TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique: “Virtual Reality For Real Life!”

Saturday – December 15, 2018, 9:30-11:00am
Please RSVP to jrcafe@tacny.org
Milton J Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology – Syracuse, NY


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Speaker: Amber Bartosh, RA, LEED AP BD+C, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture Syracuse University, and Co-Director, Interactive Design and Visualization Lab (IDVL)

Talk Overview: Have you seen the movie Ready Player One? Did you see how the characters co-exist in the physical environment and the virtual world? What if I told you that that future is already here? Come see how new hybrid reality technologies (which seem like video games!) are actually informing our everyday environments. Try on a Virtual Reality headset and witness how the virtual and physical are always intertwined. Energy and information flows are moving around us all the time. Plus, learn how you can create your own 360 degree virtual environments as well.

Biography: Amber Bartosh is a LEED-accredited architect and interior designer who has designed and managed award-winning projects in the United States, China, Kuwait, and the U.A.E.

She received her B.A. in Art and Architecture from Rice University and her M.Arch from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). Amber is currently an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University School of Architecture, a Syracuse Center of Excellence Faculty Fellow, and co-director of the Interactive Design and Visualization Lab (IDVL).

Her work focuses on the architectural application of emergent materials through physical prototyping and advanced visualization technologies including virtual reality simulation.

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 – Serious Unseriousness: Exploring Games, Play, And Purpose

Thursday, 13 December 2018, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.; Refreshments at 5:30 p.m.
Milton J Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology – Syracuse, NY


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With recent advancements in virtual reality, game design, and other technologies, games have come a long way from the early days of Monopoly or Battleship. Join Dr. Nathan Prestopnik (Ithaca College) to discuss how games and game technologies are being used to tell stories, teach students, and bring enjoyment in educational, corporate, and private contexts. Following the talk, join Dr. Prestopnik for a live demonstration of the Play|Write VR creative writing system, or challenge your friends at popular contemporary board games from the game library of Play the Game, Read the Story.

People interested in learning more about gaming are invited to attend the free Sweet Science Series presentation on Thursday, December 13th, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Cafe at the Museum of Science & Technology in Syracuse’s Armory Square. Admission is free and open to the public. Light snacks will be served at 5:30pm. Walk-ins are welcome, but we ask that people RSVP here by December 11th, 2018.

Presenter Information

Dr. Nathan Prestopnik is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Ithaca College, where he teaches game design and human-computer interaction. Nathan’s research is about storytelling, motivation, and engagement in serious games and playful systems, and he is constantly working with his students on innovative and exciting game design research projects. To date, these have included Happy Match & Forgotten Island, citizen science adventure games focused on taxonomic species classification, Arena, a Spanish-language learning game, and (most recently) Play|Write, a playful creative writing system for virtual reality built in Unity with the HTC Vive and Leap Motion 2. Nathan earned his Ph.D. in Information Science and Technology at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies in April 2013. He also holds dual bachelor degrees in film production and military history, an M.S. in New Media, and an M.Phil. in Information Science from Syracuse University. Before embarking on an academic career, Nathan was a UI/UX designer in various regions of the United States, including Los Angeles, CA, Clifton Park, NY, and Syracuse, NY. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, exploring, writing, and playing games.

Play the Game, Read the Story is the Syracuse area’s premier board game and comic store, with several locations throughout CNY.

TACNY John Edson Sweet Lecture 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 The MOST

The Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology (MOST) is a hands-on science and technology museum for all ages. The MOST hosts numerous STEM education programs and community outreach events annually and is home to 35,000 square feet of interactive exhibits, Silverman Planetarium, and Bristol IMAX® Omnitheater – the only domed IMAX theater in New York State. The MOST’s vision is to be a preeminent science and technology center, inspiring all generations through hands-on education and entertainment.

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.

NASA Night Sky Notes for December 2018: Observe Apollo 8’s Lunar Milestones

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 December, 2018.

By David Prosper

December marks the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 8 mission, when humans first orbited the Moon in a triumph of human engineering. The mission may be most famous for “Earthrise,” the iconic photograph of Earth suspended over the rugged lunar surface. “Earthrise” inspired the imaginations of people around the world and remains one of the most famous photos ever taken. This month also brings a great potential display of the Geminids and a close approach by Comet 46P/Wirtanen.

You can take note of Apollo 8’s mission milestones while observing the Moon this month. Watch the nearly full Moon rise just before sunset on December 21, exactly 50 years after Apollo 8 launched; it will be near the bright orange star Aldebaran in Taurus. The following evenings watch it pass over the top of Orion and on through Gemini; on those days five decades earlier, astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders sped towards the Moon in their fully crewed command module. Notice how the Moon rises later each evening, and how its phase wanes from full on Dec 22 to gibbous through the rest of the week. Can you imagine what phase Earth would appear as if you were standing on the Moon, looking back? The three brave astronauts spent 20 sleepless hours in orbit around the Moon, starting on Dec 24, 1968. During those ten orbits they became the first humans to see with their own eyes both the far side of the Moon and an Earthrise! The crew telecast a holiday message on December 25 to a record number of Earthbound viewers as they orbited over the lifeless lunar terrain; “Good night, good luck, a merry Christmas and God bless all of you – all of you on the good Earth.” 50 years later, spot the Moon on these holiday evenings as it travels through Cancer and Leo. Just two days later the astronauts splashed down into the Pacific Ocean after achieving all the mission’s test objectives, paving the way for another giant leap in space exploration the following year.

The Geminids, an excellent annual meteor shower, peaks the evening of December 13 through the morning of the 14th. They get their chance to truly shine after a waxing crescent Moon sets around 10:30 pm on the 13th. Expert Geminid observers can spot around 100 meteors per hour under ideal conditions. You’ll spot quite a few meteors by avoiding bad weather and light pollution if you can, and of course make sure to bundle up and take frequent warming breaks. The Geminids have an unusual origin compared to most meteor showers, which generally spring from icy comets. The tiny particles Earth passes through these evenings come from a strange “rock comet” named asteroid 3200 Phaethon. This dusty asteroid experiences faint outbursts of fine particles of rock instead of ice.

You can also look for comet 46P/Wirtanen while you’re out meteor watching. Its closest approach to Earth brings it within 7.1 million miles of us on December 16. That’s 30 times the average Earth-Moon distance! While passing near enough to rank as the 10th closest cometary approach in modern times, there is no danger of this object striking our planet. Cometary brightness is hard to predict, and while there is a chance comet 46P/Wirtanen may flare up to naked eye visibility, it will likely remain visible only via binoculars or telescopes. You’ll be able to see for yourself how much 46P/Wirtanen actually brightens. Some of the best nights to hunt for it will be December 15 and 16 as it passes between two prominent star clusters in Taurus: the Pleiades and the V-shaped Hyades. Happy hunting!

Catch up on all of NASA’s past, current, and future missions at nasa.gov.

Caption: Earthrise, 1968. Note the phase of Earth as seen from the Moon. Nearside lunar observers see Earth go through a complete set of phases. However, only orbiting astronauts witness Earthrises; for stationary lunar observers, Earth barely moves at all. Why is that? Credit: Bill Anders/NASA

About The NASA Night Sky Network

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!