The financial support from UFCU will make it possible for program enhancements, including increased exposure, technology upgrades and a permanent location for Science Study Break over the next two years.
Science Study Break was introduced in 2006 by Roxanne Bogucka, science instruction librarian at the Life Science Library. Bogucka saw a link between the intellectual and academic resources of the university and the pop cultural media students consume. The product of that idea became Science Study Break -- a twice-a-semester event featuring faculty and experts from the university discussing the reality and fantasy portrayed as fact in science-themed books, television and movies.
Past presentations have featured bioterrorism and its treatment in the Fox thriller "24" by Dr. Brent Iverson of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department; the Environmental Science Institute's Dr. Jay Banner surveying climate change in "The Day After Tomorrow"; Dr. Ruth Buskirk of Biological Sciences examining the comic representation of arachnids in her talk about Spider-Man; and Biology graduate student Sam Scarpino's work on epidemiological models that could serve as a roadmap for coping with a zombie apocalypse.
The next installment of Science Study Break features noted researcher Sheril Kirshenbaum discussing the biological impetus for kissing. Kirshenbaum draws on her recently published book "The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us" in a presentation at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 9, in the auditorium of Garrison Hall (GAR 0.102).
"Life science research is critical to new medical discoveries and to the health and wellness of future generations," said Tony Budet, president/CEO of UFCU. "The University Federal Credit Union is proud to support teaching and research in the life sciences through our partnership with the Life Science Library. The interesting and entertaining series of Science Study Breaks programs is a fun way for people to unwind from their studies and discover the gaps between real science and the fiction we often consider facts."
UFCU has often supported the University of Texas Libraries, including providing $500,000 for the University Federal Credit Union Student Learning Commons in the Perry-Castañeda Library.
"The University Federal Credit Union has proven time and again through its ongoing support that it recognizes the value of the Libraries to intellectual enterprise at The University of Texas at Austin," said Libraries Director Fred Heath. "This funding of Science Study Break will ensure the program's viability at a time when other promising initiatives may not survive current budgetary travails. We are extremely grateful for UFCU's continued generosity."