Mind of a Scientist is a partnership with the Sonoma County Library and librarian Rosalie Abbott. The program features live presentations with scientists and engineers each week.

Here’s our page on the Sonoma Library site with all our videos, worksheets and answer keys: https://sonomalibrary.org/mind-of-a-scientist

We have featured Sonoma State, UC Davis, Sonoma Water, Dow Labs, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Bodega Bay Marine Lab, plus Medtronic and Keysight engineers.

Recently we’ve had climate scientists Rob Nelson and Katherine Wentz (From NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and Remote Sensing Systems respectively). NOAA marine biologist Steven McKagan Zoomed in from Saipan. Laguna Foundation wildlife biologist Shelly Spriggs presented as well as data scientist Shawn Boye and NOAA meteorologist Zach Tolby.

I’m grateful for the support of the Sierra Avalanche Center and the Shasta Avalanche Center for our series on snow science.

Roblox engineer and Orchard View alumni Alex Katz gave a fascinating talk, followed by Jacob Aman from Lawrence Livermore.

Recently, I have been creating decision making scenarios with our speakers for students to work on. Here are a few examples:

Conservation Biology Scenario: Imagine you are an environmental scientist developing a conservation plan for a preserve on a North Coast estuary. You have been asked for your expert opinion on the best approach to trail access along the estuary and how to minimize impacts to natural resources. State which option you recommend and why, and identify one method of minimizing – or mitigating for – that option’s impacts on wetlands  or wildlife.

OptionImpacts. Cost Connectivity to Other Trails.
1. Build a short boardwalk
to a wildlife viewing platform.
2.Build a long boardwalk
that provides a full trail connection along the river to the north.
3. No boardwalk; instead,
work with other agencies to build a paved trail along the highway – a long-term project.
Moderate -HighHighHigh

Electric Motor Scenario: Imagine you are a car company executive in charge of launching a new line of electric trucks. You must choose a motor that will please customers as well as be practical and efficient. It’s important that a lot of people buy the truck, but you also face fierce competition from other exciting models. After discussing, choose which type of motor to use in this new truck.  

Type of Motor: Pros:    Cons:
1) High torque, lower
Good for
Heavier  $$
2) Low torque, high speed Faster, more
efficient $
Poor tow rating, more maintenance 
3) Medium torque, medium speed   All around
performance $   
Less exciting