Science Cafe New Hampshire

In Nashua and Concord

Free monthly gatherings where you can question experts. Held in Killarney’s Irish Pub in Nashua from 6 to 8 p.m. on first Wednesday of the month, and in The Draft Sports Bar in Concord from 6 to 8 p.m. on third Tuesday of the month.

Stay connected via SCNH’s mailing list: sign up at
You might also the free Granite Geek weekly newsletter:

Science Cafe Nashua logo

May 3 in Nashua: Living with Climate Change

Science Cafe will explore the impacts climate change will have on life here in New Hampshire in the near and slightly longer term.  Many people live here specifically because of the kind of climate we have had – come here from the experts what we can expect down the road.  Panelists include: Professors Larry Hamilton and Liz Burakowski of UNH and Mike Bailey of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.


May 16 in Concord:
Biodiversity in New Hampshire -
It’s more than just an eco-buzzword,
but why should we care?

 Coming up (topics subject to change): 

Concord –  June: Citizen science (how can you be part of the fun?)




April 18, Concord: Composting - UNH Cooperative Master Gardener Bonnie Ensinger;  Joan O’Connor of Joan’s Famous Composting Worms in Henniker ; James Meinecke, farmer in chief at Lewis Farm, Concord.

March 21, Concord: N.H. Demographics & the “silver tsunami” - Ken Johnson, Carsey School of Public Policy at UNH; Ken Gallager, senior planner with the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning.

March 1, Nashua: Robots. Fred Alibozek of iRobot, Joshua Rosen of GreenSight Agronomics, and Alexander Malin and Luke Broyer of Omron Adept Technologies.

Feb. 21, Concord: Seasonal Affective Disorder. Meghan Butcher, a psychology intern at Concord Hospital Family Healing; Wayne Castro clinician at Riverbend Community Mental Health in Concord.

Feb. 1, Nashua: SAD. Carlos Martín Cinto, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor with Catholic Charities NH in Nashua;  Marc Sadowsky, a psychiatrist from Nashua; and Barb Tremlett, founder of The Holistic Self Care Center in Nashua.

Jan. 17, Concord: Electric cars. Rebecca Ohler of NH Department of Environmental Services and longtime electric-vehicle advocate; Mike Mercer, technical service director for Banks Chevrolet, which is introducing the all-electric Bolt this year.

 Jan. 4, Nashua: Cybersecurity. Carl Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, a new managed DNS service firm in N.H.; Timothy Winters, executive in software and IP networking at the UNH Interoperability Lab, which has started Internet of Things testing to tackle DDOS issues.


Nov. 15, Concord: “3-D printing – is it living up to its promise?”.  Panelists include representative from SolidScape in Merrimack, which makes and sells 3-D printers; Jeff Hapgood of Technology Education Concepts in Concord; plus a representative of Manchester Makerspace.

Nov.2, Nashua: “New Hampshire’s Drought.” Brandon Kernon, NH Department of Environmental Services who oversees the state’s drought response; Roger Skillings of Skillings and Sons, well-drilling from in Hollis; Doug Webster, meteorologist and weather columnist for the Telegraph.

 October 18, Concord: “Indoor agriculture – can technology turn farming into a year-round business in NH?” Lef-Farms, which is building a huge indoor facility in Loudon; Todd Guerdat UNH professor of agriculture and part of new UNH Aquaculture Farming Project.

October 5, Nashua: “Big Data” - Eric McCall, director of engineering for DataGravity Inc. in Nashua; HaiYing Wang, assistant professor of mathematics at UNH; Martin Margala, Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering Dept. at UMass-Lowell.

September, Nashua and Concord: “Coping with Climate Change” – Rhett Lamb, city planner for Keene; Trevor Hardy of Brookdale Farms in Hollis; Chuck Souther of Apple Hill Farm in Concord; Sherry Godlewski, environmental program manager with NH Department of Environmental Services

June 29, Nashua (special event): There’s an App For That – a look at the world of smartphone apps; co-sponsored by NashuaHUB.

June 15, Nashua: Local Hydropower – a look at small-scale water-powered electricity in Nashua and elsewhere.  Panelists included Madeleine Mineau of the City of Nashua, Michael Bailey of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Engineer John Lavigne of HL Turner helped attendees fathom the ins and outs of hydro power!

June 8, Concord (special event): What Is This Thing Called Math? Discussion with Dave Brooks, Science Cafe Concord moderator, and Ian Underwood of Ask Dr. Math, following a screening of the move “The Man Who Knew Infinity” at Red River Theaters, Concord.

