Event Archives

  • Prospects for Humanity – Jan 15, 2019Dr. Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, UK

    Britain’s Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees, offers a compelling look at how advances in biotechnology, robotics, and AI will influence humanity’s future.

  • Extreme Life of the Sea – Dec 2Dr. Stephen R. Palumbi, Professor of Marine Science, Stanford

    Dr. Stephen Palumbi, Stanford professor of marine science, shares insights — and unforgettable stories — about some of the most marvelous lifeforms on Earth.

  • Boiling Universe; Dark Matter – Nov 29

    Wonderfest “Science Envoys” Deepthi Gorthi and Robert McGehee, both from UC Berkeley, explore deep mysteries of the cosmos: how the universe “boiled,” and the nature of dark matter.

  • Revolution in Genome Editing – Nov 26Dr. Kevin Doxzen, Biophysicist & Science Communications Specialist, UC Berkeley

    UC Berkeley biophysicist Kevin Doxzen unravels the groundbreaking technology of CRISPR and outlines pressing questions that now confront society.

  • Animal Intelligence in Context – Nov 15Julie Hui, Anthropology Department, UC Berkeley

    UC Berkeley anthropologist Julie Hui looks at examples of animal intelligence, explores language studies in animals, and attempts to place human intelligence within our own environmental context.

  • In Search of the Dark Sector – Oct 28Dr. Holger Müller, Associate Professor of Physics, UC Berkeley

    UC Berkeley physics professor Holger Müller discusses how precision physics helps us to explore the enormous “dark sector” of the universe: dark matter and dark energy.

  • Opening NASA’s Mission Control – Oct22Jay P. Trimble, Computer Scientist, NASA-Ames Research Center

    NASA computer scientist Jay Trimble describes how the previously “closed world of mission control” is opening to allow anyone — citizen scientists and engineers — to participate in upcoming orbital and interplanetary exploration.

  • Cosmic Thunder & Lightning – Oct13Dr. Daniel Kasen, Assoc. Professor of Physics & Astronomy, UC Berkeley

    UC Berkeley astrophysicist Dr. Dan Kasen describes the “ripples in the fabric of spacetime” that accompanied the merger of two neutron stars — resulting in the creation of otherwise hard-to-explain heavy metals such as gold.

  • Systems w/o Central Control – Sep 26Dr. Deborah Gordon, Professor of Biology, Stanford University

    Many systems (e.g., ant colonies, brains, and some data networks) operate without central control. Stanford entomologist Deborah Gordon explains how collective behavior evolves — particularly within ants — to deal with environmental challenges.

  • Democracy in Infancy – Sep 25Mariel Goddu, Psychology Department, UC Berkeley

    UC Berkeley psychologist Mariel Goddu shows how young children’s cognitive flexibility can help them — and us — to become citizens who seek evidence and can appropriately change their beliefs.

  • Big Ideas about Big Animals – Sep 24Ashley Poust & Nicholas Spano, Paleontologists, UC Berkeley

    As human populations have been spreading during the past 50 thousand years, over half of Earth’s large animals have become extinct, and at an accelerating rate. What’s happening? And what does it mean for saving the last big animals left today?

  • Extreme Weather – Sep 16Dr. Michael Wehner, Senior Staff Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

    Lawrence Berkeley Lab’s Dr. Michael Wehner explains how changes in the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events are likely the most serious consequence of human-induced global warming.

  • A Cosmic Perspective – Sep 15Dr. Jill Tarter, Chair Emeritus for SETI Research, SETI Institute

    Legendary SETI researcher, Dr. Jill Tarter, describes how we come to “find ourselves” in the process of searching for aliens.

  • Taking Heat w/ Tim Lee – Aug 30Tim X Lee, PhD

    PhD scientist and comedian Tim Lee dramatizes (and humanizes) climate change.

