Appreciating the Miraculous

According to Einstein, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is.”

Perhaps part of the reason you are reading this newsletter — and are interested in Wonderfest — is because you share Einstein’s all-or-nothing view of miracles … or, rather, his all-and-nothing view.  Wonderfest helps us to appreciate the miraculous, i.e., to appreciate everything, through understanding.

Wonderfest 2010 comes to Stanford and UC Berkeley next weekend, Nov. 6-7.  The schedule of events lists six major “dialogues” and several other formal events in the big auditoria.  Admission is FREE!  REGISTER NOW!

Consider, for example, the live podcast of This Week in Science with Dr. Kirsten “Kiki” Sanford and Justin Jackson at Cal on Sunday, Nov. 7.  Neuroscientist Dr. Kiki will be interviewing Wonderfest audience members, so be on your toes!

Non-dialogue events — Science art, science books, and science comedy (just to mention the a-b-c’s) — will beckon Wonderfest visitors at Stanford’s Amateur Science Forum on Saturday, and at Cal’s Bay Area Science Expo on Sunday.

By popular demand, a non-dialogue main event that happened at Wonderfest 2009 is being reprised in 2010, but with new insights.   Neuroscientist and magician Luigi Anzivino will describe how magicians use their understanding of physiology and psychology to fool us so easily.  “Neuromagic” takes place at Stanford on Saturday, Nov. 6.

Actually, a bit of “neuromagic” takes place every day in each of us.  We humans see regularities in the world, and we do our best to make a science of them.  It is a beautiful, challenging, wonderful process.  But we must not forget that these regularities — even the deepest laws of physics — are tentative and provisional and, according to big Al Einstein, even miraculous.

Wondrous regards,

Tucker Hiatt, Wonderfest director

P.S.  What about food at Wonderfest?  Finding a good meal near Cal’s Stanley Hall is easy: there are many restaurants near the intersection of Hearst and Euclid, less than a 10-minute walk away.  Dining near Stanford’s Hewlett Teaching Center was a bit dicier … until now: California Cafe , a 10-minute walk from Hewlett — is offering Wonderfest attendees a 10% discount on that Saturday evening.  Please just make your reservation by this Thursday, Nov. 4, so that California Cafe can adjust its staffing needs accordingly.

P.P.S.   Share the gift of wonder.  We are successful if more people come to enjoy Wonderfest.  So, we ask that you help us by inviting all your friends to come, to promote us on blogs and facebook, or wherever.