Philcon 2009 schedule

And here, I thought the convention season had ended…

A few weeks back, Laura happened to be perusing the guest list for this year’s Philcon (including Cory Doctorow, among esteemed others), and suggested that it might be a fun way to round out November. I agreed, and lo and behold – we are headed up to Philcon this coming weekend. Or, rather, CherryHillNewJerseyCon, based on the actual location of the hotel, but I digress…

We both have the pleasure of contributing to the science track as guests. Given the lateness of our declared attendance, the more infection and zombie-related panels were already gobbled up (heh, and drat), so my schedule includes some interesting but decidedly different panels than the norm:

Sat 1:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Three (1 hour)
STEM CELLS: RESEARCH AND PROGRESS (171)

[Panelists: Jed Shumsky (mod), JJ Brannon, John Cmar, Jay Wile]

There has been much progress in stem cell research in recent years, with new discoveries coming regularly. In January 2009, Geron received FDA clearance to begin the first human clinical trial using human embryonic stem cells. What is happening today and what still remains to be done before the promise of stem cell therapy becomes reality?

Sat 6:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Two (1 hour)
GREAT MYSTERIES OF SCIENCE (169)

[Panelists: Eric Kotani (mod), Eric Schulman, David Goldberg, John Cmar, Frank O’Brien]

What are the most important unsolved mysteries and unanswered questions in science? Which are closest to being solved?

Sun 12:00 PM in Plaza I (One) (1 hour)
THE BIOLOGY OF OBESITY (166)

[Panelists: John Cmar (mod), Muriel Hykes, Jed Shumsky, James Prego, Lawrence Kramer]

Obesity is a growing problem around the world, and increasing research has revealed the causes to be much more complex than just “eating too much.” Medicine now recognizes that some people will
gain more fat from the same amount of calories than others. Hormones, gut bacteria, brown fat, neurotransmitters, metabolic pathways, viral infections, circadian rythms and many other factors
are all now implicated in weight gain and loss. Are we closer to understanding the causes of and solutions to the obesity epidemic?

And Laura’s schedule:

Sat 1:00 PM in Plaza VI (Six) (1 hour)
NASA FOR KIDS (154)

[Panelists: Andre Lieven (mod), Laura Burns]

A fun and educational discussion about the U.S. space program.

Sat 3:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Three (1 hour)
SPACE INC.: IS PRIVATE ENTERPRISE THE FUTURE OF SPACE DEVELOPMENT? (183)

[Panelists: Laura Burns (mod), Mark Wolverton, Frank O’Brien, Dr. H. Paul Shuch, Karl Kofoed]

With NASA struggling with budget restrictions, and other governments around the world facing economic crises, the private sector may now be poised to become the main route to space. What is happening in private space development? What’s planned? What’s likely and what’s not? And is this a good or bad thing for the future of space exploration and development?

Sat 5:00 PM in Crystal Ballroom Two (1 hour)
SCIENCE AT THE HEART OF SCIENCE FICTION (87)

[Panelists: Bud Sparhawk (mod), Caroline Cox, David Goldberg, Dr. H. Paul Shuch, Jerome Stueart, Laura Burns]

How has Hard Science Fiction changed in the last decade? Is Science Fiction still predominantly the literature of scientific ideas?

Sun 11:00 AM in Plaza II (Two) (1 hour)
THE WEIRD SCIENCE FAIR! (125)

[Panelists: Christopher Gay (mod), Mark Wolverton, Laura Burns, Eric Schulman, Caroline Cox]

Death rays.  Earthquake generators.  Ice Ages that cover New York in 24 hours.  SF books, movies, and TV have offered up some STRANGE science over the years.  Here’s a panel to talk about some of the
Weird Science we’ve seen.

If you are at the con on Saturday or Sunday, feel free to say hi. I’ll be plugged in via Twitter, and may attempt daily bloggage while there. *gasp* (Hm… I never did post my Dragon*con post-mortem…)

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