April 14, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 8PM @ the Bell House, FREE! Secret Science Club presents Psychologist & Author Steven Pinker on the Better Angels of Our Nature

Have humans become less violent? The news—war, crime, terrorism—seems to contradict that notion. But experimental psychologist Steven Pinker crunches the empirical data and concludes we live in the most peaceful era in the existence of our species. Believe it or not, rates of violence are down. Combining science and history, Dr. Pinker explores the psychological and social forces that tend humans toward violence—or nonviolence. And he examines how our aggressive impulses are counterbalanced by our “better angels” (e.g. empathy, self-control, and the ability to reason). 

Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, Steven Pinker conducts scientific research on language and cognition. His popular and critically acclaimed books include The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Stuff of Thought, and most recently The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined. He writes frequently for the New York Times, Edge, Slate, and the New Republic

Before & After
Dopamine-spiked cocktails, super cerebral grooves, thought-provoking Q&A + book signing!  

This edition of the Secret Science Club meets Tuesday, April 22, 8 pm @ the Bell House, 149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave. Doors open at 7:30 pm. Please bring ID: 21+. No cover.

Note: Early arrival to this event is advised. Capacity is limited and entry is first-come, first-served.

April 7, 2014


Congratulations to all the winners and oddly wonderful contestants at our 2014 Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest!  And a ferocious thanks to our judges Robert Marbury, Joanna Ebenstein, and Tony Rodgers; our volunteers; the owners and staff of the Bell House; and everyone who came out to support. The night was immortalized by the Village Voice in a slideshow. How beastly!

2014's Grand Master of Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy: Takeshi Yamada
First prize—Grand master, Takeshi Yamada, fearsome multiheaded monster, eek!

Second Prize—Kelly Owen, jeweled jackalope and rat dolls

Third Prize—Shasta Donegan, taxidermy opossum

Best in Bones Award—Tanis Meyer Thornton, “Resurrection of the Lamb"

Terribly Interesting Award—Mike Zohn, blue whale penis

Kick Ass Award—Daisy Tainton, cat monster battling beetle on horseback

Belle of the Ball Award—Mark Splatter, wet specimen titled “El Topo”

First in Panache Award—Richard Sauntomauro, ring-tailed lemur

You've got Chutzpah Award—Elizabeth Cohen, “Nicademus the Evil Jackalope”

Urban Outdoorsman Award—Steven Rinella, "The Remains of the Hunt" (skulls and rug of invasive Himalayan tahr)

Nate Hill Jumped the Shark Award--Joshua Goldstein and his squirrel Reginald

Judge’s Payback Award—Wilder Duncan, Dancing lambs”

March 12, 2014

Calling All Creatures . . . The Secret Science Club presents the "Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest," Sunday, April 6, 7:30 PM @ the Bell House, $12

The Secret Science Club presents the 7th (sorta-, kinda-, not-exactly-annual) "Carnivorous Nights TAXIDERMY CONTEST" @ the Bell House, Sunday, April 6, 7:30 pm. $12 advance, $15 at the door

Calling all science geeks, nature freaks, and rogue geniuses! Your stuffed squirrel got game? Got a beaver in your brownstone? Bring your beloved beast to the Bell House and enter it to win. 

Show off your moose head, python skeleton, rabbit relics, and other amazing specimens. Share your taxidermy (and its tale) with the world. Compete for prizes and glory! 

Eligible to enter: taxidermy (bought, found, homemade), biological specimens, articulated skeletons and skulls, jarred specimens--and beyond (way beyond). 

Entrants: Contact secretscienceclub@gmail.com to register. 

Spectators: Don't miss a beastly second of this wild night. . . 

Tickets: Advance tickets are available for purchase here

Hosted by: Dorian Devins & Margaret Mittelbach of the Secret Science Club 

Judging by: Robert Marbury of the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermy, Tony Rodgers of the Metropolitan Museum of Art & Joanna Ebenstein of the Morbid Anatomy Library and Museum 

Kicked Off by: Our patron beast,the illustrious Rump Ape, wrangled by first-ever Carnivorous Nights grand master Andrew Templar 

--Groove to ferocious tunes 
--Imbibe savage specialty drinks 
--Get lucky and take away furry-and-fanged door prizes

This special edition of the Secret Science Club meets Sunday, April 6 at 7:30 pm @ the Bell House, 149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave; R to 9th St. Doors open at 7 pm. Please bring ID: 21+ . $12 adv, $15 door.

