Speaker Series Science Thursday features Dr. Cole Matson at Mayborn Museum

Associate professor Dr. Cole Matson will be speaking at the Mayborn Museum on Thursday in part of Baylor's Physics department's "Science Thursdays at the Mayborn Museum." Josh Aguirre | Multimedia Journalist

By Micaela Freeman | Staff Writer

Baylor’s Department of Physics has launched their speaker series, “Thursdays at Mayborn Museum” again this spring semester. The speaker series, which was debuted in 2014, features renowned professors from science departments to speak about a research topic they want to share with the public. It will be lecture style, followed by an active Q&A between the speaker and attendees. The event is on Thursdays at 7 p.m. in the Mayborn Museum Complex and coffee and cookies will be provided at 6:30 p.m.

Thursday’s speaker will be Associate Professor of Environmental Science Dr. Cole Matson. His talk, “Evolutionary Solutions to Pollution,” will introduce ideas on how to lower pollution by looking at the molecular level of a population. His research at Baylor includes focuses on the genetic impacts of environmental contaminants on sealife. He also has a particular interest in how environmental gradients and gradual changes in an ecosystem affect the toxicity of molecular materials and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are non-charged molecules found in coal or tar deposits. During his post doctoral fellowship at Duke University, his early work consisted of the genetic impacts of chronic contamination within a population.

Matson’s research consists of multiple disciplines and focuses, such as evolutionary thought and how pollution can be prevented by viewing populations. His research involves not only himself, but the active participation of his students. He teaches two environmental science classes and is eager for the rest of the spring semester.

“What I try to do is make students understand the novelty of the approaches and the questions we are asking and show that combining very different research into a very interesting story to help you understand what’s happening in the environment at very different levels,” Matson said.

Matson is passionate about finding solutions to prevent pollution and hopes students realize the effects of it on a molecular level. He is excited to share his research with others at the Mayborn Museum.

“One thing I enjoy about talking to groups who don’t work in this area is I think it helps people understand about concepts [students] learn in class and concepts like how evolution can be very important and impacted by stressors like pollutions,” Matson said.

Matson’s research effects not only environment students, he believes. He believes that his research can appeal to anyone who is interested in his or her environment and wants to find ways to prevent pollution.

The event will offer students the opportunity to become aware of scientific advancements and develop relationships with professors who have started scientific movements at Baylor and other universities across the United States.

Upcoming speakers at Science Thursdays at Mayborn Museum:

Feb. 8 – Dr. Jason Pitts (Ph.D., Vanderbilt) with “Driving Mosquitos into Oblivion”

March 15 – Dr. Annie Ginty (Ph.D., Birmingham) with “Stress and Your Health”

March 29 – Dr. Touradj Solouki (Ph.D., Texas A&M) with “Early and Non-Invasive Disease Detection”