Schedule 2016

Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Monday

All panels that don’t include a room take place in Hilton 210-211.

Friday, 09-02-2016


The Social Aspects of Space Colonization
Space colonization often involves conversations about rockets and engineering, but what about society? If we colonize space, what will these societies look like, act like, and how will that affect humankind as a whole?
Ben Davis, Charles Gannon, Emily Finke, Kishore Hari (M), Lali DeRosier

Scientific Fantasy Novels
N.K. Jemisin used real-world geology as a foundation for her fantasy novel “The Fifth Season,” while geologists have figured out Westeros’s geological ages. Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy is filled with info about transitional ecosystems. Let’s explore how science appears in fantasy.
Mika McKinnon, Scicurious, Pamela Gay (M)

Creating Robots
How do you build a robot? Join the discussion as experts share their experiences building real-world robots and learn what it takes to make them!
Joseph Meany, Chad Ramey, Greg Munson, Matt Oehrlein, Trey Roski

The Expanse – The Science, Real and Unreal
(Joint panel with American Sci-Fi and Fantasy Media)
Marriott M301-M303
Stephen Granade, Tedd Roberts, Kishore Hari, Kevin Grazier

Warfare and Science
What would a world with laser weapons, weaponized drugs and biological warfare look like? Join us in a discussion on the future of warfare and science.
Charles Gannon, Tedd Roberts, JL Doty, Philip Wohlrab

The Year in Science
Marriott A601-A602
Keeping up with science news is a Titanic feat. You barely scrape the surface and suddenly you’re drowning. Panelists discuss this year’s best stories, with a twist: every ten minutes, when the bell sounds, one panelist leaves and another enters. See how much they can cover before the bell rings!
Pamela Gay, Stephen Granade, Scicurious, Jeff Hubbs, Kishore Hari, Erin Macdonald

The Expanse – The Science, Real and Unreal
(Joint panel with American Sci-Fi and Fantasy Media)
Marriott M301-M303
Stephen Granade, Tedd Roberts, Kishore Hari, Gregory Pence, Kevin Grazier

The Many Miracles of the Microelectronics Revolution
In only 69 years, a blink of the eye in human history, a single technological invention has produced a sweeping and pervasive set of changes. And we are just at the very beginning. Learn about the many marvels of the microelectronics revolution, even if you don’t have a technical background.
John Cressler

The Zika Virus and Why Mosquitoes Suck
Mosquitoes are the most deadly animal in the world, killing up to 1 million humans every year. They spread deadly infections, including West Nile Virus, Dengue, Yellow Fever, and now the Zika virus. Why is Zika spreading? Why does it cause brain abnormalities in babies? How can we stop it?
Jessica Parilla

How Does the Force Work? and Other Star Wars Science
Hilton Grand Salon West
Why does Kylo Ren’s lightsaber have side vents? Could the Ewoks sustain themselves by eating Storm Troopers? Does bypassing the compressor make the Millennium Falcon perform better? Our experts will answer some pressing questions from the general Star Wars hive mind, including yours.
Eric Spana, Roy Kilgard, Erin Macdonald, Andy Dykes

Fact-Checking Science
Drink a glass of wine a day or you’ll get cancer! Don’t drink any wine or you’ll explode! What to believe? Join us as we learn–together–how to discern fact from fiction. Let’s fact-check the science of headlines, discoveries, and their implications.
Donna Governor, Lali DeRosier, Mohamed Noor, Cara Santa Maria, Siobhan McCarthy

Mistakes from the Science Communication Front Lines
A look at the often hilarious mistakes scientific communicators have made in talking about science with people, and what we can learn from those mistakes.
Julie Fooshee (M), Kishore Hari, Leighann Lord, Samantha Oester, Rachel Pendergrass

The Quantified Vagina
Hilton Grand Salon East
It’s 2016, and we have a bluetooth tampon, “Female Viagra,” and Fitbits tracking our sleep. But does science back these up? Ask your anonymous sex and health questions in this raucous late-night panel.
Emily Finke, Raychelle Burks, AB Kovacs, Ryan Consell, Scicurious, Stephen Granade (M)


