August 4, 2015

Tuesday, August 18, 8PM, Secret Science Club & the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation present the
"2015 Lasker Public Lecture in Honor of Al Sommer" with Neuroscientist Gregory Petsko at the
Bell House, FREE!

WARNING... the year is 2050... your brain is undergoing malfunction... memory evacuation will begin in 5...4...3...  memory evacuation now in progress.  No new memories can be stored. 

Sounds like a bad sci-fi plot? You may as well quit worrying about the Zombie Apocalypse. What's really coming is a massive collision between the human brain and America's changing demographics. As the population ages, we're facing a tsunami of neurodegenerative diseases, and the incidence of Alzheimer's is projected to double. Yikes. 

To prepare for (and possibly change) this brain-boggling future, neuroscientist Gregory Petsko is researching the mechanisms underlying neurodegenerative conditions and working to develop new drugs. He asks: What's the connection between Alzheimer's, ALS and Parkinson's? What treatments are being investigated? Why do some very elderly people NOT get Alzheimer's? Are there scientifically proven ways of improving and protecting our cognitive health? 

The Mahon professor of neurology and neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medical College and director of the Appel Alzheimer's Disease Research Institute, Gregory Petsko writes frequently about science and culture, and has been a featured scientist at TED and TEDMED, and on PBS's NOVA. 

Before & After
--Sample our wet-wired cocktail of the night, the Memory Palace 
--Groove to synapse-stimulating tunes
--Stick around for the scintillating Q&A

This edition of the Secret Science Club is sponsored by the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation. The Foundation works to foster the prevention and treatment of disease and disabilities by honoring excellence in basic and clinical science, educating the public, and advocating for support of medical research. Yeah! 

The next Secret Science Club meets Tuesday, August 18, 8pm @ the Bell House, 149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F/G to 4th Ave, R to 9th St.  

Doors open at 7:30 pm.  Please bring ID: 21+. No cover. Just bring your smart self!

June 30, 2015

Beyond Pluto? Tuesday, July 14, 8PM, Secret Science Club presents Planet Hunter Jeremy Kasdin @ the Bell House, FREE!

Secret Science Club rockets into the Milky Way with Planet Hunter Jeremy Kasdin

As NASA’s New Horizon’s mission makes its closest approach to Pluto on July 14, Secret Science Club asks: What’s next? What planets and dwarf planets exist beyond our solar system? Are any like Earth?

“The Universe is teeming with planets,” says Princeton’s Jeremy Kasdin. But astronomers have only been able to detect potentially Earth-like planets through indirect observation. Kasdin and his NASA colleagues want to change that with a revolutionary space-based telescope and starshade. With this new observatory, scientists could get snapshots of some of the billions of exoplanets located in the habitable zones of other solar systems. They could also discover which exoplanets have biomarkers—qualities that are friendly to life, such as water, oxygen, and atmospheres.

What’s out there? Jeremy Kasdin is principal investigator for the “Exo-Starshade” project, part of NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program, professor of aerospace engineering at Princeton University, and head of Princeton’s High Contrast Imaging Laboratory. He researches space optics, spacecraft design and control, and astrodynamics.

Before & After
--Countdown to launch with our Plutopalooza cocktail (it will knock you into orbit)
--Groove to tunes from alien worlds and dimensions
--Stick around for the interplanetary Q&A

This out-of-this-world edition of the Secret Science Club meets Tuesday, July 14, 8pm @ the Bell House149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave, R to 9th St.

Doors open at 7:30 pm.  Please bring ID: 21+. No cover. Just bring your smart self!

Photo of Jeremy Kasdin: Peter Murphy; Image of Exo-Starshade: NASA/JPL 

May 25, 2015

Tuesday, June 2, 8PM, Secret Science Club presents Physicist and Author Leonard Mlodinow @ the Bell House, FREE!

Secret Science Club presents Theoretical Physicist, Best-Selling Author, and Star Trek writer Leonard Mlodinow on The Upright Thinkers: The Human Journey from Living in Trees to Understanding the Cosmos

Leonard Mlodinow takes a spin through the history of science and human progress—from the invention of stone tools to theories of quantum physics. It’s going to be epic!

