Science Café Program

The LRSM, through the NSF-supported Penn MRSEC, is continuing a series of Science Cafés that began last year to promote NOVA’s four part TV series on materials, ‘Making Stuff with David Pogue,’ on public television. The Science Cafés, which are science talks for laymen about materials-related topic of current interest, will take place at 7:30 pm at Stoney’s British Pub, 3007 Concord Pike, Wilmington DE and Saint Declan's Well, 3131 Walnut St. Philadelphia, PA, at 6:00 pm.

These programs are free and anyone who is interested is invited to attend. No purchase is necessary.

Google Maps Stony's Directions | Saint Declan's Well

For further information contact:

Andrew R. McGhie at
215-898-6461
mcghie@lrsm.upenn.edu

LIST OF TALKS
2014  
September 8, 2014
Stoney’s British Pub
Eric HumeEric L. Hume, MD
Penn Orthopaedics
Perelman SOM, University of Pennsylvania
“Adventures and Misadventures in Materials and Biology: 50 Years of Hip Replacement Progress”

Hip replacement is a spectacularly successful operation to relieve pain from hip arthritis. Replacement offers high success rates and very good pain control, and allows high levels of recreation and work activity. It is a gold standard for successful surgical treatment. The development history is an interesting story of intuition, engineering methodology, materials development and selection, and biology. As most stories go, replacement was born from the mind of a visionary, steadily progressed with careful consideration of failures, took surprising leaps forward, but also saw catastrophes resulting from well-considered new concepts. We will start at the beginning, touch on some of the more interesting and important of these chapters, and end with where we are now and where I think we need to go.
September 3, 2014
Saint Declan's Well

Matthew J. Lazzara / Personalized Medicine for CancerMatthew J. Lazzara
CBE, University of Pennsylvania
“Personalized Medicine for Cancer”

Over the last decade, an improved ability to sequence tumor DNA has been leveraged to identify genetic mutations that promote tumorigenesis and resistance to therapy. In an increasing number of cancer settings, sequencing individual patient DNA now allows for the optimization of therapeutic regimens by including drugs that target specific mutant proteins. This talk will highlight several examples of the successful application of this personalized medicine approach as well as examples of tumor adaptation to outsmart even the best available personalized approaches. The talk will also cover computational modeling approaches being developed by engineers to gain quantitative and predictive understanding of the biochemical processes that dictate cancer cell response to therapy.

October 6, 2014
Stoney’s British Pub

Bentley RacingDillon Brout
Physics & Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania
"Advances in Race Car Vehicle Dynamics and Race Strategy"

With ever increasing amounts of data provided by sensors on race tracks and race cars, in order to succeed in sports car racing it has become imperative to invent insights, algorithms, and strategies to create an edge over competitors. With Bentley Motorsport North America and Dyson Racing Team Bentley, we have led a number of innovative analyses to optimize the vehicle's handling for each on-track scenario as well as developed algorithms to predict optimal race strategy in real time. The talk will highlight several of these innovations as well as cover an introduction to the physics of race cars.

October 15, 2014
Saint Declan's Well

solar arrayIgor Bargatin
Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, University of Pennsylvania
"Producing Solar Electricity by Boiling Water ... and Electrons!"

Humanity generally relies on two methods to produce solar electricity: (1) photovoltaic devices, a.k.a. solar cells, which convert sunlight directly to electricity, and (2) solar thermal power plants, which focus sunlight to produce high temperature heat, which can then be used to power steam turbines. I will talk about the relative advantages and disadvantages of the two technologies and show some recent examples, including the controversial mirror array recently opened at Ivanpah, CA. I will then talk about the alternative methods of using the high temperature heat, which rely on evaporation of electrons rather than water and which can be used to produce electricity at a much smaller scale than the large mirror installations.

