MONDAY, March 10, 2013
Rare Earth Metals: iPhones to Alien Life
Featuring Dr. Eric Schelter, Department of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania
Banished to the bottom of the periodic table, the rare earth metals are rarely discussed, exotic curiosities. Yet these metals are hidden throughout our daily lives, enabling internet communication, harvesting wind energy, and illuminating our existence. We’ll discuss the intersection of the metals with clean energy and the dark side of their exploitative mining and processing. From magnets to volcanic mudpots, rare earth metals inspire and amaze.
Eric Schelter is an assistant professor of chemistry at Penn. His area of specialty is f-block chemistry, and his work currently focuses on the chemistry of rare earth elements.
Monday, February 10, 2014
“Next Generation Paleontology” by Ken Lacovara, PhD
Department of Biodiversity, Earth & Environmental Science, Drexel University
According to Dr. Kenneth Lacovara, “technology in paleontology hasn’t changed much in about 150 years. We use shovels and pickaxes and burlap and plaster. It hasn’t changed—until right now.”
Lacovara and a team of researchers at Drexel University are bringing the latest technological advancements in 3-D scanning and printing to the study of ancient life. Using scale models of real fossils, for the first time they will be able to test hypotheses about how dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals moved and lived in their environments.
Ken Lacovara, associate professor in the Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science at Drexel University, focuses on Mesozoic Era paleoenvironments that contain the remains of dinosaurs and other vertebrates. He co-authored descriptions of two new dinosaurs (Paralititan and Suzhousaurus) and is about to unveil the remains of a new giant, a 70-ton titanosaur from Patagonia.
Monday, January 13, 2014
“What’s the Matter with the Higgs Bozon” by Dave Goldberg, PhD
Professor, Department of Physics, Drexel University
The Higgs boson is one of the biggest, most influential discoveries of the last decade, important enough that it resulted in an almost instant Nobel prize. But what’s it all about? How does it work? And what does it mean for a particle to “create mass”? If you’ve been feeling confused at cocktail parties, Dave Goldberg will give you a half hour primer on how the universe works to set you straight.
Dave Goldberg is a theoretical cosmologist and professor of Physics at Drexel University. He is the author, most recently, of “The Universe in the Rearview Mirror: How Hidden Symmetries Shape Reality.” Dr. Goldberg is interested in the interface between science and pop culture and is especially prone to nerdly excess of sci-fi references. He writes a regular “Ask a Physicist” column for io9.com, has been featured on WNYC’s Studio 360, The Leonard Lopate Show, WHYY’s NewsWorks Tonight and has contributed to Slate, Wired & the L.A. Times.
Monday, December 9, 2013
“The good, the bad… the algae?” by Charles Delwiche, PhD
Professor, University of Maryland Department of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics
Although often thought of as nuisance organisms, algae are vital to everyday life.
Please join us for a talk all about algae by Charles Delwiche, Professor (and Affiliate of Department of Biology and Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics) at the University of Maryland. The term “algae” refers to a set of distantly related organisms that are united by their capability for oxygen-evolving photosynthesis. Often neglected, these organisms include the primary producers that dominate oxygen production and carbon dioxide consumption world-wide. Many are fascinating and beautiful (albeit microscopic) organisms, and studying them can give clues to the earliest evolution of life on Earth, and suggest strategies for coping with some of the world’s most pressing problems.
Charles Delwiche has a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. His research interests focus on understanding the early evolution of photosynthetic life, and he would like to understand why of all the possible worlds, we got the one we have. His laboratory at the University of Maryland uses both classical and genomic techniques to study chloroplasts as endosymbiotic organelles, the origin of land plants from green algae, and the diversification of all forms of life, particularly dinoflagellates.
Monday, November 11, 2013
” Beauty is in the Eye of the Anatomizer” by Carin Berkowitz, Director, Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry
We sometimes talk about beautiful bodies today, but we are rarely referring to their innards. Not so for early nineteenth century anatomists, for whom beauty was a concept central to their science, often revealing truthfulness of a theory or anatomical drawing. Sir Charles Bell, one such anatomist, saw anatomy and art as closely related subjects.