March 6, 2014

Tuesday, March 11, 8PM @ the Bell House, FREE! Secret Science Club presents Cognitive Scientist and Author Paul Bloom on the Origins of Good and Evil

Are we blank slates at birth when it comes to right and wrong, or is there some innate system of guidance baked into our very beings? Can we instinctively separate heroes from villains? Do we have a tendency toward compassion? How about hard-wiring for revenge? Developmental psychologist Paul Bloom demonstrates that human beings are born with a moral compassit's just not perfectly calibrated. 

In his latest book, Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil, Dr. Bloom examines the morality of infants, chimps, and psychopaths, drawing on insights from psychology, behavioral economics, and evolutionary biology (as well as observations from Darwin and Louis C.K.) 

Professor of psychology and cognitive science at Yale, Paul Bloom researches how children and adults understand the physical and social world, with a special focus on morality, religion, fiction, and art. The author of over 100 scientific papers and numerous books, Dr. Bloom writes for the New Yorker, New York Times, Atlantic, and Slate

Before & After
--Try our morally compromised cocktail of the night, the "Right Amount of Wrong" 
--Sway to seemingly altruistic grooves 
--Stick around for the uninhibited Q&A
--Snag a signed copy of Paul Bloom's wickedly good new book!

This edition of the Secret Science Club meets Tuesday, March 11, 8 pm @ the Bell House149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave; R to 4th Ave/9th St.

Doors open at 7:30 pm. Please bring ID: 21+. No cover. Just bring your smart self!

February 9, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 8PM @ the Bell House, FREE! Secret Science Club presents Primatologist and Conservation Biologist Mary Blair

Homo sapiens may be a lonely genus. But just a short climb up the taxonomic ladder, we have plenty of relatives. Worldwide, there are more than 600 species of apes, monkeys, lemurs, and other primates, with most species living in tropical forests. Primatologist Mary Blair explores jungles from Central America to Vietnam to survey rare and endangered primates in their wild homes—and to work for their preservation and survival.

The assistant director for research and strategic planning at the American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, Mary Blair conducts lab- and field-based research on the evolutionary biology of primates and how changes in habitat and human activities affect their populations. On her most recent expedition, she wrote about prowling Vietnamese forests at night in search of slow lorises and waking to the the eerily flutelike calls of gibbons for the New York Times’ “Scientist at Work” column. Dr. Blair teaches at Columbia University and the Richard Gilder Graduate School, and is a recent recipient of a fellowship from the National Science Foundation to study wildlife trade and illegal trafficking. 

Before & After
--Try our cocktail of the night, the Nocturnal Prowler
--Swing by your tail to almost-human grooves
--Stick around for the eye-opening Q&A

This wild edition of the Secret Science Club meets Wednesday, February 12, 8 pm @ the Bell House149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave; R to 4th Ave/9th St.

Doors open at 7:30 pm. Please bring ID: 21+. No cover. Just bring your smart self!

Photo Credits: Mary Blair, by Khuong Thang; Pygmy Slow Loris, Courtesy of David Haring/Duke Lemur Center

February 3, 2014

Blast Off to Planet Earth! Thursday, February 13, Secret Science Club collides with the Crossroads Project @ Symphony Space

Pick up your fervent brain and your wild beating heart . . . Secret Science Club is stepping out for a night of pre-Valentine's revelry and illumination! 

Join us as we head uptown for a one-night-only special event . . . 

Thursday, February 13, 7:30PM, $20 
Physicist Robert Davies and the acclaimed Fry Street Quartet converge at Symphony Space for the NYC debut of the Crossroads Project.

"Transformative . . . impassioned .... a powerful collaboration . . ." 
Fusing art, science, and new music, Dr. Davies and crew take a profound look at the state of the planet in what can only be described as an intensely immersive experience. Davies' scientific presentation is masterfully merged with the music of composer Laura Kaminsky and projected visual artworks in an ever-evolving, explosive exploration of Earth systems and the human condition. 

