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.


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.