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Science on Tap NRV moves online during the coronavirus pandemic

As the novel coronavirus continues to proliferate across the world, we are all being asked to do our part in preventing the spread — whether that be wearing a mask in public, maintaining a 6-foot distance from others, or staying at home.

Many businesses have resorted to postponing or cancelling their regularly scheduled events. But one organization, called Science on Tap-New River Valley (NRV), refuses to let the current situation stop them from celebrating scientific thought in the Blacksburg community.

“Science on Tap NRV encourages fun and engaging science-related conversations, and right now our goal is to go full steam ahead as we’ve been doing, with local needs and interests serving a timely forefront,” said Cassandra Hockman, one of the organizers for Science on Tap and a Ph.D. student in rhetoric and writing in the Virginia Tech Department of English. “I think having and engaging in some form of community is really important right now.”

Science on Tap NRV is a monthly event that invites science-inspired speakers, performers, and educators from across the New River Valley to talk about scientific research in a relaxed setting. The goal is to create mutual support between the local and scientific communities through open conversation and a glass of beer.

Around this time of year, the gathering occurs at the lively Rising Silo Brewery, a semi-outdoor farm brewery. But as the events of the COVID-19 pandemic began to unfold, the organizers had to decide whether to cancel the event or push forward by virtual means. They chose the latter.

Hockman figured that now is a better time than any to hold a Science on Tap about viruses and viral transmission. In preparation for the event, Hockman collected questions about the coronavirus from the entire Science on Tap community. She then posed those questions to virus spread and airborne disease transmission experts Linsey Marr, the Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering, and Kaisen Lin, a newly minted Ph.D. and former graduate student in Marr’s lab.

To learn more, check out the whole article below.