Central Colorado Humanists Sunday Science Sept. 4

Sunday Science, Sept. 4, 2022:

“From the Smokies to the Rockies: chasing and deciphering fireflies across America” is the title of the Central Colorado Humanists Sunday Science program at 10 a. m., Sept. 4, at the Scout Hut, 210 E. Sackett St., Salida, CO. The guest speaker will be Dr. Raphael Sarfati of the University of Colorado.

Fireflies are unique among the living world for their ability to purposely flash in the dark to communicate. In abundance east of the Mississippi, their poetic and enigmatic displays have long been a cornerstone of the American summertime experience. Yet, despite the patient efforts of a handful of naturalists, much remains obscure about their social life and ecology. In this interactive presentation, Dr. Sarfati will explore some of the lesser-known puzzles surrounding these "silent sparks". In the first part, he will show that fireflies flicker all across the American West, and demonstrate how any attentive observer can help to better understand, and protect, these sporadic populations. In the second part, he will consider fireflies at the collective, rather than individual, level and examine the flashing patterns that they create when they congregate into large swarms.

Dr. Sarfati is a physicist with a curiosity for self-organized patterns in nature. His latest studies have revolved around the collective movement of animals as they flock, school, or swarm, from sheep to bats to fireflies. He has spent the past decade on a windy path from his native France to a research position in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Colorado, all the while running on trails and exploring remote lands. His work on fireflies has taken him from the National Parks of the East to the southwestern borderlands.

Please join us with these COVID considerations so we can continue to meet in person while reducing the spread of COVID and risk for everyone.

-         Masks will be required at the door.

-         Socializing will take place outside, before and after the program.

Please do not attend if you have any symptoms of illness or know you have been exposed. Unvaccinated people are more likely to spread COVID so please consider our more vulnerable community members when deciding whether to attend. The talk will be available for viewing on the Humanists website shortly after Sept. 4.

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