Monday December 9, 2019
Meeting Your First Dinosaur: Museums, Extinctions, and Fossil Restorations in 19th-century Philadelphia
Mabel Rosenheck, PhD. Wagner Free Institute of Science
Your first memory of a prehistoric creature may be a T-Rex from Jurassic Park or Little Foot from The Land Before Time. For many Philadelphians in the 19th century, it was standing up close with a life-size restoration of a Mastodon or a Hadrosaur in local museums. In their society, extinction was a radical new concept that overturned assumptions about an unchanging planet. These physical representations of real, extinct creatures were a portal to imagining the new world of prehistory. This talk will explore how people in the west dealt with astonishing new discoveries of strange creatures that no longer walked the earth or swam in its oceans and will spotlight three Philadelphia museums that reconstructed these specimens as three-dimensional spectacles for the museum-going public.
Monday November 11, 2019
The Heartbeat of Streams
Dr. Marie Kurz, The Academy of Natural Sciences
Streams and rivers may seem like stable, enduring features of the landscape but within their flowing waters a complex array of biological and chemical processes are happening on the scale of tiny cells to entire watersheds. These processes are critical to preserving the water quality and ecological health of our streams, removing pollutants, creating oxygen, and supporting healthy food webs. Join Marie in exploring the chemical signals of streams and what they reveal about the complex array of processes that make up the hidden heartbeat of streams.
Monday October 14, 2019
Why are there so few women in the history of science? One wrong and three right answers
Dr. Roger Turner, Science History Institute
Women have contributed to science and technology throughout history. But it often takes specialized skills and new ways of seeing to find the scientific work done by women. Sometimes women were given codenames when research was published, a 17th century strategy to protect their modesty. Sometimes tedious lab work was celebrated as “heroic” when done by men, and dismissed as “drudgery” when done by women. Or scientific organizations might divide up the labor of science, assigning some tasks to women and other tasks to men, and then not talk about the women’s roles—as in the story of Hidden Figures. We can recover the history of women in science, and this talk is about why we must do it now.
Monday September 9, 2019
New Evidence for Ancient Foods: Eating and Drinking in Classical Greece
Dr. Chantel White
From savory banquets to humble daily fare, Greek literature provides a rich depiction of the social activities related to eating and drinking thousands of years ago. Beyond textual sources, only recently have archaeologists begun to identify ancient foods preserved at archaeological sites. Chantel White uses archaeobotany – the study of microscopic botanical material – to investigate the remnants of foods and beverages from the Classical world. Archaeological evidence often corroborates the writings of ancient authors, but it can provide even more details about specific ingredients and cooking techniques. Recent excavation at the 4th-century B.C. city of Stryme, a coastal trading port in northern Greece, has revealed an extraordinary amount of information about breads, stews, fruits, and wine consumed at the site. Chantel will present her discoveries from Stryme and discuss how food played an important role in the daily life of the city’s residents.
Monday August 12, 2019
Science On Tap Untapped: Pick Your Poison
It lurks in science labs, museum collections, and even in the cabinet under your sink. It was in the apple Snow White received from the evil witch. In the 1920s, it was the key to the perfect Jazz Age crime. Lurking, deliberate, or secretive, poisons have many associated histories and winding tales waiting to be discussed. Join us for a night where we explore the weird and wonderful world of killer substances both naturally-occurring and man-made. We’ll continue our long tradition of geeking out about the fascinating things that science can teach us with poison-themed lightning talks and poison-free snacks and drinks.
Monday July 8, 2019
Water-to-Land: Put Your Back into It
Aja Carter, University of Pennsylvania
Climbing stairs, getting over street curbs, and stepping over fallen logs are all examples of daily obstacle-crossing. Fortunately, we have learned to navigate a complex, 3D terrestrial world without giving it much thought. However, 350 million years ago, our aquatic ancestors faced the same problem with much more dire consequences. If our ancestors couldn’t cross obstacles during the tetrapod-land invasion, you, a T-rex, a snake, and many other animals would be confined to tidal flats. This fundamental behavior has challenged roboticists for years. Luckily, by combining paleontology, biomechanics, and some physical modelling, we can gain insights by returning to the animals who first met this immense challenge.
