Schedule 2018

Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Monday

Friday, 08-31-2018


Defend Your Genre Tropes!
Time travel! Human/alien hybrids! How close to plausible are your favorite science fictional tropes?
R. Consell (M), S. Sigler, D. Gannon, R. Hampson, T. Saey
Fri 10:00 am; 210—211 [Hil]

Science, She Wrote
Being a good detective isn’t all about living in remote coastal towns and running rings around law enforcement. Sometimes you need some real science to help you out. Join us for a discussion of the crime-fighting science used in one of America’s longest running and most beloved crime dramas.
S. Sigler, R. Burks (M), A Kovacs
Fri 11:30 am; 210—211 [Hil]

The Psychology of Marvel’s Legion: Visions, Voices, & Stigma
Hearing voices and seeing visions is more common than most people realize. This has been portrayed many ways in media, some more accurate than others. We will explore how stigma can affect the experience of schizophrenia spectrum diagnoses as portrayed in Marvel’s Legion on FX.
B. Ferguson
Fri 1:00 pm; 210—211 [Hil]

Practical Time Travel
According to the Doctor, time’s a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff. Time travel’s an SF standby, but what are some of its nuances? We’ll discuss causality, tachyons, how you’d actually time travel, and some of the most entertaining examples of time travel in science fiction.
E. Macdonald
Fri 1:00 pm; Crystal Ballroom [Hil]

What’s the Worst That Could Happen?
Self-driving cars. CRISPR. DNA robots. Seasteading. What are the potential pitfalls of our scientific advances and our engineering approaches? Let’s discuss the potential dangers and how likely those dangers really are.
L. Johnson, K. Hari (M), J. Hebert, L. Hernandez, J. Hubbs
Fri 2:30 pm; 210—211 [Hil]

The Higgs Boson and Dark Matter
We’ve found evidence for the Higgs boson! Yay! That completes the Standard Model! But the existence of dark matter suggests that there’s physics beyond the Standard Model. How did we find the Higgs boson, and how might it be connected to dark matter?
S. Granade
Fri 2:30 pm; A601—A602 [M]

Engaging Students with Science Fiction
We love reading and watching science fiction at home, but how can it be used in the science classroom? Duke University professors Spana and Noor will tell you about their experiences doing this, including the benefits and challenges for both teachers and students. (with Megan Elise)
E. Spana, M. Noor
Fri 4:00 pm; 210—211 [Hil]

Wakandan Science Institute
Bringing you the latest discoveries in vibranium and cutting-edge technology from the Wakandan Design Group (Princess Shuri, director).
L. DeRosier, L. Lord (M), D. Lee, S. Jackson, R. Burks, S. Page
Fri 4:00 pm; Crystal Ballroom [Hil]

Artificial Intelligence; Prosthetic Memories
On shows like Westworld, AI means self-aware robots. But a lot of what’s called AI in today’s world is advanced pattern matching. Meanwhile, researchers are learning how human memory works and augmenting it. Can machine learning and prosthetic memory devices move us towards movie AI?
S. Granade, R. Hampson, H. Ness, J. Hubbs, Z. Anderson (M)
Fri 5:30 pm; 210—211 [Hil]

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!
A. Lanterman
Fri 7:00 pm; 210—211 [Hil]

Let’s Give the Nobel Prize to Fictional People!
Should Shuri win a Nobel Prize? How about Scotty? Or Hank Pym? Hear our panelist’s arguments for what fictional person should win a Nobel Prize.
K. Hari (M), H. Ness, S. Page, J. Hubbs, A. Dykes, R. Kilgard, B. Ferguson
Fri 8:30 pm; 210—211 [Hil]

The Science Team-Up Quiz Show
Teams of audience members paired with scientists compete head-to-head to answer science questions. But there’s one twist: the questions aren’t in the scientists’ field.
R. Consell (M), T. Valle, L. DeRosier, K. Holder, R. Pendergrass, S. Jackson, J. Meany
Fri 10:00 pm; Crystal Ballroom [Hil]

Saturday, 09-01-2018


That’s Not How Science Works!
We all have misunderstandings about areas of science. Our panel will discuss several popular misconceptions in popular science, and the even-weirder reality behind them. At the end, we will take a few audience-suggested misconceptions and try to tease out some startling truths.
M. McKinnon, P. Currie, S. Jackson, D. Lee
Sat 10:00 am; 210—211 [Hil]

The Science of Avoiding Disasters
While we don’t want disasters to occur in our life, they happen all the time. Some are preventable, and stem from one (or usually a series of) bad decisions. Recent research highlight cognitive biases and provides strategies you can integrate into your life for better decision-making.
G. Tsipursky
Sat 11:30 am; 210—211 [Hil]

