Art and Science Event to Launch Café Sci at Lab


Bigelow’s Laboratory’s popular Café Sci series will return to an in-person format this summer! We are also offering a way to virtually attend the live events, which will be held at 5 p.m. on Tuesdays from July 12 through August 2. Space is limited, and required registration is now open for both formats.

We’re excited to welcome guests into our East Boothbay laboratory, and we’re kicking off the series with a new version of our most popular Café Sci event – a showcase of collaborations between artists and scientists.

This July 12th event will feature a showcase of Maine artists – and the Bigelow Laboratory scientists who inspired their work. We’ll dive into the stories behind their collaborations and hear about the surprising synergies that exist between art and science.

Maine EcoArts

Anna Dibble and other artists from Maine EcoArts will talk about their two-story installation “Majestic Fragility,” which was created in collaboration with Senior Research Scientist Nick Record. The installation, currently on display at Bigelow Laboratory, celebrates ocean life and the scientific efforts to understand it. It is the culmination of a three-year project and features a range of key endangered and threatened marine life from phytoplankton to birds in sculpture, textile art, and prints. At its center is a bone-white, 24-foot sculpture of a North Atlantic Right Whale, one of the most endangered species on the planet.

Michael Droge

Michel Droge will share paintings and new artistic insights emerging from an ongoing collaboration with Senior Research Scientist Beth Orcutt. Droge is an abstract artist who aims to create beautiful art inspired by unconventional aesthetics. Their path led them to Orcutt, an expert on wondrous and mysterious life in the deep sea. Orcutt studies microbes in these environments and the ways that emerging industries, like seafloor mining, may impact them and fragile ecosystems. Through a series of conversations Orcutt has inspired a number of Droge’s paintings – and gained a new perspective on her own research.

Julie Crane

Julie Crane will discuss the process of creating a new five-foot-diameter outdoor sculpture of a coccolithophore, one of the most important and ubiquitous phytoplankton on the planet. She completed the installation outside of Bigelow Laboratory this June, which was inspired by a series of conversations with Senior Research Scientist Barney Balch’s team. Over the course of several weeks, they looked at these wondrous organisms and the methods of studying them from many different perspectives.

Halcyon String Quartet will close the event with "Shifting Shores." In this performance, Halcyon collaborates with video artist Luke Fatora to explore the shifting boundaries of Maine’s shorelines and waterways in the face of climate change. This 20-minute program of live music and synchronous film explores the impacts of sea level rise, coastal erosion, and species migration while highlighting the cultural and ecological importance of Maine’s waterways, fishruns, and coastlines.

Following this event, we’ll have three more talks that explore the mysteries, challenges, and opportunities of the sea.

July 19: “Our Defining Decade: An Urgent Look at Climate Change and Opportunities” by Dr. Deborah Bronk

Climate change is rapidly transforming our world. A report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change this spring concluded that we are unlikely to keep global warming under critical thresholds unless we dramatically accelerate reduction of greenhouse gas emissions within the next decade, but ocean science is revealing clear pathways to a better future. Join President and CEO Deborah Bronk as she speaks about the state of global climate change, and the work of Bigelow Laboratory scientists that gives her hope.

July 26: “Currents of Change: A New Look at 20 Transformational Years in the Gulf of Maine” by Dr. Barney Balch

Senior Research Scientist Barney Balch has been studying the Gulf of Maine for over five decades, but it still manages to amaze him. This year, he published a comprehensive report on 20 years of data that illuminates a wealth of information on the physical, chemical, and biological conditions in the Gulf – and the dramatic transformations they have gone through. The Gulf is being increasingly influenced by factors beyond its waters, and this is changing the very foundation of its food web. Join Balch as he shares his reflections on the changing Gulf of Maine and some thoughts on how to move forward.

Aug 2: “Course Correction: Can Ocean CO2 Removal Reduce the Cost of Rising Emissions?” by Dr. Ben Twining

It is too late for emission reduction alone to save our society from facing major consequences from two centuries of carbon dioxide emissions. However, our planet has amazing ways it removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and scientists around the world are exploring approaches that amplify these natural ocean processes. Research is urgently needed to explore these potential solutions – and prevent uninformed decisions from causing unintended outcomes. Join Senior Research Scientist Ben Twining as he discusses some of the strategies being considered, and the ways Bigelow Laboratory scientists are working to inform global decision making and buy time to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.

We’re excited to see you at these events, so register today, and we’ll see you there!