Schedule 2015

Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Monday

All panels are in Hilton 202 unless otherwise marked.


What You Eat Might Eat Your Brain
You can get prion diseases of the brain in several ways, one of which is from eating contaminated meat. Prion diseases can cause total insomnia, loss of speech, motor control problems, dementia…and are always fatal.
Jessica Parilla

Hollyweird Science
Hilton Crystal Ballroom
The authors of “Hollyweird Science” talk about how Hollywood translates science and technology into entertainment, based on their experience both as scientists and as science consultants on TV and movies.
Kevin Grazier, Stephen Cass, and Ges Seger

Fission, Fusion and other Energy Sources
How much of our future energy will come from nuclear power? What about the long-awaited fusion of particles? And where does alternative energy come in? Plus we’ll have an interactive dress-out. See what it’s like to wear a nuclear hazmat suit!
Chad Ramey, Ben Davis, John Burns, and Jeff Hubbs

Lessons Not Learned About Fusion
When it comes to fusing particles together, we learned a lot from the National Ignition Facility and the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. Then we turned right around and ignored many of those lessons.
John Sheffield

The Year in Science (so far)
Marriott A601 – A602
So far this year we’ve visited Pluto, created the previously-theoretical pentaquark particle, saw the rise of dramatic new gene manipulation techniques due to CRISPR, and more. Even Shark Week went back to being more scientific!
Les Johnson, Scicurious, Maki Naro, Kishore Hari, Mika McKinnon, and Rachel Pendergrass (moderator)

Delicious, Delicious Science
Science and food go hand in hand! Science is there when you bake bread or ferment alcohol. Caramelizing sugar is a chemical reaction, and the whole phenomenon of molecular gastronomy came out of smashing science and cooking together.
Yin-Yin Wang, Rachel Pendergrass, Kishore Hari, and Juliana Texley

Fictional Neuroscience
Now that neuroscience is a hot science topic, it’s showing up in a lot of movies, TV shows, and books…for good and bad. Can you rewrite personalities like in Dollhouse? What about ripping out River’s amygdala to make her a fearless ninja? And what’s the deal with “Inception”?
Scicurious, Jennifer Watson, Brandon Moore, Gregory Berns, and Cameron Hagan (moderator)

Creating Science Stories
How do you write an article about a scientific topic? Or draw a science-themed comic? Or turn a science story into a video or podcast? Writers, artists, and producers talk about the challenges and the successes of creating science media.
Maki Naro, Scicurious, Mika McKinnon, Adam Isaak, Leighann Lord, and Yin-Yin Wang (moderator)

Science of The Martian
Andy Weir’s book is a marvel of science-driven plot. Dive deeper into chemistry, rocketry, agriculture and other science topics in the book, and learn where Weir drew his information from. This way, when you see the movie with friends, you can correct the movie in a totally not-annoying manner!
Mika McKinnon, Kishore Hari, Pamela Gay, Jeff Hubbs, and Stephen Granade

Everybody Poops
Hilton Crystal Ballroom
It starts with S and ends with a T. It comes out of you and it comes out of me. Hey, wait a minute, we don’t mean that. Since we’re scientific, we call it scat!
Emily Finke, Trevor Valle, Rachel Pendergrass, T. S. Rider, and Kishore Hari (moderator)



What Can Art Tell Us About the Brain?
Why are Monet’s sunrises so haunting? What does listening to opera do to our brain? How does reading a novel change your brain? What art does to us can teach us about how our brains work.
Brandon Moore, Indre Viskontas, Gregory Berns, and Rachel Pendergrass (moderator)

Learning Science On Your Own
There are so many amazing science resources available these days, but which ones are good? Can you really learn science from Wikipedia? How do you find scientists to talk with you? What’s the best way to learn science on your own? And will this panel’s description only include questions?
Lali DeRosier, Donna Governor, Juliana Texley, T. S. Rider, and Yin-Yin Wang (moderator)

Getting Away With Murder
Don’t kill people. It’s morally wrong, and illegal to boot. But if you *were* to kill someone? Wouldn’t it be good to know how to cover your tracks? We’ll tell you what diseases make it look natural, what poisons leave little trace, and how to dispose of any inconvenient bodies after the fact.
Raychelle Burks, Emily Finke, Joseph Meany, and John Cmar

Engaging the World
Hyatt International South
How do people talk about science to non-scientists? From blogs to comics to museum jobs to podcasts, there are more ways than ever to engage with the world. Hear about great science resources and learn how to make your own.
Maki Naro, Scicurious, Kishore Hari, Trevor Valle, Rachel Pendergrass, and Scott Viguie (moderator)

The Role of Science in MilSF
Military science fiction combines what we know of military technology and tactics with speculation about the future. We’ll look at how science informs MilSF, which MilSF tropes are based on real science and which are based on fiction, and talk about whether MilSF needs science at all.
Ben Davis, Tedd Roberts, Richard Altstatt, J. L. Doty, and Cameron Hagan(moderator)

