Blog Post

The Science of Star Wars: Fact, Fiction or Something in Between?

April 9, 2019

The Force, lightsabers, AI robots (with a sense of humor), hyperdrive, life on other planets, the Death Star – these phenomena presented in Star Wars have captured the imaginations of millions of moviegoers. We’ve seen nothing like them in the real world.  Might we someday?

On April 3, 2019, Dr. Dirk K. Morr, Professor of Physics at University of Illinois at Chicago, walked a large audience assembled at the Harold Washington Library Center through each of these phenomena and offered his take on how they square with the laws of Science, at least as we understand the scientific principles today.  It was a fascinating presentation, well worth your time to view on C2ST’s YouTube Channel (the presentation included film clips, music and very cool graphics).  Here are a few bottom lines from the program.

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STEM Ask & Learn April 2019

As a part of our ongoing initiative to introduce students to STEM professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds, Horizon Pharma and The Chicago Council on Science and Technology visited Perspectives Math and Science Academy to talk to students about college and entering STEM fields. Check out our newest interview. Learn more about our partners Horizon Pharma: Perspectives Math and Science Academy:

C2ST in the News

Science Lovers, Mark Your Calendar

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[Originally published on Read the original article here.]

Chicago is home to many of the world’s largest scientific powerhouses and one organization is making sure Chicagoans know about the cutting-edge work that is being conducted around them. The Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST) works to increase the public’s understanding and appreciation of science and technology and their impact on society.

The council has grown to encompass much of the Chicago area and done its best to create a place where anyone from anywhere can come to learn. In the past 11 years, C2ST has developed quality public STEM programming that showed the wealth of science and technology talent in the region while clearly defining societal implications of the research showcased.


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How Sexual Harassment Culture Infects Academia

Watch the Q&A here.

Diversity in academia is in the public spotlight. Yet, despite some important strides for women in academic science careers, many workplaces and their cultures discriminate against women and can endanger them – professionally, psychologically, and even physically. Recent findings have played an important role in shaping new policies at field sites, universities, professional organizations, and funding agencies. Rutherford and Arreola will summarize this work and share suggestions from the evidence and from the recent NASEM (The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine) #ScienceToo report for improving the academic climate for women.


Brain Buddies Live Podcast

Did you know there may be quantum calculators in your eyes? The bizarre properties of quantum mechanics are now helping neuroscientists more precisely understand how brains and other living things work. Join C2ST for a live recording of “Chicago Brain Buddies” with the dynamic hosts: University of Chicago neurobiology professor Peggy Mason and C2ST Artist in Residence Aaron Freeman. They are joined by physicist Maria Weber for a lively exploration of how quantum entanglement in the retinas of birds help them “see” magnetic north and how electron superpositions (their ability to be in many places simultaneously) may be involved in memory formation and storage.


Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga

Watch the Q&A segment here.


Ever wonder if meditation is for you? Or if practicing mindfulness really works? Almost every day, something about meditation and mindfulness appears in the news. The reports suggest that these practices will make us healthier, happier, keep our brains healthy, and make us more successful. Meditation is the new miracle intervention that improves everything for everyone. But what exactly are meditation and mindfulness? How can they be learned, and by whom? In this talk, Dr. Marcia Grabowecky explains what meditation and mindfulness are and the relationship between them. She describes possible mechanisms for the effectiveness of these practices at psychological and neural levels, and how meditation and mindfulness relate to other types of training. She also reviews evidence for the effectiveness of mindfulness and meditation from the domains of physical and mental health, experimental psychology, and neuroscience. Finally, Dr. Grabowecky discusses the costs and benefits of adding meditation practices into one’s life.