October 15, 2006 § Leave a comment


For those of you who speed read, please don’t skip the part about a “troupe of possessed women.”

This evening, you will have the chance to taste Chateau Jiahu, the most ancient, chemically-attested alcoholic beverage in the world, dating back to about 7000 B.C. It is a mixed fermented beverage of malted rice, wild-flower honey, and white grapes, fermented on a sake yeast with hawthorn berries. Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania Museum’s Biomolecular Archaeology laboratory will discuss how his lab and colleagues resurrected ancient Chinese and Near Eastern beverages.

Darrin Siegfried, wine expert and restaurateur, former Sommelier Society of America President, will comment on the qualities of the new old wines, and lead the tasting. Music will be provided by Katie Down, playing water – whoops, wine – glasses. And choreographer and dancer Rachel Cohen will invest the peaceful glade of the Cornelia Street Café with her troupe of possessed women. Any bulls nearby may be sacrificed, for this night Dionysus rules!

Usually Entertaining Science has just one show. This time, by popular demand, there will be two shows, at 6 PM and at 8:30PM. When you call the café for a reservation, please specify the show.



September 3, 2006 § Leave a comment


From blue pigments to the Blues, artists make choices: this is a program about those choices. Marco Leona, a scientist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will talk to us about pigments and color, from indigo to the remarkable Maya blue, and from the arrival in Japan of Prussian blue to the aniline invasion. Guitarist Kenta Nagai and percussion player Satoshi Takeishi, both composers as well, will take us down the road traveled by other blues, perhaps from the Mississippi delta to Chicago. Choosing instruments, choosing styles, creating harmonies


June 6, 2006 § Leave a comment


Microscopic single celled organisms (a.k.a. bacteria) were, until recently, thought to live asocial lives. New research shows that bacteria are quite conversational, and that they talk with a chemical vocabulary. This chemical chit-chat is dubbed “quorum sensing” and it enables bacteria to act in unison to reap benefits and wreck havoc that cells acting as loners could never achieve.

Bonnie Bassler of Princeton University and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute will translate this bacterial language and discuss her group’s efforts to develop anti-quorum sensing molecules for use as novel antibiotic therapies. Shadow puppeteers Todd Reichart and Jennie Lee Mitchell will explore the interesting things that happen when one becomes many and the many transform.


May 7, 2006 § Leave a comment


A mouthful, that word. Yet you feel the implicit paradox in it, of the soft and the hard. For soft as we are, we have bone and teeth (and wish they wouldn’t fail us!). And there is nothing more beautiful in Nature than the shelters and solid inner structures that small and big critters alike have evolved.

Lia Addadi of the Weizmann Institute and Joanna Aizenberg of Bell Labs will introduce us to this exquisite world of structure and function between the organic and inorganic. Agata Olek (an artist who will crochet anything from a Venice vaporetto to prostate cancer), working with actor Carol Haunton, will crochet balloons and a fairy tale to illuminate a Venus Flower Basket, a glass sponge which “traps” two shrimp in its interior. Maybe she’ll crochet around you; watch out!


April 2, 2006 § Leave a comment


Daniel Conrad, an award-winning filmmaker from Vancouver, will show us his two most recent films — one bearing the title of this program, the other, “7 Universal Solvents.” Both feature contemporary New York and Canadian dancers, and forces of nature. René Hen, who studies genetic models of anxiety and depression, will tell us of mutant mice and chimeras in modern biology. And friends will read some apposite poems by Wislawa Szymborska.


February 5, 2006 § Leave a comment


So it’s a week early…. But Darwin and evolution are in the air. And in the courts. Jonathan Weiner, the author of “The Beak of the Finch,” tells some war stories from the people who actually watch evolution happen, anthropologist and entertainer Richard Milner will try out some brash new songs on evolution, and master magician Mark Mitton will treat us to an “Evolution in Action” show. Now you can find out where those rabbits really come from!

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