Each year, The Science Center hosts six Science Cafés free to the public, three taking place in the spring and three in the fall. Through our relationship with Southern Illinois University Carbondale, we have access to scientists and researchers from various fields of study. Each month one such individual presents new findings in his or her area of expertise. From geology to archaeology, marketing to neuroscience, Science Cafés have something to offer everyone.
Science Cafés are held on Thursdays at 7pm. Come early for free coffee and conversation. For more information, call or stop by the Science Center today!
February 28th, at 7:00 pm:
Punit Kohli, SIU Carbondale: “Seeing is Believing: Microscopy for Electrons, Atoms, Viruses, Bacteria and Large Particles.”
When you look around, everything you see is made up of atoms and molecules. Can we see the atoms and molecules that make up delicious chocolate and candy? What is in your medicine? How does a virus infect a cell?
The art and science of microscopy has allowed us to observe viruses, bacteria, and the atoms that make up turbofan engines and electronic chips. How has microscopy helped in the development of medicines to fight diseases? Making ultra-strong materials for rocket and jet engines? Producing nano-scale micro-electronic chips for our phones and computers?
March 28th at 7:00 pm:
Rosanne Szekely, SIU Carbondale: “X-ray Screening at the Airport.”
As the number of air travelers increases, and as airport security increasingly relies on X-ray screening to identify hidden weapons, one begins to wonder, is airport X-ray screening safe? How well does X-ray screening reveal weapons made from non-metallic materials? Are these X-ray screening booths safe for pregnant Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents to work with? What about pregnant airplane passengers?
This presentation will examine these questions and others.
April 25th at 7:00 pm:
Shane Larson, Northwestern University: “MONSTERS IN THE COSMIC SEA: Black hole tales from the edge of space and time.”
Known since the 1700s: a simple consequence of gravity is the possible existence of objects whose gravitational field is so strong light could not be escape from the surface. Einstein revolutionized gravitational theory, producing the modern mathematical description of what astronomers call a “black hole” now an almost universally accepted part of modern astrophysics.
We’ll take a voyage out from our little corner of the Cosmic Sea, mariners in search of the biggest monsters known: supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies. What will happen on an imaginary voyage near the event horizon of a black hole, and what does modern gravitational theory predict will happen to you ? (HINT: our poor cosmic voyagers are destined to have a very bad day!). Finally: an auditory sampling of the black hole content of the Universe.
****Please note: Well behaved children are always welcome at Science Cafe’, however all museum exhibits will be closed.****