He taught anatomy to artists as well as to surgeons at his Great Windmill Street School of Anatomy, in London; illustrated all of his own anatomical texts; and wrote a treatise for artists on the use of anatomy in depicting the human form, Essays on the Anatomy of Expression in Painting. As surprising as the close relationship he envisioned between science and art might seem in our modern and fragmented world, a third unlikely element, religion, helped to solidify connections across what we now regard as separate disciplines.
Carin Berkowitz is broadly interested in the intersections of science and medicine in the late Enlightenment and early nineteenth century and in the place of pedagogy in medical science. She was the recipient of the American Association for the History of Medicine’s 2010 Shryock Medal and was selected to act as guest editor for a special issue of the Bulletin of the History of Medicine on objects, images, and anatomy. Berkowitz is currently working on two projects—one a series of articles on the roles of visualization and sensation in making anatomical knowledge (two of which have now been published), and the other a book manuscript on the pedagogical spaces that defined late Enlightenment medical science in Britain. As director of the Chemical Heritage Foundation’s Beckman Center, Berkowitz works with CHF fellows and Philadelphia-area historians of science to continue to develop CHF as a center for independent research and scholarly community. Berkowitz received a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and a Ph.D. in science and technology studies from Cornell University in 2010.
Monday, October 14, 2013
Monday, September 9, 2013
“Specimen: The Insects and Natural History of Eastern State Penitentiary” Greg Cowper, Entomology Department, The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
Almost 125 years ago, an inmate of Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary collected butterflies and moths in the exercise yard attached to his cell. Flash forward to spring 2011 when Academy entomologist Greg Cowper revisited the insect fauna of the prison as part of Eastern State Penitentiary’s History and Artist Installation Series. Drawing from this experience, Cowper will discuss the collision of art, science, and natural history within the walls of the prison; the insects and other invertebrates he has collected; and the Cabinet of Curiosities assembled in Cellblock 9 as part of his exhibit “Specimen.”
Greg Cowper, a curatorial assistant in the Entomology Department, has completed fieldwork in New Zealand, Africa, the Caribbean, and the eastern and southwestern United States. His research interests are in the systematics, evolution, and biogeography of Heteroptera, the true bugs.
Monday, July 8, 2013
“The Life, Death and Rebirth of the Mississippi Delta”
Doug Jerolmack, University of Pennsylvania
The Gulf Oil Spill and Hurricane Katrina are just the latest blows to a delta that has been dying a slow death from decades of mismanagement and neglect. Doug Jerolmack will discuss the origins of the Mississippi Delta and the scientific principles behind the causes and consequences of modern wetland loss in coastal Louisiana. He will introduce possible solutions for the long-term sustainability of the Delta and what recent catastrophic flooding on the Delta has taught us about how rivers build land into the ocean.
Doug Jerolmack’s research focuses on the spatial and temporal evolution of patterns that emerge at the interface of fluid and sediment on Earth and planetary surfaces. He has a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Drexel University and a PhD in Geophysics from MIT. He is currently a Professor of geophysics in Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania.
Monday, June 10, 2013
“Depicting What Cannot Be Seen: The Art of Medical and Scientific Illustration”
David Rini, Johns Hopkins University
Illustration depicting the venous drainage pattern of a pair of young craniopagus twins from Germany who were operated on at Johns Hopkins by a team lead by Ben Carson, MD in 2004.
David Rini talked about the evolution of the profession of medical and scientific illustration in the United States – from crow quill pens to highly sophisticated 3D animation. Medical and scientific illustrators are professional artists with advanced education in both the life sciences and visual communication Among many other examples, Rini will discuss his illustrations of the most challenging aspect of the surgical procedure to separate conjoined, craniopagus (joined at the head) twins.
David Rini, MFA, is a Certified Medical Illustrator and an Associate Professor in the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine and the Graduate Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Rini’s work involves collaborating with scientists, physicians, and other specialists to transform complex scientific information into visual images designed to communicate to broad audiences. Prior to coming to Hopkins in 1993, he established and directed the Department of Neurosurgical Illustration at the Mayfield Neurological Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is the principal and art director of The Fine Art of Illustration, an independent studio specializing in the artful and accurate blend of 2D scientific imagery and 3D technology.
