During Febuary's GC Skeptics in the Pub, we teamed up with Queensland Skeptics and the Brisbane Skeptical Society to host a special event in celebration of Darwin Day. Darwin Day is an internationally celebrated day intended to inspire people throughout the globe to reflect and act on the principles of intellectual bravery, perpetual curiosity, scientific thinking, and hunger for truth as embodied in Charles Darwin.
In honor of the event, we were privileged enough to have two fantastic speakers present, astrophysics PhD candidate Jake Clark, and Head of Geoarchaeology and Archaeometry Research Group (GARG) Dr Renaud Joannes-Boyau. They took us on a journey from exoplanets and the search for life on other planets, to our distant ancestors' migration patterns, diet, social interactions.
We also raised $150 that was donated to AIME, a mentorship program that helps disadvantaged kids achieve their full academic potential.
Listen to Jakes's talk: click here
Slides: click here
Listen to Renaud's talk: click here
Slides: click here
About the speakers
Mr Jake Clark
PhD Candidate, Centre for Astrophysics
Jake defines his 'day job' as discovering alien worlds that no human has laid eyes upon before – pretty rad, right!? Based at the University of Southern Queensland's Toowoomba campus, his PhD research is using machine learning to help predict what stars host exoplanets, and in particular stars that are currently being observed by NASA's new planet finding mission, TESS.
Other research interests involve directly hunting for exoplanets using Toowoomba's very own planet finding telescope array MinERVA-Australis, re-calibrating the orbital parameters of known planetary systems and determining the chemical and geological composition of large rocky and small gassy worlds known as super-Earths.
During the spare time, Jake spends his time as a freelance science communicator informing and empowering everyday Australians about the importance (and fun!) of STEM. The usual suspect activities he is involved with include: facilitating hands-on workshops in schools, running public observing nights in the Darling Downs, talking science on community radio and curating engaging media articles about the latest astronomical discoveries.
Twitter & Insta: @spacejayk
The Conversation : https://theconversation.com/profiles/jake-clark-391989/articles
SUQ's astrophysics blog: https://astrophysics.usq.edu.au/
Dr Renaud Joannes-Boyau
(PhD), SCU EMCR representative, Australian Academy of Science, School Director HDR Southern cross GeoScience, Head of Geoarchaeology and Archaeometry Research Group (GARG)
Dr Renaud Joannes-Boyau is a Senior Research Fellow at the Geoarchaeology and Archaeometry Research Group (GARG) at Southern Cross University focuses on the interaction between past human populations and their environment. Dr Joannes-Boyau's research focuses on the development and application of direct dating methods and micro-analytical techniques to key questions in archaeological sciences, such as the timing of human evolution and interaction with the surrounding environment (in particular hominids ecological niche, diet and early life history).