February 5, 2020

Welcome to the Invisible Universe! Secret Science Club presents Astrophysicist Chiara Mingarelli, Tuesday February 18, 8PM @ the Bell House, FREE!

Gravitational waves in space-time are like ripples in a pond cause by a pebble thrown in the water—that is, if the pebble’s impact had the energy of, say, our own Sun exploding. Predicted by Einstein in 1916, gravitational waves proved devilishly difficult to detect. It was only in 2015 that scientists were first able to pinpoint the existence of a real-life gravitational wave, echoing across space-time as the result of a collision of two black holes more than a billion miles away.

That discovery ushered in a new “wave” in astronomy: Gravitational waves aren’t just fascinating phenomena—they are a whole new way to study the cosmos. Astrophysicist Chiara Mingarelli is part of a consortium of international scientists, working on new methods to predict and detect gravitational waves in an effort to understand the large portion of the Universe that remains invisible to us.

At the next Secret Science Club, Dr. Mingarelli asks:
--Are there different kinds gravitational waves? Why are some harder to detect than others?
--What might gravitational waves teach us about dark matter, dark energy, black holes, and the Big Bang?
--What role do pulsars (those super-freaky but super-reliable, rotating, radio-wave emitting neutron stars) play in gravitational wave research?

Before & After
--Pulse and flow to grooooovitational tunes
--Contemplate the Universe with Dark Energy, our cocktail of the night
--Stick around for the stellar Q&A

Chiara Mingarelli is an astrophysicist at the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Astrophysics and an assistant professor of physics at the University of Connecticut. Her core research is focused on using Pulsar Timing Arrays to detect low-frequency gravitational waves. She is a member of NANOGrav (the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves), a consortium of scientists, using an international network of radio telescopes to detect gravitational waves caused by the merger of supermassive black holes. She has written for Scientific American and been a featured scientist on Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, Quartz News, and the Science Channel’s How the Universe Works.

This astronomical edition of Secret Science Club meets Tuesday, February 18, 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!

Image credits: Chiara Mingarelli: Flatiron Institute; Gravitational Waves: NASA/C. Henze

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

January 12, 2020

Dive Inside the Human Body! Secret Science Club presents Structural Biologist Kevin Gardner, TUESDAY, January 21, 8PM @ the Bell House, FREE!

The human body is made of trillions of cells. Inside each cell, it’s as busy as the subway system with a dismaying array of routes, signals, and ever-moving parts. Exploring these teeny-tiny living labyrinths is the mission of modern-day micronauts like Kevin Gardner.

A biochemist and biophysicist, Kevin Gardner has been unlocking the secrets inside cells for over two decades. As he dives into this microscopic world, he visualizes how all-important cellular proteins look in three dimensions and studies how they react to different stimuli—all with the goal of learning how the human body works and finding new cures for diseases.

At the next Secret Science Club, Dr. Gardner asks:
--How do cells—bacteria, plant, and human—sense what is going on in the world around them?
--What role does light play in the world of cells? What are “optogenetic tools”? How do they turn genes on and off?
--How can understanding a cell’s reaction to stimuli, such as light and oxygen levels, be used to discover new biotech tools and cancer treatments?

BEFORE & AFTER
--Imbibe our macroscopic cocktail of the night, the Inner Space
--Sway to bio-themed tunes and feel the grooves at the cellular level
--Stick around for the scintillating Q&A

Kevin Gardner is the Einstein Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry at the City College of New York, and he is the Director of the Structural Biology Initiative at CUNY’s Advanced Science Research Center. Dr. Gardner uses combinations of structural biology methods, including Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction, to probe how cellular proteins perceive and react to changes in the environments around them. He and his research team have discovered that a diverse group of proteins use similar mechanisms of signaling and regulation despite sensing radically different stimuli. His lab is exploring how these processes can be artificially controlled, leading to the development of new anti-cancer therapies and research tools.

This molecular edition of the Secret Science Club meets Tuesday, January 21, 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.

For more information, contact secretscienceclub@gmail.com Or visit us on the Web at http://secretscienceclub.blogspot.com 

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.