Newswise — Science enthusiasts will get a jolt of excitement along with their coffee at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory’s (PPPL) Ronald E. Hatcher Science on Saturday lecture series, which debuts Jan. 11.

The first talk in the series will be “Visual Perception and the Art of the Brain,” by Sabine Kastner, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Princeton University.

The 10-week Ronald E. Hatcher Science on Saturday Lecture Series attracts an audience ranging from high schoolers to senior citizens who faithfully attend each lecture. The series is named for the late PPPL engineer who spent a decade organizing the series and serving as the unofficial master of ceremonies.

Andrew Zwicker, head of PPPL Communications and Public Outreach and host of the series, noted that 2020 is the 35th anniversary of the series. “Science on Saturday is beloved by the community and our staff and I look forward to seeing the faces of so many people who wake up just to come to PPPL to hear about the latest developments in science,” Zwicker said. “We have a wonderful line-up of speakers to celebrate our 35th anniversary.” 

Other topics in the series range from a talk on hidden bias in technology by Princeton University’s Ruha Benjamin on Jan. 18 to a talk on decades of Mars exploration by Rutgers University’s Luju Ojha on Feb. 29. Another highlight will be a talk by PPPL  physicist Rajesh Maingi on plasma energy research on Jan. 25. The series ends with a lecture on cryptocurrencies by Princeton University computer science professor Arvind Narayanan. The lecture series is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

Deedee Ortiz, Science Education program manager, and the organizer of the series, said she looks forward each year to seeing the “regulars” who have been coming to the lectures for decades. “It’s really like a family reunion,” she said.

The lectures continue through March 14. The full schedule will be available soon on PPPL’s Science Education website: (There is no lecture on Feb. 22 due to the U.S. DOE’s New Jersey Regional High School Science Bowl®).

The  doors open at 8:15 a.m. with coffee and light refreshments for early birds. The lectures begin at 9:30 a.m. Plan to come early because seats fill up quickly.

The lectures can also be streamed live from home at You can view archives of the lectures at If Science on Saturday is canceled due to inclement weather or other emergency, an announcement will be posted on the PPPL website at and a message will be left on the Science on Saturday Hotline, (609) 243-2121.

PPPL, on Princeton University's Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, New Jersey, is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical solutions for the creation of fusion energy. The Laboratory is managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which is the largest single supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit

Register for reporter access to contact details