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UNI Calendar of Events

Earth Science

Special Viewing of Supernova

The Earth Science Department will host a special viewing of a supernova, an exploding star which can be observed over a great distance and is one of the most powerful events in astronomy. The supernova, named SN2011fe, is at a distance of approximately 20 million light years and is not visible to the naked eye. Telescopes will be set up to view the supernova and other objects in the night sky. If the skies are cloudy, the event will be canceled.

Earth Science Seminar: Reconstructing Northeast Iowa's Periglacial Environment

James Walters, Department of Earth Science, will discuss his research on "Reconstructing Northeast Iowa's Periglacial Environment." 

During late Pleistocene time, the landform region known as the Iowan Surface of Northeast Iowa, situated between the Des Moines Lobe glacial ice to the west and the Lake Michigan glacial lobe to the east, experienced a periglacial environment. The characteristics of this former environment are not well known, but the presence of features known as “ice-wedge casts” indicates that permanently frozen ground (permafrost) was present. The actual timing of this event is also not well known, but recent optically stimulated luminescence dating of sands from sand stringers overlying the pre-Illinoian till suggests that these events were taking place between about 24,000 and 16,500 years ago.  

For the last several years, Walters has investigated the relict periglacial features of the Iowan Surface in an attempt to reconstruct the severity, timing and other characteristics of this environment.

Oh, The Places You'll Go! - Earth and Environmental Science Opportuntiies

Chad Heinzel, associate professor of Earth and Environmental Science, will highlight the many ways UNI students have learned from the past, engaged in the present and building a promising future. The seminar will revisit recent Earth Science extended field trips, identify learning opportunities and investigate the developing careers of recent graduates.

Earth Science Seminar: Muddied Waters--Examining Iowa's Policies and Practices

Jorgen Rose, political science major, will discuss Iowa's public policies and water pollution.  

Abstract: Clean, usable fresh water is a precious and valuable resource, but it is one that we often mistreat and misuse. In particular, surface water is extremely vulnerable to human actions and influences; nowhere is this more apparent than in agricultural states like Iowa, where nonpoint-source pollution (runoff) has a dramatic effect on our rivers, lakes, and streams. However, despite this continuing decline in the quality of Iowa’s water, there exists very little public policy aimed at dealing with the problems of nutrient contamination and other forms of nonpoint-source pollution. Furthermore, what policy does exist is either ineffective or insufficient. The goal of this research was to attempt to discern why this gap in Iowa’s public policy exists. By examining current and historical factors associated with policymaking in Iowa, it was possible to gain a detailed understanding of why such a lack of effective and sufficient policy exists today. Operating on the assumption that in order to fix a problem it is first necessary to accurately comprehend what is wrong, this research identified two broad “primary culprits” behind the lack of effective policy in Iowa: economics and culture. And although much research has been done into various facets of this topic before, a holistic, wide-angle view of the problem both proved most appropriate for accurately assessing the problem and more effective at providing for policy implications that might have otherwise been missed.

Observatory Show

View the evening sky from the UNI observatory located on the roof of McCollum Science Hall. Meet near the polar bear outside of room 137 before 9 p.m. to be escorted to the roof. The event goes forward regardless of the weather.


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