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 
“Sex, Feminism and Love Poetry”
(Details to come)               

Tuesday, September 1 - PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ     

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. Professor 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. 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?

Future dates:

Tuesday, November 3 - PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ                 

Tuesday, November 17 - PENN LIGHTBULB CAFÉ           

Tuesday, December 8 - PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