For immediate release: 01/26/2012 | NR-12-01-06

LLNL offers another exceptional season of Saturday science lectures

Linda A Lucchetti, LLNL, (925) 422-5815,

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's popular lecture series, "Science on Saturday," returns Feb. 4 and runs through March 3. This year's talks cover a wide range of current topics including the Lab's work on the Mercury Messenger; effects of earthquakes; space junk; and restoring sight to the blind.

The lectures are free of charge and will be held in the Bankhead Theater located at 2400 First St. in Livermore. Two presentations are offered at 9:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m. This year the Lab is expanding the availability of the talks by streaming them live via the LLNL Facebook page.

"This is an excellent way to reach out to students no matter where they live," said Richard Farnsworth, manager of the Lab's Science Education Program.

Each lecture highlights cutting-edge Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) science presented by leading Lab researchers joined by master high school science teachers.

Kicking off the series of four Saturday sessions is: "The Gamma-Ray Spectrometer at Mercury: A Seven Year Journey to the Innermost Planet," by LLNL scientist Morgan Burks and teacher Dan Burns.

This lecture will discuss NASA's MESSENGER mission with a focus on the gamma-ray spectrometer and the importance of gamma-ray science in helping to understand the planet Mercury. This talk also discusses the science and engineering that allowed for the spectrometer to work at cryogenic temperatures in one of the hottest places in the solar system.

Here is the complete schedule:
  • Feb. 4: "The Gamma-Ray Spectrometer at Mercury: A Seven Year Journey to the Innermost Planet," by LLNL scientist Morgan Burks and teacher Dan Burns.

  • Feb. 11: "Sleuthing Seismic Signals: Understanding Earthquake Hazard and Monitoring Nuclear Explosions," by LLNL scientist Sean Ford and teacher Ken Wedel.

  • Feb. 18: "Space Junk: Traffic Cops in Space," by LLNL scientist John Henderson and teacher Tom Shefler.

  • March 3: "Restoring Sight to the Blind: Bridging the Medical Gap with Technology," by LLNL scientist Sat Pannu and teacher Kirk Brown.
Lectures and demonstrations are targeted to middle and high school students. The lectures are sponsored by LLNL's Science Education Program. Seating is on a first-come basis. There is no pre-registration.

For more information about Science on Saturday, directions and a map, go to the Web  or contact Richard Farnsworth at (925) 422-5059.

To access the talks on Facebook, go to the Web.

More Information

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory provides solutions to our nation's most important national security challenges through innovative science, engineering and technology. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.