Xenomorphs 2: Altered Organisms
Building on last year’s experiments, our experts dissect more features of alien and artificially-modified beings in science fiction media.
L. DeRosier, A. White, D. Lee, R. Burks (M)
Sat 1:00 pm; 210—211 [Hil]

Science and Food
How do grains, yeast, and water turn into beer? Why does home-made ice cream almost never taste as good as from the store? What makes the Impossible Burger taste and bleed like beef? We’ll discuss how science factors into your kitchen, from ancient processes to modern marvels of culinary might.
T. Valle, R. Pendergrass (M), T. Saey, L. Decolvenaere
Sat 2:30 pm; 210—211 [Hil]

Star Wars and Star Trek Science Tag-Team Fight
Four scientists, two biologists and two physicists, argue for the supremacy of their chosen fandom’s science. Four scientists enter! Four leave! (Because this isn’t a bat’leth or lightsaber duel.)
S. Granade, E. Macdonald, E. Spana, M. Noor
Sat 2:30 pm; A601—A602 [M]

* Worst-Case Scenario Jeopardy
Do you think you know what to do in a worst-case scenario? Do you know how to handle natural disasters? Lab disasters? Do-it-yourself doom scenarios? Can you separate fact from fiction? Come prove it in this audience-participation game show!
M. McKinnon (M), B. Brookshire, M. Rose, R. Pendergrass, R. Burks, S. Page
Sat 2:30 pm; Crystal Ballroom [Hil]

Writing Biologically Plausible Fan Fiction
Sex in the human and animal kingdom is far more than tab A plus slot B. Come hear how the birds, bees and educated fleas do it. In the process, you’ll learn how to include the right sperm packets with your tentacles, and whether a baculum’s required. never break a poor scientist’s immersion again!
L. DeRosier, B. Brookshire, R. Pendergrass (M), E. Finke, P. Currie
Sat 4:00 pm; 210—211 [Hil]

Scientists Can Destroy the World
A group of scientists, engineers, and science communicators will tell you all about how they could–with minimal effort–completely destroy civilization. Whether you’re a superhero looking for villainous plots to vanquish, or a dystopian writer in search of new ideas, this is the place for you!
M. McKinnon, H. Austin, J. Beall, C. Kaufman, R. Burks (M)
Sat 5:30 pm; 210—211 [Hil]

Last Jedi Science
Porgs are Friends, Not Food. Or are they both? Let’s talk about how porgs fly to evade Chewbacca’s Kebab Recipe, why you need vents on a cracked kyber lightsaber, and whether salt-covered planets are a thing that can exist.
B. Brookshire, E. Finke, R. Burks, R. Pendergrass (M)
Sat 7:00 pm; 210—211 [Hil]

The Year in Science
A lot has happened in the world of science since last Dragon Con. Come find out what science stories you missed, and learn more about the scientific events that are shaping our world.
N. Gugliucci, P. Currie, E. Klonkowski, J. Beall, C. Kaufman, J. Hebert
Sat 7:00 pm; Crystal Ballroom [Hil]

It’s Alive! Frankenstein’s Monster Lives!
Two hundred years ago, Mary Shelley gave us a legendary monster, shaping science fiction for good. Thanks to her, the name of Frankenstein is now famous world-wide. Join us as we discuss our own monster-making methods, perhaps with less grave robbing!
T. Valle, T. Saey, L. Hernandez, SciBugs, B. Brookshire (M)
Sat 8:30 pm; 210—211 [Hil]

Hollyweird Science
Kevin Grazier and his co-authors discuss their books touching on all the ways that Hollywood producers, writers and directors are working to integrate real (and accurate!) science into their works.
K. Grazier, S. Cass
Sat 10:00 pm; 210—211 [Hil]

The Solve for X Science Variety Show
Our science-themed variety show returns with storytelling, comedy, PowerPoint karaoke, science-themed bands, and more!
R. Pendergrass (M), N. Householder
Sat 10:00 pm; Intl. N [H]

Sunday, 09-02-2018


Having a Career in Science
Working in science isn’t a one-dimensional career track. These days, working in science could mean lab work, field world, communication, outreach, academics, all of the above, or even none of the above. Listen to these amazing panelists illuminate potential science careers.
R. Consell, J. Greco, L. Lord (M), R. Pendergrass, D. Lee
Sun 10:00 am; 210—211 [Hil]

The Hands-On Science Power Hour Presented With the Atlanta Science Festival
Everyone is welcome at this hands-on science activity party! We’ve got fun demonstrations of science and a passel of take-home activities. Activities are suitable for everyone and definitely come in costume! Presented with the Atlanta Science Festival.
K. Hari, J. Fooshee (M), N. Householder, SciBugs, J. Mars, S. Harris
Sun 10:00 am; 309—312 [Hil]2.5 Hrs