Monday June 10, 2019
Building Bio3Science: synthesizing biology, biography, and biosphere for human health and well-being
Allison Hayes-Conroy, Temple University
Bio3Science, highlights the inner-connectedness between human biography, biology, and the biosphere. Human biology emerges through the stories of individuals and their relations and ancestors, shaped not only by broad geographic and political patterns but also by the jumbled trajectories of billions of inter-mingled ecological and social lives. Health sciences are increasingly interested in how life experience (biography) influences human health, wellness, and disease. Allison Hayes-Conroy will present the theoretical, conceptual, and methodological work of her Bio3Science research collective (studio + network), which offers a paradigm-shifting approach to understanding how biographical aspects of human life come to matter to health.
Monday May 13, 2019
Bees, Brews, and Brotherly Love: the Avant-Garde Ecology of Philadelphia
Dr. Douglas Sponsler, Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
Like a scofflaw brewer shirking the Reinheitsgebot, cities break the rules of ecology. Time bends, categories blur, and the boundary between the human and the natural–an enduring phantom of industrial hubris–dissolves entirely. Here in Philly, we live in one of the world’s greatest urban-ecological experiments, an unfolding frontier of high aspiration and frequent catastrophe. As an entomologist, a wannabe-botanist, and a Philadelphia native, I explore this frontier through the lens of foraging bees, the plants they visit, and the people who have learned to see them.
Monday April 29, 2019
Science On Tap Untapped: My Love Affair with Science
Oh science, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways! For the last 10 years, Science on Tap has been in love with science. Join us for a special PSF edition that will get at the heart of why we care so deeply about this wide and varied field. Six speakers will share stories of how they fell for their research hook, line, and sinker. Between these flash-talks, we’ll get to the bottom of the greatest mystery of them all: just what is science’s love language?
*This event is presented as part of the Philadelphia Science Festival
Monday March 11, 2019
Can Archaeology Save the Planet?
Dr. Kathleen Morrison, University of Pennsylvania/Penn Museum
Archaeologists study the past, but as it turns out, sometimes we need to know about the past in order to better predict the future. Kathy Morrison describes some of her research on human-environment relationships in India, and how it led her to help establish LandCover6k, an international scientific working group that is mobilizing evidence from archaeology, history, and ancient vegetation to improve climate models. Before climate modelers predict the future, they test their models against the past. It’s important, then, that they use the best evidence we have about the past – this where archaeology enters. But archaeologists don’t study the entire planet; they usually work in one region, often on a single time period, so an entirely new approach is needed to bring these different areas of study together. LandCover6k is our answer to this challenge, a ‘big data’ project bringing together information about the past on a global scale.
Monday February 11, 2019
Rebecca Kaplan, Science History Institute
In honor of Valentine’s Day, our February Science on Tap program is bringing you a story of love straight out of the animal kingdom. We’ll be talking about horses and birth control. Or more specially, birth control for horses. That’s right. You’ll learn about how birth control is used to manage the populations of wild horses and burros on federal land. Swoon over the history of this important program’s development and fan yourself as we cover romantic topics such as environmental science, politics, and the role of scientific authority in legal proceedings. So grab your date or a group of friends and spend a dreamy evening with your neighborhood science nerds. We’ll have special valentines, a horse-themed Spotify list, and best of all: a lively lecture from historian of medicine and public health, Rebecca Kaplan.
Monday January 14, 2019
The 2014 Emergency Ebola Epidemic in Sierra Leone: Ambulances as Death Traps and How We Got to Zero
Dr. Hannah Lawman, Welbodi Sierra Leone
Join us at Science on Tap as Dr. Hannah Lawman shares her experiences working in Sierra Leone in the emergency Ebola epidemic. She will share how ambulances and the response teams that they carried were rejected by many communities and what The Ambulance Project did to change it and improve access to Ebola treatment.