CRCS: Science Café Series


“Helpful Hydrogels: A Useful Tool for Hands-on Learning”

(available online here)

A presentation by Dr. Cindy Juntunen, Dr. Ashley Hutchison, and Meara Thombre, Department of Counseling Psychology and Community Services, UND

March 22, 2017, 11:00 a.m., UND Memorial Union Lecture Bowl


Hydrogels are a kind of nontoxic polymer that can absorb 500 times their weight worth of water. This unique characteristic of hydrogels makes them very useful material for creating such things as contact lens and diapers. However, one of the most important uses of hydrogels is to help keep lakes and rivers clean by preventing water runoff and soil erosion. In this demonstration, we will show how hydrogels can be used in the classroom to help young students get engaged with hands on learning. This talk will be followed by a period of time when the presenters will answer questions from the audience.


“Extreme Weather of the Northern Plains”

(available online here)

A presentation by Dr. Aaron Kennedy, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, UND

March 23, 2017, 11:00 a.m., UND Memorial Union Lecture Bowl


For over a century, residents of the region have shown resiliency against the spectrum of hazardous weather phenomena. Events ranging from blizzards, to temperature extremes, to tornadoes have economic, personal, and societal impacts on the region. This talk will explain why and when these events occur, and how they have varied over recent years. It will be followed by a period of time when Dr. Kennedy will answer questions from the audience.


“Fractal Dimension of Remotely Sensed Data”

(available online here)

A presentation by Dr. Anne Denton, Department of Computer Science and Operations Research, NDSU

March 24, 2017, 11:00 a.m., UND Memorial Union Lecture Bowl


The availability and resolution of images from satellites and unmanned air systems (UAS) is rapidly increasing. This means that we can ask questions that were only of theoretical interest in the past. One such question is the fractal dimension of geographical features. Take the coasts of lakes or oceans. Coastlines have bays and peninsula on a large scale, but when we zoom in, details may become visible that were hidden on the larger scale. Structures that have this property are called self-similar or “fractal.” We will look at the fractal nature of the coastline of Lake Sakakawea, and see how the fractal dimension can be calculated. In fact, it has become so easy to do these computations that the local fractal dimension can be treated as an additional layer of information, much like data from a different kind of physical sensor, but cheaper to obtain. This talk will be followed by a period of time when Dr. Denton will answer questions from the audience.


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