Presentations For College & University ClassroomsThe presentations listed below are ones I’ve actually given to general audiences, and are offered here as examples of what I do. I’m happy to adapt one of the talks below, or develop a new one -- on any of the subjects listed at right -- to match your class’s needs or your students’ particular interests.
The Problem of the Planets
Technology and Tactics
The machines at your disposal shape the way you fight wars: What kinds of targets you can attack, how precisely you can focus your attacks, what kinds of terrain you can fight in, and what level of casualties you expect to sustain, as well as the ethics of fighting it. This talk, adaptable to the Middle Ages, the Early Modern era, the mid-t9th century, WWI, or WWII, explores what that means.
Nuclear Weapons and the Cold War
Challenger: Inside an Engineering Disaster
The space shuttle Challenger and its seven crew members were lost, in January 1986, because design flaws present in the shuttle from the outset of the program went uncorrected for years due to operational demands, and became fatally apparent when NASA and one of its key contractors agreed that it was safe to launch the shuttle in unprecedented, near-freezing temperatures. This talk examines those causes, with an emphasis on engineering ethics.
Human Evolution: A Story in Six (and a half) Fossils
From the discovery of Neanderthal Man in Germany in 1856 to the discovery of Homo floresiensis in Indonesia in 2003, ideas about the origins of the human race have been repeatedly revised in light of new fossil discoveries: a fascinating case study of science doing what it does best. This talk looks at those two discoveries (and five more in between) as it traces scientists evolving picture of our origins.