Join the Secret Science Club at the pre-party at 7 pm and get your drink on with special guests Gavin Schmidt of NASA and biogeochemist William Schelesinger of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, who will be on hand before and after to interact, along with artists, the composer, and musicians. 

Tickets are just $20 with code SCIENCE at symphonyspace.org or 212.864.5400. PLUS! You get a free Lagunitas micro-brewed beer (IPA, PILS, or Lil Sumpin) with your ticket if you use the code (courtesy of the Bar Thalia)! Be still, my beating heart! SOLD OUT!

WHERE: Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway @ 95th St in Manhattan. Subway: 1, 2, or 3 train to 96th Street. 

WHEN: Pre-party 7 pm, Crossroads Project 7:30 pm, Thursday, February 13 

See you there!

January 8, 2014

Wednesday, January 15, 8PM @ the Bell House, FREE! Secret Science Club presents Physicist Max Tegmark + Our Mathematical Universe

Mind = Blown. Is math a human invention? Or is there something mathematical about nature itself? Max Tegmark doesn't think the universe is just described by math—he proposes the universe IS math. Take a joyride to another dimension with one of the world’s leading theoretical physicists as he explores the multiverse, "quantum weirdness," computer models of the brain, and the probability of life in other galaxies

A professor of physics at MIT, Max Tegmark has authored and co-authored over 200 scientific papers and been a featured scientist on Science Channel’s Through the Wormhole, BBC’s Horizon, and BBC/NOVA’s Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives. Dr. Tegmark has just completed his first book, Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality. Yeah!

Calculated cocktails, exponential grooves, mindblowing Q&A + book signing

This edition of the Secret Science Club meets Wednesday, January 15, 8 pm @ the Bell House149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave.

Doors open at 7:30 pm. Please bring ID: 21+. No cover. Just bring your smart self! 

December 5, 2013

Tues, December 10, 8PM @ the Bell House, FREE! Secret Science Club presents Astrophysicist Ray Jayawardhana + Neutrino Hunters

Prepare to explore part(icle)s unknown!
Neutrinos are everywhere—trillions pass through your body every second—and these phantom bits of matter travel straight through the Earth without leaving a whisper of evidence. Emanating from the sun (and other nuclear reactions) and moving at near-light speed, neutrinos may hold the key to why antimatter is so rare, how stars explode as supernovas, and what the Universe was like just seconds after the Big Bang.  

Neutrinos are notoriously hard to pin down. But scientists are busy laying traps. Drawing on his new book, Neutrino Hunters: The Thrilling Chase for a Ghostly Particle to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe, astrophysicist Ray Jayawardhana discusses the quest to detect and observe neutrinos, from deep underground laboratories all the way to Antarctica’s “IceCube,” the largest neutrino detector in the world.

Professor of astronomy and Canada Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics at the University of Toronto, Ray Jayawardhana is the co-author of over 100 scientific papers and has written for the EconomistNew York Times, and Scientific American. His previous book, Strange New Worlds, was the basis for the television documentary, The Planet Hunters.

Before & After
--Groove to subatomic tunes from our stereophonic supercollider
--Sample our quantum cocktail of the night, the Quinter Quish . . . it will add a particle of warmth to your seasonal celebrations . . .
--Hot off the presses! Snag a signed copy of Dr. Jayawardhana’s just-released new book, Neutrino Hunters
--Don’t miss the out-of-this-world Q&A

This cosmological edition of the Secret Science Club meets Tuesday, December 10, 8 pm @ the Bell House, 149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave.

Doors open at 7:30 pm. Please bring ID: 21+. No cover. Just bring your smart self! 

November 18, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 8PM @ the Bell House, FREE! Secret Science Club presents Asteroid: Doomsday or Payday?

Grab your space boots, hold on to your wigs and keys, and have us pour you a cosmic cocktail . . .

Secret Science Club is blasting into the stratosphere with a special live screening of Asteroid: Doomsday or Payday? from NOVA. 

Last February a meteor exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia, setting off a shock wave 30 times more powerful than an atomic bomb. And that was just a hiccup. More than 10,000 asteroids and comets are known to pass just a cosmic whisper from Earth. How are astrophysicists working to track, detect—and even deflect—space rocks that could threaten the planet? And why are some scientists and entrepreneurs looking at the same orbiting objects and seeing (literally) golden opportunities? 
Prepare to defend the Earth . . .

