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The Rice Science Café is a meeting where for the price of a cup of coffee or tea, a glass of wine or beer, anyone can come explore and debate the latest ideas in science and technology.

A science café's casual meeting place, plain language, and inclusive conversation create a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere for people with no science background. A scientist gives a brief presentation Black Labon an interesting topic in their area of expertise to kick off the discussion. The Science Café meets at the:

Black Labrador Pub
4100 Montrose Blvd.
Houston, TX 77006
Churchill Room - 1st floor

Located on Montrose Blvd. between Colquitt and W. Main (just north of Richmond Ave.)

Free parking is available in the garage behind the Black Lab.

Seating is first come first serve—the room has a limited capacity.

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Bradshaw title

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2017   •   6:30 p.m.

Steve Bradshaw, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rice University

Solar storms, such as flares and mass ejections, are the most powerful explosions in the solar system. They cause strong variations in the EUV and X-ray output of the Sun and can hurl a billion tons of particles out into space; if solar storms are Earth-directed they can lead to significant disruptions of our planet’s upper atmosphere. A major eruption recently took place during hurricane Irma, with the potential to take down vital communication systems and dangerously hamper warning and rescue efforts. The rate of occurrence of solar storms follows the ~11 year solar activity cycle and they take place in active regions; the locations of strong magnetic fields in the Sun's atmosphere that are anchored in sunspots. We are fortunate to live in an age during which we have access to a spectacular array of observing instruments that have allowed us to begin unravelling the properties of solar storms, but there remains much to learn about what triggers and drives them, and we remain a long way from reliable predictions.

During this Science Café Professor Bradshaw will give some historical perspective and talk about what we have discovered more recently about solar storms. In addition I will discuss some of the challenges they present to society as we grow ever-more dependent on space-based technology, and what we might do to mitigate some of the effects of our Sun’s most extreme behavior.