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Expert Alert.

Expert Alert

University of Minnesota experts available to discuss fallacies and psychology behind 'Mayan Apocalypse'

December 6, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (12/06/2012) – The supposed end of the 5,125-year Mayan Long Count calendar on December 21, 2012 has brought about cataclysmic fears that the world will also come to an end.

The following University of Minnesota experts are available to discuss the so-called "Mayan Apocalypse." To schedule interviews, please contact Matt Hodson, University News Service, at or (612) 625-0552.

Sally Brummel and Sarah Komperud, planetarium educators, Bell Museum of Natural History
Many of the Dec. 21, 2012, doomsday beliefs are based on unproven and undocumented astronomical science. Brummel and Komperud can debunk such erroneous predictions, including: the Sun will unleash Earth-destroying superstorms; all of the planets in the solar system will align to create a catastrophic gravitational pull; the Earth’s magnetic pole will reverse; or, Earth will be devastated by a giant asteroid or comet.

Shmuel Lissek, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Psychology

For some, thinking about the possibility of the world coming to an end is scary. Lissek's specialty is in the science of fear. He can explain the processes in the brain that cause us to feel scared in certain situations and describe physical reactions that happen to our bodies as well. Lissek says humans react the same way to fearful situations - whether real or hypothetical.

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