The Millennium Cafe

Exchanging ideas and challenges

Oct 16 2018
There will be NO Millennium Café on 10/16 or 10/23

Due to circumstance beyond anyone’s control the Millennium Café scheduled for 10/16 is cancelled, the presentations are being rescheduled.  Also, due to Materials Day activities next week, there will be no Millennium Café on 10/23. 

In the meantime use this time to treat a colleague to a cup of coffee and find out “why” they do what they do.  We’ll see everyone back at the Café on 10/30!

Oct 9 2018
ABRL – A Catalyst for Global Health Security at Penn State: Vision, Ongoing Engagements, and Opportunities for Collaboration

Penn State’s Applied Biological and Biosecurity Research Laboratory (ABRL) protects global health through a strong network of international partners.  Together we perform critical research, assess risks, investigate threats, inform policy and work to build global capabilities for mitigating the threat of human and veterinary infectious disease emergence.  Leveraging state-of-the-art interdisciplinary strategies, ABRL has ongoing programmatic engagements focusing on One Health security around the globe to create sustainable impacts.  We involve regional country ministries and stakeholders as well as US government agencies, global foundations and philanthropic organizations. In the end, our mission is simple: improve global health and biosecurity.  I will provide an overview of ABRL’s Vision, current global engagements and how faculty may engage with and contribute to ABRL’s global engagements.

X-ray Diffraction for Monolayers of 2D Materials

When synthesizing materials for applications in electronics, optoelectronics and other applications the crystalline quality of the material is usually of high importance.  X-ray diffraction, historically, has been widely implemented to assess crystal structure and imperfections present in the crystal lattice.  While this is routinely done for samples that are around 10 nm and thicker, for monolayer materials like two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides such characterization is much more challenging.  In this presentation I will discuss how XRD can be leveraged to study ultra-thin  2D layered materials.

Oct 2 2018
Solving Sulfur Suspicions using Raman Spectroscopy

Elemental sulfur, an essential intermediate in the sulfur cycle, is both ubiquitous in the environment and an enigmatic material with dozens of allotropic forms.  Despite its prevalence, S(0) is challenging to characterize. In this talk, I will discuss our use of low frequency Raman spectroscopy in detecting and analyzing sulfur in our environmental and lab-synthesized samples.

Opportunities in Medical Radar

Medical radar is an emerging area of research and development, spurred by rapid advances in electromagnetic modeling, simulation, component development, and signal and image processing algorithms. In this talk, we review various important considerations in the design and development of medical radar systems for diagnostic applications. 

Sep 25 2018
“Knowledge Discovery within Images“

A picture is worth a thousand words.  The question is, which thousand words?  This talk will present computational methods developed in my group that enable the translation of raw image pixels to objects, relations, events, decisions, and new knowledge. Based upon these methods we have created highly accurate machine learning systems for segmentation, classification and synthesis of biological and medical images.​

“You’ve Crossed Over into…..The Critical Zone“

Earth’s Critical Zone is the thin near-surface zone spanning from bedrock to the atmospheric boundary layer.  Since the mid-2000s, scientists have been viewing this zone through a new interdisciplinary lens that brings together biology, soil science, geology, hydrology, and meteorology to make co-located measurements of water, energy, sediment and solute fluxes.    NSF now funds a network of Critical Zone Observatories, one of which is led by a Penn State team. I’ll describe the key questions and ongoing research of our local Critical Zone Observatory, including the unmet demand for robust field sensors to monitor soil processes, and our attempts to move from measuring everything everywhere to measuring only what we need to model the Critical Zone.

Sep 18 2018
“What’s in the Air that we Breathe? Visualizing Particulate Matter“

Particulate matter adversely affects millions of people across the globe and is becoming an increasing global health and environmental concern. This talk will highlight our work to analyze what it is that we breathe and its impact, using microscopy for visualization. Characterization of such aerosolized carbon forms lies at the intersection of multiple analytical techniques which come together to tell the story of this unwanted yet impactful material.

“Killing Tumor Cells with Novel Engineered Protein”

In collaboration with the Medina Group are examining fundamental roles of glycoproteins in cancer cell biology facilitated by a newly discovered glycan-binding protein (Lectin-1) that kills epithelial cancer cells with unprecedented potency (picomolar concentration). Utilizing chemical biology, evolution, genomics and cancer biology, we are studying the affinity and specificity of this new anti-tumor lectin, as well as selected candidates from a library of novel lectins, toward cancer-associated glycans and characterizing mechanisms of their cytotoxic action.

Sep 11 2018
“Invisible Plastic“

From eyeglass lenses to the optics in your cell phone camera, an ongoing challenge is to eliminate reflection from plastic optics that most of us use on a daily basis. This talk will highlight the development of a graded-index fluoropolymer antireflection coating that combines extraordinary durability with extreme performance, making common plastics such as plexiglass virtually disappear. 

“Why are You Here?” – Part I in the Morals, Ethics, and Faith in our Science Communities miniseries

This fall The Millennium Café is asking the question “What if?” as we discuss issues of morals, ethics, and faith in our scientific communities.  

  • What if I knew why a researcher was doing her/his/their research?  
  • What if my why is where I can communicate with anyone about anything without data? 
  • What if leaving out the why, or focusing on specific whys, is where gaps in ethics occur?  

