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SciSchmooze Weekly Science Events Newsletter from the Bay Area Science Festival
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SciSchmooze Weekly Events Newsletter

Events by Location: East Bay | North Bay | San Francisco | South Bay
Happy New Year!
There is an exceptional set of science events to get your 2016 started on the right foot. Next week on 1/13 and 1/14 marks the return of our astrophysicist in chief, Neil DeGrasse Tyson to San Francisco. He'll be headlining two nights at the fabulous Orpheum theater in San Francisco, opining on everything from science to politics to Star Wars. I just revisited his reboot of Cosmos over the holidays - a wonderful excursion into scientific history. In my book, Neil is basically can't miss theater. Tickets are definitely pricey, but he's my Michael Jordan - i.e. the one person I'd regret never seeing in person. 

Our local radio station KALW is sponsoring the meet and greet with Dr. Tyson on 1/14 - a few tickets are still available

El Nino may be soaking the west coast, but don't let the rain keep you from going out to explore the natural landscape. This is a great time of year to explore the ocean science - so here's my marine inspired top 3 picks for the week.
 
1. Low Tide Walk - 01/09/2016 03:30 PM
2Oceans Aglow: Family Night Hike & Campfire - 01/09/2016 05:30 PM
3. Open House at the Marine Science Institute - 01/16/2016 10:00 AM 

See you at an upcoming science event!
-Kishore

Upcoming Events
Click to see the next two weeks of events in your browser.


Monday, 01/04/2016
Quadrantids Meteor Shower - 01/04/2016 12:00 AM
Chabot Space and Science Center, Oakland

Hang out on the hill with us as we watch the Quadrantids Meteor Shower make it's annual trip through our atmosphere and light up the night sky. Our scientists will be ready to help you catch the brightest meteors in this prolific shower!

*Visibility may be obscured by the waning gibbous (nearly full) moon


Energy and Economic Development: What We Know and What We Should Know - 01/04/2016 04:30 PM
Stanford University Energy Seminar, Stanford

While energy sector development is rightly seen as key to broader economic development and poverty reduction, empirical evidence on some important aspects of the energy-development nexus remains surprisingly thin.  After presenting the contours of the energy and development topic broadly, the presentation will review what we know about the connections, conceptually and empirically, and what we need to better understand.  Topics addressed will include: the economic value of increased electricity availability and reliability; barriers to widespread adoption of modern cooking energy sources; links between energy poverty and security; and the political economy of the energy sector in developing countries.

Speaker: Morgan Bazilian, lead energy specialist, World Bank and Michael Toman, Development Research Group, World Bank


Tuesday, 01/05/2016
Finding Amazing Structures Hidden in Big, Complex, Dense, Raw Data - 01/05/2016 12:00 PM
SETI Institute Colloquium Series, Mountain View

Speaker: Marvin Weinstein, Quantum Insights
Thursday, 01/07/2016
Signatures of Neutron Star Mergers in the Era of Advanced LIGO - 01/07/2016 11:00 AM
Kavli Institute Astrophysics Colloquium, Stanford

Coalescing stellar mass compact objects (binary neutron stars and black holes) are promising sources for the direct detection of gravitational waves by Advanced LIGO in the next few years, if not this fall. Maximizing the scientific return from such a discovery will require identifying a coincident electromagnetic counterpart.  One possible counterpart is a short gamma ray burst, powered by the accretion of a centrifugally supported torus onto the central black hole.  Neutron star mergers are also accompanied by a thermal optical/IR transient, powered by the radioactive decay of neutron-rich elements synthesized in the merger ejecta (a `kilonova').  In addition to providing a beacon to the gravitational wave chirp, kilonovae provide a direct probe of an astrophysical site for rapid neutron capture (r-process) nucleosynthesis.  I will describe recent work showing how free neutrons in the outermost layers of the ejecta could power a bright 'precursor' to the main kilonova emission, greatly enhancing the prospects for its detection.

Speaker: Brian Metzger, Columbia University


How-To Nightlife - 01/07/2016 06:00 PM
California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

You're never too old to learn new tricks, so why not learn a few? Back by popular demand, NightLife is serving up a host of how-to workshops, demos, and more!


After Dark: Let's Have a Ball - 01/07/2016 06:00 PM
Exploratorium, San Francisco

Celebrate the new year with a round of bubbly-and a plethora of spherical phenomena. Don goofy goggles to play your favorite schoolyard games with altered sight, and see what happens once you take them off. Peer at circular denizens of the biosphere, such as rotating colonies of Volvox, a genus of green algae, and learn about the unique attributes of spherical viruses. Wrap your head around atomic models, try your hand at mapping the globe, and cover your ears as we use liquid nitrogen to explode a bin full of 3,000 ping-pong balls to fete the year ahead.

