Science & Technology Lectures/Films

Lectures on a variety of topics are given by invited experts from government, universities, and research institutes.  The 7:30 pm lectures on the first Thursday each month from September through June are presented in Encore Theater.  On the third Thursday of each month there is a Science and Technology film presented in the Encore Theater.  These lectures are at the level of an educated lay person. Sufficient time is provided for brisk question and answer sessions after each lecture. On occasion special lectures may be announced and presented at other times.

Mission Statement

The Science and Technology (S&T) Lecture series is designed to inform residents of forefront developments in these realms both for their intrinsic interest and for their relevance to societal problems. A basic understanding of advances in S&T is particularly important because they impact our health and that of our offspring as well as that of our environment; e.g. global warming, stem cells, DNA, etc. Such insights are necessary in making informed decisions in the voting booth. The S&T lectures bring to Riderwood outstanding scientists from many disciplines and sources, such as universities and public and private organizations. The level of the lectures is aimed at the generalist.

For information or speaker/topic suggestions contact David Ebert (see the Resident Directory).

Next Lecture



Science & Technology Film Series










Future Lectures

2018-2019 Lectures


November 1:    Steve Ralston:  Quantum Computing

December 6:    Timothy Horiuchi: Computational Neuroscience

January 17:      Charles Wurster*: Why Pigeons don’t Fly

February 7:       Bill Flank*: From Open Sewer to Almost Clean: PCBs in the Hudson River

March 7:           John Chapin: The Electromagnetic Spectrum

April 4:              Sandra Gordon-Salant:  Golden Ears for Golden Years

May 2:               Russ Howard:  The Solar Corona

June 6:              Joel Rosenbloom: Fibrosis: Scarring within internal organs

Past Films

Oct. 19, 2017 Earth A New Wild: Forests

Nov. 16, 2017 Earth A New Wild: Oceans

Dec. 21,2017 Earth A New Wild: Water

Jan. 18, 2017 Born in China

Feb. 15, 2017 Galapagos: The Islands That Changed the World

March 15, 2017 The Last Man on the Moon

Science & Technology Handouts 

Please note if a handout is available for a Lecture, it will be included as a link to the listing of the lecture in the Future or Past Lectures.


September 6:   Nathan Fox: The Effects of Early Separation from their parents on the development of children’s brains and behavior: Lessons from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project

October 4:        Timothy Koeth: The Nazi’s Attempt to Build an Atomic Bomb

Past Lectures

2017-2018 Lectures

Nov. 2: Cynthia Cohen: New ways of creating babies: scientific, ethical, and legal issues

Thursday, October 5, 2017, Robert Horlick, Former Senior Director of Molecular Biology at AnaptysBio in San Diego, CA , How Gene Editing using CRISP-R can Redesign Humans, Animals, and Plants.

Thursday, September 7, 2017, Lance J. Hoffman, Professor of Cyber Security and Privacy Research Institute, George Washington University – Handout Cybersecurity for Savvy Seniors

Dec: 7: Peter Shawhan: Gravitational Waves: New Discoveries, New Astronomy
Jan 11: Tamar Hodos: Globalization in the Ancient World
Feb 1: Susan Weiss: current research on heroin and marijuana

2016-2017 Lectures

Thursday, June 8, 2017, Drew Baden, Professor of Physics, Univ. of MD, College Park, Our Universe: The Big Picture

Thursday, May 4, 2017, Bob Wildin, M.D, NIH, The role of genomics in the future treatment of disease

Thursday, April 6, 2017, Gerald Thompkins, National Security Agency, Cryptography

Thursday, March 2, 2017, Eric Cline, George Washington Univ, End of  the Bronze Age

Sunday, February 19, 2017, Paul Jaffe, Naval Research Lab, Space Solar Collectors

Thursday, January 5, 2017, Dr. William Hodos, Distinguished University Professor , University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Thursday, December 1, 2016, Encore Theater, LSC, Dr. Thomas Smith, Howard University, Dept. of Biochemistry, “Old and New Classes of Blood Thinners: Where and How they work in Blood Coagulation”

Thursday, November 3, 2016, Encore Theater, LSC, Prof. Jordan Goodman, University of Maryland, Dept. of Physics, ” Multi-Messenger Astronomy-Gamma Rays, Neutrinos and Gravitational Waves”

Thursday, October 6, 2016,  Dr. Robert Horlick, Senior Director, AnaptysBio , Inc.,  “Harnessing  the Immune System to Treat Disease”

Thursday, September 8, 2016,  Dr. Brian Sheron, Former director, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Nuclear Regulatory Research, “Nuclear Accidents: Lessons Learned from Three-Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima”


2015-2016 Lectures

Thursday, June 2, 2016, Dr. Vint Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist, Google, “Internet Past, Present, and Future”

Thursday, May 5, 2016, Pearl Katz, PhD, “The culture of surgeons”

Thursday, April 7, 2016, Charlie Wurster, PhD, “DDT WARS: How a handful of scientists changed the system”