  • The Modern Origins Story, Aug 18Eliot Quataert, Professor of Astronomy & Physics, UC Berkeley

    UC Berkeley astrophysicist Eliot Quataert describes the evolution of complexity in the universe — where gravity is the key to marvelous cosmic structure: galaxies, stars, and planets.

  • Andy Weir on “Artemis” – July 31Andy Weir, author of "The Martian" and "Artemis"

    Andy Weir, author of “hard” sci-fi novel The Martian, discusses this latest work: the lunar adventure/thriller called “Artemis.”

  • Quantum Computers: Now & Soon–July29Dr. Norman Yao, Assistant Professor of Physics, UC Berkeley

    UC Berkeley physicist Norman Yao presents the present and future state of quantum computer development.

  • Musk vs. Zuck: Is AI a Threat? – July 23Dr. Ken Goldberg, Professor & Chair, Industrial Engineering & Operations Research, UC Berkeley

    UC Berkeley robot/AI expert Ken Goldberg explains how we can prepare for upcoming advances in AI and robotics.

  • Science Envoy “Slam” – July 20Cheng, Copenhaver, Hadfield-Menell, Hui, & Khazenzon

    Wonderfest’s “Science Envoys,” PhD students who have honed their science communication skills, will describe their research and the origin of their science passion.

  • Search for Life’s Second Genesis – July 14Dr. Alphonso Davila

    Planetary scientist Dr. Alphonso Davila describes NASA’s search for a second, independent, origin of life in the Solar System.

  • AI and Robots and Frank – July 10Michael Laskey, UC Berkeley Automation Lab

    Following a special screening of 2012’s Robot and Frank, UC Berkeley computer scientist answers audience questions, and explores the general fields of robotics and artificial intelligence.

  • Eye of the Shoal – June 25Dr. Helen Scales, Marine biologist and Author

    Marine biologist Dr. Helen Scales explores the surprisingly complex lives of ocean fishes.

  • Eye of the Shoal – June 20, MarinDr. Helen Scales, Marine biologist and author

    Marine biologist Dr. Helen Scales explores the surprisingly complex lives of ocean fishes.

  • Understanding Heredity – June 19Carl Zimmer

    Celebrated science journalist Carl Zimmer helps unravel some of the deepest mysteries surrounding heritable traits, our genetic blueprint, and how we became who we are.

  • MISSION: MARS – Event CANCELLEDDr. Pascal Lee, Planetary Scientist, Mars Institute and SETI Institute

    Mars expert Dr. Pascal Lee tells the REAL story of how NASA will take 5-7 humans to the Red Planet within the next 20 years.

  • Strange Invaders – June 3Dr. Vernard Lewis, Emeritus Extension Specialist, UC Berkeley

    Dr. Vernard Lewis, UC Berkeley entomologist, describes the creepy crawlers that invade our living space.

  • Quantum Questions – May 27Dr. Miriam Diamond, Research Associate, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

    Stanford physicist Miriam Diamond answers questions about the realm of the VERY small, especially exploring common misapplications of the word “quantum.”

  • Northern DeLights – May 19Dr. Laura Peticolas, Assoc. Director of Education & Outreach, Sonoma State Univ.

    Physicist and outreach specialist Dr. Laura Peticolas describes the origin, nature, and majesty of the Northern Lights.

  • The Big One: Fact & Fiction – May 16William B. Hawley, Department of Earth & Planetary Science, UC Berkeley

    UC Berkeley Seismologist William Hawley reveals how much we know — and how much we don’t — about California’s coming earthquake(s).

  • Love Among the Neurons – May 6Thomas Lewis, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, UCSF

    UCSF’s Dr. Thomas Lewis examines where, in the brain, we find the roots of our multiple connections to each other, and how those connections reverberate within and between us.

  • The Truth About Animals – Apr 26Lucy Cooke, Zoologist & Author

    Zoologist Lucy Cooke explores the wild side of wildlife. She takes us on a global journey, exposing myths and misconceptions about the animal world.