Schedule:

PRESENTATIONS
Dissecting a Sphere or What's Inside a Baseball Anyway?
With Ken Finn
7:00 p.m. | Phyllis C. Wattis Webcast Studio
When you grab a baseball, you don't necessarily think of it as being bouncy. But that's exactly what happens when a baseball hits a bat: it bounces-deforming for an instant, then springing back to its original shape. See how this works by watching a super-strong water balloon bounce in slow-motion. And since one way to find out how something works is by looking inside it, Ken will take apart some balls to see what they're made of.
Pacific Pinball Museum
With Michael Schiess
8:00 p.m. | Phyllis C. Wattis Webcast Studio

Learn the peculiar history of pinball, from a rainy-day alternative to croquet in eighteenth-century France to a post-World War II American arcade craze. Discover the little-known world of pinball art, and find out how the Pacific Pinball Museum is working to preserve historic examples of this popular game.
The Physicist and the Sphere
With Patio Plasma
9:00 p.m. | Phyllis C. Wattis Webcast Studio

From atoms to cows to planets and stars, spheres appear when physicists model the universe. For example, scientists have recently created the most perfect spheres ever made to test Einstein's theory of general relativity, and to count the number of atoms in a mole. Open your eyes to the spheres around us, and find out why physicists love them.
Ping-Pong Ball Explosion
With Julie Yu and Eric Muller
9:30 p.m. | East Gallery
Ring in the new year in a shower of delight as we use liquid nitrogen to explode a 45 gallon trash can full of 3,000 ping-pong balls. Cover your ears for the big boom, and then enjoy the sprinkling sounds of excitement

"Catch" A Virus
With Laura Satkamp and Kelsey Haas of the Gladstone Institutes
6:00–10:00 p.m. | East Gallery Corridor
Why are some human viruses spherical? How are influenza, HPV, HIV, and dengue similar to the common cold? Come "get infected" with temporary virus tattoos, play with supersize virus models, explore their shapes and scale, and learn about their impact on human health.
Volleying Volvox
6:00–10:00 p.m. | East Gallery, Microscope Imaging Station
Visit the Microscope Imaging Station to see live, verdant colonies of Volvox, a genus of around 20 species of freshwater green algae found worldwide. Volvox form spherical or oval hollow colonies that contain some 500 to 60,000 cells embedded in a gelatinous wall. The colonies are often just visible to the naked eye.
Juggling
With the Berkeley Juggling Club
6:00–10:00 p.m. | Throughout museum
The Berkeley Juggling Club returns to the Exploratorium (last seen at the outdoor program Market Days: Toys in 2014) to roam the floor, juggling balls for your amusement throughout the night.


NASA, Aerodynamics, and Sports Balls - 01/07/2016 07:00 PM
NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View

Speaker: Dr. Rabi Mehta, NASA Ames Research Center

Building 3  Ballroom


Friday, 01/08/2016
Birds & Botany - 01/08/2016 09:00 AM
Mayacamas Nature Preserve, Healdsburg

Hike the forests, meadows and hills around Pine Flat and up Redhill with ACR Volunteer Patrick Woodworth & ACR Resource Ecologist Dave Self. We'll be watching (and listening) for birds on the hike out. After lunch, we'll botanize as we consider the seasonal interplay between bird foods, habitat history and current activity of the birds.

Registration Required through the Modini Mayacamas Preserves Meetup page. Limit 15 

Bring Lunch & water

Meeting Spot Schoolhouse Flat, 30 minutes up Pine Flat Rd from Jimtown and Hwy 128. Look for the white egret truck and our event sign.

General Info Hikes are hosted by Audubon Canyon Ranch staff. No preregistration is necessary unless otherwise noted, and all hikes are free.

Questions? Email ACR Resource Ecologist David Self or call 707.431.8184 or visit the Modini Mayacamas Preserves Meetup page.

Steep, Wild Country, No Facilities, No Pets Please dress for the weather and bring at least one quart of drinking water. You may also wish to bring a hat, an extra layer and a snack. There are no toilets, no water fountains, no restaurants, no trash collection...this is a primitive and wild place! Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the outing. For hikes you will want shoes that protect your toes and give you good traction on uneven ground, such as sneakers or hiking boots. Please leave your pets at home.


