The Millennium Cafe

Exchanging ideas and challenges

The Millennium Café runs 10-11am in the 3rd floor Café Commons of the MSC Bldg. Join researchers from across campus for a stellar cup of coffee and two <10 min interdisciplinary talks.

May 17 2022
Neuroethics: Addressing ethical, social, and cultural implications of neurotechnologies

Knowing when you have crossed the line from an ethical to an unethical situation can at times be difficult to discern. Neuroethics is a relatively recent interdisciplinary field that describes, examines, and looks for practical ways to address ethical, social and cultural implications of advances in neuroscience and neurotechnologies. Neuroethisists working together with other disciplines aim to strengthen and ensure the responsible research and innovation around neurotechnologies.

Help Win the $50M XPRIZE from Elon Musk: Capture and Store 1B tonnes of CO2/year

PlantVillage is the largest and most technologically advanced decision support system for smallholder farmers in the world. The biggest threat facing all farmers (smallholder farmers or otherwise) is climate change. We focus on climate change adaptation reaching 16 million farmers/week with expectations for a x10 increase in the coming 3 years. This number of farmers could be a massive assist in climate change mitigation. Farms in the global south could draw down and store carbon enabling a massive wealth transfer to solve poverty in a single generation. PlantVillage has won both the Student and Milestone Carbon XPRIZE and we are competing for the $50 million prize and we need your help: engineers, material scientists, dreamers. Come join us and save the world!

May 10 2022
“Synthesis at the Interface of Organic and Inorganic Materials”

The ability to make new materials and control them on an atomic scale remains a substantial challenge in materials chemistry. This talk will offer a window into planned research in the Fenton group, a new synthetic materials lab in the chemistry department at Penn State. Our work will focus on creative synthetic problem solving at the interface of inorganic and organic materials, covering a range of fundamental and application-driven inquiries in colloidal nanosolids, porous materials, polymers, and extended hybrid solids.

“2022 Millennium Café Pitch Competition Winners”

On May 5th >40 students competed in the Millennium Café Pitch Competition sponsored by PPG. The competition was fierce as students had <2 minutes to introduce their research in a manner that was understandable and inspiring to our panel of judges. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear the top-3 winners from this year’s competition.

  • Sanjana Krishna Mani - “Machines in Microscale: Light-driven Oil Submarines”
  • Christopher Wheatley - “Making cold sintering industrially feasible using ultrasonic nondestructive characterization”
  • Ama Agyapong  - “Journey to Ordering”
May 3 2022
Growing Neural Engineering @ Penn State

Neural Engineering is a truly collaborative cross disciplinary effort to bring modern technological approaches to interfacing with, understanding of, and clinical care of the brain and nervous system. I’ll sketch some of the strengths of PSU’s already strong interdisciplinary Neural Engineering community and the framework through which we’re targeting to expand.

Biomaterials and Biofabrication: Making with Mycelia

Innovators from coast to coast are building new things with fungi. The small number of fungi currently in mass production were already being cultivated at smaller scale for medicinal and other uses, suggesting that the best fungal building materials have yet to be discovered and that significant contributions toward sustainable materials will soon be made in collaboration with scientists who study fungal ecology, physiology, diversity and genomics. 

May 3 2022
Growing Neural Engineering @ Penn State

Neural Engineering is a truly collaborative cross disciplinary effort to bring modern technological approaches to interfacing with, understanding of, and clinical care of the brain and nervous system. I’ll sketch some of the strengths of PSU’s already strong interdisciplinary Neural Engineering community and the framework through which we’re targeting to expand.

Biomaterials and Biofabrication: Making with Mycelia

Innovators from coast to coast are building new things with fungi. The small number of fungi currently in mass production were already being cultivated at smaller scale for medicinal and other uses, suggesting that the best fungal building materials have yet to be discovered and that significant contributions toward sustainable materials will soon be made in collaboration with scientists who study fungal ecology, physiology, diversity and genomics. This talk was originally scheduled for 4/26 but will now occur on 5/3.