Here’s what Stephen Hawking has to say about this: “Mlodinow never fails to make science both accessible and entertaining.” Well said, Dr. Hawking!

Leonard Mlodinow received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of California, Berkeley, was an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Max Planck Institute, and was on the faculty of the California Institute of Technology. His previous books include Subliminal (winner of the PEN/E. O. Wilson Award), The Grand Design (with Stephen Hawking), The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives, War of the Worldviews (with Deepak Chopra) and Feynman’s Rainbow. Did we mention that he wrote for MacGyver and Star Trek: The Next Generation?

Before & After
--Groove to out-of-this-world tunes
--Sip our improbable cocktail of the night, the Quantum Theory
--Snag a signed copy of Leonard Mlodinow’s epic new book, The Upright Thinkers
--Stick around for the cosmic Q&A

This edition of the Secret Science Club meets Tuesday, June 2, 8PM @ the Bell House, 149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave, R to 9th St.

Doors open at 7:30 pm.  Please bring ID: 21+. No cover. Just bring your smart self! 
 

May 13, 2015

Tuesday, May 19, 8PM, Secret Science Club presents Computational Geneticist Joe Pickrell @ the Bell House, FREE!

Bones, artifacts, cave paintings, and prehistoric tools are the clues traditionally used to learn about our earliest human ancestors. But scientists are discovering that human history is also written in the subtle variations of our genetic code.

Geneticist Joe Pickrell compares and contrasts the DNA of living humans and those who are looooong dead to learn about history, evolution, and human health. He asks:
--How are new studies of ancient DNA rewriting assumptions about human history?
 --What effects did the shift from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a life of farming and settlement have on the human genome?
 --How have recent technological advances allowed geneticists to accomplish feats that were once considered science fiction? Where is genetics taking us?

A computational geneticist at the New York Genome Center and contributor to "Genomes Unzipped," Joe Pickrell and his research have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New Scientist, and Nature.

Before & After
--It’s ba-a-a-a-ck… Sip our cocktail of the night, the Double… Make That a Triple Helix
--Shimmy to ever-evolving grooves
--Survival of the most curious! Stick around for the highly adaptive Q&A

This Mendelian edition of the Secret Science Club meets Tuesday, May 19, 8pm @ the Bell House, 149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave, R to 9th St.

Doors open at 7:30 pm. Please bring ID: 21+. No cover. Just bring your smart self! 

March 31, 2015

Tuesday, April 14, 8PM, Secret Science Club presents Visual Neuroscientist Susana Martinez-Conde @ the Bell House, FREE!

Visual neuroscientist, author, and Scientific American Mind blogger Susana Martinez-Conde talks about perception, deception, and illusion.

Susana Martinez-Conde is director of the Laboratory of Integrative Neuroscience at SUNY Downstate, blogger for the Illusion Chasers column at Scientific American Mind, co-author of the best-selling book Sleights of Mind, and an organizer of the Best Illusion of the Year Contest. Dr. Martinez-Conde has conducted groundbreaking research on fixational eye movements—our eyes are never still, even when our gaze is fixed on an object—and how these movements affect our vision, perception, and visual processing. She also researches the connections between art and visual science, and neuromagic, the relationship between neurobiology and stage magic. Dr. Martinez-Conde's research has been featured in the New York Times, New Yorker, Nature, and Wired.

Before & After
--Groove to eye-popping tunes
--Stick around for the brain-bending Q&A
--Try our tricky cocktail of the night, the Sleight of Mind

This now-you-see-it-now-you-don't edition of the Secret Science Club meets Tuesday, April 14, 8PM @ the Bell House149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave, R to 9th St.

Doors open at 7:30 pm.  Please bring ID: 21+. No cover. Just bring your smart self! 

Art/Illusion from "Rotating Snakes" by Akiyoshi Kitaoka, Department of Psychology, Ritsumeikan University

March 18, 2015

Tuesday, March 24, Secret Science Club presents Geneticist Christopher Mason on the Urban Microbiome @ the Bell House, FREE!

