Dr. Thomas Targett
UC Berkeley astrophysicist Eliot Quataert will summarize our modern understanding of cosmic origins — from the Big Bang to exoplanets (and even to humans). Dr. Quataert will describe how the universe evolved from its smooth beginnings to its current state, emphasizing how gravity reigns supreme and builds up the galaxies, stars, and planets required for the marvel of biological evolution.
Our speaker, NASA's Steve Bryson, is a mathematical physicist at Ames Research Center in Mountain View. His work as part of the Kepler Mission Team contributed to the discovery of MANY new worlds orbiting other stars. Dr. Bryson lives in Marin, and he occasionally teaches adult-education classes at the California Academy of Sciences.
Our speaker, Caltech's Erik Petigura, will survey humanity's current understanding of exoplanet demographics. He will highlight how these discoveries help illuminate the processes that led to the formation of the Earth and to the origin of life. Finally, Dr. Petigura will offer some thoughts on the types of discoveries that may await us in the coming years.
Speaker Ken Wharton is Professor of Physics at San José State University. Dr. Wharton works to reconcile the two grandest physics theories (quantum mechanics and general relativity), and he is the author of popular, scientifically-accurate fiction.
Please join in this special Wonderfest contribution to Yuri's NightLife by purchasing tickets via the Cal Academy link below. [Note: adults 21+ only.]
For this inspiring and historic Earth Day celebration of science, join the friends of Wonderfest under the sign bearing the Wonderfest eyeball emblem. The march and rally begin at Justin Herman Plaza and end — with a fair! — at Civic Center Plaza.
The Breakthrough Prize Foundation has committed $100 Million to UC Berkeley and other institutions for the most comprehensive Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) ever conducted. Chief Scientist of Berkeley SETI, Dan Werthimer, will describe the rationale for past and future searches, and will show how new technologies are revolutionizing SETI.
Speaker Alex Filippenko is one of the world's most highly cited astronomers, and was voted UC Berkeley's "Best Professor" a record nine times. He appears frequently on TV documentaries and is addicted to observing total solar eclipses throughout the globe, having seen 15 so far!
Alison Gopnik is Professor of Psychology and Affiliate Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. She is an internationally recognized leader in the study of children’s learning and development and was the first to argue that children’s minds could help us understand deep philosophical questions.
Dr. Priya Natarajan is Professor of Physics and Professor of Astronomy at Yale University. She is particularly noted for her work in mapping dark matter, in gravitational lensing, and in the growth of supermassive black holes. She is a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and of the American Physical Society.
Dr. Carrie Nugent discovers and tracks asteroids with a space-based infrared telescope, part of NASA’s NEOWISE mission. She is a 2016 TED fellow, and she hosts and produces Spacepod, a podcast about space exploration. Asteroid 8801 Nugent bears her name(!), and Asteroid Hunters is her first book.
Following a special screening of the highly-praised Secret World of Arrietty (2012), physicist Alejandro Garcia will describe — and answer questions about — the science behind effective animation. Dr. Garcia is Professor of Physics & Astronomy at San José State University where he teaches a course in The Physics of Animation. He has helped DreamWorks Studios to get the physics right in such movies as Trolls, Madagascar 3, and Mr. Peabody and Sherman.
Elizabeth Blackburn is president of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine. Elissa Epel is founding director of UCSF's Center on Obesity Assessment, Study, and Treatment. Their discussion will be moderated by syndicated talk-show host Angie Coiro.
Walter Alvarez is Professor of the Graduate School and Professor of Earth & Planetary Science at UC Berkeley. He is perhaps best know for attributing the Cretaceous-ending mass extinction to the impact of a giant asteroid or comet — later verified by discovery of the largest impact crater on Earth.
Alan Burdick is a staff writer and former senior editor at The New Yorker; he is also a frequent contributor to Elements, the magazine's science-and-tech blog. His writing has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Discover, and Best American Science and Nature Writing. His first book, Out of Eden: An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion, was a National Book Award finalist and won the Overseas Press Club Award for environmental reporting. [Photo by Laura Rose]