Beyond the Looking Glass: Bird-Friendly Windows

May 2, 2017


Follow along with the slideshow here.


Glass windows are the second greatest human-related cause of mortality to North American birds, accounting for nearly 1 billion deaths annually. In an effort to make the skies safer for our feathered friends, researchers are looking for ways to reduce collisions by making glass more visible to birds.

Matt Web, the Urban Bird Conservation Coordinator for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, will present his talk: Beyond the Looking Glass: Bird-Friendly Windows on Monday, May 1. Web will discuss developing research as to why certain types of glass are more prone to avian collisions, as well as how companies are making bird-friendly glass available.

Webb is involved in research at Powdermill Nature Reserve, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s field research station located in the Ligonier valley. He and fellow Powdermill avian researchers are using an innovative flight tunnel to safely test bird-friendly glass prototypes to use on new buildings.

Webb also started BirdSafe Pittsburgh in 2014, a local partnership of organizations dedicated to bird conservation in southwestern Pennsylvania. Teams of BirdSafe Pittsburgh volunteers spend the early hours of each day through the spring and fall migration combing the sidewalks of Pittsburgh, looking for birds that have collided with windows. Data is collected about each collision found and dead birds are brought back to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History to become a part of the permanent museum collection. Birds that survived a collision are captured and brought to Animal Rescue League's wildlife center for rehabilitation and release. Citizen scientists also monitor the windows of personal homes, helping researchers learn more about what makes some bird-friendly window products more effective than others.

Webb has studied birds with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History for the past four years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University, in Fort Collins, Colorado.


Recorded Monday, May 1, 2017 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA


Cafe Sci: Harnessing Electricity from Biofilms to Create Sustainable technologies

March 15, 2017

Dr. David Sanchez

Assistent Professor, University of Pittsburgh


Biofilms play a central role in the ecosystem’s ability to sustain life and provide goods and services for economic development. In the biosphere they support key biochemical transformations that clean water, provide fertilizer and allow you to digest your food. What else can they do? Are engineers able to electrically harness the talents of the “best chemists in the world”? Join a discussion with Dr. Sanchez on how engineers are reconceptualizing the role of biofilms in creating innovative sustainable technologies.

Dr. Sanchez is an Assistant Professor Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering and the Assistant Director for the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation at the University of Pittsburgh. His research is focused on fusing sustainability principles and design thinking to address our Water and Energy grand challenges for both natural systems and the built environment. Current projects include engineering biofilm-electrodes, designing hydroponic systems for phytoremediation, improving electrocatalytic water disinfection technologies for aquaculture, and creating real-time environmental quality sensor platforms.
Engineering education research also plays a major role in his work as his team looks at creating innovative K-12 engineering programs, infusing Sustainable Design into engineering curricula, and evaluating the role of extra-curricular innovation/entrepreneurship landscape in student formation. He serves as the Faculty Director for the Design EXPO, the Innovation/Entrepreneurship Bootcamp and the university-wide Sustainability Certificate.


Recorded Monday, March 13, 2017 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.


Cafe Sci: Is Carbon Capture Realistic?

February 13, 2017

Is Carbon Capture Realistic?

Christopher Wilmer

Assistant Professor,
Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department,
University of Pittsburgh

Join University of Pittsburgh professor Chris Wilmer for a discussion of the future of carbon capture technology. This very active area of engineering research explores the development of technologies that can be retrofitted onto fossil fuel-based power plants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. Retrofitting thousands of coal power plants across the globe would be a massive undertaking, and researchers need to know how feasible such a project would be.

In his talk, Wilmer will consider this problem from the molecular scale and ask what the most efficient carbon capture membrane would look like, whether it can realistically help mitigate global warming, and how it compares to existing technologies.

Wilmer is an assistant professor in the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Department at the University of Pittsburgh. His research focuses on the use of large-scale molecular simulations to help find promising materials for energy and environmental applications.


Recorded Monday, February 6, 2017 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.


Science News and Q’s Pilot — Seahorses, Antimatter, and Rivers

January 26, 2017

Hello, and welcome to Carnegie Science Center’s newest experiment in podcasting. This is a pilot episode of Science News and Q’s or “SNaQ” for short. It’s  a show designed to highlight science current events and answer user submitted science questions. We hope you enjoy this pilot and will share your feedback with us. Thank you and enjoy Science News and Q’s.


Science Headlines:

Spinning Black holes:

Zika Modeling:

Seahorse Genes:

Universal Rhythm:


In-Depth Discussion:

CERN Antimatter Spectroscopy:


Try It At Home:

Buy your own spectroscopy glasses!



Cafe Sci at Carnegie Science Center.


Recorded December 2016 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.


Light Up the Sky with Stars

December 12, 2016


Light Up the Sky with Stars


Diane Turnshek

Lecturer, Author, & Astronomer

How far do you have to travel to see the stars clearly? Join lecturer, author, and astronomer Diane Turnshek as she discusses how light pollution not only prevents us from living under a sky bright with stars, but also negatively impacts human health and the environment. Turnshek will examine how innovative science and technology can reverse this steady creep of sky glow, allowing us to view the same star-filled sky that all past generations did.

Diane Turnshek is a lecturer in the Department of Physics at Carnegie Mellon University and the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh. She has published hard science fiction with a focus on space colonization and first contact. Her love of both astronomy and science fiction led her to crew the Mars Desert Research Station near Bryce Canyon, Utah in 2012, where she turned her attention to dark sky advocacy. Her fight against light pollution has taken many forms, including giving a TEDxPittsburgh talk. Turnshek is also a 2015 Dark Sky Defender award recipient, recognized by the International Dark-Sky Association for her contribution to light pollution mitigation.


