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Sept. 5, 2003


    OSWEGO -- Science Today, a new SUNY Oswego science lecture series that presents topics from experts in a range of disciplines, will begin Wednesday, Sept. 10, with a discussion of astrochemistry by Professor Gianfranco Vidali of Syracuse University's physics department.
   Vidali's lecture, titled "Astrochemistry: Making Molecules in Interstellar Space," will begin a weekly series of admission-free lectures at 4 p.m. Wednesdays in Room 303 of Park Hall.

    The new lecture series is an interdisciplinary effort geared to provide biology, chemistry, computer science, earth sciences, mathematics and biology majors a broad view of fields related to their area of study. The program is also expected to show potential
careers and paths of research in the natural sciences, said physics Professor Dale Zych, who coordinates the series.

    For the opening lecture, Vidali will discuss research on the interstellar medium (ISM), where stars are born, and how celestial matter interacts to create new heavenly bodies.

    "Understanding how molecules are formed on grains of stardust in the ISM is the topic of research of my group," he said. "I will give some examples of how research in the laboratory can give a glimpse on the interesting physical and chemical phenomena taking place in interstellar space."

    A new member of SUNY Oswego's campus community will continue the series next week. Dr. Kestas Bendinskas, associate professor of chemistry, will discuss biochemistry in the general chemistry laboratory and the potential for detecting GHB, better known as the "date-rape drug."

    Other presentations are coming together, with more yet to be confirmed, featuring a mix of visiting speakers and on-campus experts. On Oct. 1, Professor Philip Borer of Syracuse University's chemistry department will discuss a new HIV drug test. Professor Vaughn Langman of the physiology department of Louisiana State University at Shreveport is slated to talk about temperature regulation in large mammals on Oct. 15.

    Science Today is part of a larger push by a campus planning committee that stresses interdisciplinary
cooperation. In addition to the lecture series, subcommittees are actively addressing such issues as curriculum development, research development and funding support, biology Professor Al Lackey said.

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