USM launches Science Cafe series, offers opportunity to meet and greet with professors

Published: Jan. 24, 2011 at 1:52 PM CST
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The following is a press release from The University of Southern Mississippi:

The University of Southern Mississippi's University Libraries popular Science Café Series returns for the spring semester, beginning Monday, Jan. 24 from 6-7:30 p.m. in Cook Library's Starbucks Café.

The Science Café Series offers those who may have little or no background in science the chance to meet and discuss scientific issues in layman's terms in a relaxed social setting. During these programs, a member of the Southern Miss faculty shares his or her expertise at each session with a presentation and short NOVA video. Admission is free and open to the general public.

This semester's first program will feature a discussion on Digital Art Authentication led by Dr. Jan Siesling, art historian and director of Southern Miss's Museum of Art. Dr. Siesling is a Van Gogh expert and has worked at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. He has written a book on Van Gogh and organized an important show on Van Gogh's friend, painter Anthon van Rappard.

Vincent van Gogh inspired several talented artists to turn their hands to forgery. Can computers be used to identify which works are really his? To find out, NOVA scienceNOW commissioned an expert to make a meticulous copy of a Van Gogh painting, and then challenged three different computer teams to find the imitation in a group that included five genuine Van Goghs. Can digital scans plus clever algorithms unmask the fake?

"We had a great response to our inaugural Science Café series in the fall, and we look forward to offering more interesting topics in the spring presented by faculty experts that are sure to inspire some quality, in-depth discussions," said Dr. Carole Kiehl, dean of University Libraries.

For more information visit; or contact Tracy Englert at 601.266.6396 or e-mail