Penn Science, Lightbulb cafés spring forth

On many a Tuesday this semester, Penn will gladly shine a spotlight on University research in the sciences through the Penn Science Café, and showcase research in the social sciences, the arts, and the humanities by way of the Penn Lightbulb Café. Both lecture series are presented by the School of Arts & Sciences in partnership with the Office of University Communications, and held at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St.

Johannes Eichstaedt, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Psychology and founding research scientist at the World Well-Being Project, opens the Science Café on Jan. 20 with the talk, “Predicting Heart Disease With Twitter.” Eichstaedt is part of an interdisciplinary team that has analyzed public Twitter streams, correlating them with geographic health data, showing that the emotional language that people use is a better overall predictor of heart disease than traditional metrics, such as smoking or obesity rates.

On Feb. 3, Meredith Tamminga, an assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics and director of the Language Variation and Cognition Lab, will discuss “Talk Like a Philadelphian” for the Lightbulb Café. Philadelphians have a unique way of speaking that extends far beyond “youse” and “jawn.” Drawing on 40 years of intensive research conducted at Penn on the Philadelphia accent, Tamminga will play recordings of typical Philadelphia speech, identifying words and sounds that make “Philly speak” unique.

On Feb. 17, Irina Marinov, a climatologist and assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science, will tell “A Story of the Southern Ocean” for the Science Café. The Southern Ocean—the vast and mostly unexplored waters surrounding Antarctica—is critically important for Earth’s climate on both long- and short-time scales. Marinov will discuss future expected changes in the Southern Ocean’s circulation and physics under a warming climate, and the repercussions for the rest of the planet. 

All Science and Lightbulb Café events are held from 6 to 7 p.m., and are free and open to the public. Each hour-long talk is followed by an audience Q&A session. Café goers can come early to enjoy 5-7 p.m. happy hour specials. Seating is limited.

For a list of forthcoming Science and Lightbulb Café events, visit the Penn News website.

Penn Science Cafe