Penn Science Cafe

Hauling science out of the lab for a night on the town, the Penn Science Café offers the Philadelphia region an opportunity to pitch questions to leading scientific experts who drop the jargon to explain their work in layman's terms. All Penn Science Café events are free and open to the public.

Upcoming events in this series:


6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Vijay BalasubramanianCathy and Mark Lasry Professor of Physics and AstronomyDecoding Your Mental GPS: Transcendental Numbers in the Brain World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street

The brain uses specialized neurons known as place and grid cells to keep track of location. The discovery of the latter earned researchers a Nobel Prize last year, but the way the brain encodes and decodes this information is still a mystery. Now, a team of University of Pennsylvania researchers, led by Vijay Balasubramanian, has a theory for how grid cells work together to pinpoint an organism’s location on a mental map. He’ll explain how the brain’s many overlapping grids are connected by a special ratio, organizing them into something akin to the decimal system.

Expert faculty from the University of Pennsylvania shed light on their research at the Penn Science Café. It's an evening of engaging, stimulating conversation, with a Q&A session following each talk.

Presented by Penn Arts and Sciences in partnership with the Office of University Communications, Penn Café events are free and open to the public, but RSVPs are encouraged. For more information or directions, contact Gina Bryan at 215-898-8721 or email at

Menu items are available for purchase. Happy Hour pricing from 4–6 p.m.