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.

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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: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/12/universe-s-brightest-supernova-may-be-something-much-more-exciting-spinning-star-eating

Zika Modeling: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/05/yes-zika-will-soon-spread-united-states-it-won-t-be-disaster

Seahorse Genes: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v540/n7633/full/nature20595.html

Universal Rhythm: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v540/n7633/full/nature20595.html

 

In-Depth Discussion:

CERN Antimatter Spectroscopy: https://home.cern/about/updates/2016/12/alpha-observes-light-spectrum-antimatter-first-time

 

Try It At Home:

Buy your own spectroscopy glasses! https://www.teachersource.com/product/prism-glasses-double-axis-pkg-of-10/light-color

 

Sponsor:

Cafe Sci at Carnegie Science Center. www.CarnegieScienceCenter.org/CafeSci

 

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

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Q&A: Rain, Rivers, and Resources: How Watersheds Change Drinking Water

November 12, 2015

This is the Q&A portion of the talk. The full talk is available in the previous podcast.

 

Jeanne M. VanBriesen 
Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Carnegie Mellon University

 

 

 

 

Rain, Rivers, and Resources: How Watersheds Change Drinking Water

 

 

How do everyday choices impact the water supply? Carnegie Mellon University professor and Carnegie Science Award winner Dr. Jeanne M. VanBriesen will discuss her research in ““Rain, Rivers, and Resources: How Watersheds Change Drinking Water” on Monday, Nov. 9, from 7 – 9 pm, at Carnegie Science Center.

 

Rivers teem with fish and plants, offer a space for recreation, and provide the source of the water we drink. Rain water, on its way to rivers, runs across watersheds. Watersheds are land surfaces that house activities such as mining, farming, producing electricity, and building homes. These activities pose a challenge to maintaining high quality water for ecosystems, recreation, and potable water supply. VanBriesen will talk about engineering systems that manage the quality and quantity of water resources. She’ll discuss how the choices people make around energy resources in our watersheds affect the options to treat drinking water.

 

VanBriesen, who serves on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board, is the Duquesne Light Company Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. Her research is in environmental systems, including detection of biological agents in water systems and impacts of energy extraction. 

 

She earned her bachelor’s degree in education and her master’s and doctorate degrees in civil engineering from Northwestern University. She is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Delaware and has served on the board of the Association for Environmental Engineering and Science Professors. Earlier this year, VanBriesen was awarded the Environmental Award in the Carnegie Science Awards program for her water quality research.

 
Recorded Monday, November 9, 2015 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.
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Checking the World’s Software for Exploitable Bugs

October 6, 2015

David Brumley

President & Director
Carnegie Mellon Univeristy’s CyLab

 

Checking the World's Software for Exploitable Bugs

 
To Carnegie Mellon University’s David Brumley, hacking is “not something just bad guys do.” Brumley, a professor and director of the CyLab Institute at Carnegie Mellon University will discuss the important science behind hacking at Carnegie Science Center’s next Café Scientifique on Monday, Oct. 5, from 7 – 9 pm.

Brumley and his team at Carnegie Mellon’s CyLab (cyber security lab) envision a world in which software is automatically checked for exploitable bugs, giving people the ability to trust their computers. The demand for cybersecurity professionals is growing, and Carnegie Mellon University is working to train students interested in the field.

Brumley is an associate professor who focuses on software security, with appointments in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and the Computer Science Department.

He is the faculty mentor for the CMU Hacking Team Plaid Parliament of Pwning (PPP), which is ranked internationally as one of the top teams in the world. Brumley’s honors include a 2010 NSF CAREER award, a 2010 United States Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from President Obama, the highest award in the U.S. for early career scientists, and a 2013 Sloan Foundation award. Brumley is the 2015 winner of the Carnegie Science Award in the University/Post-Secondary Educator category. He was lauded for recognizing the need for novel approaches to STEM education, leading him to spearhead picoCTF, a national cyber security game and contest targeted at exciting young minds about computer security.

Brumley attended the University of Northern Colorado for his bachelor’s degree in mathematics, Stanford University for his master’s degree in computer science, and, most recently, CMU for his PhD in computer science. At Stanford, he worked as a computer security officer, solving thousands of computer security incidents in a four-year span.

 

Recorded on Monday, October 5, 2015 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

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Learning Science for Better Learning: Carnegie Mellon University’s ‘Simon Initiative’

May 18, 2015

Learning Science for Better Learning:

Carnegie Mellon University's "Simon Initiative"

 

Dr. Marsha Lovett

Director of the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation
Carnegie Mellon University

 

Many students today receive a 19th-century education that is developed without the benefit of contemporary evidence-based research, Carnegie Mellon University's Dr. Marsha Lovett asserts. At Carnegie Science Center's next Café Sci, She'll discuss how a combination of education-based research plus innovations in educational technology can improve students' learning outcomes while further advancing our scientific understanding of how learning works. Carnegie Mellon University's Simon Initiative focuses on leveraging these opportunities and making a difference for local and global learners. The Simon Initiative focuses on the learner and how to improve learning. Dr. Lovett is co-coordinator of The Simon Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University and the director of the Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation. Her remarks will present recent results, tools, and examples of how educational theories are being applied.

Dr. Lovett has published more than 50 research papers and two books, Thinking with Data and How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. The latter is ranked third on The Chronicle's "Top 10 Books on Teaching" and has been translated into several languages. She has developed several innovative, educational technologies to promote student learning, including StatTutor and the Learning Dashboard. Dr. Lovett earned her doctorate in psychology from Carnegie Mellon University, and her bachelor's degree, also in psychology, is from Princeton University.