Thursday, March 3, 2016, Prof. Eugenia Kalnay,  Distinguished University Professor, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Maryland, “Climate Change and Population”

Thursday, February 4, 2016, Dr. Catherine Plaisant, Human Computer Interaction Laboratory, University of Maryland, “Information Visualization”

Thursday, January 7, 2016, Dr. Adam Ruben, “Public Perception of Science: Lessons from a dead sheep”

Thursday, December 3, 2015, Dr. Matthew Scott, President, Carnegie Institution of Science, “Designer Genes”

Thursday, November 12, 2015,  Dr. Marvin Zelkowitz, Professor Emeritus, Computer Science, University of Maryland and Riderwood Resident, “Internet ‘Truthiness’: Why it is hard to get accurate information even when you know what you are doing”

Thursday, October 1, 2015, Dr. Don Michels, Riderwood Resident and NRL, “Our Star, the Sun”

Thursday, September 3, 2015,  Dr. Roger Wakimoto, Asst. Director, Geoscience, NSF, “Tornadoes: What we know; What we don’t know; Some recent results”


2014-2015 Lectures

Thursday, June 4, 2015, Dr. Paul Ebert, “Collision Avoidance – How do airplanes, boats, cars, and even people keep from running into each other?”

Monday, May 4, 2015, Prof. Jessica Sunshine, University of Maryland, “The Wonderful Diversity of Comets as Revealed by Spacecraft”

Thursday, April 2, 2015, Dr. Richard Fiske, Smithsonian Institution, “Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii: Hazards and Hijinks”

Thursday, March 5, 2015, Dr. David Ebert, PhD, Nuclear Engineering and Riderwood Resident, “Is nuclear power the answer?”

Monday, February 23, 2015,  John Cmar, MD, Assistant Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, “Ebola – Cutting Through the Fear to Counter the Threat.”

Thursday, January 8, 2015, Robert Friedman, MD, Uniformed Services Medical School, “The peculiar story of interferons.”

Thursday, December 11, 2014, Prof. Gregory Sullivan, University of Maryland, “A new kind of astronomy using a cubic-kilometer neutrino detector at the Antarctic South Pole.”

Thursday, November 6, 2014, Prof. Walter Rowe, George Washington University, “The Secrets of Alchemy: Rethinking the Scientific Revolution.”

Thursday, October 2, 2014, Dr. Lita M. Proctor, National Institutes of Health, “The Human Microbiome Project: what it is and why it’s important to you.”

Thursday, September 4, 2014, Dr. Thomas R. Holtz, University of Maryland, “Dinosaurs of a Feather: New Information on the Origin of Birds, Feathers & Flight.”


 2013-2014 Lectures

Thursday, June 5, 2014, Michael P. McLoughlin, JHU/APL, “Bionics and prosthetics”

Thursday, May 15, 2014, Dr.Marcia McNutt, Editor in Chief, Scieince, AAAS, “The value of government science agencies: Reflections after leaving federal service”

Thursday, May 1, 2014, Dr. David Morens, Director, National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, NIH, “Newly emerging and reemerging infectious diseases”

Thursday, April 3, 2014, Prof. Rabindra Mohapatra, Physics, University of MD, “Is there a parallel universe?”

Monday, March 10, 2014, Prof. Hanan Samet, Distinguished University Professor, Computer Science, Univ. of MD, “Apple, Google and the smart phone mapping apps race”

Thursday, March 6, 2014, Dr. Lloyd Whitman, NIST, “Thinking big about small things: Nanotechnology and NIST”

Thursday, February 6, 2014, Dr. Neil Gehrels, “Observing the birth of black holes with NASA’s Swift satellite”

Thursday, December 5, 2013, Prof. Allison Flatau, University of MD, “Bio-inspired sensors”

Thursday, November 7, 2013, Robert Calahan, “The sun, the moon, and earth’s energy budget surplus”

Thursday, October 3, 2013, Dr. Vence Bonham, NIH, “Genomics and society”

Thursday, September 5, 2013, Prof. Bernard Wood, GWU, “Origins of Humanity”

2012-2013 Lectures

Thursday, June 20, 2013, Dr. David Atlas, Riderwood resident and NASA, “The dangerous storms”

Thursday, June 6, 2013, Dr. Richard Hendler, Riderwood resident, NIH and NIST, “The genome: What it is and how it works”

Thursday, April 4, 2013, Dr. Franco Einaudi, NASA, “Weather and climate”

Thursday, March 7, 2013, Dr. Henry Plotkin, Riderwood resident and NASA, “Laser reflector on the moon”

Monday, February 7, 2013,  Dr. William Dean Pesnell, NASA, “Recent advances in the dynamics of the sun and impact on the earth”

Thursday, January 10, 2013, Dr. Edward Sondik, CDC, “National health statistics and significance”

Thursday, December 6, 2012, Prof. Ben Shneiderman, Computer Science, University of MD, “HCI reveals new patterns in medical data”

Thursday, November 1, 2012, Prof.. Oscar Greenberg, Univ. of MD, “Quarks”

Wednesday, October 24, 2012, Dr. Russell Schneider, NOAA, “Tornadoes and derechos”

Thursday, October 4, 2012, Dr. Jennifer Wiseman, NASA, “Hubble space telescope”

Thursday, September 6, 2012, Dr. Cynthia Dunbar, NIH, “Stem cells”

Note: The lists of talks prior to 2012 is incomplete.