Apr 26 2022
Seeing is Believing: Opportunities Enabled by in-situ Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)

TEM is a powerful nano/atomic scale imaging technique which can reveal structure-performance relationships and inspire the design of new materials. in-situ TEM – such as the ability to analyze samples in liquid/gaseous environments and/or while simultaneously heating or applying an electrical potential has created revolutionary new opportunities for real-time visualization of physical and chemical processes. I will introduce new opportunities for collaborative research offered by the recent advancements in in-situ TEM.

Biomaterials and Biofabrication: Making with Mycelia

Innovators from coast to coast are building new things with fungi. The small number of fungi currently in mass production were already being cultivated at smaller scale for medicinal and other uses, suggesting that the best fungal building materials have yet to be discovered and that significant contributions toward sustainable materials will soon be made in collaboration with scientists who study fungal ecology, physiology, diversity and genomics.

Apr 19 2022
The Center for Regenerative Engineering and Translational Ecosystem (CREATE)

CREATE will strengthen and organize transdisciplinary expertise across campus to tackle grand medical challenges in regenerative engineering. Regenerative engineering is a new field defined as the convergence of advanced materials sciences, stem cell sciences, physics, developmental biology and clinical translation for the regeneration of complex tissues and organ systems. Complex tissues comprise intricate vascular and nervous networks, tissue interfaces, structural hierarchy and complex functional features, which are translated into significant technical and regulatory barriers in establishing compositional gradients, temporal changes, and the use of various cells to drive tissue and organ morphogenesis.

Sustainable Cementitious Materials for Addressing Climate Change

Global climate change coupled with population and economic growth around the world are drivers for the increased demand to build cities, infrastructure, and housing. This presentation will highlight the need for low-temperature manufacturing of novel materials for construction with a special emphasis on cementitious materials – the most utilized material in the world. The use of biological matter and non-food crops to develop these materials will also be discussed to inspire new concepts in the circularity of our materials economy. Audience members will be invited to consider the systems-nature of global climate change and how new partnerships in sustainable cementitious materials can directly address critical environmental impact challenges, such as material scarcity and high-CO2 materials.   

Oct 5 2021
No Millennium Cafe on October 5

We will be taking a break from the Millennium Cafe until further notice. 

Sep 28 2021
Jammin’ in the Garden!

Join us for some live music as we wrap up our September “Millennium Café in the Garden” experiment. We are keeping an eye on the weather and looking for feedback from the community on how to best connect folks in our current reality – have an idea?

Via Zoom @10:30 - 2021 Safety Week Presentation: “Preventing Slips, Trips, and Falls with New Pig”
Sep 21 2021
The Future of the Business of Sustainability Depends on Science

Sustainability research at the Smeal College has reached new levels of activity. Our work responds to a substantial upsurge in interest in the business community; firms that previously treated sustainability as window-dressing now consider it essential to their operations and investors increasingly demand an “ESG” focus. However, the business community’s understanding of sustainability must be better informed by science and engineering disciplines to satisfy its stakeholders. This discussion highlights areas for collaboration and invites future conversations on making business more sustainable with science.

Enabling Interdisciplinary Research: 21/22 IEE Seed Grants

IEE focuses on enabling interdisciplinary research in climate and ecosystem change; urban systems; integrated energy systems; water and biogeochemical change, and health and the environment. I will discuss IEE's currently open seed grant call and share thoughts about how to engage more broadly on these topics. Seed grant proposals are due by 5pm on 11/19/21.

Sep 14 2021
Stephen and Patricia Benkovic Research Initiative

We are very excited to announce a call for projects to enable transformative research at the interface of chemistry and life sciences. This initiative is generously supported by the Benkovic Family Foundation and administered by Department of Chemistry in the Eberly College of Science and Penn State’s Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences. We will give a short overview of the call. Proposals must have potential for rapid and high impact at the broad intersection of chemistry and the life sciences. Deadline Nov. 1, 2021.

Formation of a new center …The Penn State Center for Catalysis

Faculty from several departments are in the middle stages of developing a research and education center focused on advancing catalysis science at Penn State. While our initial efforts will be in coordinating and enhancing research programs in heterogeneous and electro-catalysis (and the associated materials research needs), we are looking for strategic opportunities to collaborate with research faculty and staff across campus. We are particularly interested in identifying areas where catalysis science might provide unique insight into materials and surface chemistry questions.    

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