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Upcoming: Night Lab: The Science of Chocolate (FULL! See you at the next one!)

Who wants to go to chocolate school? No, really. Science is Sexy is teaming up with our friends at Callebaut Chocolate to bring you a delicious science lesson!  Just in time for all the holiday baking and chocolate eating, Night Lab will be covering everything from the science of chocolate itself (and how the quality and makeup of chocolate affect your homemade treats) to the lowdown on the science behind the health benefits of chocolate (trust us, you won’t feel so bad on January first after this). We’ll trace the life of a cocoa bean from the tree to the bar, and also learn about what the recently-revealed genetic code of the Cacao tree reveals about the chocolate we eat, as well as what happens to your brain on chocolate (the Cliff’s Notes: It’s good. Very good).

This program will be held in Callebaut’s gorgeous, state-of-the-art Chocolate Academy. (Remember Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? It’s like that. But without the Umpa-Lumpas.) It’s free and open to the public. If only high school had been this sweet!

Location: Callebaut Chocolate Academy (600 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL)
Date: Thursday, December 1, 2011
Time: 6:30 PM
Cost: Free
Brown Line to Chicago Ave.

About Callebaut:

A global chocolatier with a home base in Chicago, Callebaut Chocolate is the global leader in cocoa and chocolate innovations and provides a comprehensive range of services in the fields of product development, processing, training and marketing, and has been producing cocoa and chocolate products for more than 150 years. Callebaut is a fully integrated company that masters every step from the sourcing of cocoa beans to the shelf. Callebaut is a leader in social responsibility in the chocolate industry, actively engaged in initiatives and projects that contribute to a more sustainable cocoa supply chain, working to empower cacoa farmers, protect the environment, and support sustainable practices.

Callebaut offers classes for the general public at their Chocolate Academy, as well as other locations.

Night Lab is honored to partner with Callebaut to offer this program.

About Night Lab:

Molecular Geneticist and Cell Biologist Stephanie Levi, Ph.D. has a passion for making science enjoyable and accessible for the general public, and created Night Lab to bring fun, educational science programming to adults in Chicago in November 2008. Night Lab is designed to give non-scientists a short and sweet taste of science in their everyday lives. As a scientist, Stephanie is passionate about Chicago, and Night Lab programs feature the people and organizations that make Chicago a rockstar city for science. Whether you are just curious about science or a professional scientist, Night Lab is for you.

Drop Stephanie a note at Night.Lab.Chicago@gmail.com.

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Better Coffee Through Science

Huge thanks to all who came out for Night Lab with Intelligentsia, featuring the Science of Coffee, in June.  We had a blast hearing from Sarah Kluth, and lucky guests got free bags of coffee from the glorious company (and it had been roasted just two days before!).  More events are coming your way this year, when we’re going to be bigger than we’ve ever been over here at Science is Sexy.

Did the talk inspire any of you to change the way you make your coffee?  Just curiosity.  We’re the proud owners of a new Burr Grinder and gold filter for our automatic machine (oh, we’re working our way toward a French Press for more control, but hey, Rome was not built in a day).

While I’m at it, we’ve gotten some great press: We’ve been featured on CBS Chicago, and in the Roscoe View Journal, in the University of Chicago Magazine, and fellow Chicago science outreach maven Tom Ruginis’ blog and website.

I love what I do, and look forward to sharing another year of sexy science with you.

Hugs, kisses and quarks,

Stephanie

Sarah explains the science behind the roasting process

Lucky audience members with their gift from Sarah - free coffee!

The science of the grind of coffee, explained.

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Night Lab: The Science of Coffee

Coffee is a pleasure and (for many of us) a morning necessity, but do you know the science behind your morning brew? Join us for Night Lab, Chicago’s science series for     adults, where we’ll learn the science of coffee from Sarah Kluth of Chicago’s own Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea as she traces the life of coffee from the tree to your cup. We’ll learn the chemistry behind the perfect cup, giving you the science you need to master the ultimate brew at home. If you’ve ever wondered about the chemistry behind the complex flavor of coffee, the physics behind a strong or weak cup, or the biology behind coffee’s amazing effects and flavors, come by for a drink and stay for a delicious science lesson.

Schubas (3159 N. Southport)
June 12, 2011
7-9 PM
21+
Free.
Red Line to Belmont

About Intelligenstia:

Based in Chicago, Illinois, Intelligentsia Coffee’s mission is to provide customers, staff, and community with an unparalleled and complete coffee and tea experience in an environment steeped in understanding, knowledge, skill, service and mutual respect. Intelligentsia believes in coffee quality and has made a commitment to our customers to offer only truly dazzling Specialty Coffees that speak for themselves in the cup. To get such coffees they work closely with actual producers, not just importers or exporters, so that they can build great coffees from the very start. In the broadest terms, these coffees should be understood as a true collaboration, with both sides investing a great deal of time, energy and ideas to produce something great.