June 7, Concord: The science of brewing. Otto Kuhn, senior brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch‘s Merrimack brewery; Christopher Shea, head brewer at Henniker Brewing Co.; and Ed Ramshaw, president of Concord Area Homebrewers.

June 6, Gilford: Special session on “Opioids, Heroin and Abuse”
Lakes Region attendees heard from Dr. Paul Racicot, Pharmacist Peter Grasso, and Paramedic Richard Oberman on the dangers and realities of the opioid crisis in the Laconia area.

May 18, Nashua: Radiation and Terrorism  The topic covered radioactive materials, terrorism, terrorists and the threat the combination poses to New Hampshire.  What is the nature of the threat?  Current methods of detecting, tracking and containing nuclear materials?  What will we need in the future?  Panelists included Dr. Sukesh Aghara and Lt Col Greg d’Arbonne (ret.).

May 3, Concord: Lyme Disease. Panelists: Dr. Lynn Durand of Family Tree Health Care. Alan Eaton of UNH, entomologist.

April 20, Nashua: CRISPR and gene therapy.  Panelists Dr. Subhash Minocha and Dr. Kelley Thomas discussed the latest in gene editing technologies and what this might mean for the future of disease and designer babies.

FullSizeRender(2)  FullSizeRender(1)

April 5 Concord: Self-driving cars –  Sean Smith, Computer Science professor and Director of Institute for Security, Technology and Society at Dartmouth College; Andrew Kun, professor of Electrical Engineering at UNH; Joe Cunningham, professor of the Robotics and Automation Engineering Technology program at NHTI.


March 16, Nashua:  Zika and the Evolution of Disease   Panelists: Dr. Elizabeth Talbot, New Hampshire Deputy State Epidemiologist – Dr. James Noble, Infectious Disease Specialist – and Dr. Alan Eaton, Entomologist and UNH Professor

Science Cafe Concord March 1, 2016 by Shawn McHenry

March 1, Concord: CRISPR and the revolution in gene editing.  Panelists: Subhash Minocha and Thomas Davis, professors of Plant Biology and Genetics at UNH.

Feb. 17, Nashua: Heroin, opioids and beyond. Pharmacist Vahrij Manoukian of Hollis Pharmacy; Chris Shambarger, liaison to the NH State Police; Paramedic Patty Stolarz of AMR Nashua; Dr. Abigail Zavod of Dartmouth Hitchcock Nashua.

Feb. 2, 2015, Sciene Cafe Concord: "Bitcoin and Beyond"

Feb. 2, 2015, Science Cafe Concord: “Bitcoin and Beyond”

Feb. 2, Concord: Bitcoin & Beyond. Panelists include JJ Schlessinger who co-produces Neocash Radio, a podcast focused on alternative currencies, and Andrew Curioso, Chief Technology Officer of GoCoin, a leader in blockchain payments that recently merged with New Hampshire based Ziftr.

 Jan. 20, Nashua: Big power in New Hampshire.  Panelists include Richard Labrecque, Manager of Distributed Generation for Eversource Energy, and Craig Cassarino of Leonardo Technologies, Inc.

Jan. 12, Concord: The science of heroin, opioids and addiction. Panelists included state medical examiner Thomas Andrew, Concord Fire Chief Dan Andrus, Dr. Molly Rossingol and Concord Hospitals’ Monica Edgar.  Story here.



*Nov. 18: Solar power – does it work for you? Your company? Your town? Panelists: Mark Weissflog, president, KW Management of Nashua, a long-time solar installation firm. Daniel Voss, power consultant ffom Bonfire Power in Lexington, Mass.  Jonathan Gregory, New Hampshire manager with ReVision Energy, a New Hampshire-based solar firm.

*Oct. 21: The science of polling – The math, the logistics, the decision-making behind the creation of polls. Panelists: Dennis Delay, economist at the N.H. Center for Public Policy, who has overseen political and economic polls for a long time.  Zachery Azem, research associate at the University of New Hampshire Survey Center since 2013, who has managed numerous statewide and nationwide polls.

*Sept. 16: Fishing and fisheries in New Hampshire: Changing climate, changing markets, changing obstacles in the ocean and our lakes and rivers. Panelists: Gabriella Bradt and Erik Chapman, marine fisheries specialists from New Hampshire Sea Grant, UNH Cooperative Extension. Michael Bailey, asst. project leader US Fish and Wildlife Service, at the Nashua National Fish Hatchery.

scnh probiotics panel
* June 17: Probiotics and gut health.
  Liz Whalen RD, LD; Clinical Nutrition Manager, and  Rebekah Donelan RD, LD; Clinical Inpatient Dietitian from St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua.