 It’s all good to ask someone “why,” but how often do you ask yourself the same question?  How well do you examine your own attachment to whats, hows, wheres, and whens.  What if “why” is a part of a building process, an architectural design of sorts, that, if invested in intentionally and consciously, offers an intriguing foundation for communication between science and people?  Why is a natural foundation shaker, so let’s start with ourselves. “What do you believe? Why?”, “What are your rules for research? Why?”, “On your best day, or your worst, what do you believe IN? Why?”  BTWs, the why is where morals and ethics live, and if this conversation does not interest you, ask yourself “why.”  What if science, like morals, ethics, and faith, is a belief, a rule, and a way of being.  If so, maybe science can connect to anyone. Why.....not? 

Sep 4 2018
“Safety: a ‘Critical Competence’ “

Morgan Advanced Materials, a global supplier of components for demanding applications across multiple business sectors, has established its long-range carbon science R&D capability within the Innovation Park at Penn State.  I will discuss how safety plays a central role at Morgan and in general across all industries.  Safety will be discussed as a body of knowledge, a skill set, a mindset, a value necessary for carrying out all manner of activities, from experiments in the laboratory to operation of large-scale plants, and extending to day-to-day activities at home.

“Understanding Sleep: From Computation to Physiologic Dynamics”

Sleep is important for normal brain function, and sleep disruption is co-morbid with many neurological diseases.  There is a growing mechanistic understanding of the neurological basis for sleep regulation that is beginning to lead to mechanistic models. We aim to validate the predictive capacity of such models. If we are successful, and the models accurately describe enough of the mechanistic functions of the physical system, then they can be used as sophisticated observation systems to reveal both system changes and sources of dysfunction with neurological diseases and identify routes to intervene.

Aug 31 2018
Safety: a ‘Critical Competence’

Morgan Advanced Materials, a global supplier of components for demanding applications across multiple business sectors, has established its long-range carbon science R&D capability within the Innovation Park at Penn State. I will discuss how safety plays a central role at Morgan and in general across all industries. Safety will be discussed as a body of knowledge, a skill set, a mindset, a value necessary for carrying out all manner of activities, from experiments in the laboratory to operation of large-scale plants, and extending to day-to-day activities at home.

Understanding Sleep: From Computation to Physiologic Dynamics

Sleep is important for normal brain function, and sleep disruption is co-morbid with many neurological diseases. There is a growing mechanistic understanding of the neurological basis for sleep regulation that is beginning to lead to mechanistic models. We aim to validate the predictive capacity of such models. If we are successful, and the models accurately describe enough of the mechanistic functions of the physical system, then they can be used as sophisticated observation systems to reveal both system changes and sources of dysfunction with neurological diseases and identify routes to intervene.

Aug 28 2018
Fueling Regenerative Medicine with Lemon Molecules

Citric acid, naturally occurred in citrus fruits, is also known as an intermediate for cellular energy production in the Krebs cycle. Leveraging the multifunctional nature of citrate in chemistry and inspired by its important biological roles in human tissues, a class of highly versatile and functional citrate-based biomaterials has been developed. In this presentation, a methodology for the design of biomimetic citrate biomaterials and their applications in regenerative engineering, drug delivery, bioimaging and biosensing will be discussed.

Co-Authorship and Acknowledgements: There are No Gray Areas

Contributing to scholarly presentations, papers, and reports that are published online, in books, in archival journals, in PowerPoint, kept confidential in company archives, given orally at conferences, and shared among our community is foundational to all research activities. Contributions to science come in different flavors and the world is moving more and more towards science as a team sport. As such, this begs the question “how do we appropriately recognize the contributions of all team members?” Authorship and acknowledgements are not handed out based on people’s feelings or the color of the funding, they are earned through actions and contributions and are a formal part of the scientific process. This talk will discuss formal guidelines for co-authorship and acknowledgements that are stated by some of the largest science societies and publishing houses on the planet. There are no gray areas and it is time to formalize our approach to strengthen our science and strengthen our teams.

Aug 21 2018
“Juggling with Photons: From Theory to Practical Applications”

Photonics has provided the basic platform to test many fundamental theories of contemporary physics and to build novel technologies utilizing them. In this talk, I will discuss examples of how concepts such as entanglement, entangled networks and Parity-Time-symmetry can be realized in simple optical setups, highlight some of the unanswered questions, and how collaboration among different disciplines (e.g., optics, materials science, physics and engineering, etc) can provide new insights towards scalable and feasible quantum photonic networks as well as high-performance optical devices and systems.

“Attempting to Harvest the Hidden Functions of Biological Materials”

The iSuperSEED team of the Center for Nanoscale Science (Penn State MRSEC) pursues compelling new research opportunities in applying Rules of Life principles to adapt the highly-sophisticated synthesis and assembly machinery of living systems to the production of new symmetry-enabled functional materials that cannot be synthesized or fabricated through conventional engineering methods. The research team will leverage plant biology research of the DOE-funded Center for Lignocellulose Structure and Formation (CLSF), which seeks a deeper understanding of the plant cell wall, in part by adapting methods of materials research in service of biology to conversely induce biological systems to create new materials.  As an initial step, the team will utilize genotype and extracellular environment to control the structure, composition, and crystalline order of cellulose across length scales in search of new modes of symmetry-enabled materials response such as piezoelectricity, ferroelectricity, and electro-optic effects.

  •  
  • 1 of 15