Intelligentsia offers classes for the general public at their Chicago Roasting works, and has retail locations in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.

Night Lab is honored to partner with Intelligentsia to offer this program.

ABOUT NIGHT LAB:
Molecular Geneticist and Cell Biologist Stephanie Levi, Ph.D. has a passion for making science enjoyable and accessible for the general public, and created Night Lab to bring fun, educational science programming to adults in Chicago in November 2008. Night Lab is designed to give non-scientists a short and sweet taste of science in their everyday lives.  As a scientist, Stephanie is passionate about Chicago, and Night Lab programs feature the people and organizations that make Chicago a rockstar city for science. Whether you are just curious about science or a professional scientist, Night Lab is for you.

Drop Stephanie a note at Night.Lab.Chicago@gmail.com.

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The Science of Extinction

The Levi(y) Ladies

Thanks to all who came out for last Sunday’s Night Lab about the Science of Extinction!  As always, the crowd was cool and we heard some interesting ideas, and questions.  Our thanks to the Bookcellar for joining us to sell copies of Once and Future Giants.
Join us next month for another Night Lab about the science of coffee.  We’ll trace the life of coffee from the tree to your cup with Intelligentsia’s Sarah Kluth, who travels the world as a coffee buyer, and is a officially the company’s Mix Master (yes, that’s what she actually does).  I will chime in on some chemistry, and there might even be a few surprises thrown in for the science fans in the house!  The next Night Lab will be at Schubas on June 12, 2011, 7:00 PM-9:00 PM.  See you then!

Cute, science-loving crowd

Sharon outlines interesting rewilding ideas.

A very thoughtful anthropologist chimed in about data-driven approaches to conservation.


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Night Lab: The Science of Extinction

If you can imagine it, mammoths, camels, saber-toothed cats and massive ground sloths once walked the ground that has become Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.  Walking down Michigan Avenue today, you’d never guess that these huge creatures foraged on the marsh land now buried beneath city’s streets.  Just as the first humans settled the Americas, these Ice Age giants vanished forever.  New research on these extinctions offers insights for modern conservation – understanding the demise of the mastodon may help us create strategies to protect today’s endangered elephants, rhinos, tigers and wolves.

Some conservation biologists take the argument further: they now suggest that in some cases, deliberately introducing exotic animals may be critical to restoring damaged ecosystems.  Should we strive to replicate the animal populations found by the first Europeans as they colonized the globe, as traditional conservation efforts assume?  Or should we instead work to rebuild whole ecosystems, using substitutes to fill niches left empty by the top predators and large herbivores humans have driven to extinction?  Join us to find out about what science can tell us about our Earth’s past and future at Night Lab, Chicago’s science series for adults, for a discussion with science writer Sharon Levy, author of Once and Future Giants: What Ice Age Extinctions Tell Us About the Fate of Earth’s Largest Animals.

Schubas (3159 N. Southport)
May 1, 2011
7-9 PM
21+
Free.
Red Line to Belmont

About Once and Future Giants:

In Once and Future Giants, science writer Sharon Levy digs through the evidence surrounding Pleistocene large animal (“megafauna”) extinction events worldwide, showing that understanding this history-and our part in it-is crucial for protecting the elephants, polar bears, and other great creatures at risk today. These surviving relatives of the Ice Age beasts now face an intensified replay of that great die-off, as our species usurps the planet’s last wild places while driving a warming trend more extreme than any in mammalian history.  Deftly navigating competing theories and emerging evidence, Once and Future Giants examines the extent of human influence on megafauna extinctions past and present, and explores innovative conservation efforts around the globe. The key to modern-day conservation, Levy suggests, may lie fossilized right under our feet.

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The Science was Sexy: Last Night’s Night Lab

Thanks to all who came out for last night’s Night Lab event!  It was so much fun to explain the science of sex and attraction to a packed room of science fans.

For those who could not make it in (we were at capacity!), the next event, on the Science of Beauty, will be held on March 13, 2011 at 7:00 PM-again at Schubas!

For anyone who is new to Night Lab, it is an event that I created as I did my Ph.D. to make science more accessible to everyone, after I discovered that many people shared my love of science but found it intimidating or had bad memories of high school bio.  Night Lab is science for adults, brought down to earth to let everyone and anyone see the sexy, everyday side of science.

This is the blog spot for Night Lab, where you can read about the science of the everyday in between events from a scientist who knows her stuff.

Here are some photos from the event last night.  You can add your own at Science is Sexy’s Flickr page. A video of the event will be up shortly!

See you next month!

Cute audience members get ready to enact the endocrine and neural pathways of sex and attraction.

Estrogen and Testosterone duke it out.

Talking through drinks.

Packed house at Schubas

Explaining the science of breakups.

The kiss-in

This lovely guy demonstrated the increase in norepinephrine that hits during orgasm.

More kiss-in!

Getting ready.

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