  • Cognition & Romance – Apr23Mariel Goddu & Ryan York, Wonderfest Science Envoys

    UC Berkeley psychologist Mariel Goddu describes the origin of abstract cognition, and Stanford neuroscientist Ryan York plumbs the fishy depths of romance.

  • Global Warming – Apr22Dr. David Romps, Assoc. Professor of Earth & Planetary Science, UC Berkeley

    David Romps, UC Berkeley Earth Scientist, presents the big picture of global warming, its impacts, our failure to act, and what needs to be done.

  • Multiple Universes?–Apr21Alex Filippenko, Professor of Astronomy, UC Berkeley

    Renowned astronomer Alex Filippenko explores the lines of reasoning behind modern arguments for the existence of multiple universes.

  • Universal Biology? – Apr 8Dr. Lynn Rothschild, Astrobiologist, NASA Ames Research Center

    NASA astrobiologist Dr. Lynn Rothschild asks “Is there only one way to construct a living organism, or are we Earthlings but one possibility out of a multitude?”

  • Machine Learning – Mar29Dr. Peter Norvig, Director of Research, Google

    Peter Norvig, Director of Research at Google, explains how modern software can/must incorporate machine learning.

  • Why Study Apes? – Mar27Dr. Kelly Stewart Harcourt, Research Associate, UC Davis

    Alongside a special screening of the acclaimed documentary JANE, anthropologist Kelly Harcourt explains our need — both scientific and emotional — to understand apes.

  • Is Anybody There?– Mar25Dan Werthimer, Chief Scientist, Berkeley SETI Research Center

    SETI pioneer Dan Werthimer describes the rationale for past and future ET searches, and will show how new technologies are revolutionizing SETI.

  • Brain and Body Inquiry – Mar 15Greg Tranah, PhD and Bob Siegel, MD PhD

    Wonderfest presents two scientists with deep insights into the brain-body connection.

  • Pleasure vs. Happiness – Feb 25Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor Emeritus, University of California, San Francisco

    Dr. Robert Lustig explores the scientific, cultural, historic, economic, and social causes of our modern problem with pleasure.

  • MISSION: MARS – Feb 21, East BayDr. Pascal Lee, Planetary Scientist, Mars Institute & SETI Institute; Director, NASA Haughton-Mars Project, NASA Ames Research Center

    The first human mission to Mars will be our greatest adventure in the 21st-century. As with all expeditions, its success will depend on planning. The first steps are already under way: achieving longer spaceflight missions, planning for deep space journeys beyond the Moon, and exploring extreme terrestrial environments as Mars “analogs.” Dr. Lee will discuss ...

  • MISSION: MARS – Feb 20Dr. Pascal Lee, Planetary Scientist

    Dr. Pascal Lee explores the what, why, how, when, and who of our first journey to the Red Planet.

  • The Secret Life of Viruses – Feb 17Dr. Robert Siegel, Professor of Microbiology & Immunology, Stanford

    Stanford microbiologist Dr. Robert Siegel shines light on the basic structure and function of viruses. He also explores those features that distinguish viruses from the living organisms they commandeer.

  • The Human Drive to Explain – Feb 8Dr. Tania Lombrozo, Professor of Psychology, UC Berkeley

    Cognitive psychologist Tania Lombrozo suggests that our “drive to explain” itself explains some of the most remarkable human achievements, but also some of our failings.

  • Gene Editor Wins ’17 Sagan Prize, Jan 17Dr. Jennifer Doudna, Professor of Chemistry and of Molecular & Cell Biology, UC Berkeley

    Dr. Jennifer Doudna receives Wonderfest’s 2017 Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization.

  • Cosmic Gold & Neutron Stars – Jan 7Eliot Quataert, Professor of Astronomy, UC Berkeley

    Astronomer Eliot Quataert describes the remarkable new results coming out of our first steps into the gravitational wave era of cosmic exploration.