Happy Convergence with the Sci Schmooze 12.21.20

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SciSchmooze Weekly Events Newsletter

Hello Science Aficionados and General Lovers of Science as well,

I don't really need to say anything about what an incredible year this has been. It has been so incredible that this will be the last SciSchmooze of the year! (We are going to take a break the week after christmas since there is only one event listed between then and next year!)

Normally I would go on about science and society laced with lots of links. I'm going to be a bit more straightforward this time. Needless to say bioscience has lead the way this year and we are now hopefully on the brink of winning the Covid wars.

There are five events left on our calendar, four are about astronomy, and two are about the Great Conjunction! First off, watch Wonderfest: Madame Curie - Livestream I want to give a shout out to Wonderfest founder and main science guy, Tucker Hiatt. He has been a longtime supporter and friend of the SciSchmooze and one of the folks that I really love because he is about all disciplines of science. Most of the presentations we find are put on by organizations staying in their own lane. Thank you Tucker for exposing people to so many interesting topics.

Here's the four astronomy presentations… 'The Great Conjunction' Viewing Party!, The Great Conjunction Virtual Telescope Viewing, Virtual Telescope Viewing - Livestream, Virtual Telescope Viewing - Livestream

A couple of shoutouts and a calls for support...
Professor Andrew Fraknoi has been the SF Bay Area public go to astronomy person for longer than we have been SciSchmoozing. Now we all have a chance to sit in on Aliens in Outer Space: The Science and the Fiction Spend eight weeks (1.12 to 3.2) getting off this planet to think about the possibility of intelligent life among the stars. Astronomer and educator Andrew Fraknoi leads this non-technical short course for adults over 50 on the scientific search for aliens out there. (If you aren't over 50, tell them that you are an alien and looking for an update on your homeworld!) He’ll take a careful look at the factors that make astronomers more optimistic than ever that there we may have counterparts on other worlds (including the discovery of more than 4,000 planets so far orbiting other stars.)

There are many jewels of science research and learning here in the SF Bay Area. One that is often underappreciated if you ask me is Lick Observatory. A few years ago it was threatened by sever budget cuts. Astrophysicist and Professor Alex Filippenko was one of the folks who went to the rescue of Lick Observatory and the task continues. Lick is still doing major real science and education. Last summer the place damn near burned down! There are so many more jewels as well. (FYI, I count Alex, his wife Noelle, as well as Tucker, and Andrew as friends.)

OK, here's the pitch! Many people around the world have not fared well this past year. Surprisingly many have done well though. It's the end of the year and you might be noting that you have a little extra money and not enough deductions because of staying or working at home and doing at home stuff. Whether you need an extra deduction, or just a bit more feeling good about helping, I hope that you will show your support for the many organizations supporting science and education here in the SF Bay Area. Here are two that I support and think you should too! The Friends of UC Berkeley Lick Observatory and you know that I have to point you to the explOratorium as well! Lick is educating and supporting research now. The explOratorium is educating and inspiring scientists and the public now as well.

OK, you know there have to be links! For your curiosity may I suggest…
How Science Beat the Virus
The Great Vaccinator

The Lemmings Speak: Down W/ Science!
Humoural Theory: Inside the Strange Pseudoscience That Dominated Western Medicine for 2,000 Years
53 Times People Actually ‘Did The Math’

Fun Facts About This Year's Winter Solstice And The Great Conjunction
Space Station Spiders Found a Hack to Build Webs Without Gravity

Abandoned Soviet radio telescope
Abandoned Soviet Space Shuttles (Buran) in Baikonur
Art in a petri dish: the Agar art awards 2020

21 Years Later, the Y2K Bug Seems Like a Joke—Because Those Behind the Scenes Took It Seriously, Y2K Family Survival Guide, Y2K Survival Kit, 7 Problems Y2K Actually Caused

Have a great Solstice week along with all of the other holidays!

herb masters

The Winter solstice... "you haven't lived if you haven't seen us running around in our skivvies, banging on pots and pans, shouting 'Come back, sun! Goddammit, come back! Come back!'" ― Joanna Russ, The Female Man

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


Monday, 12/21/2020


The Great Conjunction Virtual Telescope Viewing - 12/21/2020 05:00 PM
Chabot Space and Science Center,

Join Chabot astronomers virtually on Facebook and YouTube for a rare celestial event! Every 20 years, Jupiter gets very close to Saturn as seen from Earth, an event astronomers call “conjunction.” This year, the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction will be especially close, the closest in 800 years. The planets will be so close that both will appear in the same telescope field of view. Since the planets will be low in the Western sky, we’ll have only a short viewing time beginning at 5 p.m. PST.

See weblink for YouTube and Facebook links.


'The Great Conjunction' Viewing Party! - 12/21/2020 05:00 PM
Evergreen College on-line,

It may feel like we are far apart this 2020, but the universe wants to remind us of the things that bring us together. Join us in celebrating a once in a lifetime viewing of the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.

Astronomers will be live streaming via Zoom from the Montgomery Hill Observatory at Evergreen Valley College

Register today! Zoom link will be sent via email prior to the event.

Free for all ~ invite your friends!

While tickets are free, donations to the EVC CSI Program are greatly appreciated! If you would like to do so, there is an additional donation option below. Your generous donation may provide:


Wonderfest: Madame Curie - Livestream - 12/21/2020 07:30 PM
Wonderfest,

Wonderfest is delighted to present Madame Curie, a new musical-theater tribute to Earth's most accomplished female scientist. As Maria Sklodowska was becoming Marie Curie, she emigrated 1000 miles from Poland to France, overcame xenophobia and sexism, and pioneered our understanding of radioactivity. In the process, she earned Nobel prizes (plural!) in physics and chemistry, and treated - directly and indirectly - over a million WWI soldiers with he r mobile X-ray units.

"I have frequently been questioned, especially by women, regarding how I could reconcile family life with a scientific career. Well, it has not been easy." - M. Curie

Madame Curie brings to life the story and spirit of a revolutionary. It features a compelling narrative, beautiful music, and eleven experienced actors who sheltered in their respective homes during recording! Fully orchestrated in the Rodgers and Hammerstein tradition, Madame Curie will revive your love of science, and it will especially inspire young women to heed their call to the passionate exploration of Nature.

"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." - M. Curie

See weblink for connection information.


Saturday, 12/26/2020


Virtual Telescope Viewing - Livestream - 12/26/2020 09:00 P M
Chabot Space and Science Center,

Join our resident astronomers on Facebook Live every Saturday evening live from Chabot’s Observation deck!

Each week, our astronomers will guide us through spectacular night sky viewing through Nellie, Chabot‘s most powerful telescope. Weather permitting we will be able to view objects live through the telescopes and our astronomers will be available for an open forum for all of your most pressing astronomy questions.

We will go live the Chabot Space & Science Center Facebook page 10-15 minutes before the event. You can find the live video stream on our Facebook page and in the Facebook event discussion. To receive a notification when we go live, “like” Chabot Space & Science Center on Facebook and RSVP that you’re going to this event.

RSVP on Facebook.


Virtual Telescope Viewing - Livestream - 01/02/2021 09:00 PM
Chabot Space and Science Center,

Join our resident astronomers on Facebook Live every Saturday evening live from Chabot’s Observation deck!

Each week, our astronomers will guide us through spectacular night sky viewing through Nellie, Chabot‘s most powerful telescope. Weather permitting we will be able to view objects live through the telescopes and our astronomers will be available for an open forum for all of your most pressing astronomy questions.