XPRIZE: Aiming for a Star Trek Future
XPRIZE competitions accelerate technology development in the fields of space, ocean, education, medicine, and new frontiers such as artificial intelligence. Come and get an overview of past, present and upcoming XPRIZE competitions and discuss how we can make the world a more abundant place for all.
J. Virmani;
Sun 11:30 am; 210—211 [Hil]

Stock Photo Science
If you search for stock photos about science, you’ll mostly see people staring raptly at liquids, or occasionally chickens. Come help our panelists decide what science is really going on in those stock photos.
N. Gugliucci, J. Fooshee (M), A. Dykes, D. Moscato, J. Meany
Sun 1:00 pm; 210—211 [Hil]

Midi-chlorians are Real and You Have Them
In Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Midi-chlorians were introduced as the way Jedi communicate with the Force. George Lucas was inspired by mitochondria, the real life microscopic life form that resides within all eukaryotic cells. Come learn about the endosymbionts that give your cells power!
J. Parilla
Sun 2:30 pm; 210—211 [Hil]

Modern Science and Traditional Methods in Cosplay
There’s a lot of overlap between science and cosplay, especially in traditional fabrication methods. We’ll cover scientific concepts and how they play out in fabrication techniques.
R. Consell (M), L. Decolvenaere, E. Finke
Sun 2:30 pm; Crystal Ballroom [Hil]

Mega Science Mashup!
Can we integrate the science of Star Wars with the science of DC? Could Marvel exist in the same universe as Star Trek? Bring your favorite fandoms and we’ll see if their science goes together like matter and antimatter.
E. Finke, D. Lee, A. Dykes, J. Meany, D. Smith (M)
Sun 4:00 pm; 210—211 [Hil]

Does It Fart?
You’ve heard the age old adage that everybody poops. This year brings an exciting new twist: Does it fart? Come on by; there’s science in the air!
L. DeRosier, J. Greco, K. Hari (M), K. Holder, J. Mars
Sun 4:00 pm; Crystal Ballroom [Hil]

Justify Your Away Team
Any good away team requires the perfect combination of weirdly-proficient individuals. Our participants will argue how their science is relevant to an Away Team scenario. Will they survive? Or will they be the team’s red shirt?
S. Sigler (M), J. Fooshee, E. Klonkowski, J. Beall, K. Holder, R. Burks, S. Harris
Sun 5:30 pm; 210—211 [Hil]

The Genetics of Genetics
Gene drives, gene therapies, gene editing (both humans and animals)–it’s all about genes!
B. Brookshire, J. Hardee, K. Hari (M), T. Saey
Sun 7:00 pm; 210—211 [Hil]

Droid Builders
R2D2 captured the hearts of millions, but his new little buddy was an instant fav. Tese fans are taking their love of droids, mixing it with robotics, and finding new ways to create their own Star Wars magic. Come discuss with our builders their hints and tips for building your own.
C. Cato, D. Ferrier, M. Hobbs, M. Cummins, R. Northdorf
Sun 7:00 pm; A601-A602 [Mar]

The Science of Jurassic World
What went horribly wrong in the universe of the “Jurassic” series… and what did they get right?
T. Valle, D. Moscato, W. Harris
Sun 8:30 pm; 210—211 [Hil]

Science vs Movies
Our “experts” are here to explain how the science in movies is 100% and totally accurate. Geostorms stopped by satellites? CRISPR-created giant monkeys? All correct!
R. Consell, S. Granade (M), E. Macdonald, L. DeRosier, S. Jackson, S. Page
Sun 10:00 pm; Crystal Ballroom [Hil]

Monday, 09-03-2018


Insects: Aliens on Earth
Ever look at an insect and think, “It looks alien”? Everything from bursting out of body cavities to elaborate sand traps are in the magnificent world of insects. We’ll dive into insect biology and physiology to see how these magnificent animals have inspired our favorite other-worldly monsters.
SciBugs, J. Mars
Mon 10:00 am; 210—211 [Hil]

Geology in Science Fiction
How does the Game of Thrones climate work? What forces formed the mountain ranges in Middle Earth, or Star Wars’ aquatic planets? What if we created our own planets?
M. McKinnon, T. Valle, B. Brookshire (M), S. Harris, D. Moscato
Mon 11:30 am; 210—211 [Hil]

Why on Earth?
How did we get here? Is there life elsewhere? Can we know it? Panelists from prebiotic chemistry, life detection, exoplanet discovery, planetary evolution, and more discuss how we’re learning where we came from, where else life might be, and how we might discover and communicate with it.
Mon 1:00 pm; 210—211 [Hil]