Penn Science and Lightbulb Café Lecture Series Spring 2018

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

All events are held at:  

World Cafe Live Upstairs
3025 Walnut St.
6–7 p.m.  

Since 2005, the Penn Science Café has shined a spotlight on Penn research in the sciences. The Penn Lightbulb Café debuted in 2011 to illuminate research in social science, arts and humanities. The lectures, held on Tuesday evenings at World Cafe Live Upstairs, are free and open to the public. Each talk begins at 6 p.m. and is followed by an audience Q&A session. Café goers can come early for 5-6 p.m. happy hour specials. RSVP not required. Seating is limited. The two lecture series are presented by the School of Arts & Sciences in partnership with the Office of University. Communications. Dinner reservations are managed separately through World Cafe Live.   

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Next Up:

Tuesday, Feb. 6 – PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ
Jonathan Heckman, assistant professor of physics and astronomy, School of Arts and Sciences
"After the Higgs Boson: What's next for fundamental physics at the Large Hadron Collider?”
Professor Heckman is a theorist working at the interface of particle physics and string theory and in particular how to "connect strings to things." His work aims at addressing what is the structure of Nature at the shortest distance scales. Recently there has been much excitement about the discovery of the Higgs boson. But what is the Higgs boson and what comes next? Come learn what physicists hope to understand about fundamental particles and interactions from the Large Hadron Collider.

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Tuesday, Jan. 23 – PENN LIGHTBULB CAFÉ
​​​​​​​Herman Beavers, professor of English and Africana studies, School of Arts and Sciences
Part of the African-American Resource Center MLK Symposium events
Geography and the Political Imaginary in the Novels of Toni Morrison”
Professor Beavers’ talk will focus on one of the most important figures in American letters, Toni Morrison, and will be based on his forthcoming book, Geography and the Political Imaginary in the Novels of Toni Morrison. He will touch on how black men perform manhood in her novels, the spatial relations Southern migrants experience in New York City, the role black women play in the establishment of spaces of resistance, how race figures into the transition from indentured labor to paid labor and the relationship between precariousness and placemaking.

Tuesday, Feb. 6 – PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ
Jonathan Heckman, assistant professor of physics and astronomy, School of Arts and Sciences
"After the Higgs Boson: What's next for fundamental physics at the Large Hadron Collider?”
Professor Heckman is a theorist working at the interface of particle physics and string theory and in particular how to "connect strings to things." His work aims at addressing what is the structure of Nature at the shortest distance scales. Recently there has been much excitement about the discovery of the Higgs boson. But what is the Higgs boson and what comes next? Come learn what physicists hope to understand about fundamental particles and interactions from the Large Hadron Collider.

Tuesday, Feb. 20 – PENN LIGHTBULB CAFÉ
Jennifer Houser Wegner, adjunct assistant professor of Near Eastern languages and civilizations, School of Arts and Sciences; research scientist in Penn Museum’s Egyptian Section
“Love Hurts: Heartbreak in the Ancient World"
A Penn alumna who earned her B.A. in Egyptology from the School of Arts and Sciences, Jennifer Houser Wegner has worked in Egypt since 1990 and has participated in fieldwork at Giza, Bersheh, Saqqara and Abydos. She is a co-author of Akhenaten, Tutankhamun and the Amarna Period: Revolution and Restoration, and most recently she co-authored The Sphinx that Traveled to Philadelphia: The Story of the Colossal Sphinx in the Penn Museum.

Tuesday, March 13 – PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ
Regina Baker, assistant professor of sociology, School of Arts and Sciences
"Poverty in the American South”
As a sociologist, Regina Baker studies inequality, social stratification and families, particularly in the South. Although poverty and uneven development exist everywhere, this part of the country has seen a disproportionate share of the nation’s socioeconomic problems. For decades, poverty there has been the highest and most persistent, and the Great Recession only made things worse. In this talk, Dr. Baker will discuss the latest findings from her research, which looks at the role of demographic, economic and racial factors that influence poverty, as well as the uncertainty of future safety nets for America’s most vulnerable populations.  

Tuesday, March 20 – PENN LIGHTBULB CAFÉ
Dawn Teele, assistant professor of political science, School of Arts and Sciences with a joint appointment in Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies.
Nudging Women to Run” 
Dawn Teele studies the economic and psychological factors that drive women to seek political office. In a new research project, “Nudging Women to Run,” Teele, along with scholars at Rutgers UniversityYale University and the University of California, Berkeley, surveyed alumnae of women’s campaign-training programs and is in the process of designing experimental innovations to encourage women to launch political campaigns. A leading authority on women and politics, Dr. Teele’s research examines the causes and consequences of voting-rights reform, forms of bias in politics and social-science methodology.

Tuesday, April 10 – PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ
Bethany Wiggin, associate professor of Germanic languages and literature and founding director of the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities 
Nikhil Anand, assistant professor of anthropology
Richard Pepino, lecturer in earth and environmental science
Howard Neukrug, professor of practice in earth and environment science
“Water, Water Everywhere” 
In presentations and a panel discussion, a quartet of Penn researchers with diverse backgrounds will share their research and thoughts about water. Nikhil Anand and Bethany Wiggin will present their work on Mumbai and Philadelphia as two chapters in a global story about trade, water and empire; the creation of port infrastructure and the loss of historic wetlands; and the responses of contemporary communities to changing waters, including those rising as a result of climate change. And with the recent crisis in Flint, Mich., as a backdrop, Richard Pepino will discuss his investigation of the risk of lead service lines contributing to childhood lead poisoning in Philadelphia. Howard Neukrug, director of the new Water Center at Penn, will offer a brief introduction to the panel. 

Tuesday, April 24 – PENN LIGHTBULB CAFÉ
Renata Holod, College for Women Class of 1963 Term Professor in the Humanities, professor of history of art and curator of the Near East Section at the Penn Museum
TOPIC: To Be Announced
Renata Holod has done archaeological and architectural fieldwork in Syria, Iran, Morocco, Central Asia and Turkey and on the island of Jerba, Tunisia. Her most recent project is a collaborative study of the grave goods of a Qipchaq kurgan in the Black Sea steppe of the 13th century. She has co-authored several books on art and architecture in the Islamic world, the focus of many of the courses she teaches at Penn.

Tuesday, Jun 12 – PENN SCIENCE CAFÉ
Projit Mukharji, associate professor of history and the sociology of science, School of Arts and Sciences
“Who Do You Think You Are? Modern Identities Between Genes and Rebirths, India c. 1950s-1980s”
What makes us who we are? Is it our genes? Or is it in fact our memories? Projit Bihari Mukharji will discuss how, in newly-independent India two new sciences, genetics and parapsychology, both tried to answer this question in their distinctive ways. At the time both the disciplines were themselves also struggling to define their identities. Even as the quests for disciplinary identities were interlaced with the quest to define human identities scientifically, their political resonances with identity politics and nation-building were too obvious to ignore. As scientists, their methods and their questions moved between these various levels; scientific questions about human identity also became questions about the identity of science itself.