PLUS! Before & After
—Imbibe our rocket-fueled cocktail of the night
—Enter our spacey trivia contest and score out-of-this-world prizes
—Groove to tunes from beyond the Kuiper Belt

This interplanetary edition of the Secret Science Club meets Wednesday, November 20 at 8 pm @ the Bell House, 149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave. 

Doors open at 7:30 pm Please bring ID: 21+. No cover. 

October 7, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 8PM @ the Bell House, FREE! Secret Science Club & the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation present the 2013 Lasker Public Lecture with Biologist Jeffrey Friedman

It’s time you started loving your love handles. Your body fat isn't just sitting there jiggling. It’s actually producing essential hormones. No one suspected such a thing until biologist Jeffrey Friedman co-discovered the hormone leptin, and the surprising fact that it regulates food intake and body weight.

So, if you thought it was sheer willpower keeping you from eating those cupcakes, think again. In fact, Friedman’s research shows that without the leptin produced in our fat cells—which tells our brains, “You’re full for now!”—all of us would be chowing down non-stop.

Jeffrey Friedman’s seminal discovery completely transformed how “fat” is viewed—and set off a tidal wave of new research on body weight and what governs it. Dr. Friedman discusses:
--The average American eats over 800,000 calories each year. Yet, most of us maintain our body weight within a fairly narrow range. How?
--How does leptin relate to weight loss, dieting, and the obesity epidemic? Are there biological processes that make losing weight difficult?  
--Is obesity a disease, a symptom, or something else entirely? What are current and future treatments?

Professor of molecular genetics at Rockefeller University and an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Jeffrey Friedman received the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award (often hailed as the American Nobel prize) in 2010. The author of over 150 scientific papers, he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and its Institute of Medicine; the recipient of the Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine, the Keio Medical Science Prize, and numerous other awards; as well as a regularly featured scientist on such programs as PBS’s NOVA ScienceNOW.

This edition of the Secret Science Club is sponsored by the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation. The Foundation works to foster the prevention and treatment of disease and disabilities by honoring excellence in basic and clinical science, educating the public, and advocating for support of medical research. 

Before & After
--Try our well-proportioned cocktail of the night, the Love Handler
--Groove to high-energy, low-sucrose tunes
--Weigh in during the ginormous Q&A

The Secret Science Club meets Wednesday, October 23, 8 pm @ the Bell House, 149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave.

Doors open at 7:30 pm. Please bring ID: 21+

No cover. Just bring your smart self.

September 12, 2013

Tuesday, September 17, 8PM @ the Bell House, FREE! Secret Science Club presents Neuroscientist Moran Cerf

Moran Cerf is a computer hacker turned neuroscientist. Security companies once paid him to break into banks. Now he hacks the human brain. Using electrodes implanted deep inside the craniums of patients undergoing neurosurgery, Dr. Cerf and his colleagues are studying “thought” as it’s never been studied before . . .

He asks: How do we control our perceptions, thoughts and emotions? What does the brain look like when it’s most intrigued? What is the future of brain-machine interfaces? Could brain-powered prosthetics not only replace lost limbs, but even enhance the human body?

Dr. Cerf runs the C-Lab (Curiosity, Creativity, Cognition, Complexity, Consciousness, Consumer Behavior, Computation) and is assistant professor of neuroscience and marketing at Northwestern University, visiting professor in neurosurgery at UCLA, and Alfred P. Sloan professor of screenwriting at the American Film Institute. He is also a Moth storytelling GrandSlam champion.

Before & After
--Try our wet-wired cocktail of the night, the Brain Alcohol Interface
--Submit to our dopamine-spiked neuro-grooves
--Stick around for the mind-blowing Q&A

This brain-powered edition of the Secret Science Club meets Tuesday, September 17, 8 pm @ the Bell House, 149 7th St. (between 2nd and 3rd avenues) in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Subway: F or G to 4th Ave.

Doors open at 7:30 pm. Please bring ID: 21+

No cover. Just bring your smart self!