Saturday, 09-03-2016


Fifty Years of Music Synthesis
Synthesized music has appeared in a lot of science fiction media: Forbidden Planet, Doctor Who, A Clockwork Orange, Blade Runner, Tron: Legacy. From tubes to today’s software, from square waves to digital sampling, see how that music was made. And try out an old-school analog modular synthesizer!
Aaron Lanterman

Addressing Concerns About Science
A lot of people have concerns about GMOs, chemicals, vaccines, and more. We’ll have a conversation about those concerns and how we engage people’s fears with compassion and care.
Tina Saey, Julien Musolino, Sarah Zingales, Julie Fooshee, Kishore Hari (M)

Re-Creating Captain America’s Super Soldier Serum
We don’t know what was in the serum that turned Steve Rogers into Captain America, but we can try to reverse-engineer it today. Erskine’s 1940s version used injected chemicals and radiation. In 2016, we could attempt it by combining genome manipulation, protein engineering, and optogenetics.
Eric Spana, Sarah Bay

Personalized Medicine, Organoids, and Other Medical Frontiers
Medicine is changing all the time, from antibiotics losing their effectiveness to the dropping cost of medical testing. What will medicine look like in the coming decades?
Jessica Cail, Brandon Moore, Scicurious, Tedd Roberts, Tina Saey, Yin-Yin Wang (M)

Evil Geniuses: Let’s Kill the Planet!
Hilton Grand Salon West
It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine, maybe because I’m the one pushing the big red button. Which of our mad scientists has the best plan to destroy the Earth? Can you come up with a better way to kill us all?
Ben Davis, Mika McKinnon, Nicole Gugliucci, Jeff Hubbs, Ryan Consell, Stephen Granade (M)

Is That Actually Science?
Intricate prevarication or real life science? You be the judge! Come cast your vote as we discern between science and fiction with an expert!
Pamela Gay (M), Trevor Valle, Julie Fooshee

The Polyamorists Next Door
We can learn a lot about polyamory from a 15-year study of its practice & effects on families. We’ll cover issues like finding partners, coming out, and passing, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of with poly families and the strategies kids and parents use to deal with disadvantages.
Elisabeth Sheff

Getting Away With Murder
Hilton Crystal Ballroom
Don’t murder people. It’s morally wrong, and illegal to boot. But *could* you get away with it? Are there untraceable poisons, or ways to hide bodies that people won’t find when they play Pokémon Go?
Raychelle Burks (M), Mika McKinnon, Leigh Mansfield, Torrey Stenmark, Jessica Parilla

Science Confessionals
Have you ever wondered what topics scientists probably should know about, but don’t? Join us in a safe space: scientists will confess their scientific blind spots and you’ll have a chance to confess and learn what you should probably already know, too. We won’t tell!
Joseph Meany, Nicole Gugliucci, Rachel Pendergrass, Arie Bodek, Julie Fooshee (M)

Finding Dory and Marine Biology
The setting for “Finding Dory” was greatly influenced by Northern California’s Monterey Bay Aquarium. But what’s it actually like working in an aquarium? What’s it like being a marine biologist?
Samantha Oester, Rachel Pendergrass

Science vs Movies
Hilton Crystal Ballroom
Movies are to entertain, not to teach! Except…how *could* you fit three Transformers in a standard Space Shuttle? Our “experts” will explain how the science in movies is 100% totally accurate, guaranteed. (Be sure to make them explain Armageddon!)
Eric Spana, Lali DeRosier, Trevor Valle, Raychelle Burks, Ryan Consell

Sunday, 09-04-2016



The Hands-On Science Power Hour
Hilton 309-312
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?
Donna Governor, John Burns, Brendan Moore, Joseph Meany

Let’s Build a Hyperloop
What would it take to build Elon Musk’s proposed high-speed vaccum train? From the technical challenges to the social ones, there’s a lot to be done to make a Hyperloop.
Stephen Granade

