Upcoming Seminars

Happy New Year! We are back for the first seminar of 2022:
Our upcoming seminar will be Tuesday, January 18, 2022 from 5:30 – 6:30 PM PDT

Join us virtually at the Berkeley Public Library by Zoom or Facebook:

Zoom: tinyurl.com/PtSBBerkeley

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/berkeleypubliclibrary

Stay up to date with our seminars by joining our email listserv! We send monthly reminders and follow-ups after seminars (only 2 emails a month!).
You can join us by sending an email to poppingthesciencebubble@berkeley.edu

Upcoming January seminars

“Sharing is Caring: how gene exchange from viruses to insects
lead to protection from predators”
Kirsten Verster (Integrative Biology)

and

“Redwood, Oak,…Acyclic?: Describing Mathematical Trees”
Rebecca Whitman (Mathematics)

What are the talks about?

“Sharing is Caring: how gene exchange from viruses to insects
lead to protection from predators”
Kirsten: Your genes do not only come from your parents. Surprisingly, a large portion of an animal’s genome can come from foreign origins – usually, bacteria or viruses. Usually this foreign DNA is “junk”, but scientists are discovering more and more cases where these genes play a vital role in the animal’s survival. I describe a discovery I made: that the fly species Drosophila ananassae inherited a toxin gene called CdtB. Many fly species have wasp predators that lay eggs inside fly babies and “eat them alive”, but the fly species D. ananassae is especially resistant to these wasps, largely due to protection conferred by the horizontally transferred toxin gene CdtB.

Additional Resources:
David Quammen’s book “The Tangled Tree” is a great, accessible book about how horizontal gene transfer has changed our understanding of evolution.

“Redwood, Oak,…Acyclic?: Describing Mathematical Trees”
Rebecca: Networks can be used to model all sorts of real-life phenomena: an airline’s routes and destinations, the correspondence of Enlightenment philosophers, family trees, and more. Researchers studying a given network might want to know about its structure: is it connected, or in multiple pieces? Which nodes are at the center, and how far apart are the most distant nodes? And – importantly for this talk – is it a tree? I will introduce the study of tree networks, describe some of their properties and characterizations, and discuss how this fits into the process of mathematical research.

Additional Resources:
– One of my favorite sources of math puzzles is Ted Ed’s Riddles series. This one (Time Travel Riddle) is a great puzzle that makes substantial use of graphs.
– The book “The Fascinating World of Graph Theory” by Benjamin, Chartrand, and Zhang is an interesting general-audience introduction, but can be hard to find.