Teeny-Tiny New Yorkers! Christopher Mason led a team that swabbed New York City's subway stations and trains to uncover the microbes among us. The subway samples (from turnstiles, poles, seats, ticket machines, and more) were sequenced for DNA, revealing 637 known species of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and microscopic animals. There were even some fragments of anthrax and bubonic plague. Eek! No worries though, those anthrax and plague bits weren't live, and most of the city's microscopic citizens are benign or even beneficial. Dr. Mason and his crew are using the data to create baseline PathoMaps of the Big Microbial Apple. The PathoMaps of NYC and other cities could be used for "long-term disease surveillance, bioterrorism threat mitigation, and large-scale health management." 

Get to know your microscopic neighbors and fellow travelers!

Before & After
--Sway to teeny-tiny grooves
--Imbibe our cocktail of the night, the Third Rail
--Stick around for the itty-bitty Q&A

Christopher Mason is assistant professor of physiology & biophysics and computational biomedicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. In 2014, he was named one of Popular Science's Brilliant Ten, and he and his research have recently been featured in
Wired, the New York Times, NPR, and the PBS NewsHour. Next up? Dr. Mason is working on a project for NASA, comparing the DNA and RNA of astronauts (and twin brothers) Scott and Mark Kelly--after Scott spends a year in space.

This edition of the Secret Science Club meets Tuesday, March 24, 8 pm @ the Bell House149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave, R to 9th St.

Doors open at 7:30 pm. Please bring ID: 21+. No cover. Just bring your smart self!

February 11, 2015

Tuesday, February 17, 8PM, Secret Science Club presents Neuroscientist Carl Schoonover on “How to Look Inside the Brain” @ the Bell House, FREE!

Trip the light fantastic through the human brain with neuroscientist Carl Schoonover

Spectacular data. Exquisite images. Our understanding of the brain depends on the tools invented to look at it. Neuroscientist Carl Schoonover presents a whirlwind survey from the seminal innovations that launched the field of neuroscience to the latest technologies powering research today.

With medieval sketches and intricate drawings by groundbreaking scientists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Santiago Ramón y Cajal, to the architectures revealed by microscopes, electrophysiological instruments, and MRI machines, Dr. Schoonover illuminates the brain’s gorgeous complexities and some of neuroscience’s most brilliant achievements.

Before & After
--Light up your brain with our cocktail of the night, the Golgi Method
--Sway to serotonin-enhanced grooves
--Stick around for the synapse-stimulating Q&A!

Carl Schoonover is a postdoctoral fellow in the Axel laboratory at Columbia University, where he studies the neural circuitry of odor-driven behaviors. He is the author of Portraits of the Mind, has written for the New York TimesLe Figaro, and Scientific American, and he cofounded NeuWrite, a collaborative working group for scientists, writers, and those in between. His radio program on WKCR 89.9FM, focuses on opera, postwar classical music, and their relationship to the brain.

This neuroscience-meets-Mardi Gras edition of the Secret Science Club convenes Tuesday, February 17, 8 pm @ the Bell House149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave, R to 9th StDoors open at 7:30 pm. Please bring ID: 21+. No cover. Just bring your smart self!

Photos: Elaine Zhang (Schoonover); M. Hendricks & S. Jesuthasan (Neuron Scaffolding)

January 11, 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 8PM, Secret Science Club presents Paleoanthropologist Shara Bailey on Human Origins @ the Bell House, FREE!

Dig into 2015! Several different species of humans (hominins) have existed over the last few million years. They're gone now. All that's left is good-old Homo sapiens. But don’t feel too lonely. At the next Secret Science Club, Shara Bailey introduces our long-lost cousins—the Neandertals, Homo floresiensis (the “Hobbit”), Australopithecus, and more.

