MUTANTS, ANDROIDS, & CYBORGS - The Science of Pop Culture Films

Ever wonder about the line between science and science fiction? Could we ever selectively erase experiences from our memories? Upload information to our brains like a hard drive? Control robotic limbs with our minds?

In partnership with WBEZ, we're excited to present Mutants, Androids and Cyborgs: The Science of Pop Culture Films at 7:00 PM (doors open at 6:00 PM) on October 20th in Northwestern's Technological Institute auditorium. WBEZ's Gabriel Spitzer will join NU researchers Todd Kuiken, Malcolm MacIver, Tom Meade and Catherine Woolley on stage to discuss their fields as seen on the big screen, and how closely futuristic depictions of science match what's really possible. Tickets are on sale now. Read more.

Throughout history, fiction has made some bold predictions about future technology. In 1870, Jules Verne imagined the now-commonplace fax machine, but H. G. Wells’ 1895 visions of time travel have yet to pan out. What science of tomorrow can we look forward to by viewing the films of today?
Join WBEZ's Gabriel Spitzer on stage with four of Northwestern's leading scientists to discuss their fields as seen on the big screen and learn how closely futuristic depictions of science match what's really possible. See some of your favorite science fiction movie moments again and then hear what researchers are working on now in exciting areas like prosthetics, robotics, nanotechnology, and neuroscience. Reception to follow. Advance tickets, on sale now at WBEZ's website, are required. Sponsored by Science in Society in partnership with WBEZ.

$15/general admission
$12/WBEZ members
$10/students (with valid ID)

On Stage:
Todd Kuiken, MD, PhD, is director of the Neural Engineering Center for Artificial Limbs (NECAL) and director of amputee services at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. He is also a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation as well as biomedical engineering at Northwestern University. Research in NECAL focuses on improving control of prostheses using targeted reinnervation, a procedure that reroutes brain signals from nerves severed during amputation to intact muscles, allowing patients to control their prostheses intuitively. Kuiken and his colleagues are also studying sensory reinnervation, which may allow amputees to actually "feel" what they are touching with a prosthetic hand. More info…

Malcolm MacIver, PhD, is an associate professor of biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering and neurobiology and physiology at Northwestern University. He studies how the brain and body work together to obtain information about the world through sensory systems, using a combination of biological experiments, large-scale simulations, and robotics. He is also interested in bringing research to the broader community through interactive art installations and through involvement with the Science Entertainment Exchange, a program sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences that connects members of the entertainment industry with scientists. He recently served as a scientific consultant for the Disney film TRON: Legacy, and is the science advisor for the television series Caprica. More info…

Tom Meade, PhD, is the Elieen M. Foell professor of chemistry, biochemistry and molecular and cell biology, neurobiology and physiology, and radiology at Northwestern University. He is the founder of four biotechnology companies, and he holds more then 60 issued patents with 40 others pending. Meade's research covers a wide range of disciplines, including the emerging field of nanotechnology. Using nanotechnology, he and his collaborators are developing ultra-sensitive hand-held diagnostic tools and genetic tests, as well as improving current imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). More info…

Catherine Woolley, PhD, is a professor of neurobiology and physiology and also directs the Biological Imaging Facility at Northwestern. She studies plasticity, or the capacity for structural and functional change, of neural circuits in the brain, focusing on brain areas important in learning and memory, addiction, and epilepsy. Her research uses cellular and subcelluar imaging, electrophysiology, and biochemistry to understand how internal factors, such as hormones, and external factors, such as drugs of abuse, drive plastic changes in these brain areas and alter neural function. More info…

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