Science Café Program

The LRSM, through the NSF-supported Penn MRSEC, continues a series of Science Cafés that began in 2011 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 The Black Sheep Pub, 247 S. 17th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103, at 6:00 pm.

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

For further information contact:

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

Current Schedule

November 20, 2019
The Black Sheep Pub

247 S. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103


6:00pm
Zahra Fakhraai / Slowing Time to Make Burn-Resistant Polymers Zahra Fakhraai
Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania
Slowing Time to Make Burn-Resistant Polymers
 

Most polymers, long-chain molecules, burn when exposed to heat by breaking into smaller bits and then reacting with oxygen. This process can rapidly accelerate as the chains break into shorter bits and generate fires, leaving behind a black goo of carbonized material. This is a major problem for using some commodity polymers in building materials, batteries, and other applications where the polymer can become really hot. By confining the polymers into a film of nanoparticles, we can slow-down the motion of the polymer as well as oxygen motion into the polymer. This process effectively slows down time for the system, reducing the rate at which the chain can interact with oxygen and make it impossible for the polymer to catch fire.


November 18, 2019
The Black Sheep Pub

3007 Concord Pike
Wilmington, DE


7:30pm
Thomas E. Mallouk / How Do You Make a Micro-Robot? Thomas E. Mallouk
University of Pennsylvania
How Do You Make a Micro-Robot?
 

Engines and motors are everywhere in the modern world, but it is a challenge to make them work if they are very small. On the micron length scale, inertial forces are weak and so conventional motor designs involving, e.g., pistons or flywheels cease to function. Biological motors work by a different principle and use catalysis to convert chemical to mechanical energy. Together with Ayusman Sen and other colleagues at Penn and Penn State we are exploring the use of chemical forces to power synthetic microswimmers and pumps. This talk will describe some of the unexpected lessons learned in pursuing this simple idea, as well as emerging applications.


October 28, 2019
Stoney’s British Pub

3007 Concord Pike
Wilmington DE


7:30pm
Eric A. Stach / Negative Emissions Technologies for a Carbon-Neutral World Eric A. Stach
University of Pennsylvania
Negative Emissions Technologies for a Carbon-Neutral World
 

Despite global efforts to limit terrestrial warming to 1.5°C (or perhaps 2.0°C), there is increasing evidence that this goal will not likely be met. This places increased emphasis on the development of new technologies to actively capture CO2 emissions in an effort to remove them from the atmosphere. In this presentation, I will talk about research and development needs for specific technologies that are being pursued to convert CO2 to useful chemicals. This is just one part of what must be done, but it represents an interesting convergence of multiple science and engineering challenges and hopefully will be an interesting discussion for a Science Café!


October 15, 2019
The Black Sheep Pub

247 S. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103


6:00pm
Thomas E. Mallouk / How Do You Make a Micro-Robot? Thomas E. Mallouk
University of Pennsylvania
How Do You Make a Micro-Robot?
 

Engines and motors are everywhere in the modern world, but it is a challenge to make them work if they are very small. On the micron length scale, inertial forces are weak and so conventional motor designs involving, e.g., pistons or flywheels cease to function. Biological motors work by a different principle and use catalysis to convert chemical to mechanical energy. Together with Ayusman Sen and other colleagues at Penn and Penn State we are exploring the use of chemical forces to power synthetic microswimmers and pumps. This talk will describe some of the unexpected lessons learned in pursuing this simple idea, as well as emerging applications.


September 11, 2019
The Black Sheep Pub

247 S. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103


6:00pm
Ritesh Agarwal / Silicon Nanophotonics: Using Light to Speed up Computers Ritesh Agarwal
University oof Pennsylvania
Silicon Nanophotonics: Using Light to Speed up Computers
 

In this talk I will briefly review the amazing progress made in the area of computer technology outlining some key advances leading to the development of modern computers. However, in order to continue the same rate of progress, we have to find new ways to make Silicon, a workhorse material in our computers perform new tricks or be able to integrate new technologies on a Silicon platform. This also includes new materials and devices that can perform the functions required for quantum computing technologies. I will motivate the use of light in making our computers faster and to do so, we will have to learn how to make Silicon emit light and perform basic computing functions, especially at the nanoscale. We will also discuss how more information can be encoded in light to assemble optical communication systems that can process much more information than what is possible with current technologies. Some of the ideas that are being pursued in my research group in enabling Silicon-based nanophotonics will be discussed along with how such nanodevices can also be used for quantum computers.


September 9, 2019
Stoney’s British Pub

3007 Concord Pike
Wilmington DE


7:30pm
Erin Crowgey / Translational Bioinformatics and Genomics Erin Crowgey
Nemours Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children
Translational Bioinformatics and Genomics
 

Precision medicine continues to be a driving force for utilizing complex genomic data at the bedside, and analyses of these high-density data requires high-performance computing workflows. Advancements in DNA sequencing technology and computing capabilities have propelled the use of genetic and genomic data in precision medicine efforts. The Nemours Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (NCCBD) is actively developing new techniques in genomic sequencing that are enabling the diagnosis of rare diseases and improving our understanding of pediatric cancers. Dr. Crowgey will present on these translational research efforts and how bioinformatics is driving new technologies.


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Check out some past lectures on our Video Channel