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2014 Archive

  • Secrets of the Sleeping Brain, Dec 12

    We spend one third of our lives asleep, yet doctors and scientists still have no complete understanding as to why. It is one of the great scientific mysteries. Sleep researcher and UC Berkeley Professor, Matthew Walker…

  • TED-Ed’s How Fast Are You Moving?

    How Fast Are You Moving Right Now? A TED-Ed video by our own Tucker Hiatt, with more than 3/4 million views!

  • The African Origins of Human Intelligence

    Humans commonly make the perceptual error of equating the knowledge products of a society with the individual intellectual capacities of that society’s members, but this assumption has legs and feet of very soft clay. Sure, knowledge tends to be produced by smart people in any particular society, but the concentration of energy a society can ...

  • The Extreme Life of the Sea - Wonderfest
    The Extreme Life of the Sea

    Steve Palumbi, one of today’s leading marine scientists, takes us to the absolute limits of the aquatic world—into the icy arctic, toward boiling hydrothermal vents, and into the deepest undersea trenches—to show how marine life thrives against the odds.

  • Jared Diamond
    Dr. Jared Diamond, Apr 9

    Pulitzer Prize-winning author Diamond examines the evolutionary history of humans and the unique traits that distinguish us from other animals.

  • Placebo and the Illusory Nature of Perception
    Placebo and the Illusory Nature of Perception

    The word placebo, from Latin “I shall please,” was defined in Quincy’s Lexicon-Medicum (1811) as “ adapted more to please than to benefit the patient”. But as you probably know, pharmacologically inert “sugar pills” can do much more than just please…

  • When Worlds Collide
    When Worlds Collide, May 31

    Planet Earth is constantly being struck by interplanetary debris: fine dust, rocks, boulders (big enough to outshine the Sun when they die), asteroids, comets, and even small stray planets.

  • Understanding Pain
    Do We Understand Pain?

    Pain speaks as forcefully and as personally as any human experience. While the ability to experience pain is essential for survival, chronic pain is the scourge of sentient existence. As a topic of research, pain presents a formidable challenge for scientists. Why can it be so hard to control? …

  • Science Comedian Normal Goldblatt
    Science Laughs with Norm Goldblatt, July 23

    ome laugh with Dr. Norm Goldblatt, physicist and laser engineer. He’ll take you on a tour of his crazy world that unites left and right brain. Come one come all, young or old. NOT for geeks only. Everyone will enjoy thinking and giggling. Laugh AT him or WITH him; he doesn’t care.

  • The Road to Europa — Chris McKay & Film Screening, Jun 30

    The only way that Wonderfest and SF in SF can improve “Europa Report” is to follow it with the insights of legendary astrobiologist Dr. Chris McKay.

  • What are you made of?
    What Are You Made Of? July 21

    Particle Fever is the astoundingly popular account of humankind’s deepest exploration into the structure of matter. According to Kenneth Turan of the L.A. Times,

  • Mind Puzzles Wonderfest
    Mind Puzzles

    What if our soundest, most reasonable judgments are beyond our control? Are the feelings of being rational and having free will generated by conscious decisions or involuntary brain mechanisms? Is there a way to resolve the conflict between our innate biology and our traditional beliefs? Dr. Robert A. Burton, author of “A Skeptic’s Guide to ...

  • Are We Alone in the Cosmos?
    Are We Alone in the Cosmos? — Oct 27

    When science fiction portrays the galaxy as an arena of interstellar commerce and, occasionally, of star wars, could it be accurate? We now know that billions of hospitable, Earth-like planets are sprinkled throughout our Milky Way Galaxy. Yet billions of short-term searches for ET have turned up nothing. Where is everybody?!

  • Physics of Baseball
    The Physics of Baseball

    Spring is no longer in the air, and the grass is worn down. But excitement is building as the boys of summer become the play-off boys of October — with the end of the Major League Baseball season. Please join two veteran physics teachers as they explain — and demonstrate — the physical nuances of ...

  • Natalie Batalha, NASA
    A Planet for Goldilocks, Sept 5

    “Not too hot, not too cold” reads the prescription for a world that’s just right for life as we know it. Finding evidence of life beyond Earth is one of the primary goals of science agencies in the United States and abroad. The goal looms closer as a result of discoveries made by NASA’s Kepler ...

  • An Evening with Jared Diamond, Dec. 9

    Jared Diamond, UCLA Professor of Geography, is a scientist known for drawing from a variety of fields: from anthropology to evolutionary biology. He has published several very popular science books, including Pulitzer Prize-winning Guns, Germs and Steel and, most recently, The World Until Yesterday.

  • homo erectus - wonderfest
    Whatever Happened to Homo erectus?

    Who’s your (ancient) daddy? Did he walk upright? Could he control fire? Did he have a brow ridge that wouldn’t quit? Then maybe he was a Homo of the erectus — not so sapient — type. Many new Homo erectus specimens

  • A Biologist and a Chemist Confer on the Recipe for Life
    A Biologist and a Chemist Confer on the Recipe for Life

    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?

  • Understanding PainAllan Basbaum, MD, Professor and Chair, Anatomy Department, UC San Francisco

    Pain speaks as forcefully and as personally as any human experience. While the ability to experience pain is essential for survival, chronic pain is the scourge of sentient existence. As a topic of research, pain presents a formidable challenge for scientists.