Week in Preview – 06.15.09

by Eric on June 15, 2009

Here’s our look at the upcoming week in science (event listings from Bay Area Science):

Monday, 06.15.09

Dave McLean, owner/brewmaster, Magnolia Pub & Brewery
Down to a Science Cafe: The Science of A Good Beer
Atlas Cafe, 7pm

Join Dave as he walks through the rather complicated process of brewing beer. He’ll also be bringing along $2 pints of Magnolia, so at least pretend to pay attention, okay?

Tuesday, 06.16.09

David Ewing Duncan
Evolve 2009: My Toxic Body
San Francisco Public Library, 6pm

David Ewing Duncan will be discussing his new book Experimental Man: What One Man’s Body Reveals About His Future, Your Health, and Our Toxic World (amzn|bandn|powls). Join Duncan as he undergoes “countless blood tests, brain scans, DNA analysis, and other tests to obtain a detailed profile of his true physical condition.” I hope his health plan covers all that.

Stephen Smith, Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Stanford University School of Medicine
Cafe Scientifique Silicon Valley: Reverse-Engineering the Brain
SRI International, 6pm

Dr. Smith will discuss how advances in the molecular genetics and computer science have reopened the possibilities of making highly detailed maps of brain circuitry and presumably better models of brain function. Here’s a tip: if he starts a sentence with “in 30 years…” just walk away. Just walk away.

WHIZ KIDS Movie World Premiere Benefit
Exploratorium, 6pm

You may remember it as the Westinghouse Science Fair, but it’s been pwned by Intel and renamed the Intel Science Talent Search. A new documentary, WHIZ KIDS, follows the last 3 smart kids in the United States in their quest to win this prestigious competition. Benefit screening for WHIZ KIDS Outreach and Education Fund.

Bookworms: Why Do Oceans Matter?
California Academy of Sciences, 6:30pm

Members of Bookworms book club will celebrate World Ocean Day by discussing Sea Change: A Message of the Oceans by noted oceanographer Sylvia Earle. I hear this group will eat you alive if you just skimmed the book jacket.

KQED QUEST: Tagging Pacific Predators/Science of Chocolate
KQED Television, 7:30pm

Ummm…ahi… Ummm…chocolate… Need I say more? If you couldn’t make it to Bookworms, at least you can watch a TV show about tuna.

Wednesday, 06.17.09

James Lovelock
The Vanishing Face of GAIA, A Final Warning
Commonwealth Club, 6pm

Yes, that James Lovelock of the Gaia Hypothesis. Now’s your chance to tell him in person what a bunch of hooey you think it is. What’s that, you have to wash your hair? That’s what I thought.

Amos Nur, Emeritus Wayne Loel Professor of Earth Sciences & Professor of Geophysics, Stanford University
SETI Institute Colloquium Series: Apocolypse: Earthquakes, Archeology and the the Wrath of God
Carl Sagan Center, SETI Institute, 12pm

First, it’s spelled “Apocalypse.” Second, I prefer the spelling “Archaeology,” but I’ll let that one go. Dr. Nur will be discussing how recent advances in earthquake science show that earthquakes had a far more significant influence on the development of ancient cultures than previously thought.

Thursday, 06.18.09

Allison Argo, director of “Frogs: The Thin Green Line”
Nightlife, California Academy of Sciences, 6pm

Another in the Cal Academy’s Science in Action symposia, Down to A Science’s Kishore Hari will host a discussion between Filmmaker Allison Argo and Berkeley professor, herpetologist, and National Geographic Explorer Tyrone Hayes. They will be discussing her recent PBS Nature series documentary about the decline in world frog populations. You can catch it during one of the 3 screenings in the Forum Theater. After that downer, you can dance the night away to The Qoöl Happy Hour.

A Day of Exploration for Members 55+
Exploratorium, 9:30am (Members Only)

In partnership with Bay Area Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes, join Dr. Per Peterson, Professor of Nuclear Engineering at UC Berkeley in a discussion about the prospects for both fission and fusion power, follow it up with a box lunch, and wrap up the day with a nap. Just kidding, actually there will be facilitated time on the floor. You gotta a be a member, so join up now.

Steve Cousins, President and CEO, Willow Garage
PARC Forum: An Open Platform for Robotics Research
George E. Pake Auditorium, PARC, 4pm
Join Steve Cousins as he discuss how Willow Garage is using applying the Open Source robotics platform ROS in the development of its PR2 personal robot. Did these people not see the Matrix or Battlestar Galactica?

Friday, 06.19.09

Reflections Exhibition Opening
Exploratorium, 10am

The Exploratorium opens a new exhibition incorporating new and existing installations about mirrors. Yes, they’ll have ones that make you look fat. Grow up.

Dr. Jeff Schweitzer
Center For Public Inquiry: “Beyond Cosmic Dice”
World Affairs Council Auditorium, 6:30pm

Jeff will be talking about his new book Beyond Cosmic Dice: Moral Life In A Random World (amzn|bandn|powls). Here’s a poser for him: “How can God not play dice with the Universe if He doesn’t even exist?” Discuss.

Saturday, 06.20.09

Alex Filippenko, Professor of Astronomy, UC Berkeley
International Year of Astronomy 2009 Public Talks: Dark Energy and the Runaway Universe
100 Genetics & Plant Biology Bldg., 11am

Almost as much a staple of the Discovery Channel as Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cal’s Alex Filippenko will be discussing what we know about the dark energy that is causing the universe to expand rather than contract under the force of gravity.

Cinema Arts: One Click at a Time
Physics of Toys
Exploratorium, 11am

Believe it or not, before the Age of Pixar, crazy animators would incrementally pose objects in the scene, click the shutter for a single movie frame, and then tediously repeat that process over and over again. I know! Check out these stop-motion animated short films in the McBean Theater. Afterwards, go out and play with the toys.

Insect Discovery Lab
Eclectix Art Gallery, 6pm

Celebrate the closing of Eclectix’ Katie McCann “Entomology” exhibition and get over your creepie-crawlies with this SaveNature.org program. They’ll be bringing giant African millipedes, Eastern lubber grasshoppers, darkling beetles, Australian and Malaysian walking sticks, and Madagascar hissing cockroaches! On second thought, I think I have to wash my hair that night…

Father’s Day Brunch/Father’s Day Solar Car Challenge
Chabot Space & Science Center, 11am

Take Dad out for a BBQ brunch at the Chabot, then follow it up with a little competitive bonding by building solar-powered Lego cars. Whee!

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