PRESENTATIONS

Breger's collection of images provides an intimate glimpse of the beautiful and surprising microscopic structures of both familiar objects and exotic research samples. Appealing equally to the young and the young at heart, the aesthetic and entertaining approach of her presentations is especially inviting to those who are normally intimidated by science, inaccurately considering it beyond their reach.

These image- and video-based presentations can be customized to suit any group's age, background, interests, and specific requirements. Venues have included K-12 assembly programs, nature and senior clubs, and professional societies. Other notable venues have included TED, the Explorers Club, New York's GEL Conference, and cruise ships including the private seagoing community MV The World.

THE REMARKABLE MICROWORLD
Power Point presentation for the general public

Breger's images invite children and adults on a journey that weaves through a fascinating world inhabited by minimonsters, microminerals, invisible seashells, and more. The microworld also reveals familiar objects in a new way: what a dust bunny looks like up close, why Velcro holds tight, how our modern life is based on unimaginably tiny things. Zoomed-in views of a penguin's feather or the fur of a pet tarantula create a new appreciation for nature's animal wonders, while striking images of seeds and pollen lead to a new understanding of how plants reproduce and grow. Glimpses of tiny ash shards from a ten-million-year-old supervolcano eruption in the American west, or the cosmic impact that created Chesapeake Bay 35 million years ago, stretch our awareness of time and space as well as offer fresh insights into how our planet works. More abstract images show how the immune system fights infection, how climate change can be read in tree rings, or what the tiniest and unexpectedly beautiful - single-celled plants and animals at the bottom of the marine food chain can tell us about our own world.

DID A COMET CAUSE NOAH'S FLOOD?
Power Point presentation for the general public

Breger's images and chemical analyses of microscopic particles created during meteor impacts provide support for a controversial new hypothesis proposing that more cosmic strikes have changed the course of human history than are traditionally accepted by geologists, astrophysicists and other impactologists. Ongoing work in collaboration with colleagues Dallas Abbott and Enrico Bonatti from Columbia University and a handful of other scientists worldwide includes evidence for the Tunguska, Siberia impact of 1908; two simultaneous impacts into the Gulf of Carpentaria (northwestern Australia) in 536 AD that may have contributed to the severe climate cooling with resulting famines, wars, plagues, population migrations and the descent into the Dark Ages that were recorded by contemporary observers; an impact into the Atlantic Ocean off New York City that sent a tsunami up the Hudson River; and a massive impact into the Indian Ocean, probably around 2800 BC, that may have caused the catastrophic floods (from ensuing megatsunamis) and torrential deluge (from returning vaporized seawater) cited in numerous global myths and legends including Gilgamesh and Noah. The Indian Ocean impact study was featured in the 2007 History Channel documentary Comet Catastrophe, which includes a scene of Breger and Abbott investigating some of the impact's microejecta on the scanning electron microscope. Other print features as well as documentaries by the National Geographic Channel, the Discovery Channel and the BBC continue to highlight our work and that of colleagues.

TAIGA TAIGA BURNING BRIGHT: A CENTENNIAL EXPEDITION TO TUNGUSKA
Power Point presentation for the general public

In June 2008, Breger and colleagues participated in regional conferences held in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia to commemorate the 100th anniversary of a deadly fireball that exploded over the remote Stony Tunguska River in 1908. The blast charred and flattened millions of trees in a radiating pattern and brightened European nights for days afterward, but even with dozens of proposed hypotheses - some realistic, some crackpot - its exact nature has never been solved. During their Siberian visit, the group flew to the even more remote indigenous trading post of Vanavara, from which they were taken by helicopter into the forest epicenter, where they camped for five days to explore the area and take samples for laboratory analysis. This presentation describes their alternating hazardous and hilarious adventure and shows microscopic evidence for the most likely explanation, a comet or asteroid that exploded in the atmosphere - and may or may not have shot fragments into the taiga below.

POLAR BEARS, PENGUINS AND SCIENCE AT SEA
Video-based presentation for the general public

Some research voyages in the Southern Ocean sail through still-uncharted blanks in the region's maps, even as both poles are rapidly changing in response to a warming world. Using video from separate expeditions, Breger provides an action-packed peek into remote polar waters, recounting some of her oceanographic adventures at both ends of the Earth. Combining a scenic overview of the ice-bound regions and the iconic animals that inhabit them with views of scientists at work in makeshift - yet highly sophisticated - laboratories and at imaginative play, the audience also experiences what life is like at small, isolated Palmer Station on the frozen continent of Antarctica as well as on icebreaking research vessels far from the reach of civilization. The videos are separated into two parts, 45 minutes in the Arctic and just over an hour in the Antarctic. Bonus tip: penguins and polar bears never, ever, meet - they live at opposite ends of the Earth!

VISUALIZING INFORMATION
Power Point presentation for professionals

Offering microscopists and other picture-making researchers a guide through the confusing maze of image creation and dissemination, Breger describes techniques that result in improved pictorial communication of scientific data. Covering the whys and hows of image optimization, this presentation clarifies the digital world as it applies to research science, when and how to enhance raw images for the public ("cleaning" and colorizing), and how to maximize faithful reproduction during printing and publication. The discussion addresses specific processes involving issues of reduction and enlargement; tiffs vs jpegs; differences between journal and media publication; slides and posters; the web; and museum-quality prints. The program also includes tips and tricks in the use of Adobe Photoshop, suggested hardware choices, a discussion of non-corrupting archival storage of digital files, and touches upon issues of copyright.

LIVE PHOTOSHOP WORKSHOP
Computer-based seminar for professionals

This interactive real-time demonstration of methods to optimize or enhance scientific images can be given as a half-day workshop, or combined with the graphics theories offered in the slide talk Visualizing Information (above) for a comprehensive overview on how to both informatively create and post-process the most data-rich and accessible imagery possible. The workshop demonstrates the proper way to convert raw micrographs into images suitable for publication or presentation, as well as how to enhance them for journal covers and public outreach.