Flandrau: The University of Arizona Science Center is holding its next "Science Café" at Cushing Street Bar & Restaurant in downtown Tucson on Tuesday, Jan. 12, at 6 p.m.
Meteorites have slammed into the earth's surface throughout its history, each one carrying an invaluable record of the very beginnings of the solar system. But finding meteorites, some buried over centuries by thick layers of dirt and sediment, is no easy task.
Enter meteorite men Geoffrey Notkin and his partner, Steve Arnold. Notkin and Arnold are the two stars of "Meteorite Men," which airs on the Science Channel. During the show's pilot in May the duo found a number of very large pallasite specimens at the Brenham strewnfield in Kiowa County, Kansas. Pallasites are stony-iron meteorites that are rich in beautiful olivine crystals (the gemstone peridot).
During the Science Café, meteorite hunter Notkin will give a short talk entitled, "From Fallen Stars to Media Stars: Meteorite Hunters Investigate the Science of Rocks from Space." With his unique blend of adventure, science and humor, Notkin's presentation will focus on his use of inventive, cutting-edge technologies to detect these treasures from space.
The event is a casual forum for people to meet and discuss a particular science topic with a UA scientist in the relaxed atmosphere of a local restaurant.
Notkin is a professional meteorite hunter, science writer and photographer. He has traveled to more than 40 countries and some of the world's most remote locations including Chile's Atacama Desert, Iceland, England, Mexico and the Middle East in search of elusive and valuable space rocks.
He has authored more than 100 published articles on meteoritics, paleontology, adventure travel, history and the arts and is currently at work on a memoir about his life as a meteorite hunter.
He writes a daily science column for TucsonCitizen.com and is the author of "Meteorwritings" on Geology.com.
During the talk, Notkin will also provide an inside look at what to expect in the upcoming season of "Meteorite Men," which he said will include joining the team on a quest to find answers to the Tucson Ring mystery – one of the most intriguing anomalies in the meteorite world.
"Meteorite Men" will also search outside of Odessa, Texas, for a massive, 65,000 year-old meteorite buried deep in the ground, and scour west Texas for tiny pieces of the Ash Creek meteorite, that caught the public's attention when it streaked across the sky on Feb. 15, 2009. The new season premieres Jan. 20 on Science Channel and Science Channel HD.
Shipherd Reed will moderate the discussion, which will end by 7:30 p.m. Following the program, audience members will have the opportunity to submit discussion topic ideas for subsequent Science Café events.