*May 20: Trains – an old technology that keeps getting newer. Eric DiVirgilio, civil engineer, project manager for HNTB consultants, who has worked for 15 years in design and implementation of rauil expansion and upgrade throughout New England. Bill Mosher of Nashua, who worked in railroads for 25 years. (A last-minute standin)

*April 15: Who lived here before Europeans – and how do we know? Richard Boisvert, N.H. state archaeologist, will be one panelist, to talk about the anthropology and archaeology in the Granite State, and the peoples who were here after the glaciers left and before the Mayflower landed. Linda Feurderer, president of the New Hampshire Archeological Society.

* March 18: Why are roads built where they are? Ryan Friedman, Senior GIS Planner for the Nashua Regional Planning Commission, deals with “travel demand models” and how they are used to make decisions about expanding infrastructure. Mark Connors, regional planner for Nashua Regional Planninc Commission, provide an overview of the planning process and how projects move from ideas through planning to construction.

scnh sugar feb 2015

* Feb. 18: The science of sugar: Stephanie Ballentine is a family nurse practitioner working currently in an internal medicine office of St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua, where she sees the health effects of sugar all too often. Gale Carey is a professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences at UNH.  She teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels in Nutritional Biochemistry; Nutrition, Exercise and Fitness; Introduction to Research; and Metabolic Adaptations to Exercise. Her research interests are in the role of nutrition, exercise and environmental chemicals in the etiology of obesity.

*Jan. 21: Geothermal energy in New Hampshire. “Heat exchange” is a more accurate term, but either way it can cut energy usage. How does it work, and is it worth it? Roger Skilling, co-owner of Skilling & Sons, which has been drilling geothermal wells in New Hampshire and elsewhere since 1981. Chip Crocetti, senior vice president of Sanborn Head & Associates in Concord. His expertise is in the application of geochemistry to hydrogeological and environmental issues, including geologic and geochemical influences on the success of ground source heat pump (aka geothermal) systems. Martin Orio, president of New England Geothermal Professionals Association (, and vice president of / Water Energy Distributors Inc., which has been in the business since 1978.


*Nov. 19: Medical screening – Are we doing too much of it? Questions are being raised about whether frequent and early screening for breast cancer and prostate cancer might do more harm than good. What should patients know? Dr. Jose Montero, head of the NH Department of Public Health Services Dr. Sanders Burstein, family physician and geriatrician, medical director at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Nashua and co-directer of Honoring Care Decisions, a new program to promote and improve Advance Care Planning at Dartmouth-Hitchcock and local communities. Dr. Salvatore Vella, internist with Southern New Hampshire Health Services


*Oct. 15 Flexible and printed electronics: Read the Telegraph story here.:  Craig Amiento, professor of electrical and computer engineering at UMass-Lowell; director, Center for Photonics, Electromagnetics and Nanoelectronics; and co-director the brand new Raytheon-UMass Lowell Research Institute Joe Junze is the president of SI2 Technologies of North Billerica, Mass., a small business in the flex electronics area, especially electromagnetic systems for military and government platforms constrained for space, weight and power. Chris McCarroll is a research scientist in Director of Engineering in Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems, the Director of Technology for Above Water Sensors (AWS) in Seapower Capability. * Sept. 19: The science of marijuana: What do we know, and not know, about how it affects our brains, our health and our bodies?


Dr. Alan Budney, professor of psychiatry at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College, and an investigator at the Center for Technology and Behavioral Health at the school. He and his lab have done extensive research on cannabis addiction, use and treatment.

Dr. Staci Gruber, director of the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core at McLean Hospital’s Brain Imaging Center and an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Her clinical and research focus is the application of neurocognitive models and multimodal brain imaging to better characterize neurobiological risk factors for substance abuse. Her lab has examined the etiologic bases of neural models of dysfunction in patients with bipolar disorder as well as marijuana-abusing adults.

* June 18: Fluoridation in public water systems:

Panelists: Dr. Sarah Finne, dentist, from New Hampshire Dental Society. * May 21, 2014: Organic Gardening: Does it make sense in NH? (Telegraph story here) roger swain Roger Swain, known from his many years as host of “The Victory Garden” on PBS.  Margaret Hagen, UNH Cooperative Extension educator and gardening writer and newspaper columnist.

