Event Archives

  • Healthy Aging – Jan 10Dr. Gregory Tranah, Senior Scientist (CPMC Research Institute) & Adjunct Professor (UCSF Epidemiology & Biostatistics Dept.)
    10 January, 2017

    Humans are living longer but are not necessarily healthier. The latest research on human health and longevity has identified factors that control the aging process. By increasing our understanding of the biology of aging, we are beginning to identify interventions that will significantly extend the years of health, happiness, and productivity.

  • Science of Living Younger – Jan 11Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn (Salk Inst.) & Dr. Elissa Epel (UCSF)
    11 January, 2017

    Why do some 60-year-olds look/feel 40, and some 40-year-olds look/feel 60? Telomeres and telomerase have much to do with it, and they’re under our control — at least partly!

  • A Most Improbable Journey – Jan 24Walter Alvarez, Professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences, UC Berkeley
    24 January, 2017

    Legenedary geophysicist Walter Alvarez discusses the insights in his latest book, “A Most Improbably Journey: A Big History of Our Planet and Ourselves.”

  • Why Time Flies – Feb 9Alan Burdick
    09 February, 2017

    Time may be — simultaneously! — both the most mundane and the most mysterious feature of our universe.

  • The Parent as Gardener – Feb16Dr. Alison Gopnik, Professor of Psychology, UC Berkeley
    16 February, 2017

    Caring deeply about our children is part of what makes us human. Yet the thing we call “parenting” is a surprisingly new invention. Drawing on the study of human evolution and her own cutting-edge research, developmental psychologist and philosopher Alison Gopnik shatters key myths of “good parenting.”

  • Mapping the Heavens – Mar 8Priya Natarajan, Professor of Astronomy & Physics, Yale University
    08 March, 2017

    Radical ideas and discoveries are transforming our understanding of the universe. Yale astrophysicist Priya Natarajan leads us on a tour of the “greatest hits” of recent cosmological detective work.

  • Hunting Asteroids – Mar 21Carrie Nugent, Staff Scientist, IPAC/Caltech
    21 March, 2017

    Caltech’s Dr. Carrie Nugget hunts asteroids. In doing so, she will ultimately help to protect Earth from cataclysmic impacts. Learn about the nature, origin, and global lethality of our solar system’s numerous (and mostly unidentified) mini-worlds.

  • Creating Worlds – Mar 28Alejandro Garcia, Professor of Physics & Astronomy, San José State
    28 March, 2017

    The more closely animated characters’ actions obey the laws of physics, the more believable they become and, ironically, the better audiences can escape reality.

  • Magic vs. Quantum Entanglement Apr6Ken Wharton, Professor of Physics, San José State University
    06 April, 2017

    Entanglement phenomena are the closest thing we have to reproducible magic, and even physicists can’t agree as to what’s really going on.

  • Exploring Mars: the Next 100yrs, Apr13Pascal Lee & Chris McKay
    13 April, 2017

    MARS BECKONS. The SETI Insititute’s Pascal Lee presents “Mission to Mars: The First Human Journeys to the Red Planet.” And NASA Planetary Scientist Chris McKay looks even further with “The Long View of Mars: Biology, Humans, and Terraforming.”

  • March For Science – Apr22
    22 April, 2017

    A dozen dedicated Wonderfest fans joined the March for Science in San Francisco — alongside ~ 50,000 other lovers of science and reason.

  • Is Anybody Out There? – Apr24Dan Werthimer, Chief Scientist, Berkeley SETI
    24 April, 2017

    Dan Werthimer, chief scientist at UC Berkeley SETI, discusses the rationale for past and future searches, and shows how new technologies are revolutionizing SETI.

  • US Solar Eclipse of August ’17 – Apr29Alex Filippenko, Professor of Astronomy, UC Berkeley
    29 April, 2017

    Astronomer Alex Filippenko discusses the magnificence of the “All-American” total solar eclipse (2017) AND of the many others he’s observed.

  • Mind-Body Inquiry, May11Elissa Epel & Howard Fields
    11 May, 2017

    If mind is “what the brain does,” how does the brain do it? And how are other parts of the body involved in creating mind? Wonderfest presents two neuroscientists with deep insights into the mind-body connection.

