical oncologist Dr. Richard Frank, interventional gastroenterologist Dr. Naveen Anand, surgeon Dr. Francis Cannizzo, Jr., dietician and oncology nutrition specialist Vicki Barber and genetics expert Susan Ingram from the Western Connecticut Health Network addressed pancreatic cancer, from prevention to treatment at the Westport Library on November 1, 2016.

Co-sponsors: Western Connecticut Health Network, Ron Foley Foundation and Verastem.

You may need: Adobe Flash Player.


The Utopia Project Fair 2018

Please see full event listing for date.

Students from Coleytown and Bedford Middle School present their creative Utopia projects at the Westport Library.

The Utopia Projects asks the question: Can an ideal human society be designed? Students spent two months designing a unique and efficient ideal society and then select a geographic location (on Earth or on the Moon), begin researching the natural resources of their selected location, and consider how to design a society that would sustain a population of 5,000 diverse individuals.

They were provided a list of detailed challenges to address, such as: natural resources, architecture, food and agriculture, education, transportation, economy, government structure, and even waste management. The challenge is to not only develop this ideal community, but to also create a three-dimensional model that will explain one detailed part of this utopia. 

The Great Hall
Maker Movement
All ages

Author Haris Durrani

Please see full event listing for date.

In conjunction with the Westport Country Playhouse production of The Invisible Hand, engineer, writer & academic Haris Durrani talks about his fiction debut Technologies of Self. In it, he immerses readers in the life of a young American Muslim struggling to understand himself in the context of his family, classmates, and contemporary urban life. Engineering student Jihad, or “Joe” as he introduces himself in the confusing intersections of post-9/11 New York City, finds himself on a personal quest of possibly a spiritual nature, even if he isn’t sure that’s what it is – after all, it’s hard enough to keep halal in his Dominican-Pakistani-Muslim Washington Heights household.

He’s surprised to find himself in the stories his Uncle Tomás tells of his own youth, stories in which Tomás fights both the devil and the weaknesses of the flesh – often at the same time. Culture, nation, religion, family, identity, race, and time fight for dominion over Jihad until he realizes he is facing the same demon his uncle claims to have defeated, and all Jihad has to fight with is himself.

Community partners: Westport Country Playhouse & TEAM Westport
Note location: Lucille Lortel White Barn at the Westport Country Playhouse, 25 Powers Court

Durrani’s stories, memoirs, and essays have appeared in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, The University of Toronto Undergraduate Journal of Middle East Studies, The 2014 Campbellian Anthology, The New York Review of Science Fiction and The Best Teen Writing of 2012, 2011, and 2010. He writes for altMuslimah and has appeared regularly on John Hockenberry’s NPR show The Takeaway.

Haris A. Durrani is the author of Technologies of the Self (Brain Mill Press, 2016), winner of the Driftless Novella Contest. His short story "Forty-two Reasons Your Girlfriend Works for the FBI, CIA, NSA, ICE, S.H.I.E.L.D., Fringe Division, Men in Black, or Cylon Overlords" (Buffalo Almanack, December 2015), a prequel to Technologies, won the McSweeney's Student Short Story Contest and the Inkslinger Award for Creative Excellence. His novelette Tethered (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, July-August 2013; reprinted in Lightspeed, May 2016) was a Writers of the Future Semifinalist. Buffalo Almanack described his work as "stories about colonialism, neoliberalism, conspiracy bullshit, and a Trumped-out America at the gates of hell."

His essays, memoirs, and fiction have appeared in or are forthcoming from Comparative Islamic Studies, Catapult, The New York Review of Science Fiction, Media Diversified, altMuslimah, and The Best Teen Writing of 2012 (editor), 2011, and 2010. He is a 2009 alum of the Alpha Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror Workshop for Young Writers and was a 2011 Portfolio Gold Medalist in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, for which he currently serves on the Alumni Council. He has been interviewed regularly on NPR's The Takeaway with John Hockenberry.

Durrani is a J.D. candidate at Columbia Law School, where he looks at the intersections of technology and disenfranchised communities. He holds an M.Phil. in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge and a B.S. in Applied Physics from Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science, where he minored in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies and co-founded The Muslim Protagonist Literary Symposium on "literature as an agent of social change" for Muslim communities and allies.

Westport Country Playhouse

June WestportMAKES Program Invites Astronomy Enthusiasts and Citizen Scientists

June 1, 2016

Physics and astronomy professor and Westport Astronomical Society board member Kevin Green will lead a community build of two prototype telescopes in the Library’s MakerSpace. Members of the public are invited to help with the construction of the telescopes on:

  • Tuesdays from 10 am-3 pm
  • Thursdays 10 am-3 pm
  • Thursdays from 5-7 pm (except June 9)
  • Saturdays from 11 am-3 pm

Celestial viewing with the Library telescopes in the upper parking lot, weather permitting:

  • Wednesdays, June 8 & 15 from 8-10 pm
  • Mondays, June 20 - July 25 from 8-10 pm (no viewing week of July 4)

If the prototyping goes according to plan, several automated telescopes will then be placed in various Westport locations and will be available for astronomy enthusiasts to view objects and events in space, which can be recorded, downloaded and potentially used for “citizen science” data collection. As part of the Westport Library’s bi-monthly Maker-in-Residence series, Westport Library cardholders and members of the Westport Astronomical Society will have access to a website that will allow users to reserve a telescope to observe any point above the horizon or selected objects. During times when community demand is low, the Community Telescope Array (the 5-6 available telescopes) will record asteroid occultations, or shadows of asteroids on Earth’s surface as they pass in front of more distant stars.

Maker, Science