TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique: “Things That Go Bump In The Lab”

Saturday – October 19, 2019, 9:30 – 11:00 am

Milton J Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology – Syracuse, NY

Please RSVP to jrcafe@tacny.org

Speaker: Neal Abrams, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Chemistry, SUNY-ESF; and Miriam Gillett-Kunnath, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Syracuse University

Talk Overview: Ready to summon some science? Join the TACNY Jr. Café on October 19th to see the magical chemistry behind glowing pumpkins, magical genies, luminescent liquids, time telling potions, and mysterious fog. Dr. Neal Abrams from SUNY ESF and Dr. Miriam Gillett-Kunnath from Syracuse University will present a series of interactive magical Halloween chemistry demonstrations that will be sure to delight young and old alike.

Biography: Neal Abrams is an associate professor of chemistry at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF). He obtained his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and certification in teaching from Ithaca College and completed his doctorate at Penn State. At ESF, he instructs courses in general chemistry and renewable energy. He also leads research programs in the areas of renewable energy and methods for teaching science. He is also the faculty advisor for the ESF chemistry club. Abrams enjoys working with students and educators in the community. As part of this commitment, he leads renewable energy workshops for teachers, instructs a series of courses on solar panel installation, and guest lectures in classrooms across Syracuse and CNY as part of the ESF in the High School program. He is currently the Education Chair for the CNY Section of the American Chemical Society.

Miriam Gillett-Kunnath is a research assistant professor of chemistry at Syracuse University (SU). She obtained her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Le Moyne College and completed her doctorate and post-doctorate at Syracuse University and Notre Dame University, respectively. At SU, she assists in mentoring and teaching research while helping with the management of the Chemistry SC-XRD and PXRD lab. Gillett-Kunnath, along with her husband Bobby Kunnath, works with local high school students to connect them with research in the STEM disciplines.  Her passion towards building a local STEM Ecosystem has led her to learn from, volunteer, and work with SU-chemistry outreach, ACS-CNY, STA-NYS, TACNY and the MOST.  [Outreach Motto: “If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.”-Isaac Newton]

TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique

TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique, a program for middle-school students founded in 2005, features discussions about topics in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in an informal atmosphere and seeks to encourage students to consider careers in these areas. Students must be accompanied by an adult and can explore the MOST at no cost after the event.

Technology Alliance of Central New York

Founded in 1903 as the Technology Club of Syracuse, the nonprofit Technology Alliance of Central New York’s mission is to facilitate community awareness, appreciation, and education of technology; and to collaborate with like-minded organizations across Central New York.

For more information about TACNY, visit www.tacny.org.

Sweet Science Series – Lockheed Martin Overview And Manufacturing And Test Facilities Tour

October 15th, 6:00-7:30 pm

RSVP By Tomorrow, October 7th

Refreshments at 5:30 pm

Lockheed Martin, 497 Electronics Pkwy, Syracuse, NY 13221 


The Sweet Science Series will be hosting an event at Lockheed Martin in Liverpool, NY.  The event will include a brief overview of the Lockheed Martin site, followed by a walking tour of the manufacturing and test facilities. 

People interested in learning more about the Lockheed Martin Syracuse facility are invited to attend the free Sweet Science Series presentation on Tuesday, October 15th, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Lockheed Martin, 497 Electronics Pkwy, Syracuse, NY 13221. Admission is free and open to the public. Light snacks will be served at 5:30pm. Please note that due to security considerations, all visitors must be 18 or over, and no walk-in visitors will be allowed. RSVP to sweet.science@tacny.org by October 7th. RSVPs must include the following information for all visitors:

  • First and last name
  • Company affiliation
  • Citizenship type, and citizenship country
  • Country of birth
  • Statement declaring the attendee is 18 or over

Additionally, foreign nationals must provide passport country, passport number and expiration date.

Presenter Information

Dr. Michael (Mike) Leone is Director of Product Engineering and Advanced Materials for Lockheed Martin’s Rotary and Mission Systems (RMS) division.  In this position, Dr. Leone oversees product development across the enterprise, partnering with the chief engineers, Center of Excellence senior leadership team, and RMS staff to achieve all program, and Engineering and Technology goals.