'Of Mice and Plants' and 'Secretive inhabitant of the beach and dunes: Snowy Plovers on the West Coast' - 01/08/2016 06:00 PM
Point Reyes National Seashore, Point Reyes Station

Native mice on sand dunes consume the seeds of plants. Recent research at Point Reyes National Seashore has shown that invasive European beachgrass provides shelter that allows mice to consume large quantities of fruits of the endangered plant, Tidestrom's lupine. The recent large-scale restoration at Abbotts Lagoon, which has removed European beachgrass, has allowed for an incredible recovery of this endangered plant at this site.

Speakers: Dr. Tiffany Knight and Dr. Eleanor Pardini from Washington University

You find Snowy Plovers year-round on our coastal beaches and dunes, habitats they share with an ever-increasing human population. Learn their intriguing life-history and hear how the public, government agencies, and non-profit organizations have collaborated to recover their populations in many locations along the coast.

Speaker: Dr. Lynne Stenzel from Point Blue Conservation Science

Red Barn Classroom


Our Fantastic Moon - 01/08/2016 06:00 PM
Evergreen Valley College, San Jose

The full moon is the second brightest object in the sky. This talk will be initiated with a historical overview of the role played by the moon in Indian, Mesopotamian, and Meso-american cultures. It will be proceed with a discussion of few curious facts about the geometry of its orbital motion and cyclic events.  We complete with a survey of high resolution pictures and videos released by several lunar missions, especially the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO).

Enjoy a free public stargazing after the talk at the Montgomery Hill Observatory of Evergreen Valley College from 7 pm to 10 pm.

The facility has an 8 inch refractor telescope in a dome observatory, 14 inch SC telescope in a roll off roof observatory and several other telescopes set out for the public. View Andromeda Galaxy, Orion Nebula , Crab Nebula , Double cluster in Perseus, star cluster Hyades, Pleiades, "Owl" cluster, Beehive cluster, bright stars Rigel, Betelgeuse, Sirius, Aldebaran and many more objects

Parking & campus map: Free parking after 6:00 PM in parking lot #6 for this event.


Green Friday: 'Racing to Zero' - 01/08/2016 07:00 PM
Sierra Club office, Berkeley

At the January Green Friday Racing To Zero will be shown.  Racing To Zero is a documentary film 55 minutes long shown at the Mill Valley Film Festival in October, 2014 that portrays the existing programs and plans of San Francisco's high "let's end waste" goals.  Racing To Zero is quick-moving and upbeat, presenting new solutions to the global problem of waste.  The mayor of San Francisco had pledged to achieve zero waste by 2020.  Racing To Zero tracks San Francisco's waste stream diversion tactics and presents San Francisco's innovative new solutions to waste.  The film features highlights of program operators and their elected sponsors.

Following the film, two members of the Sierra Club chapter's zero waste committee, David Haskell, committee chair and Arthur Boone (who worked in the San Francisco zero waste program for four years) will comment and offer suggestions on future prospects for waste reduction work.


The NGC/IC Project - 01/08/2016 07:30 PM
Peninsula Astronomical Society, Los Altos Hills

Steve Gottlieb has been an active observer and catalogue junkie for over 25 years and member of SFAA since 1981. He's written a number of deep-sky observing articles for Sky & Telescope, Astronomy, Deep Sky Magazine as well as the SFAA bulletin.   His 600 favorite deep-sky objects are featured in the Orion "Deep Map 600" and the results of his catalogue sleuthing can be found in a number of popular digital setting circles which use his corrected databases.  Some of his observing challenges can be found at Adventures in Deep Space.



Saturday, 01/09/2016
Little Explorers Workshop: Tails and Workshops - 01/09/2016 10:00 AM
Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley

Make take-home projects and do activities with our menagerie of animals, including rabbits, turtles, and birds. Young children develop an appreciation of living things and spark their curiosity with a new animal theme each week.


Family Program: Succulents for Little Green Thumbs - 01/09/2016 10:00 AM
UC Botanical Garden, Berkeley

Children of all ages, together with their parent/guardian, will explore amazing succulents, discover where and how they grow, and pot-up their plants to take home. The program features a mini-tour of the Arid House and Desert collections.


Low Tide Walk - 01/09/2016 03:30 PM
Pillar Point Harbor, Half Moon Bay

Join us for a series of coastal adventures.  We will be taking advantage of the multiple low tides this season with a sequence of Low Tide Walks.  We will return to a few of our favorite stomps as well as venturing to some new spots.  When the tide is low we have the opportunity to find amazing sea life such as crabs, sea stars, eels and even octopus!

