Drones, dinosaurs, and more!

  • Frankford Hall 1210 Frankford Avenue Philadelphia, PA, 19125 United States

Curious about science, but not sure where to start? On this night, we will feature a smorgasbord of talks ranging from the history of dinosaurs, tiny drones, and communicating with computers, to harnessing the power of a specific type of cell for treatment in nervous system injury. 


MEET THE SPEAKERS 

Denise Garcia, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Drexel University. 

Denise Garcia, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Drexel University. 

Astrocytes as a Tool to Combat Nervous System Injury

Astrocytes belong to the larger family of neuroglial cells in the central nervous system (CNS).  These diverse and complex cells take their name from their star-like appearance, and are found in abundant numbers throughout the CNS. Though once relegated to a supporting role for neurons, astrocytes are gaining increasing recognition for their active and diverse roles in brain function.  This talk will discuss the emerging roles for astrocytes in nervous system function, highlighting why astrocytes are the real stars of the CNS. 

 

 
Peter Dodson,  Professor of Veterinary Gross Anatomy and Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Peter Dodson,  Professor of Veterinary Gross Anatomy and Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Pennsylvania. 

Collecting Dinosaurs around the world: A Philadelphia Story

Professor Joseph Leidy of the University of Pennsylvania described the first American dinosaurs in 1856. Today dinosaur paleontology continues to thrive in Philadelphia. More than a dozen new dinosaurs associated with Philadelphia institutions have been named during the past 15 years including Paralititan (Egypt), Suuwassea (Montana), Auroraceratops (China), and  Dreadnoughtus (Argentina). Every fossil discovery has its own story. In this illustrated talk I briefly review the Philadelphia story.

 

 
Ellie Pavlick, PhD Student  at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ellie Pavlick, PhD Student  at the University of Pennsylvania.

Talking to Computers

Increasingly, we interact with our computers using everyday language through speech or text. Sometimes computers seem to work like magic and understand us incredibly well. Other times, they are inexplicably confused and frustrating to use. I will give a general introduction to how computers process human language, and the types of things computers do and don't "understand" when we talk to them. I will outline some of the current open challenges for automatic language understanding.

 
Matt Piccoli, PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania.              

Matt Piccoli, PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania.              

Piccolissimo: The Smallest Flying Vehicle

Piccolissimo, Italian for “very small”, is about the size of a quarter, making it the smallest self-powered flying vehicle in the world. It has just one motor, a 3D printed part, a simple circuit, and some batteries. We’ll compare Piccolissimo to typical drones and discuss the tricks we use to make it stay in the air. There’ll be math and physics showing how it works and crash videos of when it doesn’t. The Piccolissimo project isn’t finished, so we’ll talk about its future as well.

We offer our events free of charge, because we want to ensure that science is accessible for everyone. However, this festival is organized and runs smoothly due to the hard work of our dedicated volunteers. Donations are welcome and encouraged at the door, and help us make this festival even bigger and better next year. If you can't give, just sit back and enjoy the show, but every little bit helps.