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New 'Science Pub' Series at Shedd Aquarium Discusses Findings Over Beers

 Dr. Bill Van Bonn at a trial Science Pub event held for aquarium members in June.
Dr. Bill Van Bonn at a trial Science Pub event held for aquarium members in June.
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Shedd Aquarium Facebook// Heidi Zeiger

SOUTH LOOP — A new monthly series kicking off at the Shedd Aquarium Wednesday is part TED Talk, part pub trivia — and that's exactly what organizer Bill Van Bonn was going for.

Dr. Van Bonn, the aquarium's vice president of animal health, says he borrowed the "Science Pub" idea from a pair of University of Chicago scientists who run a similar series in south suburban Homewood and Flossmoor.

One Wednesday a month, at one of the Aquarium's weekly "Jazzin' at the Shedd" events, the team will set up a "pop-up pub" outside the Phelps Auditorium, along with a cash bar.

"You can kick back, enjoy a pint and talk science," Van Bonn said. "I think many of the people that walk through the front door really are interested in learning more about what's going on, and some are really interested into a deeper dive into the science behind the scenes at the aquarium." 

Lizzie Schiffman says this is a chance to dig deeper, behind the scenes at Shedd:

A different aquarium scientist will be featured at each event, mingling with guests before giving an informal 20-minute talk about his or her work, followed by an open question-and-answer session.

On Wednesday, at the first public Science Pub after a test-run at a members-only event last month, Shedd fish ecologist Solomon David will discuss his studies of ancient “dinosaur fish,” including sturgeon in the Great Lakes region. Guests are encouraged to ask questions about what David calls "living fossils" and his research.

The Science Pub will be part of one Jazzin at the Shedd event per month and is included the event admission, which costs $18 for adults and $16 for children. Jazzin at the Shedd kicks off at 5 p.m. Wednesdays, and Science Pub will start at 7 p.m.

Keep an eye on the Science Pub website for dates and forthcoming speakers.

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