Summer/Fall 2015 Penn Science Café and Lightbulb Café Lecture Series

All events are held at: 

World Cafe Live
3025 Walnut St.
6–7 p.m. 

Since 2005, the Penn Science Café has shined a spotlight on Penn research in the sciences. The Penn Lightbulb Café debuted in 2011 to illuminate research in social science, arts and humanities. The lectures, held on Tuesday evenings at World Cafe Live Upstairs, are free and open to the public. Each hour-long talk begins at 6 p.m. and is followed by an audience Q&A session. Café goers can come early to enjoy 5-6 p.m. happy hour specials. RSVP not required. Seating is limited. The two lecture series are presented by the School of Arts & Sciences in partnership with the Office of University Communications. Dinner reservations are managed separately through World Cafe Live.

Tuesday, June 16 - PENN LIGHTBULB CAFÉ  
Julie Nelson Davis, associate professor in the History of Art Department
Linda Chance, associate professor in the Department of Easat Asian Languages and Civilizations
“The Format and Medium of Japanese Premodern Books”
Since co-founding the Reading Asian Manuscripts Faculty Working Group at Penn, Julie Nelson Davis and Linda Chance have developed a scholarly obsession with questions of what makes a text legible and how to read an illegible text. Their talk will focus on the presumed virtues of print and the limits of handwritten manuscripts in the history of the book in Japan and explore Penn’s holdings of woodblock printed books and the complications that difficult script styles present.  They will also touch on training a new generation of scholars to read original texts.

Tuesday, July 14 - PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ
Danielle Bassett, Skirkanich Assistant Professor of Innovation, departments of bioengineering and electrical and systems engineering
"Your Brain: An Ever-Changing Network"
Each of us lives our lives as a node in multiple networks: Ourrelationships with members of our family, friends, co-workers, andneighbors are just a few examples.  But perhaps the most complicatednetwork we engage with in our daily lives is the network inside of ourheads: the human brain. Bassett will explain some of the ways this networkis constantly changing, and how those changes predict how well people learn new skills.                

Tuesday, August 18 - PENN LIGHTBULB CAFÉ
Melissa Sanchez, associate professor of English and core faculty of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies Program
“Love Lyrics and the History of Sexuality" 
What can we learn about modern Western ideals of love by reading Renaissance love lyrics? Poems by Francisco Petrarch, William Shakespeare, John Donne and others are still anthologized in popular editions, read at weddings and quoted in films. Their expressions of unrequited desire and everlasting devotion continue to provide many of our cultural scripts for romance. But these poems also offer quite complicated—some might even say radical—perspectives on the experiences of love, desire and disillusionment. Sanchez will discuss some of the insights that a careful look at this poetry’s language and history can provide on issues of gender, sexuality and romance in the past as well as the present.              

Tuesday, September 1 - PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ 
Eric J. Schelter, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry in Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences
"Recycling Rare-earth Magnets"
Despite their ubiquity in consumer electronics, rare-earth metals are, as their name suggests, hard to come by. Mining and purifying them is an expensive, labor-intensive and ecologically devastating process. Schelter and his colleagues have devised a new, simple method for separating the two rare-earth metals that are commonly found in things like wind turbine generators and power tool motors, enabling them to be recycled into new products.

Tuesday, September 15 - PENN LIGHTBULB CAFÉ 
Dorothy Roberts, Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor in the Law School and departments of Africana studies and sociology
“Fatal Invention: Re-creating Race in the Genomic Era”
After the human genome was mapped, there was an unexpected resurgence of scientific interest in genetic differences between races. Some scientists are defining race as a biological category written in our genes, while the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries convert the new race science into race-based products, such as race-specific medicines and ancestry tests. Roberts argues that the genetic interpretation of race is not only mistaken but also masks the continuing impact of racism in a supposedly post-racial society. Instead, she calls for affirming our common humanity by working to end social inequities supported by the political system of race. 

Tuesday, October 6 - PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ  
(Details to come)                   

Tuesday, October 20 - PENN LIGHTBULB CAFÉ  
Adrian Raine, Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor in the departments of criminology and psychiatry and psychology
“The Anatomy of Violence: Dissecting the Biological Roots of Crime”
The very rapid developments taking place in the neuroscience of crime are creating an uncomfortable tension between our concepts of responsibility and retribution on the one hand and understanding and mercy on the other. Raine will provide a brief overview of this new body of knowledge and its implications for our future conceptualization of moral responsibility, free will and punishment. If the neural circuitry underlying morality is compromised in offenders, how moral is it of us to punish prisoners as much as we do? Should we use biology to better predict who amongst us are predisposed to future violence? And how can we improve the brain to reduce violence?

Tuesday, November 3 - PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ
Britanny Watson, director of Shelter Animal Medicine, School of Veterinary Medicine
(Details to come)                   

Tuesday, November 17 - PENN LIGHTBULB CAFÉ  
Daud Ali, associate professor of South Asia studies
(Details to come)              

Tuesday, December 8 - PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ    
Irina Marinov, a climatologist in the Earth and Environmental Science Department
"A Story of the Southern Ocean”  
The Southern Ocean, the vast and mostly unexplored ocean surrounding Antarctica, takes up most of the human-produced greenhouse heat and a large percent of the carbon dioxide people put into the atmosphere. The Southern Ocean is critically important for our planet's climate on both long and short time scales. Marinov will discuss future expected changes in the Southern Ocean's circulation and physics under a warming climate, and the repercussions for the rest of the planet.