*April 16, 2014 -  Telemedicine: Promise & problems of doctoring from afar


* Lisa Snow RN, who has 32 years of experience in health care, including the last 6 years as Telehealth coordinator of Home Health & Hospice Care in Merrimack. * Ned Semonite, head of product development and marketing at VGo, a Nashua firm that makes “telepresence” robots used in telemedicine and other fields. * George Fryburg, Director of ConnectNH (formerly the Granite State Distance Learning Network) at UNH.

 * March 19, 2014 – Bitcoin: What the heck is it? (Telegraph article here .) March 19 2014 - bitcoin

Prof. Michael Carter, chairman of UMass Lowell’s Economics Department. His research interests are monetary policy, and risk and globalization of financial markets. He has his B.A. from Yale and M.A., Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Mike Segal is a Manchester-based software developer specializing in cryptography and machine learning algorithms.  Since 2011, he has been an active member of the Manchester Bitcoin community and helps merchants accept bitcoin.

Andrew Stone is a software architect who has been a Bitcoin investor since early 2012. He originally became interested in Bitcoin as a solution to reduce the fees assessed when sending and receiving international payments to fabricate and sell an Open Source Hardware circuit board he designed.
* Feb. 19, 2014 – Allergies: it seems like they’re getting worse; but are they really?(Telegraph article here.) Dr. Amit Kumar of Southern New Hampshire Asthma & Allergy. Dr. Kumar earned is his medical degree from SUNY Upstate Medical University, in Syracuse, New York. Dr. William Siroty of Nashua Medical Group. An authority on allergy and immunology for over 20 years, He is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Allergy-Immunology. * Jan. 15, 2014  – Electric cars: Do they make sense in New Hampshire? (More than 80 people showed up – standing-room-only crowd!). Dolores Rebolledo, coordinator of Granite State Clean Cities Coalition, a national program supported by the US Dept of Energy (DOE) to reduce petroleum consumption through alternative fuel, advanced technology vehicles and other strategies.She has an MBA from UNH.

Watson Collins, manager of Research and Business Development for the Northeast Utilities system (PSNH’s parent company).  His focus is on transportation electrification and related opportunities.  He is a member of numerous organizations focused on infrastructure and policy approaches to support plug-in electric vehicles, including the Department of Energy’s “U.S.DRIVE” team.

Steve Ncala, a product specialist with Peters Nissan in Nashua who specializes in selling the electric Nissan Leaf; he has sold about 80 percent of the chain’s electric car.

*Nov. 20 – Multiple sclerosis: Why does New England have such a high incidence? SciCafeMS2 Dr. Donald McDonah -  A family physician, board certified in Family Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, at St. Joseph Healthcare.  A Nashua resident, with wife Cathy and 3 children, he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis about 30 years ago. Laura Gifford – A kindergarten teacher in Manchester, diagnosed with MS on Sept. 2009. She has lost her vision multiple times, lost her hair for a year, had to use a cane to walk, been on 7 different medicines and wouldn’t change a single thing. Allyssa Thompson – Community Program Manager in New Hampshire at the National MS Society, Greater New England Chapter. she is responsible for the implementation and management of community programs, advocacy and clinical activities. * Oct. 16  The science of genetically modified organisms (Telegraph report on the cafe can be read here.) PANELISTS: Richard Parent has taught biotech at the Applied Technology Center in Milford for 12 years, where kids work with DNA the way their parents dissected frogs. Mindy Dopler-Nelson, professor of Clinical Laboratory & Nutritional Sciences at UMass-Lowell. Joel Stake, biology professor at Rivier University in Nashua Thanks to a donation from Manchester’s Dyn Inc., we now have wireless microphones  – no more watching the moderator trip over cords! * Sept. 18 – Aquaponics, growing vegetables in water over tanks of fish. Nashua Telegraph story about the event here.

Anthony Eugenio, Green Harvest Hydroponics, which specializes in commercial and residential gardening supplies, including hydropponics and aquaponics.

Mike Griffin, Aquaponics Farmer (want to visit him? Call 785-1862 or email / Jessica Normand, UNH-Manchester student, a Biological Sciences major doing research into ways to apply aquaponics in the Northeast. *June 18 -

PARC drone from CyPhy

PARC drone from CyPhy

“Flying Robots: Autonomous aerial vehicles (drones!) at home and in business”. (Thanks to Gordon Jackson of Nashua for sitting in to replace a missing panelist and give us the hobbyist perspective.)

