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2015 Archive

  • Cosmic Nightlife
    Wonderfest’s “Cosmic NightLife” at the California Academy of Sciences, Oct 22

    Whether you’re a NightLife regular or rookie, Wonderfest’s Cosmic NightLife is not to be missed. It features three of the most exciting and insightful space experts in the Bay Area — and perhaps on planet Earth. Here’s the schedule and line-up: McKay, Werthimer, and Filippenko. Planetary exploration, SETI, and the multiverse.

  • Love Among the Neurons
    LOVE AMONG THE NEURONS: A Neuroscience Guide to Valentine’s Day – Feb 13

    How did the human race evolve from solitary predators into the intensely social creatures that we are now? Where in the brain can we find the roots of our multiple connections to each other, and how do those connections reverberate within and between us?

  • Bad Physics
    BAD PHYSICS: Five Common Misconceptions in the Most Basic Science, Jan 13

    From Aristotle to Einstein, great minds have failed to grasp basic ideas in physics. Aristotle thought that all objects naturally prefer to be at rest; Einstein believed that, “God does not play dice.” Both these geniuses were mistaken, and, today, plenty of everyday geniuses continue to misunderstand key ideas in the most basic of the ...

  • Our Future with Bees

    The world’s bees can improve economic and ecological sustainability, if only we let them. We know the vital importance of bees, yet we also know that they are dying off. What does the future human condition look like in a world that incorporates bees into our architecture, healthcare, and everyday lives? Join Noah Wilson-Rich for ...

  • The Sciences in Ancient Greece & Rome: How far did they get?

    Dr. Richard Carrier is an expert in ancient science. Since earning his PhD at Columbia University, he has written numerous books on modern philosophy and ancient history. In this lively, illustrated talk, Dr. Carrier will compare modern science (from the Scientific Revolution to today) with science in the ancient Greco-Roman world…

  • Love, Sex, & DNA
    Love, Sex, & DNA – May 11

    Can 21st-century molecular biology answer age-old questions about the human experience? Can studying proteins and DNA help us understand how we make our choices in sex and love? How we communicate? Where our emotions come from? Or why we age and die?

  • Evolution of Science
    The Evolution of Science – May 13

    Author and physicist Leonard Mlodinow (PhD, UC Berkeley) will explore how humans have won such a grand grasp of nature’s workings — and what deeper understandings may lie ahead. He is the author of five bestsellers including two co-written with Stephen Hawking: A Briefer History of Time and The Grand Design. Dr. Mlodinow’s The Drunkard’s ...

  • The Top Tourist Sights of the Solar System
    Top Tourist Sights of the Solar System – Jun 20

    “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 ...

  • Particle Fever
    Particle Fever: Film Screening with Special Commentary, Feb 10

    Imagine being able to watch as Edison turned on his first light bulb, or as Franklin received his first jolt of electricity. Particle Fever follows six brilliant scientists during the launch of the Large Hadron Collider, marking the start-up of the biggest and most expensive experiment in the history of the planet, pushing the edge ...

  • Her - Wonderfest
    An Evening with Peter Norvig and HER, Movie Screening & Talk – Jun 24

    It’s a great pleasure of modern life to watch a wonderful movie, and then to discuss it with a smart friend. Even better when the movie is Her, Spike Jonze’s 2013 sci-fi-rom-com about a man who falls in love with a female-voiced operating system (think Siri) — and the smart friend is Peter Norvig, world ...

  • Physiology of Awe
    The Physiology of Awe, July 28

    In the past five years, science has made great strides in better understanding the emotion of awe. UC Berkeley psychologist Craig L. Anderson will help us understand state-of-the-art findings about how awe promotes curiosity and pro-sociality, including the physiological processes that support these behaviors…

  • Love Among the Neurons
    The Neuroscience of Love, Aug 4

    Love is defined as a feeling of deep affection for someone or something, but why can it mean so much more to us? Why does who we are, and who we become, often depend on whom we love? Dr. Lewis, co-author of A General Theory of Love,…

  • Counting from Infinity
    Counting From Infinity: A Special Film Screening with Keith Devlin, Aug 18

    In April 2013, a little-known lecturer—working in isolation—proved something that rocked the mathematical world. Yitang Zhang’s insight into one of the great challenges of number theory, the Twin Prime Conjecture, is beautifully portrayed in the new film Counting From Infinity.

  • Gattaca
    Special screening of GATTACA, with gene/law expert Hank Greely, Sept 30

    Perhaps “Biology is not destiny.” But our genetic code is at least writing on the wall! 1997’s GATTACA is a sci-fi thriller that explores what happens when society can control that writing — when eugenics and genetic discrimination are the norm. Is this our future? Expert commentary and audience Q&A will be provided by Prof. ...

  • Richard Dawkins
    Richard Dawkins – My Life in Science, Oct 3

    Richard Dawkins is a British evolutionary biologist, ethologist, science writer, and outspoken atheist. In 1976, he published his first book, The Selfish Gene, which emphasized the gene as the key unit of biological evolution, and coined the term meme as the unit of cultural evolution. In 2013, Dawkin’s Appetite for Wonder chronicled “the making of ...

  • First Things in the Universe
    How the First Things in the Universe Came About and How They Ended Up Within Us, Oct 5

    Join us for a fascinating journey through the early universe using the latest computer animations of early star formation, supernova explosions, and the build-up of the first galaxies. Dr. Abel’s work has shown that the first luminous objects in the universe were very massive stars shining one million times as brightly as our Sun. They died quickly and seeded the cosmos with the ...

  • Hunting for Intelligent Life
    Breakthrough Listen: Grand New Search for ET, Oct 17

    Not one microbe has been found anywhere in the universe, except on Earth. Intelligent civilizations seem hard-to-come-by, too! Is our Galaxy teeming with life, as suggested by science fiction, or might intelligent life be rare in the Milky Way Galaxy? New telescopes and techniques can answer these questions.

  • Quantum Strangeness
    Quantum Strangeness Beneath Our Everyday World

    Quantum theory is our best description of the micro-world. Quantum phenomena underly all processes in nature (except possibly gravitation). Some of these phenomena — superposition and entanglement, in particular — seem very strange to those of us living and functioning…

  • Mysteries of Sleep
    The Mysteries of Sleep

    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 last great scientific mysteries.

  • Love in the Time of Facebook
    Love in the Time of FacebookDr. Carlos Diuk, Facebook Data Scientist

    Facebook is a great way to share news, keep in touch with friends, and make fun of old photos. It’s also a gold mine of information about human relationships. Data scientists have studied the communications of people who change their Facebook relationship status from “Single” to “In a relationship.” We now know how their timeline ...