Science on Tap

Science is brewing at Hancher’s Stanley Café!

Science on Tap is an informal forum for University of Iowa researchers to engage the campus and the local community in a discussion of science in a fun and inviting atmosphere, while recognizing the great research and scholarship taking place at Iowa.

Fall 2019

October 10: Hybrid Cochlear Implants: Improving Hearing in Noise and for Music

Speaker: Bruce Gantz (Professor, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery)

Description: For more than 30 years, researchers in the Iowa Cochlear Implant Clinical Research Center (ICICRC) at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine have been studying outcomes with cochlear implants.  The Iowa team has developed an advanced cochlear implant strategy called the hybrid cochlear implant. There are significant advantages of the hybrid system that incorporates both residual acoustic hearing with electrical processing (acoustic + electric, A+E).  Some of the advantages of A+E processing are improved hearing in noise and music.  Current research is focused on how people separate speech from noise, which is a major problem of the hearing impaired. We are studying central auditory processing to better understand how we separate speech and noise.  This presentation will provide an overview of hearing impairment, state of the art understanding of cochlear implant technology, and how we are improving the ability to understand speech in noise and music.

November 14: Robot Theater

Speaker: Denise Szecsei (Associate Professor of Instruction, Computer Science)

Description: Robots have integrated into our society, moving beyond manufacturing applications.  Robots can now be found working in hotels, hospitals, and schools.  They are learning to drive and deliver packages. Robots also appear in television shows, films, and plays.  Historically, when robot characters appeared in film or on stage, human actors played the roles.  Technological advances have made it possible for robots to perform character versions of themselves.  The University of Iowa’s Robot Theater Project (UIRTP) explores the impact of robot actors on theatrical performances, and also uses robot theater to advance STEM education.  For this presentation, NAO humanoid robots will perform a variety of skits and routines developed by UI students, and Denise Szecsei will discuss the development of the project.

Spring 2020

February 20: The Scientific Concert: new music distilled from geology, physics, and chemistry

Speaker: Jean-Francois Charles (Assistant Professor, Music)

Description: Jean-François Charles presents how collaboration with musicians, scientists and technicians has been at the core of the creative process for the Scientific Concert, a show premiered on October 27, 2019. He will focus on the composition of Petrasonic, a sonata for double bass and percussion, which was created at the crossroads of music and geology. He will demonstrate new musical instruments made of stones, and detail some of the team work involved in the creative process.

March 26: Three Minute Thesis Showcase

Speakers: TBN, winners of 2019 Three Minute Thesis

Description: The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition challenges graduate students to communicate their research in three minutes or less in non-specialist language. Participants represent a diverse array of disciplines and areas of study, and reflect the passion and thirst for discovery common among all of Iowa's graduate students. This year's winners will join Science on Tap to showcase some of the diverse research being done on campus.

April 23: Iowa Watershed Approach

Speaker: Larry Weber (Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering)

Description: In 2016, Iowa received a $96.9 million grant from the US Department of Housing and Development to fund its vision for a more resilient state: The Iowa Watershed Approach (IWA). The goals behind the IWA include reducing flood risk, improving water quality, increasing resilience, engaging stakeholders through outreach and education, improving quality of life and developing a replicable program. This is a ‘flood-first’ program that focuses on improving rural watershed resiliency through adoption of conservation practices targeting reduction in peak stream flow during heavy rainfall and improve water quality year-round.


Monday, November 11, 2019