For the last 10 years, UW-Madison alumni and the general public have been welcomed at Wednesday Nite @ the Lab (WN@TL), a weekly public science series offered 50 times per year on Wednesday nights. WN@TL features UW-Madison researchers describing their investigations and inventions that help advance the Wisconsin Idea: the principle that the university should improve people’s lives outside the classroom.
The series’ speakers cover a wide range of research projects taking place on the UW campus, across Wisconsin, and around the world. In 2015, WN@TL audiences explored topics ranging from the bionic ear and tick-borne diseases to fruit crops in Wisconsin and sanitation issues in Africa.
On Wednesday, Feb. 17, WN@TL will celebrate its 10th anniversary by commemorating the life and work of the Wisconsin Idea’s chief architect — Charles Van Hise. This special presentation, titled “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants in the Digital Age: A Look at Charles Van Hise’s Field Notebooks,” will provide a rich understanding of Wisconsin’s environmental history. Van Hise was one of the early investigators of the Penokee and Gogebic Ranges, which are some of oldest rocks in Wisconsin. His field notebooks include 65 volumes, spanning from 1883 through 1905.
Van Hise became head of the geology department at the UW in 1888. He later served as the university’s 10th president, during which time he developed the concept of the Wisconsin Idea that today serves as a central pillar of the university.
“Wednesday Nite @ the Lab helps keep the public connected to their public, land-grant research university,” said Tom Zinnen, an outreach specialist with the UW Biotech Center and UW-Extension, who has coordinated the series since its inception. “This series has provided an opportunity for the public to stay connected to groundbreaking research activities, and we look forward to showcasing even more innovation over the next 10 years.”
Wednesday Nite @ the Lab 10th Anniversary Program
Wednesday, Feb. 17, from 7 to 8:15 p.m.
UW Biotechnology Center
425 Henry Mall
The WN@TL public science series is a partnership among the Wisconsin Alumni Association, UW Biotechnology Center, UW-Extension, and Wisconsin Public Television.
For more information on Wednesday Nite @ the Lab, please visit
To watch past Wednesday Nite @ the Lab lectures, please visit