By Sarah Canavese
Saturday morning cartoons? Saturday morning coffee? How does your Saturday usually start? If you are in Columbia, it might start out with Saturday Morning Science.
Saturday Morning Science is a free, volunteer-run project supported by various University partners including the Bond Life Sciences Center and the MU Office of Research. Teachers, students, community members and local science enthusiasts meet once a week during the academic year to learn about different scientific topics and studies, presented in a fun and approachable way. Think you’re not a science person? You are totally welcome, too! Non-science majors are frequent visitors as attendees hear an hour-long talk about new advances MU scientists, students and friends are making and how these advances are being used for real-world applications.
Since it’s start in 2003 Saturday Morning Science has given over 251 talks and attended by 32,149 people.
As many science and health communicators know, letting audiences see, hear, touch and feel can be a great way to help audiences learn and convey key ideas or messages. One such Saturday Morning Science speaker, Dr. Heather Leidy, did just that by showing up with protein-packed breakfast food.
While a free breakfast is a great perk for attendees, it was a key point to Dr. Leidy’s discussion on the importance of breakfast and the relationship to obesity. Dr. Leidy explained how our eating habits have an affect not just on our lives, but also how not eating enough protein can make you hungrier as the day goes on. Moreover, not eating enough protein at breakfast can still make you feel hungry when you are done eating. Who knew, right?
Dr. Leidy did this all in a way that I could understand. From talking about how much protein you should eat at the start of the meal, (for the record, Dr. Leidy advises 30g), to how a common dieting practice of skipping breakfast might over time lead you to have higher obesity scores, Dr. Leidy made her scientific points in ways that were meaningful. I felt as if I were sitting there talking one on one with her, and not in a large classroom with hard technical words to learn.
While not all Saturday Morning Science lectures start out with breakfast served, they always leave you with new information that can be used in both science and public health.
If you missed Dr. Leidy’s lecture, no worries. Her lecture and many others are available as a podcast through Saturday Morning Science on iTunes. Check it out and I hope to see you on a Saturday morning soon!