Beat the heat with Penn Science, Lightbulb cafés

Sometimes those who are most creative have the messiest minds.

Scott Barry Kaufman, scientific director of the Positive Psychology Center’s Science of Imagination Project, understands this concept well. The Penn researcher, author, and teacher has been studying it for years, and even wrote a recently published book that unravels the mysteries of the creative mind.

Kaufman will kick off this summer’s Tuesday Science Café series by discussing the elusive topic. He’ll untangle a series of paradoxes—mindfulness and daydreaming, seriousness and play, openness and sensitivity, solitude and collaboration—to show that, by embracing personal contradictions, people are able to tap into their deepest creativity.

The talk will take place on June 14 at World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St., at 6 p.m. The lecture series, produced by the Office of University Communications and the School of Arts & Sciences, showcases Penn research in the sciences (Science Café), like Kaufman’s, and social sciences, arts, and the humanities (Lightbulb Café).

On July 12, Ira Harkavy, associate vice president and founding director of the Barbara and Edward Netter Center for Community Partnerships, will head the season’s first Lightbulb Café. A leader in integrating research, learning, and service, and a teacher of urban studies, Africana studies, and in the Graduate School of Education, Harkavy will discuss Benjamin Franklin’s revolutionary vision for American higher education.

Meredith Tamminga, assistant linguistics professor and director of the Language Variation and Cognition Lab, along with Jami Fisher, American Sign Language (ASL) Program coordinator and lecturer in the Department of Linguistics, will discuss ASL and the Philadelphia “accent” at the Aug. 16 Science Café. ASL interpreters will be on hand.

All the hour-long cafés are free and open to the public. Come early for 5 to 6 p.m. happy hour specials. Visit the Penn News website for a list of forthcoming Science and Lightbulb Café events, including those scheduled for the fall.

Science Lightbulb Cafe