If you go

What: Science on Tap: Avalanche 101

When: 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Gunbarrel Brewing Company, 7088 Winchester Circle, Boulder

More info: facebook.com/gunbarrelbrewing

The fuel for the frontier-pushing science that is such a strong part of the community fabric in Boulder County? Coffee. And beer.

That is the opinion of Chelsea Thompson, an atmospheric chemist working for the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at Boulder's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

While scientists can get their coffee infusions on company time, as it were, Thompson wants to provide some help with the beer portion of that equation with the launching of Science on Tap, a monthly discussion program she is organizing in cooperation with Boulder's Gunbarrel Brewing Company.

"The idea is to have a monthly science talk that is fun, informal, interactive and to have scientists from a variety of disciplines come in and talk about their research," she said. "The public and whoever is interested can see the cutting edge research going on — so much research in all varieties of areas. Even I am unaware of some of it."


Advertisement

She mentioned Fort Collins and Santa Barbara, Calif., as other communities that offer similar programs mixing science and socializing over adult beverages.

Boulder has seen similar gatherings in the past, such as the Café Scientifique Boulder, which met at the Bohemian Biergarten. An employee there said those gatherings are no longer taking place there.

The presenter on Tuesday's launch of Science on Tap will be Ethan Greene, director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, talking on the forces that lead to avalanches, the meteorological variables that lead to avalanche formation and how the mechanical properties of snow relate to fracture and release.

The February edition of the program, Greene said, will feature Jim Roberts, an expert on wildfires based at NOAA.

The Science on Tap sessions will feature not only the full array of the brewery's usual beverage options, but also food trucks, which are typically on hand there each evening.

The Gunbarrel Brewing Company is seen as a natural fit for hosting the science evenings, since one half of the couple that co-owns the establishment, brewer Jamie Fox, secured his postdoctoral degree in neuroscience at the University of Colorado.

"As a former scientist, and having been in the industry for a long time, we felt it was important to give back to the community and to CU Boulder as well and kind of highlight what science is taking place in Boulder, because it really is phenomenal what is going on here," said his wife, co-owner Marie Fox.

"We'll have an endless supply of amazing minds."

Charlie Brennan: 303-473-1327, brennanc@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/chasbrennan