Tesseract Point Science Cafe


Science Cafe is a time when the general public can meet and interact with a scientist in an informal setting, and learn something about an intriguing area of research. We meet monthly, on the second Tuesday of the month, in the loft of the Coffee Scene on Morganton Road, from 7-8 pm. The event is open to the general public in the Fayetteville and surrounding area, and there is no charge (except to buy something from the coffee shop).

Tuesday March 14

Topic: Sustainable Ecology in a Martian Colony   

Design of a large area closed ecological system on Mars

Morgan Irons Environmental Scientist, Biologist
7:00 pm Coffee Scene 3818 Morganton Rd, Fayetteville NC
Morgan Irons is the founder and Chief Science Officer of Deep Space Ecology, a company that develops ecological solutions for sustainable human habitation ... anywhere, including Earth, Moon, Mars and beyond. A senior at Duke University, Morgan will be graduating May 2017 with a double major with honors in environmental science and biology, a chemistry minor, and a pre-medicine emphasis. Her research review on closed ecological systems (CES’s) led to the development of a new patent pending CES model, the Three-Zone Model, and the founding of Deep Space Ecology. At Duke University's Research Greenhouses, Morgan has performed research growing plants in Mars regolith simulant to better learn how plants will grow on Mars. Additionally, she co-chairs the Student Space Ambassador Leadership Program of The Mars Generation, has been named a "Human of the Year" by Motherboard-Vice, and has recently been selected as a Fellow by the Brooke Owens Fellowship Program.

Tuesday April 11

Topic: The Face As A Dynamical System   

Emotional Expression in Human Machine Interaction

Daniel Montoya, PhD Cognitive Neuroscientist, Psychologist
7:00 pm Coffee Scene 3818 Morganton Rd, Fayetteville NC
The development of robotic faces and emotions depends on understanding the face as a system working in relationship to other systems (i.e. brain systems, environmental system, social and cultural systems). The emotional face is a moving, ever-changing system that needs to be analyzed in real time. Experiments, in many cases, are performed with static images presented for a few seconds. Emotional facial expressions happen in real time and are the result of parallel activation of facial muscles under direct control from cortical and subcortical areas of the brain. The face can be understood as a dynamic system with stable states differentiated over time. We already know, based on the study of micro-expressions that timing is essential to understand facial expression. Applying dynamical system theory to the face involves quantifying the distance between two different emotion states; understanding how facial features quantitative changes over time and establish the rate of change of facial features from one emotion state to another. A system view will be very useful for the development of robotic applications, especially those devoted to the development of human-robotic interaction.
Dr. Montoya is currently the Interim Chair at the Department of Psychology at Fayetteville State University. Cognitive Neuroscience is his main area of expertise and his teaching interests focus on biological psychology, psychopharmacology and cognitive psychology, while finding time to be the webmaster for the Department webpage. He also has a long standing interest in the “hard problem” of consciousness and its philosophical implications, together with a pragmatic and emotional attachment to Ambient, Deep House and Chill-out music. He plays synthesizers and imagines the social use of robots on his free time.