Tag Archives: Jr. Cafe Scientifique

TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique: “Mind, Body And Code: Two Students Talk Science”

Saturday – November 17, 2018, 9:30-11:00am

Please RSVP to jrcafe@tacny.org

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


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Talk 1: “You Are What You Eat”

Speaker: Rachel Elman, Senior at Fayetteville Manlius Senior High School, and Student Researcher, Department of Biology, Syracuse University

Talk Overview: We’ve all been told that unhealthy food makes for an unhealthy consumer. Decades of research has shown that the United States “western diet”, full of high fats and sugars, is detrimental to our health. This consumption has been linked to the development of metabolic syndrome, a collection of cardiovascular risk factors that serve as a precursor to type two diabetes, a life threatening disease that impacts synthesis and release of insulin. But what if our western diet wasn’t just bad for the health of our bodies, but was bad for the health of the brain as well? See how a fellow student aimed to answer this question, and explore a line of research that seeks to understand the complicated effects of our food on our brain.

Biography: Throughout her high school career, Rachel has worked as a student researcher in a neurobiology laboratory at Syracuse University. This SU lab’s research interests focus on the neural mechanisms of learning and memory, while her own research has centered on the cognitive effects of a “western” high fat diet through investigating synthesis of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the rat brain and body. Rachel entered her project into the Central New York science and engineering fair this past year and won the grand prize. Her more recent research focuses on BDNF function in female rats with variations of the val/met polymorphism of the BDNF gene. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys reading, travel with her family, and participating in special Olympics unified sports and volunteering in her school’s special education department.

Talk 2: “Cracking the Code of AI”

Speaker: Maximilian Du, Junior at Fayetteville-Manlius High school, and Student AI Researcher and Developer

Talk Overview: It seems that computers are now something that we can’t live without. From the smartphones in our pockets to the supercomputers that drive us ever closer to curing cancer, they have become more and more important in our daily lives. Unfortunately, because of their abundance, we often forget how incredibly complicated they really are. A lot goes into every “Ok Google”, every self-driving car’s turn, and every recommended video on YouTube, but as different as these tasks sound, they all have a singular driving force: Artificial Intelligence. Come learn about this concept that used to only belong on the pages of science fiction books and see what an aspiring AI researcher is doing to help expand this powerful tool to uncharted domains.

Biography: Always interested in science, Max has a home chemistry lab and electronics workbench, and enjoys tinkering around and fixing whatever is broken. Throughout his high school years, he has not only been fascinated with electrical engineering and chemistry, but also with artificial intelligence and its application towards real-life problems. Last year, Max designed a novel and non-invasive infant monitor that monitors breathing sounds from a baby using Recurrent Neural Networks, a form of artificial intelligence, to monitor for SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. He entered this project into the CNYSEF this past March and won the grand prize along with two other contestants, and competed in Intel ISEF, winning two special awards. In his free time, Max enjoys playing tennis, gardening, and most of all, figuring out what fascinating and often profound thing he should do next for fun.

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.

TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique: “Magical Matter”

Saturday – October 20, 9:30-11:00am

Please RSVP to jrcafe@tacny.org

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


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

Overview: Ready to summon some science? Join the TACNY Jr. Café on October 20th 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.

TACNY Junior Cafe Scientifique: “The Earth History Of Oxygen”

Saturday – February 17, 9:30-11:00am

Please RSVP to jrcafe@tacny.org

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


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Speaker: Zunli Lu, PhD, Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Earth Sciences, Syracuse University

Overview: Oxygen is an essential gas for many life forms on Earth today, but it did not exist in the atmosphere during early episodes of Earth history. Geochemists invested great amount of effort to study how trace level of oxygen first appeared at about 2 billion years ago and then rose to its concentration of modern atmosphere. Even when the atmosphere was rich in oxygen, global oceans experienced catastrophic oxygen losses in the last 100 million years. Last but not least, on-going global climate change and nutrient pollution are leading to the expansion of marine dead-zones and more frequent hypoxia. This talk will explore the Earth history of oxygen, addressing causes and evidences for changes in oxygen levels.

Biography: Zunli has been with Syracuse University since 2011 after obtaining his PhD at University of Rochester and completing post-doctoral research at University of Oxford (England). He is interested in using chemical analyses and computer simulations to solve puzzles in the Earth system at different time scales. He is in charge of a clean lab and mass spectrometer to measure trace elements in water, rock and fossil samples. Climate change and oceanography are his main areas of teaching at SU. Other than research, writing and teaching at university, Zunli plays volleyball, table tennis, and particularly enjoys fishing. He’s also learning skating and skiing with his 5 year old boy.

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.