  • Popular Myths of Astronomy, May27Dr. Thomas Targett, Asst. Professor of Astronomy & Physics, CSU Sonoma
    27 May, 2017

    Prof. Thomas Targett takes on a tour through the worlds of Star Trek and Star Wars (and much more) to sort fact from fiction in popular astronomy.

  • Cosmic Evolution, Jun14Dr. Eliot Quataert, Professor of Astronomy & Physics, UC Berkeley
    14 June, 2017

    UC Berkeley astrophysicist Eliot Quataert summarizes our modern understanding of cosmic origins — from the Big Bang to exoplanets (and even to humans).

  • Planets Everywhere, Jun19Dr. Steve Bryson, Researcher, NASA Ames Research Center
    19 June, 2017

    Since 2009, the NASA Kepler space telescope has found thousands of planets orbiting other stars, revolutionizing our understanding of planets and our own Earth. NASA physicist Steve Bryson explains how Kepler has sparked the exciting effort to find Other Earths, and measure their atmospheres to find signs of life.

  • Music of the Spheres, Jun22Lauren Weiss & Marc Pinsonneault, Researchers, NASA Ames Research Center
    22 June, 2017

    In this Wonderfest dialogue, Dr. Lauren Weiss, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Montreal, talks about the sizes and compositions of the Kepler exoplanets. She reveals the essentials of planetary discovery by helping her audience members to build a model exoplanet system and observatory. Dr. Marc Pinsonneault, Professor of Astronomy at Ohio State University, discusses ...

  • Exoplanet Traits & Prevalence, Jun23Dr. Erik Petigura, California Institute of Technology
    23 June, 2017

    Caltech’s Dr. Erik Petigura surveys our current understanding of exoplanet demographics.

  • Heavenly Vision, July1Dr. Alan Agrawal, Mount Diablo Astronomical Society
    01 July, 2017

    Astronomer Alan Agrawal shows us how Galileo’s celestial observations dramatically changed our understanding of the universe and of our place in it.

  • Seeing the Beginning, July29Dr. Blake Sherwin, NASA Einstein Fellow, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
    29 July, 2017

    NASA Einstein Fellow Dr. Blake Sherwin shows how studying the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation allows us to learn about the origin, composition, and ultimate fate of the universe.

  • Richard Dawkins, Aug10Richard Dawkins, Emeritus Professor for Public Understanding of Science, Oxford
    10 August, 2017

    Dawkins, the legendary biologist and provocateur, challenges faulty logic, bad science, and climate change deniers.

  • 20th Anniversary Dinner, Aug12Wonderfest Patrons AND Alex Filippenko, Eugenie Scott, Richard Zare
    12 August, 2017

    In August 1997, Wonderfest presented its first science event: a public conversation between SETI pioneers Jill Tarter and Dan Werthimer. In August 2017, Wonderfest celebrates its 20th anniversary.

  • The Search for Life Beyond Earth, Aug26Dr. Carol Stoker, Astrobiologist, NASA Ames Research Center
    26 August, 2017

    Astrobiologist Dr. Carol Stoker describes why and how NASA plans to search for life on Mars and the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn.

  • N~1: Alone in the Milky Way, Sep14Dr. Pascal Lee, Planetary Scientist, Mars Institute and SETI Institute
    14 September, 2017

    According to planetary scientist Dr. Pascal Lee, the famous “Drake Equation” shows us that Earth is — most probably — home to the only “advanced” civilization in the Milky Way galaxy.

  • The Unconscious Mind, Oct24Dr. John Bargh, Professor of Psychology, Yale University
    24 October, 2017

    Yale psychologist John Bargh presents remarkable findings about the power and scope of unconscious motivators.

  • [CANCELED] Life in the Goldilocks Zone, Sep23Dr. Natalie Batalha, Kepler Mission Scientist, NASA
    23 September, 2017

    Astrophysicist Dr. Natalie Batalha describes the astounding findings of NASA’s Kepler mission — and what they mean for life on Earth.