Monthly Lectures

Monthly lectures are usually held on the third Saturday of each month (except in the summer and December), at 2:00 PM at the Community College of Philadelphia's Main campus in Center City Philadelphia, PA. Exceptions are noted below.
NOTE: The Community College of Philadelphia is now requiring visitors to sign in with photo ID. This includes PhACT meetings. Please allow extra time when coming to meetings to complete this process.
Parking is available for $4.00 in the college parking garage on 17th St. The garage is open until 6 PM. Note: Free parking in the Bonnell lot across the street is no longer available.
Click here for a campus map.

PhACT thanks Dr. David Cattell and the Philadelphia Community College for providing us with an excellent meeting space.

The general public is more than welcome to attend our lectures. You do not need to be a PhACT member to attend.
For more information, contact Bob Glickman at
Executive meetings are held prior to the monthly lectures, at 1:00 p.m. Any member may attend.

Upcoming Meetings

Saturday, October 21, 2017 - The Anthropology of Food

Time: 2:00 PM
Location: Community College of Philadelphia, Room C2-28 Details
Speaker: Alan Mann
This talk is a biocultural exploration of what humans have chosen to eat and the ways we think about what is good (and healthy) food and what is not. Do we really know what exactly are our nutritional needs, and how has our modern society made our choices both immensely wide but also potentially dangerous to our health? Is a vegetarian diet best for our health? Can we understand more about what we should be eating by looking at the diets of our ancestors? Is the heavily meat-based paleo diet really good for us?
Alan Mann is a Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Princeton University.

Saturday, November 18, 2017 - Vaccination Pure and Spurious: The Confederate Vaccination Crisis of the Civil War

Time: 2:00 PM
Location: Community College of Philadelphia, Room C2-28 Details
Speaker: Robert Hicks
The Confederate southern states experienced several smallpox epidemics during the American Civil War, blaming the disease on the Union northern states. Confederate doctors responded by vaccinating soldiers but then discovered that some vaccinations were ineffective (“spurious”) and instead spread other diseases, particularly syphilis. This presentation considers how the Confederacy managed vaccinations and tried to solve the numerous spurious cases. His illustrated tale includes the deliberate infection of children on plantations as a source of vaccine, and allegations of vaccination poisoning in the conflict’s only war crimes trial. In a surprising convergence of history, a museum collection, and current disease research, a detective story concludes the presentation!

Saturday, January 20, 2018 - The Quantum Labyrinth

Time: 2:00 PM
Location: To Be Determined Details
In 1939, Richard Feynman, a brilliant graduate of MIT, arrived in John Wheeler's Princeton office to report for duty as his teaching assistant. A lifelong friendship and enormously productive collaboration was born, despite sharp differences in personality. The soft-spoken Wheeler, though conservative in appearance, was a raging nonconformist full of wild ideas about the universe. The boisterous Feynman was a cautious physicist who believed only what could be tested. Yet they were complementary spirits. Physicist Paul Halpern will discuss the little-known story of their friendship, which is the subject of his new book The Quantum Labyrinth: How Richard Feynman and John Wheeler Revolutionized Time and Reality (Basic Books). Together, Feynman and Wheeler rethought the nature of time and reality that laid vital groundwork for late-twentieth-century breakthroughs in particle physics. Their friendship and collaboration enabled Feynman to show how quantum reality is a combination of alternative, contradictory possibilities, and inspired Wheeler to develop his landmark concept of wormholes, portals to the future and past.

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