Jason Walker, lead roboticist and director of operations for CyPhy Works in Danvers, Mass. , which makes the Persistent Aerial Reconnaisance and Communication tethered  drone, among other things. Nicholas Kirsch, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at UNH. * May 15 -

“Invisible Wounds: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and brain injuries, in N.H. veterans and others”  Dr. Jim Whitlock is a rehabilitative neurologist, director of the Brain Injury program and Chief Medical Officer at Northeast Rehabilitation Heath Network in Salem, NH.  Was consulting neurologist to the Polytrauma/TBI Program at the Veterans Administration Medical Center at Manchester from 2008 until September 2012. Terrie Raposo is an independent clinical social worker, employed as a civilian case manager for the NH Army National Guard Office of the State Surgeon, part of a team responsible for the medical and behavioral health readiness of soldiers in multiple deployment cycles. Lt. Col. Stephanie Riley of the New Hampshire Army National Guard is the state’s  Occupational Health Nurse, in which she is a voice for both the Army and Air National Guards on state committees. She is assigned to the 157th Medical Group as a Clinical Registered Nurse and is Joint Medical Liaison at Joint Force Headquarters.A native of Henniker, she also works as a nurse for Concord Hospital’s Urgent Care unit. Ronald Snow is director of marketing and development for the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire.

1WWSciCafe0515 * APRIL 17 “Cats or catastrophes?” Domestic cats are marvelous hunters, which can be a problem for birds and wildlife that they prey on. Is this a problem in New Hampshire, which has one of the highest per-capita rates of cat ownership in the country? If so, how does it compare to the other stresses that birds and wildlife encounter when people live nearby? PANELISTS: Brendan Clifford is a Wildlife Biologist with the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.  He coordinates the the protection and management of the federally threatened and state endangered piping plover on Hampton and Seabrook beache. Anne Richards is a feline veterinarian who practices at The Cat Doctor in Bedford, Mass., and Nashua. She received her B.A. in Biology from Swarthmore College and her DVM from Cornell University.  Worked with cats exclusively since graduation in 2001. Pamela Hunt is  senior biologist for aviation conservation with New Hampshire Audubon Society. She holds a B.S. in biology from Cornell University, M.A. in zoology from the University of Montana, and a Ph.D. from Dartmouth College. Came to NH Audubon in 2000 after five years as adjunct faculty at Colby-Sawyer College in New London.ELBsciencecafe032013 * MARCH 20: “Mosquitoes vs. Humans: West Nile, EEE and the future of mosquito-carried disease in New Hampshire” Did you know that bedbugs don’t pass on disease when they bite us, and researcher are trying to figure out if they can make mosquitoes have the same attribute? UPDATE: Abigail Mathewson, the state’s public health veterinarian, sent along these links, for more information on topics that came up at the cafe: EPA search tool for selecting the right repellent for you: Website that mentions dengue in Boston in the 1940′s: Article about dengue in Texas and how lifestyle could be influencing transmission: Link to the NH Arboviral Illness Surveillance, Prevention and Response Plan that I referenced during the discussion: Link to the NH test results, bulletin and risk map: PANELISTS: Abigail A. Mathewson DVM, surveillance epidemiology program manager and and acting State Public Health Veterinarian, New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services. At the Bureau of Infectious Disease Control, as part of her participation in routine infectious disease surveillance for New Hampshire, Dr. Mathewson reviews case reports of vector-borne disease. Heidi Peek, health officer and manager of the public health department for the city of Nashua. She has overseen the city’s mosquito control program since the year 2000. Gary Nielsen, entomologist and director of training for JP Pest Services in Milford. He spent ten years working in alfalfa integrated pest management before moving to southern NH. He has PhD in botany and plant pathology with a minor in entomology.ALBsciencecafe0220

* February 20: “The Science of Brewing” - At least 100 people packed the funky Bounty Room, with the panelists sitting on the full-sized pirate ship to answer question, as shown above. Here’s a report in The Telegraph. * January 2013: “3-D printing” with the MakeIt Lab folks, who brought a printer with them for a demonstration. Perhaps the biggest crowd we’ve ever had. Telegraph story here. * November 2012: “Dark Skies and light pollution.” We can hardly see the constellations any more, which hurts astronomers and tourism, and takes away part of the pleasure that comes from living in New Hampshire. Can anything be done about it? Presented along with the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center. * October 2012: “The science of concussions, in youth sports and daily life.” The number of concussions leading to U.S. emergency room visits has almost doubled in the past decade. Why? This cafe was part of a six-day series of stories on the topic by The Telegraph of Nashua, titled Broken Athletes.

For a list of all topics since we started in May 2011, check this page