Do non-human animals possess a sense of fairness? In particular, do non-human individuals react negatively when they get fewer resources than others? New evidence suggests that the sense of fairness is a human-unique adaptation to our cooperative lifestyles, typically developing in children by age 8. Further, a new theory suggests that, maybe surprisingly, fairness is not about resources, but about social respect.
Our speaker, Dr. Jan Engelmann, is Assistant Professor of Psychology at UC Berkeley. He runs Cal's Social Origins Lab, dedicated to the study of human cognition and behavior from an evolutionary perspective.
Dr. Jan Engelmann
WHAT: The Sense of Fairness in Chimps and Children
One of the defining features of all mammals is, surprisingly, the set of bones that form the hearing system. Those bones evolved from jaw components in our mammalian ancestors. In the evolutionary process of repurposing them for hearing, mammals came to possess a jaw configuration different from all other jawed vertebrates. Here is the story of how the unique jaws of mammals fundamentally changed the form and function of how we bite.
Our speaker is Dr. Jack Tseng, Associate Professor of Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley, where he directs the Functional Anatomy and Vertebrate Evolution (FAVE) Laboratory. Dr. Tseng's specialties include the evolution of humanity's best friend, the dog.
Dr. Jack Tseng
WHAT: Jaws of Life: The (R)evolutionary Story of the Mammalian Bite
Wonderfest Science Envoys are early-career researchers with special communication skills and aspirations. Following short talks on provocative modern science topics, these two Science Envoys will answer questions with insight and enthusiasm:
• UC Berkeley zoologist Erin Person on What's the Point? Animal Behavior and the Value of Niche Science — We share our planet with many strange and wonderful animals. As David Attenborough has taught us, their ways of life can be fascinating. But beyond satisfying our curiosity, studying animals can teach us about evolution, ecosystems, and even ourselves.
• Stanford statistician Ben Seiler on Understanding Machine Learning — Computers automate important decisions across our society. Unfortunately, we cannot always understand how and why complex algorithms and statistical models are making these decisions! How can we make such machine learning more transparent and interpretable?
WHAT: Ask a Science Envoy: Animal Behavior & Machine Learning
WHO: Erin Person (UC Berkeley); Ben Seiler (Stanford), Wonderfest Science Envoys
WHEN: 2022-04-11 — 8pm, Monday, April 11th (1 hour)
This event is free. But what value do these science insights have FOR YOU? Accordingly, please use the space below to contribute to nonprofit Wonderfest, and help to promote the scientific outlook broadly — as through our outstanding Science Envoy Program.
How can we explain humanity's extraordinary evolutionary success? In this talk, psychologist Jan Engelmann will explain and explore a series of experimental studies comparing humans to one of our closest living relatives, chimpanzees. He will argue and present evidence that — maybe surprisingly — humans are not individually but are collectively smarter than other animals. Counterintuitively, our cooperative nature also gives rise to novel and powerful forms of competition among individuals and whole groups.
Jan Engelmann is Assistant Professor of Psychology at UC Berkeley. Dr. Engelmann earned his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, and has received numerous awards and grants for his research.
The Big Bang Theory, describing the origin of our universe, is very well established today. We have ample evidence that the universe originated from a hot "singularity," then expanded and cooled over time. Nevertheless, there is still a missing piece of the cosmic puzzle: How did the first stars form?! This presentation will explore the observational challenges we face in answering such a fundamental question.
Our speaker, Deepthi Gorthi, is a 5th-year doctoral researcher in the UC Berkeley Astronomy Department. She is also a Wonderfest Science Envoy. During the video Premiere of "The Very First Stars," Deepthi will answer questions in the YouTube "chat" bar. Live Q&A will continue, immediately afterward, via Google "Meet."
This event is co-produced by Wonderfest and the Mount Tamalpais Astronomy Program. In mid-July, when the "First Stars" video Premiere event is formally posted, visit the Mt Tam Astronomy YouTube channel ("WHERE" link, above) to set a reminder for the actual Premiere on Saturday, July 25th. Thereafter, the video can be viewed at the Wonderfest Science YouTube channel: <https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCccr2q6IgFSOglvh66VFSLw>.
BTW, what value will this admission-free event have FOR YOU? Please donate accordingly — via the inaptly-named "Tickets" box below — to help nonprofit Wonderfest share the scientific outlook.
The age of astrobiology has begun. We have a whole solar system — and a galaxy of star-warmed worlds beyond — to explore for life. How do we look for life here and way out there? How will we know it when we find it? Our exploration begins at Earth. We must apply what we are learning about our own amazing home planet to our search for life beyond.
Our Speaker, Dr. Penny Boston, was Director of NASA's Astrobiology Institute at Ames Research Center. Access her presentation at the Mt Tam Astronomy YouTube channel, linked below. Dr. Boston will answer questions during the video premiere AND, afterward, via Google "Meet."
Dr. Penelope Boston
WHAT: Astrobiology Under Our Feet and Out to the Stars
WHO: Dr. Penelope Boston, Former Director, NASA Astrobiology Institute
This Wonderfest + Mt Tam Astronomy presentation will take place ONLINE as a YouTube video "Premiere" with LIVE Q&A.
Public health protection has moved this presentation from its originally-planned Mount Tamalpais venue to the Mt.Tam Astronomy YouTube channel. Please "tune in" at the originally-planned event start-time (7:30pm, Saturday, June 27) at the following website: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCccr2q6IgFSOglvh66VFSLw Thereafter, the video will also be available at the Wonderfest Science YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-755eqlqZRcflOQTL-jOZg
This online event is jointly presented by the Friends of Mt. Tam, the San Francisco Amateur Astronomers, and Wonderfest.
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 a scientist” up to the appearance of The Selfish Gene. Now, with My Life in Science, Dawkins discusses his later life as “Darwin’s Rottweiler” and as a leader of the New Atheism movement.
WHAT: Richard Dawkins — My Life in Science
WHO: Richard Dawkins, Evolutionary Biologist
WHEN: Saturday, October 3 — 1:15pm check-in, 2:00pm program, 3pm book signing
WHERE: Morris Dailey Auditorium, San Jose State University, One Washington Square, San Jose
$10 Discount!!! Follow these steps to secure a $10 discount on either NONMEMBER ticket price, “General Admission” or “Premium” (membership here refers to Commonwealth Club members):
1) Click “Enter promotional code” at lower right. 2) Enter the promo code WONDERFEST, and click “Apply.” 3) Choose 1 or 2 “Nonmember” tickets. 4) Click “Order Now” to begin payment procedure.
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