Spaces are limited and fill quickly.


Oceans Aglow: Family Night Hike & Campfire - 01/09/2016 05:30 PM
NatureBridge, Sausalito

Join NatureBridge Golden Gate as we discover one of the most amazing natural phenomenon, bioluminescence. We will hike out to Rodeo Beach and explore the sands for twinkling plankton. Where did they come from? Why are they blinking? Are they here all the time? We will try and answer all these and other questions. 

This program features a hike and campfire led by our environmental science educators. Our evening hikes are usually no more than 2 miles and allow for fun and learning along the way. After the hike, we provide all the necessary supplies for some fun around the campfire including S'more roasting, campfire skits, and fun sing alongs!


The Physics of Time Travel - 01/09/2016 08:00 PM
Chabot Space and Science Center, Oakland

Is time travel science fiction or a plausible reality? Written about for centuries and theorized by the most celebrated scientists, the quantum mechanics of time travel are still a hot topic in modern physics. Using popular movies as a framework, Professor Wharton will outline several distinct categories of consistent time travel stories, and discuss possible connections with actual physics.

Speaker: Dr. Ken Wharton



Sunday, 01/10/2016
Teddy Bear With Friends: Baboons! - 01/10/2016 09:30 AM
Oakland Zoo, Oakland

It's tea time at Oakland Zoo and you are cordially invited! Bring an adult, bring your stuffie, and learn all about Baboons. Enjoy a morning of snacks, activities, books and play while making and delivering an enrichment gift straight to the zoo's Baboons. When the fun is done, your child will receive a surprise-filled treat bag to take home.

 


Marine Science Sunday: Animals of the Arctic - 01/10/2016 10:00 AM
Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito

 

This month we celebrate the animals that are the champions of the cold: Animals of the Arctic. We recommend teaming our free classroom program with a Docent-led tour at 11am1pm or 3pm for a truly immersive marine mammal experience. Read on for more info... 

 


Program Summary

 

FREE Classroom Programs: Animals of the Arctic- 12 PM and 2 PM (1 hour sessions)

Join Adam Ratner, marine biologist and animal care volunteer at The Marine Mammal Center, for an interactive presentation on the amazing animals that live in the Arctic. Adam will talk about animals such as walruses, narwhals, hooded seals, bowhead whales and polar bears - what they eat, where they live and how they survive those f - f - f - f - f - freezing temperatures. Sessions are held in the Center's classroom at 12pm and 2pm. A great compliment to the docent-led tour!

Docent-led Tours* - 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 3:00 PM 

Learn fascinating facts about seals and sea lions from our education experts while seeing exhibits and patient viewing areas. (*Small fee applies, it helps our patients!). 


21st Century Digital Technologies meet Pharaonic Information Systems - 01/10/2016 02:30 PM
Berkeley City Club, Berkeley

The 134 giant sandstone columns of the Great Hypostyle Hall are a virtual petrified forest, each of them blanketed with thousands of hieroglyphic texts and hundreds of elaborately carved scenes representing kings and gods. This dazzling array of ancient information technology has long daunted visitors and even scholars attempting to decode this complex three-dimensional matrix of pharaonic history and culture. A fourth dimension is the passage of 33 centuries since the pharaohs Seti I and Ramesses II constructed the Great Hypostyle Hall around 1300 BCE. Since then, several pharaohs, High Priests, Medieval squatters and visitors from the Greco-Roman period down to today have literally left their marks with new inscriptions, graffiti and even iconoclastic vandalism of human and animal forms in the scenes and hieroglyphs. Using 3D modeling, digital photography and other high tech methods, the Hypostyle Hall Project is now recording and decoding this titanic ancient "puzzle box," revealing new insights into how the Egyptians created such artistic marvels and the subtle coded language of the hieroglyphic "software" that served as a magical operating system for this vast pharaonic machine.

Speaker: Dr. Peter Brand, University of Memphis



Monday, 01/11/2016
MEMS-Actuated Silicon Photonic Switches -- A Path Toward Programmable Si Photonics Circuits - 01/11/2016 04:15 PM
Spilker Hall, Stanford

 

Silicon photonics has emerged as a compelling platform technology for photonic integrated circuits, with applications ranging from optical interconnects to optical routers and signal processors.  High-speed modulators and transceivers have been successfully commercialized. However, silicon photonics is inefficient in switching optical signals. The refractive index change of free-carrier plasma, or the thermo-optic effect, is less than 1%. In addition, these effects are either too lossy or consume too much power. 

