August 25, 2017 – Mummies, whiskey and capturing CO2

Grounds for Science


with Tom Osborn Popp & Jeremy Nowak 

Friday, August 25, 2017 at 6:30 PM at Scarlet City Espresso Bar

Can We Stop Emitting CO2 While Still Using Fossil Fuels for Energy?

As humans continue to emit CO2 from our power plants and vehicles, the global average temperature continues to rise. Our dependence on fossil fuels is causing this change in our climate, but we might be too dependent on these fuels to be able to switch to cleaner energy sources in time to stop it. Luckily, researchers are currently developing a process called Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS), which promises to stop CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel fired power plants. In this talk, I will explain exactly how we can achieve this, and how it takes a combination of chemistry, engineering, geology, and economics to realize this goal.  

Carbon capture and sequestration

Tom Osborn Popp

Tom Osborn Popp is a 4th year PhD student at UC Berkeley in physical chemistry, and is involved in research using nuclear magnetic resonance to probe the interactions of gas and liquid molecules with porous solids known as metal-organic frameworks. In his free time, Tom enjoys playing piano and bass guitar, lifting weights, and popsicles.

Whiskey, Mummies, and Oil Spills: How One Technique Unites Them All

Whiskey can taste pretty good, mummies are cool when they’re not rising from the grave, and oil spills can wreak havoc on ecosystems. While seemingly different, scientists use one analytical technique called mass spectrometry to understand the flavor profiles of whiskey, what materials were used in mummification, and how petroleum changes in composition after a spill. Come learn how scientists use this amazing technique to understand aspects of environmental monitoring, archaeology, and alcohol!  

Mass spectrometry on whiskey


Jeremy Nowak

Jeremy Nowak is a 4th year PhD student at UC Berkeley in physical chemistry, researching microbial degradation of petroleum for oil spill remediation technology. In addition to playing with large magnets for his research, Jeremy volunteers at the San Quentin Prison University Project, works with the Oakland Unified School District to develop scientific pedagogy and content, and enjoys anything related to Boston sports.

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