About Sweet Science Series

TACNY John Edson Sweet Lectures, a program founded in 1913, is now called the Sweet Science Series and features discussions about topics in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in an informal atmosphere for adults of all levels of technical understanding. A minimum of six free and open to the public presentations are held each year.

About TACNY

Founded in 1903 as the Technology Club of Syracuse, the nonprofit Technology Alliance of Central New York’s mission is to facilitate community awareness, appreciation, and education of technology; and to collaborate with like-minded organizations across Central New York. For more information, see www.tacny.org

NASA Night Sky Notes: Find Strange Uranus in Aries

Poster’s Note: One of the many under-appreciated aspects of NASA is the extent to which it publishes quality science content for children and Ph.D.’s alike. Your tax dollars help promote science! The following article was provided for reprinting by the Night Sky Network in October, 2019.

By David Prosper

Most of the planets in our solar system are bright and easily spotted in our night skies. The exceptions are the ice giant planets: Uranus and Neptune. These worlds are so distant and dim that binoculars or telescopes are almost always needed to see them. A great time to search for Uranus is during its opposition on October 28, since the planet is up almost the entire night and at its brightest for the year.

The bright three points of the Summer Triangle are among the first stars you can see after sunset: Deneb, Vega, and Altair.  The Summer Triangle is called an asterism, as it’s not an official constellation, but still a striking group of stars. However, the Triangle is the key to spotting multiple constellations! Its three stars are themselves the brightest in their respective constellations: Deneb, in Cygnus the Swan; Vega, in Lyra the Harp; and Altair, in Aquila the Eagle. That alone would be impressive, but the Summer Triangle also contains two small constellations inside its lines, Vulpecula the Fox and Sagitta the Arrow. There is even another small constellation just outside its borders: diminutive Delphinus the Dolphin. The Summer Triangle is huge!

Search for Uranus in the space beneath the stars of Aries the Ram and above Cetus the Whale. These constellations are found west of more prominent Taurus the Bull and Pleiades star cluster. You can also use the Moon as a guide! Uranus will be just a few degrees north of the Moon the night of October 14, close enough to fit both objects into the same binocular field of view.  However, it will be much easier to see dim Uranus by moving the bright Moon just out of sight. If you’re using a telescope, zoom in as much as possible once you find Uranus; 100x magnification and greater will reveal its small greenish disc, while background stars will remain points.

Try this observing trick from a dark sky location. Find Uranus with your telescope or binoculars, then look with your unaided eyes at the patch of sky where your equipment is aimed. Do you see a faint star where Uranus should be? That’s not a star; you’re actually seeing Uranus with your naked eye! The ice giant is just bright enough near opposition – magnitude 5.7 – to be visible to observers under clear dark skies. It’s easier to see this ghostly planet unaided after first using an instrument to spot it, sort of like “training wheels” for your eyes. Try this technique with other objects as you observe, and you’ll be amazed at what your eyes can pick out.

By the way, you’ve spotted the first planet discovered in the modern era! William Herschel discovered Uranus via telescope in 1781, and Johan Bode confirmed its status as a planet two years later. NASA’s Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to visit this strange world, with a brief flyby in 1986. It revealed a strange, severely tilted planetary system possessing faint dark rings, dozens of moons, and eerily featureless cloud tops. Subsequent observations of Uranus from powerful telescopes like Hubble and Keck showed its blank face was temporary, as powerful storms were spotted, caused by dramatic seasonal changes during its 84-year orbit. Uranus’s wildly variable seasons result from a massive collision billions of years ago that tipped the planet to its side.

Discover more about NASA’s current and future missions of exploration of the distant solar system and beyond at nasa.gov

The path of Uranus in October is indicated by an arrow; its position on October 14 is circled. The wide dashed circle approximates the field of view from binoculars or a finderscope. Image created with assistance from Stellarium.
Composite images taken of Uranus in 2012 and 2014 by the Hubble Space Telescope, showcasing its rings and auroras. More at bit.ly/uranusauroras  Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, L. Lamy / Observatoire de Paris

The Night Sky Network program supports astronomy clubs across the USA dedicated to astronomy outreach. Visit nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov to find local clubs, events, and more!