Thursday, October 13, 2016

November 12 - Debunking the Nanobot

Presented by Quinn Spadola, PhD, MFA
Program Manager for Education and Outreach
IITRI Inc, Contract Staff
National Nanotechnology Coordination Office

Self-replicating, sentient, consuming, or creating, nanobots are a popular tool in science fiction to explain fantastical abilities or threats worse than death. But what is the reality?
What is a nanobot? What might they be able to do? Scientists and engineers can’t even agree on a definition for a nanobot–does the entire robot need to fit at the nanoscale or does it just have nanoscale components? Does that make your smart phone a nanobot? Artistic renditions of nanobots feed into ideas of spidery machines patrolling (or, perhaps, controlling) our bodies. Some scientists envision nanobots safeguarding our environment, removing pollutants, and monitoring exposure. Others are trying to harness nature’s nanobots and use viruses to do our bidding. The hype around nanobots and the natural inclination to assign them agency can lead to outlandish ideas about what nanotechnology will be capable of delivering, but does it hurt to dream of manufactured nanobots?

Quinn Spadola is a biophysicist who discovered her love of science education and outreach while completing her PhD. After receiving her doctorate, Dr.
Spadola entered the Science and Natural History Filmmaking program at Montana State University. She was an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow in the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office from 2014 to 2016 and joined the contract staff in September 2016. There she works to build community around the National Nanotechnology Initiative, create engaging nanotechnology-themed content, and share the awesomeness of nanotechnology.

Saturday, November 12, 2016, 1:30 pm

Location: National Science Foundation, Room 110 4201 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA (Ballston-MU Metro stop). Enter NSF from the corner of 9th St. N & N Stuart Streets.

FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members

October 20 - I Ain't Afraid of No Ghost Tour!

Our next SkepTour is 7pm on Thursday, October 20, 2016 (rain date Friday, October 21, 2016 7pm). The tour will start close to Constitution and Pennsylvania at the Andrew W. Mellon Memorial Fountain. Over the next 90 minutes we will follow a spooky path and end at Old Ebbitt Grill, where we will stop for refreshments before heading home. Further information is at Size is limited to 30 and space is filling up. Please RSVP to if you would like to join us for a fun-filled, educational and historical evening.

Shadow of a Doubt - October 2016

 The Monthly Calendar of the National Capital Area Skeptics
  • October 8 - "1177BC: The year civilization collapsed", presented by Prof. Eric Cline
  • October 20 - I Aint Afraid of No Ghost Tour!
  • November 12 Lecture
  • Robert Todd Carroll
  • Torn from today's headlines
  • AmazonSmile: Thanks to our members who are supporting NCAS!
  • Shadow Light
  • Drinking Skeptically on hiatus
  • Member renewals
NCAS Public Lecture Series

1177 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed
Eric Cline, Ph.D.
Professor of Classics and Anthropology
The George Washington University

Saturday, October 8, 1:30pm - 4:00pm
Bethesda Regional Library
7400 Arlington Road
Bethesda, MD
(Bethesda Metro station)

FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members

From about 1500 BC to 1200 BC, the Mediterranean region played host to a complex cosmopolitan and globalized world-system. It may have been this very internationalism that contributed to the apocalyptic disaster that ended the Bronze Age. When the end came, the civilized and international world of the Mediterranean regions came to a dramatic halt in a vast area stretching from Greece and Italy in the west to Egypt, Canaan, and Mesopotamia in the east. Large empires and small kingdoms collapsed rapidly. With their end came the world's first recorded Dark Ages. It was not until centuries later that a new cultural renaissance emerged in Greece and the other affected areas, setting the stage for the evolution of Western society as we know it today.  Professor Eric H. Cline of The George Washington University will explore why the Bronze Age came to an end and whether the collapse of those ancient civilizations might hold some warnings for our current society.