In this talk, I will introduce silicon photonic MEMS. By adding MEMS actuators to physically move waveguides, 100% modulation of the refractive index is achieved. We have successfully integrated 4,096 vertical adiabatic coupler switching elements to implement 64x64 optical circuit switches in a 1-square-cm chip, with sub-microsecond switching speed. The on-chip loss of 0.058 dB/port (3.7 dB total) is lower than any reported integrated optical switches. In addition to optical switching, similar MEMS tuning elements can also be embedded in programmable photonic integrated circuits.

Speaker: Ming C. Wu, UC Berkeley


What are the Prospects for Significant Global Deployment of Nuclear Power? - 01/11/2016 04:30 PM
Stanford University Energy Seminar, Stanford

 

The construction of new nuclear plants in the U.S. and OECD countries has slowed substantially due to the low cost of natural gas, incentives for deployment of wind and solar, and especially due to the high cost of nuclear power plant construction and safety concerns after Fukushima. The fleet is aging and significant retirements are expected beginning in 2030. While construction of new plants continues in a few countries notably, China, South Korea, and Russia it seems likely that nuclear will experience a decline in its share of world wide electricity generation. 

Nuclear power is an important source of carbon free electricity. The purpose of this talk is to assess the prospect for future nuclear power deployment at significant scale. What are possibly technologies? What are expected development schedules and costs? Who will pay for the development and initial deployment? What should governments do? Are there prospects for international collaboration?

Speaker: John Deutch, emeritus institute perofessor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


January LASER Event - San Francisco - 01/11/2016 07:00 PM
LASER Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous, San Francisco

Program:

7:00-7:25Anna Davidson(UC Davis/ Plant Sciences) on "It's Alive!"A brief history and overview of Bioart...Read more7:25-7:50Hideo Mabuchi(Stanford/ Applied Physics) on "Creative process in applied science and art"Abstract forthcoming...Read more7:50-8:10: BREAK. Before or after the break, anyone in the audience currently working within the intersections of art and science will have 30 seconds to share their work. Please present your work as a teaser so that those who are interested can seek you out during social time following the event.8:10-8:35Fabrice Florin(Artist and Technologist) on "The Pataphysical Slot Machine"Abstract forthcoming...Read more8:35-9:00John Markoff(New York Times) on "TBA"Abstract forthcoming...Read more9:00pm-9:30pm: Discussions, networkingYou can mingle with the speakers and the audience

Room 115



Tuesday, 01/12/2016
Life in the Universe - the Breakthrough Initiatives - 01/12/2016 12:00 PM
SETI Institute Colloquium Series, Mountain View

Cortical Vision from Emergent Global Dynamics - 01/12/2016 04:30 PM
Hewlett Teaching Center, Stanford

The Seven Deadly Sins Committed by Fungi - 01/12/2016 07:30 PM
Bay Area Mycological Society, Berkeley

Delta Matters - 01/12/2016 07:30 PM
St. Albans Parish Hall, Albany


Wednesday, 01/13/2016
SFMS Workshop in Microscopy Techniques - 01/13/2016 06:00 PM
Merritt College, Oakland

Michael Shermer: Skeptic: Viewing the World with a Rational Eye - 01/13/2016 07:30 PM
St. John's Presbyterian Church, Berkeley


Thursday, 01/14/2016
Overgrowth of eelgrass by an invasive tunicate in Tomales Bay - 01/14/2016 12:00 PM
Point Reyes National Seashore, Point Reyes Station

Internet of Things and InfoSec - 01/14/2016 04:15 PM
Lockheed Martin Colloquia, Palo Alto

Parrots, Pelicans, and People: Oh My! - 01/14/2016 05:30 PM
Pier 39 Theater, San Francisco

SketchFest Nightlife - 01/14/2016 06:00 PM
California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

Saving the Birds of the SF Bay Region - 01/14/2016 06:30 PM
Oakland Zoo, Oakland

Honey Bee Health: Myths, Mites and ZomBees A SkepTalk in Berkeley - 01/14/2016 07:30 PM
La Peña Lounge, Berkeley


Friday, 01/15/2016
Threat of plastic pollution to seabirds is global, pervasive, and increasing - 01/15/2016 12:00 PM
Point Reyes National Seashore, Point Reyes Station

Zoovie Nights Finding Nemo - 01/15/2016 06:30 PM
Oakland Zoo, Oakland


Saturday, 01/16/2016
Suddenly January - 01/16/2016 09:30 AM
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley

Open House at the Marine Science Institute - 01/16/2016 10:00 AM
Marine Science Institute, Redwood City
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