From the Coffeeshop Astrophysics page:
“For this talk, we are happy to host special guest speakers Mrinmayi Kulkarni and Jenna Blujus, graduate students in neuroscience in UWM's psychology department.
Imagine that you’re seated by the window in Anodyne on a Sunday morning. You’re fixated on a puppy playing in the park outside, while simultaneously hearing the hustle and bustle of the coffeeshop like the hiss of the cappuccino machine, two old friends catching up on a table next to you, and the music playing in the background. A few minutes later you hear your name being called out. You look in the direction of the sound, and see the barista putting your hot espresso on the bar. While the ability to take in your surroundings seems automatic, it takes an immense amount of processing in the brain to give you an accurate and continuous representation of the world around you. In this talk, we will discuss how information taken in from the environment by the eyes and ears is processed by the brain to produce sight and hearing. First, we will discuss how the components of each system take in, process and synthesize information from the senses to help us understand our surroundings. Then we will discuss how our goals and past experiences can change what we pay attention to in our environment. Finally, we will point out how the brain contributes its own assumptions when it forms this comprehensive picture and how sometimes these assumptions can lead these representations astray.
Also, don't think we forgot that July 20th is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing! We'll make sure to walk down moon-landing-memory-lane a little bit, too.