Better Alcohol and Perfect Steaks
Ever wondered about the chemistry involved in making a perfect steak? How exactly does fermentation work to make those tasty, silliness-inducing beverages? Join us for a fun discussion about the science behind the sizzles!
Raychelle Burks, Chad Ramey, Torrey Stenmark, Trevor Valle

Impractical Immortality
Immortality isn’t a real option yet. Why is that? Enjoy an informational panel discussing the limitations and possibilities of technologies such as cryonics, head transplants and ending cell degradation to allow humans to live forever.
Tedd Roberts, Emily Finke, Leigh Mansfield, Tina Saey, Bob Novella

Hollyweird Science
Hilton Crystal Ballroom
Kevin Grazier and his co-authors talk about their book “Hollyweird Science,” which touches on all the ways that Hollywood producers, writers and directors are working to integrate real (and accurate!) science into their works.
Kevin Grazier, Jessica Cail

Genetics in Science Fictional Settings
From the X-Men and the Inhumans to Orphan Black to the wizarding gene in Harry Potter, genetics shows up in many fictional worlds. We’ll dive into how fictional genetics are different from real-world genetics.
Eric Spana, Scicurious, Tina Saey, Gregory Pence

Discovering the Quark and the Higgs Boson
One of the physicists who provided evidence of the quark’s existence discusses the discovery of the quark, detection of the Higgs boson, and the measurement of gravitational waves, and how they all fit in the Standard Model of the fundamental forces and fundamental constituents of matter.
Arie Bodek

How Nature Wants to Kill You
Hilton Crystal Ballroom
There’s enough to worry about: car accidents, train derailments, falling satellite debris. But what about nature? Because nature wants to kill you: poisonous acidic plants, murder-virus-carrying mosquitoes, rogue brush fires, earthquakes, and tiger sharks who will eat *literally everything*.
Lali DeRosier, Emily Finke, Samantha Oester, Mika McKinnon, Rachel Pendergrass (M)

Writing With Scientists
(Joint with Sci-Fi Literature)
Hilton Embassy AB
Robert Sawyer, Chuck Gannon, Erin MacDonald, Tedd Roberts, Stephen Granade

Mega-Engineering for Renewable Energy
Sunlight and wind produce renewable electricity, but they depend on nature’s whims. How do we supply the energy we demand? What if we turned Stone Mountain into a giant flywheel on our way to becoming a truly advanced civilization? A light-hearted look at how we can feed our growing need for energy.
Jeff Hubbs

Scientists Ruin Everything in Movies!
Dammit, movie scientists! Join the discussion as we discuss misrepresentations of science and outright deceptions in movies. How can we dig ourselves out of this hole and work toward a more accurate representation of science in the media?
Eric Spana, Kishore Hari, Nicole Gugliucci, Mohamed Noor, Raychelle Burks (M)

Presenting Science to Audiences
Explaining the truths and implications of the science behind new discoveries can be a little tricky. How should the intricacies and nuances of scientific findings be conveyed without losing the audience? How do you minimize sensationalizing and misunderstanding?
Cara Santa Maria, Julie Fooshee, Samantha Oester, Erin Macdonald, Donna Governor, Kishore Hari (M)

Solve for X
Grand Salon West
Our science-themed variety show returns with storytelling, comedy, and PowerPoint karaoke.
George Lowe, Scott Sigler, Rachel Pendergrass


Monday, 09-06-2016



Science Songs
Professor Boggs and Donna Governor return with more songs about science topics.
Donna Governor, Professor Boggs

Science in History and Myth
Since the creation of language, humans have found ways to describe the world we see. We observed, we had ideas, we told each other stories. Come talk with us about the ways in which science has intersected history and myth through the ages. Science, in my history?! It’s more common than you’d think.
Julie Fooshee, Rachel Pendergrass

Megafauna in Spaaaace!
What would alien megafauna look like? Join us in a discussion about integral trees, tardigrades being used to seed planets, sandworms on Dune, and what the biomes in space may look like.
Emily Finke, Ryan Consell, Pamela Gay (M)