Skip to main content
Northwestern University

Science Salon & Humanities Hour

Science Salon & Humanities Hour - Lectures at Lunch for Staff

There is remarkable research and scholarship that surrounds us every day at Northwestern University. Weinberg College staff members host an ongoing series of faculty talks given especially for staff where there is plenty of opportunity to ask questions, discuss, and learn about what the scholars we work with do, and the new knowledge that they create.

We are excited to present our 2019-2020 schedule below.  All talks are from Noon-1:00pm unless otherwise stated. More details are forthcoming. 

2019-2020 Science Salon & Humanities Hour Schedule
Faculty Department or Field Date  Room Title of Talk

Nathan Gianneschi




Tech F160

Physics & Astronomy Conference Room

Materials Biology: Understanding, Mimicking and Tricking Biology with Chemistry and Nanotechnology

The chemistry of cells, tissues, organs and organisms is broadly defined by formalized scientific field as either "Chemical Biology" or as "Biochemistry" among other terms with nuanced meanings. Our research sits at a new interface; that of materials science and biology - what we term "Materials Biology". Understanding how nature makes and interacts with materials is at the core of next generation solutions in treating disease and in healing damaged tissue and organs. I will describe examples of this emerging field by telling the tale of incredibly diverse naturally occurring nanoscale black pigments called melanins that protect our skin from radiation damage, and synthetic approaches discovered in our labs for the delivery of anticancer drugs disguised as fats to hungry tumors.

David Meyer



Physics and Astronomy


Tech F160

Physics & Astronomy Conference Room

Exploring the Milky Way with the Hubble Space Telescope

Among the many wonders of the night sky, our eyes are drawn to a diffuse band of light stretching from horizon to horizon. This "Milky Way" glows with the light of 300 billion stars amidst vast clouds of interstellar gas and stardust. It constitutes the disk-shaped stellar backbone of the large spiral galaxy that is our home. In this talk, I will lead a tour of the rich tapestry of our Milky Way Galaxy as seen through the latest Hubble Space Telescope images of its stars, star clusters, and nebulae.

Doug Kiel





Hagstrum Room

University Hall 201

"Municipality v. Nation: Indigenous Land Recovery, Settler Resentment, and Taxation on the Oneida Reservation"

The Oneida Nation of Wisconsin’s landholdings within their reservation plummeted from 65,000 acres to just 200 acres between the 1890s and 1920s. Soon a white majority inhabited the reservation and controlled municipal governments inside Oneida territory. Over the past three decades, the Nation has bought back tens of thousands of acres of their reservation land, prompting a heated legal battle between the tribal and municipal governments. This presentation will examine the successes of Indigenous nation-rebuilding since the 20th century, highlighting how U.S. law obstructs justice.

Matthew Johnson




Hagstrum Room

University Hall 201

English Landscapes in the North Atlantic in the 2nd Millennium CE

This big-picture talk will consider the landscapes and material practices that the English brought with them to the settlement of North America. English culture emerged over the very long term, and in relation to other North Atlantic identities. I will work backwards, peeling off the layers of the landscapes of England and her neighbors in early modern Europe, to the patterns of settlement of the Middle Ages and beyond.

Yevgenia Kozorovitskiy





Dearborn 23 Conference Room

Dearborn Observatory
2131 Tech Drive

"Mood disorders, neuroplasticity, and dopamine signaling in the brain"

Millions of people struggle with the uncontrollable sadness of depression, with effective treatments remaining out of reach, or taking weeks to exert therapeutic effects. In a major paradigmatic shift, a small molecule called ketamine was recently demonstrated to ameliorate depressive symptoms within a couple of hours in humans. Remarkably, despite extensive study over the last decade, the field of neuroscience lacks a unified framework for understanding the mechanisms of ketamine effects on brain and behavior. Our lab’s work may hold an answer, implicating a small amine neuromodulator called dopamine, which changes neuronal activity and communication between neurons in the brain. Relying on fascinating modern methods in neuroscience – complete with sophisticated genetic targeting methods and lasers that make new neuronal connections grow before your eyes – we will learn about dopamine signaling and neuroplasticity in order to understand what goes wrong in the depressed brain, and how ketamine may help us fix it.

Wendy Wall



This event has been postponed. More details to follow. 

Trienens Forum Room 

Kresge 1-515

The Pulter Project

In 1996, a seventeenth-century Englishwoman’s manuscript came to light, having lain largely unknown for over three hundred years. Hester Pulter’s Poems Breathed Forth by the Noble Hadassas includes over one hundred poems that brilliantly tour the reader through natural philosophy, cosmology, war, politics, death, animal lore, plant life, and faith. How might we use the affordances of digital resources show how this “hidden figure” revises our understanding of women’s intellectual production in early modern England? In this talk, I guide the audience through our innovative and collaborative digital edition, The Pulter Project: Poet in the Making underscoring ways that it illuminates Pulter’s creative processes while also radically experimenting with how scholars and readers “make” texts. 

Robert Gordon



This event has been postponed. More details to follow. 

Harris 108

Harris Hall

Can Economists Predict the Next Recession?

Since World War II the U.S. has experienced 11 recessions. The interval between recessions is called an expansion, and these on average have lasted a bit more than 6 years. But the current expansion has lasted almost 11 years, meaning that we are long overdue for another recession. What has caused recessions in the past, and what elements make this expansion so long-lived? What are the chances of another recession in the next year or two? Are there patterns in the economic data that allow economists to predict when the next recession will occur?

Science Salon & Humanities Hour committee members: 

For information contact: Nancy Hickey

Back to top