Lawrence Livermore’s popular lecture series goes virtual to cover COVID-19

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's (LLNL) popular lecture series, "Science on Saturday," is going virtual in 2021 with the theme “Combating COVID-19.”  

The series, targeted to middle and high school students, runs Saturdays at 10 a.m. Feb. 6 through Feb. 27. Each Saturday will feature a different lecture presented by leading Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers joined by a master high school science teacher.

To attend the virtual talks, follow the instructions on the Science on Saturday website.

Here is the complete schedule of lectures:

  • Feb. 6: “Molecular Diagnostics in the Age of COVID: Designing a Portable Point-of-Care Device,” presented by LLNL scientists Larry Dugan and Michael Triplett with Tracy High School teacher Erin McKay. This presentation will provide an overview of how viruses infect a host leading to disease, the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, LLNL’s previous work in molecular diagnostics and the current efforts to develop a point-of-care device for use in a clinical setting.
  • Feb. 13: “Engineering Solutions: A Story of Swabs and Ventilators,” presented by LLNL researchers Eric Duoss, Chris Spadaccini, Angela Tooker, Jack Kotovsky and Allison Yorita along with Stan Hitomi, Alamo Elementary School (retired). In this talk, LLNL engineers will describe efforts in 3D printing swabs for COVID-19 testing along with the protocols that were developed to ensure they would be safe to use in patients and could collect sufficient samples to enable testing for the virus. The presenters will also describe and demonstrate how the LLNL-produced ventilator works and its application in COVID-19 patients. They will detail how the engineering design process guided the design of the ventilator.
  • Feb. 20: “Defense by Design: Creating Antibodies Against COVID-19,” presented by LLNL scientists Dan Faissol, Tom Desautels, Feliza Bourguet along with Dougherty Valley High School teacher Katherine Huang. LLNL is developing a way to engineer antibodies to quickly provide protection in cases when our bodies cannot. During this talk, LLNL scientists will explain how they are using antibodies from the nearly 20-year-old SARS-1 outbreak to engineer antibodies for COVID-19.

  • Feb. 27: “Keeping Up With COVID: Staying in Touch and Staying Safe, presented by LLNL researcher John Chang along with Capuchino High School teacher Thi Ngo. This presentation will explore the use of wireless communication technologies to help with alerting the community and reducing the transmission of diseases.

Science on Saturday is sponsored by LLNL's Science Education Program. Past Science on Saturday presentations can be viewed at the University of California Television network.

For more information about Science on Saturday, go to the web or contact albala1 [at] (Joanna Albala) at (925) 422-6803.