Biodesign's Charlie Rolsky at the second "Sip of Science" event

Biodesign researcher leads community discussion on plastic in the ocean


Ben N. Petersen

Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute hosted the second event of its new series, “A Sip of Science,” Sunday afternoon at the Tavern Americana restaurant in Scottsdale. Biodesign researcher Charlie Rolsky described his work, explained the growing threat of plastic pollution in the ocean and took questions from a standing-room-only crowd.

Guests from the community snacked on hors d’oeuvres as Rolsky explained how he got involved in this research at ASU. Rolsky is a doctoral student in biology, a researcher in Rolf Halden’s lab at the Biodesign Center for Environmental Health Engineering, a teaching assistant and a proprietor of science-themed T-shirts. He was also recently featured in an ASU advertising campaign.

Rolsky was thrilled to share his area of expertise with the public. “This is really, really awesome. As scientists, we rarely have the opportunity to meet people and have a conversation, especially because most of our life is talking to other scientists,” he said. His talk covered topics from microplastics in our seafood to giant gyres of floating plastic, one of which is the size of Texas.

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The event was one of six science chats to be held this spring at restaurants in the Phoenix area. “A Sip of Science” is a new outreach program that allows the general public to mingle with notable researchers and scientists and learn about some of the world’s most fascinating and current scientific issues. The series runs through May 8; more information is available on the Biodesign website.