Monday, May 13, 2013
“Domesticated Viscera: The Biological Becomes Quotidian”
Laura Splan, visual artist
In this month’s talk, Laura Splan, a Brooklyn based visual artist, explores how the biology of the body enters the quotidian landscape through cultural production and historical events. Splan’s conceptually driven work employs a variety of media including sculpture, video, photography, digital media and works on paper. Her objects and images interrogate the visual manifestations of our cultural ambivalence towards the human body. She often uses found objects and appropriated images to examine the evolving role of biomedical imagery in our every day lives, which she refers to as the “domestication of viscera“. She often combines signifiers of femininity, domesticity and comfort with those of disorder, aberration and disease. Much of her work is inspired by experimentation with materials and processes including blood, cosmetic facial peel and computerized embroidery.
Laura Splan has exhibited in a broad range of curatorial contexts including craft, feminism, technology, design, medicine and ritual. Her work as been exhibited widely at such venues as Museum of Art & Design (New York, NY), International Museum of Surgical Science (Chicago, IL), and New York Hall of Science (New York, NY). She was recently awarded a commission from the Center for Disease Control. As a visiting artist and lecturer, she has taught interdisciplinary courses that explore intersections of Art and Science
including “Art & Biology” at Stanford University (Palo Alto, CA)
and “Dissection as Studio Practice” at Observatory (Brooklyn, NY).
Monday, April 22, 2013
Science on Tap Quizzo
2013 Philadelphia Science Festival
Hosted by Timshel Purdum, Senior Manager of Education at the Academy of Natural Science of Drexel University
Monday, April 8, 2013
“Hans Holbein and the Renaissance Technology of Perspective”
Alex Boxer, Idols of the Cave
The anamorphic skull in Hans Holbein’s painting The Ambassadors has been a subject of much debate and intrigue since the early Renaissance. Using computer-based image analysis and some historical detective work, Alex Boxer suggests that this famous skull was likely drafted according to a simple geometric scheme that appeared in print a few decades later.
Alex Boxer has been trying his best to live with one foot in the sciences and one foot in the humanities. He has a Ph.D. in physics from MIT where he worked on a nuclear fusion experiment, and a master’s in the history of science from Oxford where he wrote about Newtonian lecture demonstrations. College was at Yale where he majored in both physics and classics. Alex currently works as an undersea analyst in Washington, DC. In his spare time, he makes history of science YouTube videos for his website Idols of the Cave.
Monday, March 11, 2013
“Unexpected Specimens: What’s in the Academy Archives Anyway?”
Clare Flemming, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
The Academy Archives, a collection of one-of-a-kind documents, art, artifacts, film, photos, field notes, illustrations, and memorabilia, tells the story of the Academy from its founding in March 1812 through its two centuries of existence. The collection is comprised of not only official Academy documents, but also an abundance of scientific and personal unpublished materials from research scientists and others associated with the Academy.
Find out what we keep in the Archives, why we keep it, and how our oldest treasures contribute to current research. No appointment is required for this sneak peek into the Academy’s Archives!
Clare Flemming joined the Academy in 2009 as the Brooke Dolan Archivist and now directs the Library as well. Her early career included collection care, bibliographic research, fossil preparation, and field expeditions. She may be the only archivist we know who has described a species, an extinct fossil rodent from Jamaica (Xaymaca fulvopulvis), and has a species named after her—a blind cave scorpion from the West Indies (Heteronebo clarea).
Monday, February 11, 2013
Shifting Gears: Challenging Students to Solve the World’s Toughest Problems… and Creating Badass Hybrid Cars in the Process
Simon Hauger, The Sustainability Workshop
How did urban high school students dream up the world’s first badass hybrid – a car that is faster than a Porsche and gets better fuel economy than a Prius? Simon Hauger will share the story of his awarding-winning hybrid vehicle program, which was recently honored at the White House and featured in a Frontline documentary. He will also share lessons learned from the first year at his new school, The Sustainability Workshop, and what it tells us about teaching and learning.
Simon Hauger is an engineer turned urban high school math and science teacher. He began the Hybrid X Team at West Philadelphia High School 13 years ago to engage his students in math, science and engineering. The students won multiple national competitions with the hybrid vehicles they designed and built and which outperformed top Universities and corporations. The innovative approach to education that powered the Hybrid X Team to victory is the basis for a new school that Simon and his colleagues began in 2012. The Sustainability Workshop challenges students to solve the world’s most pressing problems, and organizes teaching and learning in service of doing. Simon and his wife have three wonderful children.
