Humanity has looked up at the stars for millennia and wondered whether we're alone in the Universe. Yet only in the past few decades have we begun to discover planets outside our Solar System: to date, we've found over 4,000 such "exoplanets." Further, we have statistical reasons to believe that roughly one billion exoplanets — in our Galaxy alone — are promising abodes for life. Come learn about exoplanets and the exciting search for Earth-like and potentially habitable worlds.
Our speaker, Andy Mayo, is a PhD student and researcher in the UC Berkeley Astronomy Department. He is also a Wonderfest Science Envoy.
WHAT: Exoplanets and the Search for Alien Life
WHO: Andrew Mayo, UC Berkeley Astronomy Department
The Drake Equation famously “quantifies our ignorance" regarding the number, N, of technological civilizations in our galaxy. Even though planets are plentiful, and even though life may be a natural — even common — product of cosmic chemistry, we may truly be the only galactic civilization capable of interstellar communication. I.e., perhaps N~1.
Our speaker, Pascal Lee, is a planetary scientist at the SETI Institute, and co-founder of the Mars Institute. During the video premiere of "N~1: Alone in the Milky Way," Dr. Lee will answer questions in the YouTube "chat" bar. Live Q&A will continue, immediately afterward, via Google "Meet."
WHEN: 2020-10-24 — 7:30pm PDT, Sat, Oct 24 (1.5 hr)
This event is co-produced by Wonderfest and the Mount Tamalpais Astronomy Program. Visit the Mt Tam Astronomy YouTube channel ("WHERE" link, above) to set a reminder for the YouTube Premiere on Saturday, October 24th. One week thereafter, the video can be viewed at the Wonderfest Science YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/wonderfestscience.
BTW, if you benefit from science events like this, please donate accordingly — via the inaptly-named "Tickets" box below — to help nonprofit Wonderfest share the scientific outlook.
A search is underway to find intelligent life in the universe. Can SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) researchers detect radio, infrared, or optical signals from other civilizations? Current and future SETI projects, including the new $100-million Breakthrough Prize Foundation "Listen" project, may provide an answer.
UC Berkeley astronomer Dan Werthimer, Chief Scientist at Berkeley SETI Research Center, will describe the rationale for past and future searches, and will show how new technologies are revolutionizing SETI. Dan is the 2019 recipient of Wonderfest's Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization.
WHAT: Are We Alone? — Seeking Alien Civilizations
WHO: Dan Werthimer, Chief Scientist, Berkeley SETI Research Center
This Zoom online gathering will begin with collective viewing of the new Wonderfest video entitled "Are We Alone? — Seeking Alien Civilizations" by Dan Werthimer. Then, Dan will answer juicy extraterrestrial questions posed by the Zoom audience.
This online event is produced in collaboration with the Alameda Free Library, Castro Valley Educational Foundation, and Castro Valley Science. Please consider contributing to Wonderfest's science outreach efforts via the inaptly named "Tickets" box, below.
"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure, and the intelligent are full of doubt." So said philosopher, mathematician, and Nobel laureate (in literature!) Bertrand Russell. Indeed, overconfidence leads us to delude ourselves with wishful thinking, take too many risks, and waste time on doomed ventures. Under-confidence dissuades us from taking risks and pursuing ventures that can enrich life in so many ways. Psychological evidence and insight help us to thread the needle between foolhardy overconfidence and stultifying under-confidence.
Wonderfest joins the Commonwealth Club in presenting UC Berkeley's Donald Moore, Mitchell Chair in Leadership at the Haas School of Business, in conversation with Patrick O'Reilly, Chair of the Commonwealth Club's Psychology Forum. Dr. Moore's latest book is Perfectly Confident: How to Calibrate Your Decisions Wisely.
Dr. Donald Moore
WHAT: Critical Thinking and the Psychology of Confidence
WHO: Dr. Donald Moore, Mitchell Chair in Leadership, Haas School of Business, UCB
The Breakthrough Prize Foundation has committed $100 Million to UC Berkeley and other institutions for the most comprehensive Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) ever conducted. Chief Scientist of Berkeley SETI, Dan Werthimer, will describe the rationale for past and future searches, and will show how new technologies are revolutionizing SETI.
WHAT: Breakthrough Listen: Grand New Search for ET
WHO: Dan Werthimer, Chief Scientist, UC Berkeley SETI
HOW: Admission is FREE. Bring a flashlight, and, just in case, wear warm clothes in layers. If bad weather threatens, call 415-455-5370 after 4pm. This event is presented in collaboration with Mount Tamalpais State Park, Friends of Mt. Tam, San Francisco Amateur Astronomers, and the Mt. Tam Astronomy Programs.
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WHY: Because we’re curious creatures.
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