Fall 2014 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 CafĂ© has shined a spotlight on Penn research in the sciences. The Penn Lightbulb CafĂ© 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. CafĂ© goers can come early to enjoy 5-7 p.m. happy hour specials. Seating is limited. The two lecture series are presented by the School of Arts & Sciences in partnership with the Office of University Communications. 

Tuesday, Sept. 9 - PENN LIGHTBULB CAFÉ
Peter Decherney, Professor of English and Cinema Studies
"Freedom to Innovate: The Global Spread of Fair Use"
For 150 years, fair use, which allows works protected by copyright to be used without permission, was a United States only doctrine. Fair use has encouraged technological innovation from the VCR to Google, and it has permitted criticism, debate and appropriation art. Over the past decade and a half, South Korea, Israel and Singapore have all adopted U.S.-style fair use. Today, a dozen additional countries are considering new fair use laws. Prof. Decherney will discuss the potential impact of global fair use on technology, creativity and online debate?

Tuesday, Sept. 23 - PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ
Jonathan Fiene, director of Laboratory Program, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, School of Engineering and Applied Science
Katherine Kuchenbecker, associate professor, Departments of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics and Computer and Information Science, School of Engineering and Applied Science
Nick Parrotta, coordinator of Instructional Laboratories, School of Engineering and Applied Science
"The AddLab: 3-D Printing in Research" 
The School of Engineering and Applied Science is opening a new additive manufacturing facility. Commonly known as "3-D Printing," this futuristic technique has captured the popular imagination. Faculty and staff will talk about how it works and how it can advance research in a variety of disciplines, through rapid prototyping and iterative design processes.

Tuesday, Oct. 7 - PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ (Cancelled due to unforseen circumstances - we hope to be able to offer this at a future time)
Johannes Eichstaedt, graduate student, Department of Psychology
Founding Research Science, World Well-Being Project
"Predicting Heart Disease With Twitter"
Social media represents an unprecedented opportunity for psychology researchers, providing a wide window into people's thoughts and feelings as they share them with the world. An interdisciplinary team has analyzed public Twitter streams, correlating them with geographic health data, showing that the emotional language that people use is a better overall predictor of heart disease than traditional metrics, such as smoking or obesity rates.   

Tuesday, Oct. 21 - PENN LIGHTBULB CAFÉ
Peter Struck, associate professor of classical studies
"Ancient Divination and Modern Intuition: A Cognitive History"
Professor Struck will examine ancient accounts of predicting the future from oracles, omens, and dreams and compare them with modern accounts by cognitive scientists of our abilities to know things in sometimes mysterious ways. Struck claims that these are parallel attempts to plumb the depths of how powerful our own powers of knowing are. 

Tuesday, Nov. 11 - PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ 
James Serpell, Penn Vet’s Marie A. Moore Professor of Ethics & Animal Welfare
"Why Did Early Humans Domesticate Wolves and Wildcats? A Novel Look at a Very Old Question"
The prevailing theory that the wild ancestors of dogs and cats gradually domesticated themselves by exploiting the ecological resources provided by early human villages relies on a number of erroneous assumptions. This talk will take a critical look at these assumptions and suggest an alternative view: That the domestication of wolves, wildcats and many other domestic species was actually a consequence of misplaced human parental behavior.

Tuesday, Dec. 2 - PENN LIGHTBULB CAFÉ 
Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, associate professor and undergraduate chair, History of Art Department
“What is American Art?”  
As we move toward an increasingly pluralistic society in the United States, one in which political and social parity is being achieved by greater segments of society, the idea that works of art should be discussed in separate groups based on a perception of a shared “identity” among the objects’ makers (blacks, women, queers), rather than on the works’ thematic or conceptual affinities, seems increasingly regressive. And yet, such practices persist. Prof. DuBois Shaw's talk will examine the contemporary art historical, curatorialand critical strategies and tactics for using such markers as race, gender, sexuality and regional identity to interpret art today.