January 14, 2013
3D Printing for the Sweet Tooth: Are Sugar Glass Vascular Networks the Future of Organ Regeneration?
Jordan Miller, University of Pennsylvania
The field of regenerative medicine attempts to replace organ donation with engineered tissues made from a patient’s own cells. Jordan Miller, PhD, will talk about the development and details for 3D printing temporary templates of blood vessels made from sugar for this field, and how this technology impacts the future of organ regeneration research.
Jordan S. Miller, PhD, is a post-doctoral fellow in the Tissue Microfabrication Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, a founding member of Hive76 in Philadelphia, and a RepRap core developer. His research in the department of Bioengineering combines chemistry and rapid prototyping to direct cultured human cells to form more complex organizations of living vessels and tissues. Miller has been in the 3D maker community since the beginning. He developed the first MakerBot heated build platform at Hive76 and is delighted to use his RepRap 3D printer every day in the lab for biomedical research and regenerative medicine.
November 12, 2012
“Winging It in Mongolia”
Stephen Mason, The Academy of Natural Sciences
October 8, 2012
“The Science of Vampires”
Kathy Haas, Assistant Curator at the Rosenbach Museum & Library
Everybody knows about Dracula, but did you know that his creator, Bram Stoker, had a degree in mathematics and that several of his brothers were doctors? Science, technology, and medicine permeate the novel and Kathy Haas, assistant curator at the Rosenbach Museum & Library, will explore the tension between science and superstition in this classic tale of terror. The talk will include a look at images of Stoker’s working notes for Dracula (owned by the Rosenbach) including material from his brother, William Thornley Stoker, a noted surgeon. Anna Dhody, curator of the Mütter Museum, will also offer a look at medical conditions that may have inspired tales of vampirism.
Kathy Haas is the assistant curator at the Rosenbach Museum & Library, which preserves Bram Stoker’s working notes for Dracula. She has curated several exhibitions on Dracula for the Rosenbach.
September 10, 2012
“Alien Invasion: Invasive Species in Our Oceans”
Amy Karpati, Assistant Professor of Biology, Temple University
July 9, 2012
“Flash! A Quick History of Photography in Motion”
Jane E. Boyd, Independent Curator
June 11, 2012
“Do-It-Yourself Evolution: A Historian’s Guide to Amateur Plant Breeding”
Helen Anne Curry, Visiting Fellow, Chemical Heritage Foundation
May 14, 2012
“The Science and Magic of Fairy Tale Birth”
Linda J. Lee, Graduate Program in Folklore and Folklife, University of Pennsylvania
April 23, 2012
Science on Tap QUIZZO!
Part of the Philadelphia Science Festival
April 2, 2012
“Mongolian Fish Hunt”
Mark Sabaj Pérez, Ichthyology Collection Manager at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
March 12, 2012
“Tiny Conspiracies: Cell-to-Cell Communication in Bacteria”
Bonnie Bassler, Squibb Professor in Molecular Biology, Princeton University
February 13, 2012
“Violence in the Laboratory: How Science Changed War and War Changed Science”
M. Susan Lindee, Professor and Associate Dean for the Social Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania
January 9, 2012
“When Good Drugs Go Bad”
Antoinette Thwaites, Forensic Chemist, Philadelphia Police Department
December 12, 2011
“Yoüth in the Building: Shaking up the Bones at the Mütter Museum”
Jacqui Bowman, PhD, Director, Education and Public Initiatives; Director, Karabots Junior Fellows Program, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
November 14, 2011
“Supermassive skeleton Skillfully Secured from South America”
Jason C. Poole, Manager of the Fossil Prep Lab at the Academy of Natural Sciences
October 10, 2011
“The Science of Demonology”
Jonathan Seitz, Ph.D., Assistant Teaching Professor of History, Drexel University
September 12, 2011
“Chile Peppers: Heat and History”
Joseph Rucker, Ph.D., Director of Research and Development, Integral Molecular, Inc.