November 5, 2014
Saint Declan's Well

David Salas-de la CruzDavid Salas-de la Cruz, Ph.D., EIT
Rutgers University, Camden
“How 3-D Printing Can Disrupt the Status Quo”

What is a 3D printer? A 3D printer is a tool and a process of making 3D-dimensional objects from computer aided design (CAD) models. The process deposits a polymeric material using layer-by-layer deposition technique by mean of a micro extrusion system. Charles Hull patented this stereolithography technique in 1986 and it was not until 2005 that the process reached stream-media by an open source model. The process allows for a rapid deposition of liquid plastic into solid object. The process reduces the development and manufacturing preparation cost by 70% and speed-up time to market. It allows startups, industries and communities to develop custom-made objects and prototypes at low cost with the potential of solving local community problems. Nicolas Jones, science critic for Nature, stated, "Three-dimensional printers are opening up new worlds to research". In last few months, the market has seem the development of 3D-printed electric vehicles, microscopes and medical devices. The 3D-printed electric vehicle can be built in no more than 2 days and a 1000x microscope can be built for less than 1 dollar. It is an excitement to be looking at a new era of co-creation and development, for which I called as the Age of Technical Realization. It is unquestionable that 3D printers has the potential to revolutionize material design, manufacturing and medical technology locally and globally. Now is up to the public to embrace it and drive change.

November 10, 2014
Stoney’s British Pub

Art Preservation Over the Last ~5000 YearsKarlis Adamsons
Axalta Coating Systems
"Art Preservation Over the Last 5000 Years"

Art conservation is not a recent concept; the need for protecting, cleaning and repairing works of art has been with us for thousands of years. The intent of this presentation is to provide a brief overview of the various categories of art and how efforts in preservation and conservation were implemented. Examples will include paintings, drawings, statues, carvings, prints, relics, illustrations, and photography. Case studies will range from (1) Early man's cave paintings depicting life and worship that were located in places away from the elements and associated degradation, (2) Materials used in and surface treatments applied to paintings, statues, carvings, prints and photographs, and (3) Use of protective structures (glass, plastic, metal, wood) enclosures and controlled environments throughout the centuries and up to current times. Work with Art Conservators Eleonora Nagy (Guggenheim, Independent) and Kate Moomaw (Guggenheim) will be referenced among the examples.

Also, a brief look at today's "analytical toolbox" will be provided which assists artists as well as those charged with preservation and conservation of art in all of its glory and forms. This presentation will give a snapshot of analytical testing used to obtain a more detailed understanding of the chemical composition of general paint/coating systems as a function of the application environment, formulation, cure conditions, and exposure/storage history.

December 8, 2014
Stoney’s British Pub

Alain Plante
Earth & Environmental Science
University of Pennsylvania
"The Carbon Beneath Our Feet"

 

December 10, 2014
Saint Declan's Well

carbon nanotube - Robert JohnsonNicholas Kybert
Physics & Astronomy
University of Pennsylvania
"Nanotube 'noses': Putting Sniffer Dogs out of Business"

As an all-surface material with environmentally-sensitive electrical properties, carbon nanotubes provide a unique platform for the fabrication of sensors that can detect subtle odor differences and trace chemical residues quickly and reproducibly. This talk will cover advances in scalable fabrication of the devices and their application to challenges ranging from the detection of traces of explosives to 'smelling' cancer. While these experiments are still being conducted in the research laboratory, the opportunities and potential real-world applications that could emerge from this work are wide-ranging and highly impactful.

   
2015  
January 19, 2014
Stoney’s British Pub

Stewart Ramsey
Farmer
"TBA"

 

January 21, 2014
Saint Declan's Well

Doug Durian "Grains of Physics"Doug Durian
Physics, University of Pennsylvania
"Grains of Physics"

Sand is a problem. At the beach it's fun to scoop and pour, and to make sandcastles. But it's hard to walk on and it sticks everywhere, plus those sandcastles start crumbling right away. The beach can turn to quicksand, and sandy bluffs can collapse in avalanches. Similar problems arise in desert, lunar, and Martian environments. Industries struggle with processing food grains, pharmaceutical powders, minerals for making ceramics and concrete, as well as with coal and geologic formations holding oil and gas. In short, we need to deal with granular materials to secure our food, medicine, shelter, and energy. Unfortunately, lots of things still go wrong. At a basic level, we lack a good understanding of how "sand'' either flows or jams up under applied forces. This is a mechanics problem, and it is difficult because unexpected behaviors emerge for large collections of even the simplest objects like grains. I'll survey this background, explain why physicists have latched onto "sand" as a cutting-edge research topic, and describe some research from my own laboratory on impact cratering and intermittent avalanche flows.

   

[ Science Café Program 2010-11 ]
[ Science Café Program 2011-12 ]
[ Science Café Program 2012-13 ]
[ Science Café Program 2013-14 ]