Game of Thrones: The Science Edition
Flying dragons that breathe fire. A giant who can crush a man’s skull with his bare hands. Poisoned wine that kills an entire wedding party. Some parts of Game of Thrones are scientifically plausible, while other parts are…less so.
Raychelle Burks, Emily Finke, Ryan Consell, and Nicole Gugliucci

Relativity is Practical
Einstein’s theory relating mass and energy, gravity and space-time, seems esoteric. But it’s more than an abstract principle. It underlies a lot of in-the-lab research, as well as technology like GPS.
Pamela Gay, Juliana Texley, Mika McKinnon, and Stephen Granade

Where Science Intersects Culture
Science is a human process that isn’t separate from cultural outlook, as things like the 30 Meter Telescope protests and #shirtstorm show. What positive things can we take away from conflicts like this, and how can we mitigate our cultural biases when it comes to science?
Laura Burns, Maki Naro, Nicole Gugliucci, Raychelle Burks, and Lali DeRosier

Non-Scientists Can Do Research Too
You don’t have to be a scientist in the lab to do scientific research or make new discoveries. There are a lot of “citizen science” projects that you can take part in and make meaningful contributions to science!
Donna Governor, Pamela Gay, Nicole Gugliucci, Jason Holmberg, and Indre Viskontas (moderator)

Scientists vs Movies
Hilton Crystal Ballroom
We love movies, even the ones with bad science, but sometimes we have to talk about the bad science in movies. Watch our scientists squirm as they try to justify the science in movies like Lucy or G.I. Joe. (No scientists were harmed in the making of this panel.)
Eric Spana, Scicurious, Raychelle Burks, Lali DeRosier, Trevor Valle, and Stephen Granade (moderator)



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

Body Alteration
We’ve been changing our bodies with prosthetics and implants and our minds with chemicals. What’s next for modifying ourselves?
Michael Gilkey, Tedd Roberts, Indre Viskontas, John Cmar, and Rachel Pendergrass (moderator)

Connecting Brains and Computers
We’re making advances in brain-to-computer interfaces, as well as brain-to-brain interfaces. While we aren’t yet ready for you to enter the Drift like in Pacific Rim, we *have* hooked human brains up to rats and created both invasive and non-invasive interfaces.
Jennifer Watson and Tedd Roberts

Ask a Scientist!
Hilton Crystal Ballroom
You’ve got science questions? We’ve got science answers! Ask our panel of expert scientists anything you want to know about science.
Trevor Valle, Eric Spana, Nicole Gugliucci, Raychelle Burks, and Stephen Granade (moderator)

Antibiotics and Agriculture
Whenever you eat chicken or beef, you’re probably also eating a side order of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Public health experts have criticized using antibiotics in agriculture, but it continues today. What’s that doing to medicine, food, and our health? (Hint: not good things)
Maryn McKenna

Science Songs
Science and art often meet. Sometimes science even inspires us to sing songs! Join Professor Boggs and Donna Governor as they sing songs about science.
Professor Boggs, Donna Governor

Infectious Diseases
Ebola and MERS grab headlines, but pertussis and measles are roaring back thanks non-use of vaccines. Come hear the many ways you might die!
Maryn Mckenna, John Cmar, and Yin-Yin Wang

What’s New in Science Education
There’s more tools for teaching science than a whiteboard. There’s hands-on experiments, peer instruction, and classroom work beyond memorization.
Lali DeRosier, Donna Governor, Dorothy Ogdon, T. S. Rider, and Cameron Hagan (moderator)

Harry Potter & the Evolution of Fantastic Beasts
The magic creatures in Harry Potter live on Earth in our time, so they must have evolved in the same way as the other creatures on Earth. We’ll cover where the creatures in Newt Scamander’s book fit on the Tree of Life, how they may have gained or lost traits, and whether they’re magical at all.
Eric Spana

Future Drugs
We’re discovering and synthesizing more chemicals than ever, and our techniques are getting better. What does the future hold for drugs?
Scicurious, John Cmar, Michael Gilkey, and Yin-Yin Wang (moderator)

The Solve for X Science Show
Hilton Grand Ballroom West
Our science-themed variety show returns with storytelling, comedy, and PowerPoint karaoke.



How Dogs Love Us
Neuroscientists have trained dogs to go in an MRI completely awake and unrestrained so that the researchers can decode how the dogs’ brains work. With this elite team of MRI-dogs, we are learning what they think of humans and which dogs might be good for assistance work.
Gregory Berns

Can you really freeze yourself and be revived in the future? A look at the latest in cryogenics research.
Bob Novella, Mark Shewmaker, Eric Krastel, and Randall Bollig

Jurassic World
Look, if you’re going to give us a movie about giant dinosaurs brought to life, we’re going to tell you what parts are plausible.
Trevor Valle and Rachel Pendergrass