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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Inaugural Science Cafe: What Keeps Airplanes in the Air Tues., Oct. 18 at Lusa Pastry Cafe

The physics of airplane flight is the focus for the first in a series of monthly public science forums scheduled by the University of Mississippi Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The inaugural meeting of the Oxford Science Cafe is set for 6 p.m. Oct. 18 at Lusa Pastry Cafe, 1120 North Lamar Ave. Josh Gladden, associate professor of physics and astronomy, will discuss “Airplanes to Turbulence to Dark Energy.” Admission is free.

“I came up with the idea for the Oxford Science Cafe after participating as a guest speaker in one in North Carolina a few months ago,” said Marco Cavaglia, associate professor of physics and astronomy. “I was so impressed by the idea that I decided to try it here. While attending a few conferences on science outreach during the past year, I learned more about science cafes. They seem to be very popular now.”

Gladden’s 30-minute presentation will address how an airplane flies and other questions related to the physics of the subject. The lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

“We’re planning one event the third Tuesday of each month,” Cavaglia said. “In November, we will have Dr. Jocelyn Read (a UM postdoctoral fellow who specializes in gravitational research) speak about black holes and neutron stars. I am contacting other speakers from other departments for the following months.”

The first few events are also scheduled at the pastry shop. Depending on the public response, the location could change to a larger venue, Cavaglia said.

Lucien Cremaldi, chair and professor of physics and astronomy, expressed his support for the concept.

“The physics department is delighted to host the first of the Science Cafes in Oxford,” Cremaldi said. “I hope our other departments on campus will participate in the excitement of exposing big ideas in science, math and technology to the public through this novel approach.”

Gladden holds earned degrees from Penn State University, the University of Montana and the University of the South. A UM faculty member since 2005, he previously was a postdoctoral fellow at Penn State. His research focuses on resonant ultrasound spectroscopy, an experimental method for determining the full elastic tensor of a single crystal.

For more information about science cafes, go to For more information, visit UM’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, or call 662-915-5311.