Spring 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, Jan. 20 - PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ 
Johannes Eichstaedt, graduate student, Department of Psychology
Founding Research Scientist, 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.   

Meredith Tamminga, assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics of the School of Arts & Sciences at Penn  
"Talk Like a Philadelphian”  
Philadelphians have a unique way of speaking that extends far beyond “youse”, “jawn” and “wit wiz or without?” Drawing on 40 years of intensive research conducted at Penn on the Philadelphia accent, Professor Tamminga will play recordings of speech of typical Philadelphians, identifying the words and sounds that make “Philly speak” unique. She will cover some basic principles of how speech sounds are produced and measured, as well as discuss how and why accents develop over time.

Tuesday, Feb. 17 - PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ **Event is cancelled. We hope to offer this topic at a later date**
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.

Tuesday, March 10 - PENN LIGHTBULB CAFÉ
Kathleen Brown, professor in the Department of History
“What's Laundry Got to Do With It? Critical Moments in the History of the Body"
Early Americans were not the first people to read the body for telltale signs of virtue, moral weakness and disease, but they came to these judgments in the context of standards and practices quite different from our own. Professor Brown, author of Foul Bodies: Cleanliness in Early America, will discuss how changes in household labor and body care have shaped our history. During the 19th century, many of these standards underwent a dramatic transformation. Looking back at medical advice books, letters, diaries and household management books from the time, we can see how body care during that century represented a startling break with the past and foreshadowed some of the dilemmas we face today.

Tuesday, March 24 - PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ 
Megan Kassabaum, assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology
"Investigating the Origins of America's First City”  
The ancient city of Cahokia thrived from AD 1050-1300 and was home to over 20,000 people. Among many other activities, these people built massive earthen mounds that served a variety of functions. However, the history of mound building begins nearly 5,000 years before the mounds at Cahokia were constructed. In this talk, Megan Kassabaum investigates the origins of America's first city by considering these precursors.     

Tuesday, April 7 - PENN LIGHTBULB CAFÉ    
Jamal Elias, professor in the Department of Religious Studies 
“Why There’s Opposition to Depictions of Muhammad” 
After events like the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical weekly that routinely published caricatures of Muhammad, and on other satirists and cartoonists in Europe, many may be wondering if depictions of Muhammad are actually forbidden in Islamic scripture? From where does this aversion to pictorial representations arise? And are all Muslims similarly offended? Professor Elias’ talk explores such questions within a broader context of cultural and political conflicts.

Tuesday, April 14 - PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ 
Randall Kamien, Shu Yang, XingTing Gong, Daniel Sussman, Toen Castle and Michael Tanis, members of a research team from the departments of Physics and Astronomy and Materials Science and Engineering
"An Introduction to Kirigami: Cutting, Folding and Building With Triangles" 
The principles behind kirigami, a paper-based art form similar to origami, can be applied to building things that range in size from microfludic devices to space-based solar panels. The team will explain how the mathematical rules they’ve outlined for this technique shows how to make all sorts of 3D structures from 2D designs. Attendees will also have a chance to try making their own kirigami creations.  

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”              

Please also mark your calendars for the following dates - we will be adding details as available.

Tuesday, July 14 - PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ                    

Tuesday, August 18 - PENN LIGHTBULB CAFÉ                 

Tuesday, September 1 - PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ     

Tuesday, September 15 - PENN LIGHTBULB CAFÉ 

Tuesday, October 6 - PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ                     

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. Dr. 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                 

Tuesday, November 17 - PENN LIGHTBULB CAFÉ           

Tuesday, December 8 - PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