2011-2012 Lectures

Sorry! These are missing 🙁

2010-2011 Lectures

April 7,2011,   Dr. David Strauss, “Chaos and loss of predictability of weather and climate”

March 3, 2011, Dr. David Wollman, “The  Smart Grid”

January 6, 2011, Dino Brugioni, “Photo-imagery intelligence”

December 2, 2010, David Kehne, “Laser fusion for energy”

November 4, 2010, Dr. Kimberly Weaver, “How Astronomers See Black Holes”

October 7, 2010, Dr. Judith Lean, “The Sun’s Role in Climate Change”

September 2, 2010, Richard Easton, “From Vanguard to GPS”

2009-2010 Lectures

February 4, 2010, Dr. Dennis McKearin, “Genomics Applications: Personalized Medicine”

January 7, 2010, Dr. Jo Paoletti, “Is Green the New Black? The Dilemma of Sustainable Fashion”

December 3, 2009, Dr. Claire Parkinson, “Satellite Contributions to Global Change Studies”

November 5, 2009, Dr. James Irons and William Anselm, “Landsat and Global Warming”

October 1, 2009, Dr. Margaret Symington, “The Amazon:  World’s Largest Wetlands”

September 10, 2009, Dr. Robert Park, “Superstition in the Age of Science”

2008-2009 Lectures

May 7, 2009, Dr. John Logsdon, “Why Go Back to the Moon—and Beyond?”

April 16, 2009, Dr. Phillip Sabelhaus, “The James Webb Space Telescope”

April 2, 2009, Dr. Jordan Goodman, “The Ice Cube”

March 5, 2009, Dr. Lindley Darden, “Charles Darwin and the Evolution of Evolutionary Theory”

February 5, 2009, Dr. Richard Berg, “Physics is Phun”

January 22, 2009, Dr. Robert Bindschadler, “Antarctica & Greenland: Have We Awakened Two Giants?”

December 4, 2008, Nobel Laureate Marshall Nirenberg, “The Genetic Code”

November 6, 2008, Dr. Ning Zeng, “Climate Change: The Chinese Challenge”

October 2, 2008, Dr. David Inouye, “Pollinators and Global Warming”

2007-2008 Lectures

May 15, 2008, Dr. Wayne Esaias, “How Climate Change is Affected Pollinators: The story of Honeybees.

April 1, 2008, Nobel Laureate Dr. John Mather, “Evidence of the Big Bang”

March 15, 2008, Dr. David Atlas, “Stormy Weather: A Medley of Serendipitous Discovery”

March 3, 2008, Dr. Michael King, “The Earth Observing System & Our Changing Planet”

February 7, 2008, Dr Stephen Brush, “The Age of the Earth”

January 3, 2008, Dr Robert Kahn, “The Development of the Internet”

December 6, 2007, Dr Shrager, “Mathematics and Music”

November 1, 2007, Dr Baden, “Particle Accelerators – CERN”

October 4, 2007, Dr Hines, “Neurobiology – the Brain”

September 6, 2007, Dr Gates, “String Theory”

2006-2007 Lectures

May 17, 2007, Dr Fischell, “Medical Implants”

April 5, 2007, Dr Joe Sucher, “Elementary Particles”

March 1, 2007, Dr Ferguson, “Neuroscience Primer”

February 1, 2007, Dr Smith, “Bird Migration”

January 4, 2007, Dr Richard Hendler, “BioEnergy/Energetics”

December 7, 2006, Dr Beherensmeyer, “Climate and  Human Evolution”

November 2, 2006, Dr Tucker, “Ice, Oceans and Climate”

October 7, 2006, Dr Jordan Baruch, “Nuclear Power”

September 7, 2006, Dr Pesnell, “Solar Physics – The Sun”

2005-2006 Lectures

May 6, 2006, Dr Leshner, “Evolution and Society”

April 6, 2006, Dr Hildebrand, “Climate Change”

March 2, 2006, Dr Jim Yorke, “Chaos Theory”

February 6, 2006, Dr Pamela Hines, “Stem Cells”

January 5, 2006, Dr Roman, “Astronomy and the Hubble”

December 5, 2005, Dr Hearl, “Genomic animals in Medicine”

November 3, 2005, Dr Jasny, “Applications of Genomics to Law”

October 6, 2005, Dr Suzuromi, “Nano-Technology”

September 18, 2005, Dr William Hooke, “Natural disasters”

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