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Upcoming science-related events

Here are some upcoming science-related events.
Nobel focus on food
The annual Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College in St.

Here are some upcoming science-related events.

Nobel focus on food

The annual Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter begins Tuesday, and everyone has a stake in this year’s topic: Making Food Good.

What do those three words mean to you? Around the world, they encompass ethical, ecological, economic, agricultural, political, aesthetic and cultural considerations.

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Conference organizers say they plan to cover the whole panoply. Lectures include such wide-ranging topics as food politics, preserving plant genetic material and the variation in sensation across different taste worlds.

Tickets are required for most events. You can find full details here.

Coastal problems before the BP Blowout

The Louisiana coast was under grave threat from erosion, rising seas and pollution even before the explosion in April on BP’s Deepwater Horizon platform.

Whole communities have vanished under the rising water, and the livelihoods and communities of people who depend on fishing for income has been threatened. The oil spill is a critical blow to these struggling communities and to threatened coastal ecosystems.

Former University of Minnesota law professor, Daniel Farber is coming back to campus to give a talk arguing that environmental law needs to incorporate such multiple threats into a more holistic view of problems along the coast, linking communities with ecosystems.

The lecture by Farber — now an environmental law professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and faculty director of the Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment — will be the first in a series on Law, Health & Life Sciences.

Here are the details for the lecture which is free and open to the public: 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 7, at the U of M’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs’ Cowles Auditorium, 301 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis.

For more information, go here.

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Calling young wizards and witches

Thanks to Harry Potter, my family is into wizardry year around, not just for Halloween.

Now, the U of M’s Raptor Center is gearing up to serve young Potter fans with a program it calls the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

It’s a safe bet that the center’s owls will play a role in the classes. The center says all students must pass their O.W.L.S. exam to receive their wands and become aurors – the elite group of wizards and witches who battle the Dark Arts in J. K. Rowling’s fantasy world. In this case, the battle involves protecting Minnesota’s wildlife from the Dark Arts.

The center is offering four optional dates for kids aged 6 to 12: Nov. 12 or 13, Dec. 3 or 4.

First-year wizards will be sorted into houses and then take courses in Herbology, Potions, and the Care and Keeping of Magical Creatures. The cost of $25 per session, per wizard also covers some take-home items and a snack.  

Registration is required in advance, by calling 612-624-2756 or sending an email to to reserve your place. You’re asked to provide your child’s name, age and an email address for a contact.