Lunch in Pompeii • A Free Virtual Speaker Series in Partnership with UCF College of Sciences

Grab a sandwich or some coffee, and let's have lunch. In Pompeii! 

Travel plans canceled this year? Go back in time with “Lunch in Pompeii”, a free speaker series held through Zoom. Hosted between 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m., take a nice break from work or school, and tune in to learn about some of the artifacts that can be found in our latest exhibit Pompeii: The Immortal City.        

This collaboration with UCF and the Orlando Science Center started in 2019 with the launch of Knight at the Museum, a speaker series hosted at OSC. Lunch in Pompeii continues this partnership with a virtual speaker series to meet the needs of today's world and social distancing. These subject matter experts will help give us a uniquely in-depth look at various topics related to the exhibit. 

This speaker series is FREE, but you must RSVP to receive the Zoom link and login details.

*This series is recommended for students 13 years and older but younger students are welcome to join.   

How Metal Shaped Pompeii and the Roman Empire

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Metals were a fundamental part of Roman life, providing a wide range of weapons, coins, implements and jewelry. Given the scarcity of metals in Roman provinces, demand for these precious resources drove previously unprecedented scales of interaction and trade that affected linked Rome, including major trading centers like Pompeii, to the Roman provinces and beyond.

Dr. Joseph Lehner will examine how metal production and trade shaped the Roman world, and how the archaeological study of these materials give us extraordinary insight into not only the mechanics of the empire but also the daily lives of people who once lived there.

Lunch in Pompeii with Joseph-W.-Lehner
Dr. Joseph W. Lehner Ph.D.

Dailies and Delicacies: Getting a Taste of Pompeii

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Dine like the ancient Pompeii citizens in a gustatio, a light lunch of starters! Our meals and the meals of those before us are very different. Here, you can attend a virtual tasting of daily fresh breads, drink a full-bodied raisin wine or posca, a cold, watered-down vinegar, and savor herbed olives in oil. Sounds delectamenti!

Dr. Lana Williams will give us a taste of why our modern system of tastes that seem so “naturally” preferable to us are very different from those of the past. The perfect meal of ancient Pompeii and the Roman World was one where all the tastes, and therefore all the virtues, would be simultaneously present.

Lunch in Pompeii with lana Williams
Dr. Lana Williams, Ph.D.

Fleeing Pompeii: Bodies Frozen in Time

Thursday, December 10, 2020

When the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius hit Pompeii in 79AD, its ash formed a protective shield around the bodies of the citizens. This created a type of mummification. Pompeiians are now called “ash mummies” due to the intactness of bodies.

Dr. Sandra Wheeler dives into how and why these preserved bodies provide several different insights into the deaths, but also the lives of every day Pomepiians.

Lunch in Pompeii with Sandra Wheeler
Dr. Sandra Wheeler Ph.D.

Learning From Lasers: Uncovering Pompeii With Chemical Laser Analysis

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Lasers and Pompeii? Ancient and modern worlds collide in this presentation by Dr. Matthieu Baudelet. As an associate professor of Chemistry at UCF, Baudelet specializes in laser-based spectroscopy for forensic analysis.

Lunch in Pompeii with Matthieu Baudelet
Dr. Matthieu Baudelet Ph.D

Pompeii: The Immortal City is on display at Orlando Science Center from October 26, 2020 - January 24, 2021. Get your timed-entry tickets today!

Pompeii: the Immortal City Exhibit - Premiering October 26, 2020

Microexpressions: A Universal Language You Wear on Your Face

A facial expression in a fraction of a second? Microexpressions help us communicate, whether or not we speak the same language!

There are about 6,500 spoken languages in the world. Cultures even have different gestures, like peace signs, that are unique to them. Is there any form of communication in the world that everyone can understand – across languages & cultures? 


Anthropologist Dr. Paul Ekman says yes – facial expressions! He traveled the world studying emotions in other cultures and found that there are seven human facial expressions called microexpressions that are universally understood – happiness, sadness, anger, disgust, contempt, fear, & surprise.


After even more study, Dr. Ekman found that when we experience emotions, we can’t help but display them on our faces, even for a fraction of a second. These glimpses into what we’re truly feeling are called microexpressions. Our brain is so linked to these muscle movements that we can make ourselves feel these emotions by performing the right expressions 

Headshot of Anthropologist Dr. Paul Ekman

Let’s make some faces!  

You will need: 

  • A mirror 
  • Yourself
  • Optional: A partner who you live with or can connect with via video call!

How to practice recognizing microexpressions:

Woman face with neutral expression

Relax your face.

Observe what you look like with no expression – this is your “neutral” face. Note how your muscles feel.

Woman face showing happiness with smile


Smile! Look at your eyes – are your eyelids narrowed? Real smiles combine the contraction of the zygomaticus major at your mouth and the orbicularis oculi at your eyes.


Try to think of a joke and see if your expression changes!  

Woman face showing sadness


Turn your lips down into a frown. Raise your cheeks as high as you can. This part is tricky – see if you can turn the inner corners of your eyebrows upwards.


Notice how your face feels – there’s a lot of tension in a sad face. Do you feel any emotions? 

Woman face showing anger


Tightened eyelids, eyebrows lowered and drawn together, and lips pressed together are displays of anger. In more intense expressions of anger, the jaw comes forward.  

Woman face showing disgust


Think of a nasty smell – what does your face do? Wrinkle your nose, bring your eyebrows down and together, and make your upper lip into an upside down “U” shape.   

Woman face showing contempt


Contempt means thinking that someone is beneath you. It’s not a nice emotion. Raise one corner of your lips and try to look overconfident.


Notice that this is the only emotion displayed unilaterally – on one side of the face only.

Woman face showing fear


Think about being scared – open your eyes wide and tense your lower eyelids. Raise your eyebrows and bring them together. Try to pull the corners of your mouth backward, towards your ears.  

Woman face showing surprise


This expression is very similar to fear – think about being startled! What does your face look like when a balloon pops? There should be less tension in your eyebrows – raise them, but don’t bring them together. Relax your lower eyelids, but keep your eyes wide.


Do you look surprised?  

What did you feel making these expressions? Did you notice any emotions beginning to form? Did any memories surface while you made the faces? Our brains’ emotion centers are very connected with the muscles in our face.  


So what’s the point? 

Dr. Ekman coded each facial muscle movement’s actions into a computer program. His program has been used by law enforcement to help catch criminals, healthcare professionals to better understand their patients, even poker players looking to up their game by reading microexpressions of their competitors! Some actors even study Dr. Ekman’s work to help them portray emotions more truthfully.  


Now that you’ve learned about the muscle movements that create these expressions, you can recognize them better in yourself and other people.  


Want to learn more? 

Check out to learn more about microexpression research!  

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