 

Recorded Monday, May 4th, 2015 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Cafe Scientifique: “The Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter”

September 4, 2014

Dr. Katherine Freese

George E. Uhlenbeck Professor of Physics
University of Michigan

Author
The Cosmic Cocktail

 

Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter

Dr. Katherine Freese, a pioneer in the study of dark matter, discusses her book, "The Cosmic Cocktail," which documents the inside story of the epic quest to solve one of the most compelling mysteries of modern science – what is the universe made of?

 
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Cafe Scientifique: “The Age of Radiance”

August 7, 2014

Craig Nelson, Author "The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and the Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era" With a biographer's penchant for detail, author Craig Nelson will chronicle the historical figures of the atomic age, including its "Forgotten Women." His lecture will keep visitors guessing at every turn. Nelson is the author of "The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era," "Rocket Men" (a New York Times bestseller), "Thomas Paine: Enlightenment, Revolution, and the Birth of Modern Nations," among other works. Nelson, a historian, will offer new understanding of the era, focusing on its forgotten heroes and heroines who have impacted all of our lives. For example, Albert Einstein called Lise Meitner, the first female university professor in the history of Germany, "our Curie." The Viennese head of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute's Physics department made one of the great discoveries of modern science on Christmas in 1938: Nuclear fission. But she was written out of history, first by the Nazis for being a Jew, and then by the post-war Germans for being a woman. Heisenberg called her nothing more than an assistant. Her worktable was mounted at Munich's German History Museum and labeled as being the desk of her great antagonist. She was denied the Nobel prize. But the physics community would enact a precise form of eternal vengeance – giving her a spot on the periodic table – while ensuring that her great foe could never achieve this honor. Learn more about Craig Nelson at www.craignelson.us Recorded on Monday, August 4, 2014 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

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Cafe Scientifique Q&A: “The Age of Radiance”

August 7, 2014

This is the Q&A portion of Craig Nelson's talk, "The Age of Radiance." With a biographer's penchant for detail, author Craig Nelson will chronicle the historical figures of the atomic age, including its "Forgotten Women." His lecture will keep visitors guessing at every turn. Nelson is the author of "The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era," "Rocket Men" (a New York Times bestseller), "Thomas Paine: Enlightenment, Revolution, and the Birth of Modern Nations," among other works. Nelson, a historian, will offer new understanding of the era, focusing on its forgotten heroes and heroines who have impacted all of our lives. For example, Albert Einstein called Lise Meitner, the first female university professor in the history of Germany, "our Curie." The Viennese head of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute's Physics department made one of the great discoveries of modern science on Christmas in 1938: Nuclear fission. But she was written out of history, first by the Nazis for being a Jew, and then by the post-war Germans for being a woman. Heisenberg called her nothing more than an assistant. Her worktable was mounted at Munich's German History Museum and labeled as being the desk of her great antagonist. She was denied the Nobel prize. But the physics community would enact a precise form of eternal vengeance – giving her a spot on the periodic table – while ensuring that her great foe could never achieve this honor. Learn more about Craig Nelson at www.craignelson.us Recorded on Monday, August 4, 2014 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

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Cafe Scientifique: “The Persistence of Memory: How Experience Changes the Brain”

June 9, 2014

Dr. Alison Barth Associate professor Carnegie Mellon University Department of Biological Science How do our experiences change us? How are memories stored and retrieved? Scientists believe the answers lie in how connections between neurons, called synapses, can be strengthened or weakened over time. The brain contains about 100 billion neurons and 1 quadrillion synapses, so figuring out which ones are changed during learning is the ultimate needle-in-the-haystack problem. Learn how contemporary neuroscientists are tackling this age-old question, using sophisticated, state-of-the-art techniques for neuronal imaging as well as the recording of tiny electrical impulses from task-related neurons. Figuring out what regulates learning promises new methods to boost memory and improve perception or performance. Alison Barth, associate professor in Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Biological Science, will give an introduction to brain plasticity, explaining how molecules become linked to the mind. Dr. Barth studies the organization of and plasticity of neocortical circuits in rodents. Her work centers on how synapses are altered by behavioral experience. She's the recipient of numerous awards, and she holds a patent for the fosGFP transgenic mouse. She is an inventor on multiple applications for other neuroscience-related methods and treatments. Recorded Monday, June 2, 2014, at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

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Cafe Scientifique Q&A: “The Persistence of Memory: How Experience Changes the Brain”

June 9, 2014

This is the Q&A portion of Dr. Barth's presentation. Dr. Alison Barth Associate professor Carnegie Mellon University Department of Biological Science How do our experiences change us? How are memories stored and retrieved? Scientists believe the answers lie in how connections between neurons, called synapses, can be strengthened or weakened over time. The brain contains about 100 billion neurons and 1 quadrillion synapses, so figuring out which ones are changed during learning is the ultimate needle-in-the-haystack problem. Learn how contemporary neuroscientists are tackling this age-old question, using sophisticated, state-of-the-art techniques for neuronal imaging as well as the recording of tiny electrical impulses from task-related neurons. Figuring out what regulates learning promises new methods to boost memory and improve perception or performance. Alison Barth, associate professor in Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Biological Science, will give an introduction to brain plasticity, explaining how molecules become linked to the mind. Dr. Barth studies the organization of and plasticity of neocortical circuits in rodents. Her work centers on how synapses are altered by behavioral experience. She's the recipient of numerous awards, and she holds a patent for the fosGFP transgenic mouse. She is an inventor on multiple applications for other neuroscience-related methods and treatments. Recorded Monday, June 2, 2014 at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

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