July 11, 2011
“Underwater Communication: Fiber Optics and Whale Songs”
Thaddeus Phillips, theater director, performer and set designer
June 13, 2011
“Imagining the Body Abnormal: Art and Artifice in Historical Medical Photography”
Evi Numen, MFA, Exhibits Manager, Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
May 9, 2011
“Shocking Streams and Freaky Fish”
Dr. Richard Horwitz, Senior Scientist, Fisheries, Academy of Natural Sciences
April 18, 2011
Science on Tap QUIZZO!
Part of the Philadelphia Science Festival
April 11, 2011
“Fermentation: The Amazing Mother of it all in Wine and Beer”
Solomon H. Katz, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania; Director of Penn’s Krogman Center for Childhood Growth and Development; editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Food and Culture (2003)
March 14, 2011
“Living the High Life: Insights on the Private Lives of Giraffes”
Christine Bartos, Curator of Ungulates and Small Mammals, Philadelphia Zoo
February 14, 2011
“The Disappearing Spoon and Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements”
Sam Kean, science writer, correspondent for Science magazine
Jan. 10, 2011
“Benjamin Rush’s Heartbreak: The Bloody Battle Against Yellow Fever in 1793”
Annie Brogan, College Librarian, Historical Medical Library, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
Dec. 13, 2010
“Fertilizer: More than Just The Brown Stuff”
Dr. David Hewitt, Research Associate, Botany Department, The Academy of Natural Sciences
Nov. 8, 2010
“Bedtime Stories for Fido: Life in a Biodiversity Laboratory”
Scott McRobert, Professor of Biology, Saint Joseph’s University
Oct. 11, 2010
“A Toast to Fixing the Sky”
James Fleming, Professor of Science, Technology and Society, Colby College
September 13, 2010
“The Association for Creative Zoology”
Beauvais Lyons, Director of the Hokes Archive
July 12, 2010
“The Burke and Hare Murders: Sixteen Good Reasons Not To Drink Whiskey With Strangers”
Lisa Rosner, Professor of History at Stockton College, NJ
June 14, 2010
“The Slippery Facts About Oil Spills”
David Velinsky, Vice President for Environmental Research and Senior Scientist, Geochemistry Section, The Academy of Natural Sciences
May 10, 2010 -
“The Search for the Other Earth”
Derrick Pitts, Chief Astronomer, Franklin Institute
April 12, 2010
“What’s in Your Air? Low Tech Tools for Finding Out”
Gwen Ottinger, Research Fellow, Environmental History and Policy, Chemical Heritage Foundation
March 8, 2010
“The Impact of Meteors on the Origin and Early Evolution of Life”
Alexandra Krull Davatzes, Assistant Professor of Geology, Temple University
February 8, 2010
“Imperialism and the Family Business: Population Structure and Political Change on the Central Coast of Peru”
Lori Jahnke, S. Gordon Castigliano CLIR Fellow at The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
January 11, 2010
“The Natural History of Beer”
Ernie Schyuler, Curator Emeritus of Botany, The Academy of Natural Sciences
Dec. 14, 2009
“Dinosaur Studies in China”
Peter Dodson, University of Pennsylvania
November 9, 2009
Colin Purrington, Professor of Biology at Swarthmore College
October 12, 2009
“No Family History: Investigating What’s Behind the Breast Cancer Epidemic”
Sabrina McCormick, Fellow at the American Academy for the Advancement of the Sciences
September 14, 2009
“Bringing Physics to Physicians”
Robert Hicks, Director, Mütter Museum and Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
July 13, 2009
“Cold Hard Science: Fossil Discoveries in the Canadian Arctic and the Origin of Limbed Animals”
Ted Daeschler, Associate Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at The Academy of Natural Sciences
June 8, 2009
“The Unknown Skeleton: Forensic Anthropology and the Unsolvable Case”
Janet Monge, Keeper of Physical Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania Museum and Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania
May 11, 2009
“How the Tortoises Got Their Shells and the Finches Got Their Beaks: The Role of Evo-Devo in Solving Darwin’s Dilemmas”
Scott Gilbert, Professor of Biology, Swarthmore College
April 13, 2009
“Take Some Fruit and Pass the Seeds”
Brenda Casper, Plant Ecologist and Professor of Biology, University of Pennsylvania