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
coming soon

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.