Recorded Monday, December 5, 2016 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.


The Science of Soccer Strength

November 18, 2016

Michael Whiteman
Pittsburgh Riverhounds

Director of Sports Science


The Science of Soccer Strength

Join Pittsburgh Riverhounds Director of Sports Science Michael Whiteman as he discusses truths and misconceptions about soccer athletes, and how energy systems develop in elite players. During his talk, Whiteman will discuss the various strengthening and endurance exercises soccer players go through to train their muscles and bodies for sports performance.


Whiteman is a Pittsburgh native and holds a certified qualification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Whiteman has trained various professional athletes including NFL players Antonio Brown and Terrelle Pryor. He has been the strength and conditioning coach for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds of the USLPro soccer league since 2011. Whiteman also is the Director of Sports Science for the Riverhounds Development Academy.


Recorded Monday, November 7, 2016 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA. 


In the Blink of an Eye: The Neuroscience of Baseball

October 7, 2016

Timothy Verstynen

Carnegie Mellon University
"Neuroscience of Baseball"


In the Blink of an Eye: The Neuroscience of Baseball

How does the architecture of the brain allow us to learn complex skills and make fast decisions? What parts of neuroanatomy come into play when a person is trying to stop a 100-mph fastball with a piece of wood? Join Carnegie Mellon University Assistant Professor Timothy Verstynen as he discusses the brain science behind America's favorite pastime.

Verstynen is an assistant professor in Psychology at the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition at Carnegie Mellon University.


Recorded Monday, October 3, 2016 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.


Old Drugs, New Tricks: Putting an End to Traditional Eye Drops

September 20, 2016

Old Drugs, New Tricks: Putting an End to Traditional Eye Drops


Morgan Fedorchak

Ophthalmic Biomaterials Laboratory


Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide, expected to affect up to 3 million Americans by 2020. One of the main risk factors in glaucoma is an unsafe increase in intraocular pressure (IOP).  IOP reduction in patients with glaucoma is typically accomplished through the administration of medicated eye drops several times daily, the difficult and frequent nature of which contributes to patient adherence rates estimated to be as low as 30%.  Newer drug delivery methods for glaucoma aimed at improving patient adherence require clinician administration of invasive injections or implants. This talk will encompass the rational design and testing of a variety of controlled release systems for delivery of ocular drugs as well as the many significant considerations for translating these technologies to the clinic where they may benefit patients. In particular, discussion will focus on our team’s development of a completely unique formulation that provides one month of therapeutic levels of glaucoma medication from a noninvasive eye drop. We believe that this new treatment method may have the ability to overcome the issues inherent to traditional eye drop medication while avoiding the need for more invasive techniques.


Morgan Fedorchak is an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology, Chemical Engineering, and Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Pittsburgh and the director of the Ophthalmic Biomaterials Laboratory. She attended Carnegie Mellon University where she obtained her B.S. in both Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering in 2006. She later earned her PhD in bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh in 2011 under Dr. William Federspiel studying hemofiltration and medical devices. Subsequently, she was awarded a fellowship from the Fox Center for Vision Restoration to participate in a collaboration between Dr. Steve Little and Dr. Joel Schuman as a postdoctoral researcher in March of 2011. This work formed the basis for the development of a patent pending drug delivery system for glaucoma that was recently featured in The Wall Street Journal. Her research is currently supported by the National Eye Institute, the Cystinosis Research Foundation, the University of Pittsburgh Center for Medical Innovation, and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.

Recorded Monday, September 12, 2016 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.


From River to Tap: Examining Local Water Quality

August 11, 2016

From River to Tap: Examining Local Water Quality


Gina Cyprych

Environmental Compliance Coordinator
Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority

Water: We drink it every day. But have you ever stopped to think about just exactly where your water comes from and how it’s treated? Join Gina Cyprych, Acting Chief Water Quality Officer at the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, as she discusses how Pittsburgh’s drinking water is captured from the Allegheny River and treated. The Authority must ensure that the highest quality water is reaching each person, but with the many competing regulations a water utility must uphold, how do they maintain simultaneous compliance given a variety of circumstances?

Cyprych has worked at the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority for the past 11 years. She received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Management from Columbia Southern University.


Recorded Monday, August 1, 2016 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.


Spiders: Myths and Facts

April 5, 2016

Jonathan Pruitt

Assistant Professor
Department of Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology
University of California - Santa Barbara


Spiders: Myths and Facts

 Follow along with the slideshow here.

What’s it like to live in a spider society? Join University of California Santa Barbara Assistant Professor Jonathan Pruitt as he discusses "Spiders: Myths and Facts."

Sociality is rare in spiders. Pruitt’s research concerns one species of spider that lives in social groups and how social interactions between the arachnids impacts their behavior and environment.

Pruitt’s research explores the ecological consequences of individual variation in behavior for individuals, populations, and communities. Is aggressive behavior rewarded? What mix of docile and aggressive individuals is optimal for a community?

Pruitt’s research considers the role of individual differences in patterns of task allocation within societies, and how these patterns impact the long-term performance of groups in different environments. In non-social systems, Pruitt looks at how variation in behavior impacts species interactions across different ecological niches, in both terrestrial and marine systems.

Pruitt performed his graduate studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He then conducted postdoctoral studies at the University of California, Davis. He is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology at the University of California Santa Barbara.


Recorded Monday, April 4, 2016 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.