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2013 Archive

  • Viruses, Stars, Brains, & Shapes

    Earth was once a molten ball totally uninhabitable. In a geological instant, it was filled with life. What do we know about this transformation? And could there be more than one recipe for the transition from non-life to life?

  • The Neuroscience of Magic

    From ancient conjurers to quick-handed con artists to big ticket Las Vegas illusionists, magicians throughout the ages have been expertly manipulating human attention and perception to dazzle and delight us (or scare us, or steal our watches). Of course you know that the phenomena of cognitive and sensory illusions are responsible for the “magic” of ...

  • Is Anybody Out There
    IS ANYBODY OUT THERE?

    The evening will begin with a lecture and slide presentation by UC Berkeley researcher Dan Werthimer. Then Paul Salazar, the Urban Astronomer, will lead the audience in a brief tour of the night sky. Finally, all attendees are invited to walk to a nearby site where the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers will make ...

  • Science Comedy Improv
    Science-Comedy Improv Blitz

    Actors meet scientists! See what happens when experts in comedy improvisation glorify, qualify, and versify the science insights of earnest PhD students (Wonderfest’s Science Envoys)… Laughter joins learning to capture your imagination.

  • Don't Lick That Doorknob: Contagion - Siegel
    Don’t Lick That Doorknob: Contagion movie screening and science talk

    Don’t Lick That Doorknob: A special screening of Contagion with commentary by microbiologist Dr. Bob Siegel

  • The Neuroscience of Magic
    The Neuroscience of Magic

    From ancient conjurers to quick-handed con artists to big ticket Las Vegas illusionists, magicians throughout the ages have been expertly manipulating human attention and perception to dazzle and delight us (or scare us, or steal our watches). Of course you know that the phenomena of cognitive and sensory illusions are responsible for the “magic” of ...

  • Physics vs Time Travel - Wonderfest
    Physics vs. Time Travel

    Everyone loves a good time travel story, but given what we know, and don’t know, about physics, is time travel in any way plausible? Using popular movies as a framework, Professor Wharton will outline several distinct categories of consistent time travel stories, and discuss possible connections with actual physics.

  • Strange Invaders
    Strange Invaders: Ants, Termites, & Bedbugs

    We humans often do battle with creepy invaders of our living spaces and goods. Come and learn the latest research on the biology, detection, and control of three particularly villainous house guests. You might be surprised to find which room is the foremost target in your home. We will have a lot ...

  • Time Travel Not Guaranteed Wonderfest
    Time Travel Not Guaranteed, Movie & Science Talk

    Roger Ebert wrote of this terrific little film: “Few descriptions of ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ will do it justice. It’s a more ambitious and touching movie than seems possible.” Time travel is a wonderful idea. Come explore that wonder while watching what Roger Ebert called “a more ambitious and touching movie than seems possible.”

  • The Promise of Stem Cells: Hope or Hype?

    Are you excited about the potential of stem cell research to provide cures for debilitating conditions like diabetes, spinal cord injury, macular degeneration, heart disease, and neurologic disorders? Perhaps you’ve noticed the enthusiasm, the caveats, and the controversy — and you want to understand what it all means, where the research stands today, where it’s ...

  • The Modern Origins Story: From the Big Bang to Habitable Planets

    The scientific understanding of our origins began in earnest with Copernicus, Galileo, Darwin, and others, and has since evolved into a rich, detailed, and well-tested model. Direct observations of the infant universe now show that it was remarkably smooth compared to what we see around us today, with only tiny differences in its properties from ...

  • Parasites Among Us, with Jim McKerrow

    Dr. Jim McKerrow, Director of the Center for Discovery and Innovation in Parasitic Diseases, will present Parasites Among Us. Of the ~ 4,000 species of mammals, very few are parasitic. But when we add up the 5,000 species of tapeworms, 200,000 species of parasitic wasps, and the legion of other parasitic species, we ...

  • Will a Robot Be Your Friend? Movie Screening & Talk

    2012’s “Robot and Frank” charmed and challenged moviegoers with the story of a robot that befriends an aging cat burglar, played by Frank Langella. Wonderfest and Variety Children’s Charity are teaming-up to present a special screening of “Robot and Frank” along with affectionate commentary by UC Berkeley EECS professor Ken Goldberg.

  • Does Social Networking Have Side Effects?

    When we talk about social networks, we’re almost always talking about online networks: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, weblogs. Constantly changing and ever-increasing online media offer us unique ways to connect, collaborate, and express our interests and creativity. Yet, questions have been raised about the widespread use of social networks, revealing …

  • Overconfidence
    Overconfidence & the Frailty of Knowledge

    While self-confidence is a prized human attribute, too much confidence can be obnoxious, pernicious, and even deadly.