Science Salon - Stay Current, Stay Connected


Next Up: Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Virtual Reality
University of Minnesota, Computer Science & Engineering

Learn about the work of Dr. Vicki Interrante and Dr. Dan Keefe

Networking/demos 6-7pm, optional tour of Vicki's lab 6:30pm, talk 7-8pm, followed by optional tour of Dan's lab



Advancing Architectural Design with Immersive Virtual Reality
Dr. Victoria Interrante, Professor
Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota

Virtual Reality technology has the potential to enable transformative advances in architectural design and evaluation by enabling people to experience a modeled structure from an interactive, first-person perspective before it is built. However, many studies over the years have found that people tend to significantly underestimate egocentric distances in VR relative to the real world. In this talk, Dr. Interrante will summarize recent and historical research from her lab that attempts to clarify the mechanisms responsible for this problem and discuss solutions she and her research group have explored based on those insights.

Magic User Interfaces:  Virtual Reality for Art and Science
Dr. Daniel Keefe, Associate Professor
Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Minnesota

“Beautiful or delightful in such a way as to seem removed from everyday life” — this definition of magical from the Oxford English Dictionary appropriately describes the future of computing as fundamentally awe-inspiring, innovative, even other-worldly. Deeply immersive and interactive, the virtual environments of today and of the future are visually compelling and implement hands-on, data-aware user interfaces that are nothing short of magical. Dr. Keefe will discuss how he and his team collaborate with artists, scientists, engineers, doctors, and humanists from across the University of Minnesota to invent and creatively employ new computer tools, such as virtual simulation, to address challenging problems in data representation and understanding, digital design, virtual reality, and human-computer interaction. 

 Join us and spread the word!

Registration for this event is free to Minnesota Academy of Science members. The fee for non-members is $20 and $5 for students.


6 – 7 p.m.

check in, networking, demos of VR equipment and cookies

6:30 – 7 p.m.

optional tour of Dr. Interrante’s VR lab

7 – 7:30 p.m. 

Advancing Architectural Design with Immersive Virtual Reality – Vicki Interrante

7:30 – 8 p.m. 

Magic User Interfaces:  Virtual Reality for Art and Science – Dr. Daniel Keefe

8 – 8:30 p.m. 

optional tour Dr. Keefe’s lab in Keller Hall at the University of Minnesota campus (about a 5-minute walk from Walter Library)


Walter Library, Room 402
117 Pleasant Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455


What is Science Salon? 

Science Salon, a program of the Minnesota Academy of Science, is a forum for professional scientists to stay current on groundbreaking research and emerging technologies and engage in cross-disciplinary networking. At Science Salon, you will meet your peers from other disciplines, enjoy refreshments, participate in stimulating activities or learn about cutting-edge research. 

Questions? Contact:

Previous Talks

February 15, 2017: Reinventing Cities, with Dr. Anu Ramaswami

Dr. Anu Ramaswami spoke about her work exploring how to develop healthy, sustainable cities in the United States, India and China. She shared results from her collaborative work with researchers across the world on redesigning cities to address not only urban infrastructure issues, but also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve social structure and create more open space. 


October 18, 2016: EcoLab on how to tackle biofilms

Ecolab's Dr. Ruth Petran, Dr. Scott Burnett and Tony Erickson shared with us the work their team is doing with biofilms in the food and beverage industry: how they form, why they are harmful, and how to remove and prevent biofilms from forming in the machinery that our food comes into contact with.

September 22, 2016: Dr. Marla Spivak talked with us about the research she and her team have been doing to help improve the health of our bee populations.

Marla Spivak is a MacArthur Fellow and McKnight Distinguished Professor in Entomology at the University of Minnesota. Recent awards include the 2015 Minnesota AgriGrowth Distinguished Service Award, the 2016 Siehl Prize laureate for excellence in agriculture, and the 2016 Wings WorldQuest Women of Discovery Earth Award. She and Gary Reuter bred a line of honey bees, the Minnesota Hygienic line, to defend themselves against diseases and parasitic mites. Current research includes studies of the benefits of plant resins (propolis) to honey bees, and the effects of agricultural landscapes and pesticides on bee health.

See a list of her talks here, including a link to a past TEDGlobal talk in 2013.

March 2016: The Zika virus has spurred an interest in infectious diseases for many people. A Science Salon featured Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and teaching professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health at the Univerity of Minnesota. Dr. Osterholm will talk about "Emerging Infections in a Modern World: A View From the Front Windshield and Rearview Mirror."  

Click here for a synopsis of his talk.

In September 2015, Science Salon featured Dr. Fotis Sotiropoulos (below left), the then-James L. Record Professor of Civil Engineering and the Director of the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory at the University of Minnesota. This Science Salon included a tour of the newly renovated St. Anthony Falls Laboratory. Click here to learn more about this Science Salon. 


Dr. Deb Swackhamer's presentation on "Achieving Water Sustainability for Future Generations" at the HHH School of Public Affairs


Dr. Jonathan Finnoff led attendees on a tour of Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center


Dr. Ihsuan Li (MAS Board Member) and Dr. Felicia DeSantos talked with other Science Salon attendees at the 3M Innovation Center.


Century College Fab Lab staff demonstrated lab equipment for Science Salon attendees.


MAS Board Member Dr. Stephanie Yancey networked with attendees at the first Science Salon, which featured Dr. Philip Pardey.

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