Science and Lightbulb cafés: Summer edition

Most students and faculty have left Penn for the summer, but those still on campus can enjoy stimulating conversations from University professors at the summer edition of the Penn Science Café and Penn Lightbulb Café. The Science Café focuses on hard scientific research, while the Lightbulb Café illuminates the “soft sciences.”

Each hour-long talk will be held on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., and will be followed by an audience Q&A. Attendees can come early to enjoy 5 to 7 p.m. happy hour specials. Seating is limited.

The talks kick off on June 17 when Emily Owens, an associate professor of criminology, will discuss “Immigration, Employment Opportunities and Criminal Behavior” for the Lightbulb Café. Owens, an economist, will explore how the public perception of the “dangerous illegal immigrant” plays out in the real world, as well as how economics, criminal justice, and census data effect the impact of immigration policy on underground markets and criminal behavior.

David Hewitt, a lecturer in the Department of Biology and PennDesign, opens the first Penn Science Café of summer on June 24, with a talk titled, “Cities Aren’t Like Ecosystems, They Are Ecosystems.” For the past two years, Hewitt has taught ecology to students in PennDesign's Department of City and Regional Planning. This talk will be a "lessons learned" discussion from that experience, and address how and why individuals should understand cities as ecosystems.

On July 29, Emilio Parrado, a professor and chair of the Department of Sociology and the Population Studies Center, presents “New Realities of Latin American Migration to the United States,” which will review the characteristics of Latin American migration to America at the turn of the 21st century, and elaborate on the new realities emerging under different economic and policy conditions.

Rounding out the slate of summer offerings is Rahul Mangharam, the Stephen J. Angelo Term Chair Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering, PennDesign lecturer Sarah Rottenberg, and Orkan Telhan, an assistant professor of fine arts at PennDesign. For the Aug. 5 Science Café, they will show off some of the projects they have working on at the xLAB, a new interdisciplinary project that uses the “internet of things” to devise and deliver richer and more interactive entertainment experiences.   

The Lightbulb and Science cafés are presented by Penn Arts & Sciences in partnership with University Communications.

For more information, visit

Science Lightbulb Cafe