Science Talks

GRCC Science Talks features field experts on awe-inspiring subjects. Join in conversation or listen in with GRCC faculty and other experts on specialized topics ranging from the secrets of our solar system and saving endangered species, to the gene modifications that have the potential to cure diseases with sometimes dangerous consequences.

Science Talks will be hosted in the Calkins Science Center auditorium, room 348. These events are open to the public and light refreshments will be served.

We welcome expert faculty, student and community members to present a GRCC Science Talks. If you are interested, please email


2018-19 Science Talks

Unlocking the Sun: Spectroscopy in the 1800s

Sept. 17 at 3:45 p.m.

Lauren Woolsey

With Dr. Lauren Woolsey, a Harvard-trained expert in astronomy, solar physics and exoplanets.

Have you ever wondered how we know what the sun is made of, even though it’s too hot to visit? The story of how we discovered the chemical makeup of our own star combines chemistry, physics, and astronomy in a tale of mystery, far-flung expeditions, and unexpected discoveries. After an overview of spectroscopy, assistant professor Lauren Woolsey will take us through the secrets of the sun from this turning point in science history.


Species Conservation: How we got here and what can still be done

Nov. 5, 2018, at 3:45 p.m.

Greg Forbes

With Dr. Greg Forbes, evolutionary biologist and certified wildlife biologist.

Professor Forbes will examine some of the reasons that animal and plant species are endangered today, the current status of species worldwide, nationally and in Michigan, as well as some possible strategies to save some of these species — as well as humanity.


Epigenetics & Colon Cancer: A tale of mice, microbes and methyl groups

Feb. 21, 2019 at 4 p.m.

Nicole Vander Schaaf

With Nicole Vander Schaaf, doctoral candidate at the Van Andel Institute Graduate School

Have you ever wondered how there can be numerous cell types in your body (skin, muscle, etc.) even though they share the same DNA code? This is explained by epigenetics, the branch of science that studies how chemical modifications on or near DNA influence how genes are expressed. We’ll learn about epigenetics and its important role in maintaining healthy cells. 


Gene Modifications: CRISPR

March 25, 2019 at 3:45 p.m.

Bill Faber

With Bill Faber, GRCC's chemistry professor who has researched physical and biochemical applications focused on identifying and characterizing larger bio-molecules using spectroscopy.

Have you heard of CRISPR? It stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. Promises of cured disease, designer organisms, and dangerous consequences all surround this fascinating topic. The background and origin of the CRISPR technique will be presented along with a brief description of applications and potential difficulties.