A physical anthropologist at NYU and the Center for the Study of Human Origins, Shara Bailey delves into the the history of human evolution. She asks:
What hominin species existed before modern humans—or even co-existed with us?
How did our human ancestors change as they evolved? How are we different, and where were the earliest Homo sapiens found?
What can 3-D imaging, confocal microscopy, computer modeling, and genetic analysis of bones and teeth tell us about the lives, childhoods, and diets of our ancient ancestors?

Before & After
Sip our early-modern cocktail, the Paleo Riot
Bone up! Stick around for the taxonomically challenged Q&A
Stomp to Anthropocene grooves

This all-too-human edition of the Secret Science Club meets Tuesday, January 20, 8 pm @ the Bell House149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave, R to 9th St.

Doors open at 7:30 pm. Please bring ID: 21+. No cover. Just bring your smart self!

December 3, 2014

Monday, December 15, 8PM, Secret Science Club presents "The Future of the Brain" with Cognitive Scientist Gary Marcus @ the Bell House, FREE!

Secret Science Club brings beautiful brain science to the Bell House, Monday, December 15, 8PM with cognitive scientist and best-selling author Gary Marcus on "The Future of the Brain."

Party in Your Neurons! Think, drink, and kick the holidays into high gear! 

Before & After
--Have a little nip of our wet-wired cocktail of the night, the Holiday for Your Brain
--Warm to jolly neuro-grooves
--Stick around for the Q&A and snag a signed copy of Gary Marcus’s new book, The Future of the Brain

Gary Marcus is professor of psychology and neural science at NYU, visitor at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, contributor to the New Yorker, and author of Guitar Zero: The Science of Becoming Musical at Any Age and Kluge: The Haphazard Evolution of the Human MindMostly recently, he co-edited of The Future of the Brain: Essays by the World’s Leading Neuroscientists.

This holiday edition of the Secret Science Club meets Monday, December 15, 8 pm @ the Bell House, 149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave, R to 9th St.

Doors open at 7:30 pm. Please bring ID: 21+. No cover. Just bring your smart self! 

November 18, 2014

Secret Science Club North presents
Psycholinguist & Author Steven Pinker at
Symphony Space, Tuesday, December 2, 8PM

Tuesday, December 2, 8PM, Secret Science Club North presents Steven Pinker @ Symphony Space, $25
(Shh... use code SECRET15 to get $15 tickets)

Cognitive scientist, world-renowned linguist, and best-selling author Steven Pinker takes on the English language. In this special talk coinciding with the release of his new book The Sense of Style, Dr. Pinker asks: How does language evolve? What makes it so hard to put our thoughts on paper? How can we all be more effective communicators? What do our words say about ourselves and our culture?

Steven Pinker is professor of psychology at Harvard University and chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary.  His popular and critically acclaimed books include The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Stuff of Thought, The Better Angels of Our Nature, and most recently The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century

Before & After
--Try the cocktail of the night, the Zombie Noun
--Sway to our Steven Pinker-inspired playlist
--Stick around for the Q&A and snag a signed copy of Steven Pinker’s latest book

Get tickets for $15 here with code SECRET15, by phone at 212.864.5400 or in person at the Symphony Space box office.

Secret Science Club North meets Tuesday, December 2, 8pm @ Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway @ 95th St in ManhattanSubway: 1, 2, or 3 to 96th Street. All ages.

November 12, 2014

Monday, November 17, Secret Science Club presents Quantum Chemist Garnet Chan at the Bell House, FREE!

Delve into the mysterious borderland between chemistry and physics with Quantum Chemist Garnet Chan!

Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University and Fellow at the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science, Garnet Chan researches the interface of theoretical chemistry, condensed matter physics, and quantum information theory, and is concerned with quantum many-particle phenomena and the numerical methods to simulate them. He recently received the William O. Baker Award from the National Academy of Sciences.

Before & After 
--Sample our electron-filled libations
--Groove to music of the spheres
--Stick around for the supercharged Q&A 

This quantum edition of the Secret Science Club meets Monday, November 17, 8 pm @ the Bell House, 149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd aves) in Gowanus, BrooklynSubway: F/G to 4th Ave, R to 9th St.

Doors open at 7:30 pm. Please bring ID: 21+. No cover. Just bring your smart self!