Schedule 2014

Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Monday

All panels are in Hilton 202 unless otherwise marked.

Friday, 8-29-2014


Everything Stem Cells
You may have heard about stem cells, but are you hearing the whole truth? Why are they controversial? Bring your questions to this candid session!
Michael Gilkey

Superheroic Science
Some superheroes are frankly impossible, while others are plausible. What’s the difference, and does your favorite make the cut?
Emily Finke, Torrey Stenmark, Michael Gilkey

The Science Behind Pacific Rim
Giant robots fight giant monsters! But how close are we to building jagers? How realistic are kaiju? Can we really drift with someone?
Stephen Granade

Fun With Fusion
After 70 years of research, fusion energy is still unrealized. But progress is happening, as is some really cool science.
John Sheffield

The Weird Science of Hollywood
The big screen shows a lot of bad science due to budget constraints, lack of knowledge, or sometimes to improve the story.
Marriott A601 – A602
Kevin Grazier, Stephen Cass, Mika McKinnon, Trevor Valle

XPRIZE: Tackling the World’s Grand Challenges
Learn about the radical game-changing XPRIZE competitions (spaceships, Tricorders, ocean sensors and more) and the history of prizes for innovation.
Jyotika Virmani

A Practical Guide to the End of the World
Earthquakes, diseases, asteroid strikes, solar flares: the universe is trying to kill us! We’ll separate disaster fact from disaster fiction.
Mika McKinnon, Ben Davis, John Cmar, Tedd Roberts, Jyotika Virmani

Zombies and Vampires and Mummies, Oh My!
The undead fascinate us, but what does “undead” mean? Are all undead monsters created equal? Panel scientists will examine life, death, and undeath.
Raychelle Burks, Lali DeRosier, Kristopher Hite, Emily Finke

Nature is Kinkier Than You
Dolphins’ mating habits. Fruit bats and oral sex. Octopuses’ detachable genitals. How did animals become so kinky? 18+
Hilton Crystal Ballroom
Emily Finke, Diane Kelly, Lali DeRosier, Rachel Pendergrass, David Shiffman, Trevor Valle

The Scientific Principles of Home Brewing
What are the scientific principles behind designing and brewing beer? Learn them as you see beer brewed before your very eyes!
Walt Hubert


Saturday, 8-30-2014


The Past & Future of Nanotech
What is nanotechnology? What can we do with nanotech now, and where might it lead? See how big things come from small beginnings.
Joseph Meany

The History and Future of Nuclear Power
How do you go from radioactive ore in the ground to electricity? And how will it change in the future?
Richard Altstatt, Ben Davis, Chad Ramey, John Burns

Science, Science News & the Media
Clickbait headlines. Mis-represented studies. Good science reporting is hard, but why? How could it be better?
Sheraton Grand Ballroom West
Jonathan Strickland, Annalee Newitz, Pamela Gay, David Shiffman, Stephen Fleming, Veronica Belmont (moderator)

Science Doesn’t Have to Mean Lecture
Scientific communication has a stigma about being boring and incomprehensible, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Donna Governor, Liz Heinecke, Larry Morris, Lali DeRosier, Paul Zaloom, Fraser Cain (moderator)

The Secrets of the Deep
Most of our planet’s biosphere – that which can support life – is actually out to sea. It’s where we originally came from; what did we leave behind?
David Shiffman, Rachel Pendergrass, Trevor Valle, Lisa Hoopes

Beakman in Person!
The eccentric TV scientist will dazzle you with his demonstrations. Break the sound barrier and make toilet paper fly, all in the name of science!
Hyatt Regency VI – VII
Paul Zaloom

You’re a Mutant; Get Used to It
The advent of personalized genomics raises questions: what can it really do? Who can afford it? What do your mutations really tell you
Bill Gibson

Dragons, Mermaids and Kaiju
Why aren’t there real-life dragons? What kind of fantastical beasts are plausible given what we know of nature? Which are only flights of fancy?
Joseph Meany, Rachel Pendergrass, Eric Spana, Diane Kelly

The Future of Medicine
We’ve cloned a sheep. Now can we grow an arm? Learn about the future of medicine – 3D printing, tissue engineering, cell therapy and more!
John Cmar, Michael Gilkey, Bill Gibson

The (Non) Science of SyFy Movies
SyFy movies contains some…unique ideas about science. Our scientists discuss the real science, with special guest star SHARKNADO.
Sheraton Grand Ballroom West
David Shiffman, Rachel Pendergrass, Raychelle Burks, Lali DeRosier, Lisa Hoopes
(Note that this will run in a ballroom while other panels continue in the track room)

Build Your Own Particle Accelerator
No, seriously: come learn how to build your own particle accelerator.
Chad Ramey


Sunday, 8-31-2014



The Hands-On Science Power Hour!
Give us an hour and we’ll give you a science buffet! We’ve got twelve hands-on experiments for you to try. How many can you do in an hour?
Sheraton Atlanta Ballroom

It Takes Energy to Make Energy
Energy production has an energetic cost. Even a zombie apocalypse would be better than a return-on-energy-investment ratio that approaches one.
Jeff Hubbs

SARS, MERS, and Rabies: Sharing Viruses with Bats
Bats harbor more human-infecting viruses than any other type of animal. Let’s look at why bats are behind many of the new, emerging viral pandemics.
Jessica Parilla

Ask a Scientist!
You’ve got science questions? We’ve got science answers! Ask our panel of expert scientists anything you want to know about science.
Sheraton Atlanta Ballroom
Mika McKinnon, John Cmar, Pamela Gay, Raychelle Burks, David Shiffman, Stephen Granade (moderator)

Creating Great Science Nonfiction
What makes science nonfiction reach out and grab you while still being scientifically accurate?
Annalee Newitz, Liz Heinecke, Les Johnson, Fraser Cain (moderator)

From the Lab to the Marketplace
There’s a “Valley of Death” for scientific discoveries becoming useful products. See how the NSF Innovation Corps helps scientists cross that valley.
Stephen Fleming

Beakman in Person!
Watch the “Beakman’s World” scientist demonstrate science with the help of materializing bats and the occasional rubber chicken!
Marriott Imperial Ballroom
Paul Zaloom

Science is Stranger than Fiction
Explore some of the latest, and in some cases strangest, scientific theories that are dying to find their way into science fiction.
Mika McKinnon, Ariel Waldman, Annalee Newitz, David Shiffman, Tedd Roberts, Lauren Vogelbaum

Staring Into the Multiverse
Explore the history of 20th century cosmology and speculate about the concept of multiple universes.
Matt Lowry

The Brain is Greater than the Sum of Its Parts
Hear tales of the heroes whose (mis)fortunate accidents taught us more about the brain’s anatomy and its functional architecture.
Jennifer Watson

The Solve for X Science Show
SCIENCE! Puppet show, powerpoint karaoke, quiz game, storytelling – the scientists are loose, and nobody knows what could happen next.
Hilton Grand Ballroom East


Monday, 9-1-2014



Harry Potter and the Genetics of Wizarding
An evidence-based molecular and genetic characterization of the single gene that clearly controls magic use in the Harry Potter universe.
Eric Spana

I Sing the Songs of Science
If you really love science, why not sing about it? We have science songs to share.
Larry Morris, Donna Governor

Citizen Science Needs You!
Science isn’t something that only happens in universities. You can help add to what we know about the universe around us!
Nicole Gugliucci, Ariel Waldman