Sputnik to Sputnik

SciSchmooze 2.22.21

Calendar | Submit an Event | Contact

Greetings Science Students!

After all I think that if you are a supporter of science or a scientist you never really stop being a student.  What an amazing time we are living in.  Do you remember the statement that started with "If they can put a man on the moon"?  It seems like such a naïve question these days.

Today we face massive challenges that may very well change how we live on the planet in our lifetimes.  Some would say that it all started back in back in 1751 as part of the industrial revolution.  Consider though that many people alive today were born while an early form of digital communication was still used commonly (some would argue it is trinary!) and what we think of as digital now was inconceivable.  But moving to current times that I can conceive of…  I barely remember the uproar and excitement in 1957 when the first artificial satellite was launched and is credited with starting the "space age".  Back then there were places like this strange now abandoned building in south Napa.   Not only have we put men on the moon and had a permanently crewed space station for over 20 years, we have explored a lot of what isn't found here on earth!  Space research and exploration has been the driving force in many of the things we take for granted today.  

Please allow a bit of digression here.  Curiosity During Decent to Mars and Perseverance During Descent to Mars were taken about 9 years apart.  I was blown away by the first one and equally blown away by the second one.  Science is about understanding at finer and finer detail the nuance of what we observe and wonder about.  Those are astonishing pictures.  I'm sure I don't need to impress on you the whole 7 minutes of terror concept.  We should all marvel at, and commend, the folks for the crazy landing system that they developed to land Curiosity and Perseverance on Mars.  These all had to be done automatically with the ability to make adjustments while descending through the atmosphere of Mars.  I think those two pictures represent another level of accomplishment.  MRO is travelling about 7,600 mph.  Curiosity and Perseverance were slowing from about 13,000 mph to 0 mph in those 7 minutes.  Using math, one of the main languages of science, the folks at NASA were able to program the MRO where to point at just the right time to take those pictures!  Now as we seem to be getting a handle on Covid-19 (it's not over yet) space research has given us many answers and Sputnik has a new meaning

Yet in spite of how much we know and understand we still have disasters like the freeze in Texas and Covid-19 is still a challenge.  Here's a bit of irony though.  I hope that you laughed in horror that anybody could have the idea of space lasers starting wildfires in California.  But space has played a part in wildland fires in California for well over 40 years!  You might also want to refresh on the Paris Agreement we are back in with; check out FRONTLINE’s Recent Climate Reporting.

So much to learn…  Here's a few presentations to think about for the next week.  Conversations About Landscape Online: Hidden in Plain Sight - The Unique Natural Landscape of San Francisco Wed @ 7:00,  The Most Famous Equation: Wonderfest Wed @ 8:00,  Virtual Elephant Seal Tour at Año Nuevo Sat @ 10:00   

In case you don't believe some of the warnings you get…  Leave your pocket knife in the car.    Have you ever wondered about how complicated that natural breakfast mainstay is?  An egg is such an elegant solution to so many problems.    You might want to improve the Fit and Filtration of Your Mask because we're not through it yet!    Here's something more to help try and understand Quantum Entanglement (beware of brain cramps).    I would also offer this up as well.  What is humor?  Further research is recommended.

Remember to keep your slide rule handy, wear a mask or two, and get that vaccine!

herb masters

"We've sent a man to the moon and that's 29,000 miles away. The center of the Earth is only 4,000 miles away. You could drive that in a week but for some reason nobody's ever done it."Author: Andy Rooney

It just might work!


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


Monday, 02/22/2021


SLAC Special Seminar: Sensitivity in Numbers : Scaling Up Superconducting Sensing at the Cosmic Frontier - Livestream - 02/22/2021 11:00 AM
SLAC Special Seminar

Many Cosmic Frontier efforts must instrument large numbers of superconducting sensors to meet their science goals.  Though superconducting sensors offer unparalleled sensitivity in many applications, historically it has been very difficult to instrument them in the large numbers (hundreds or more) required to exploit their full potential.  Superconducting sensor readout techniques developed by Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) experiments, which have focused on this problem for the past decade, offer a path forward.  These efforts have culminated in the CMB-S4 project, which aims to instrument a global network of CMB receivers with over 500,000 superconducting sensors.  The combined sensitivity of the CMB-S4 receivers will dramatically improve our understanding of fundamental physics, including probing for signatures of primordial gravitational waves produced by inflation in the very early Universe.  I will discuss the superconducting sensor readout techniques, which I have helped to develop, that have made the CMB-S4 project possible, as well as next generation readout technologies we are developing at SLAC.  These next generation technologies have the potential for broad applications beyond CMB detection, including X-ray, gamma-ray, axion, and neutrino detection, 21-cm astronomy, and sub-mm to THz spectroscopy.

Speaker: Shawn Henderson, KIPAC

See weblink for connection information


Loops, Ladders and Links: The Recursivity of Social and Machine Learning - Livestream - 02/22/2021 12:00 PM
Berkeley Institute for Data Science

Machine learning algorithms reshape how people communicate, exchange and associate; how institutions sort them and slot them into social positions; and how they experience life, down to the most ordinary and intimate aspects. Drawing on this published paper and examples from the field of social media, we will review the commonalities, interactions and contradictions between the dispositions of people and that of machines as they learn from, make sense of, and jointly produce the world.

Speakers: Marion Fourcade, UC Berkeley; Fleur Johns, UNSW, Sydney, Australia

Register at weblink to receive connection information.


Space Nuclear Propulsion for Human Mars Exploration - Livestream - 02/22/2021 01:30 PM
NASEM Space and Aeronautics

Safely transporting humans to and from Mars will require advances in spacecraft propulsion. Advanced nuclear propulsion systems, including Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) and Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP), have the potential to substantially reduce trip time and space radiation exposure for astronauts compared to fully non-nuclear approaches. However, more research is needed to bring these technologies to fruition.

Join us for a public briefing webinar on a new National Academies' report, Space Nuclear Propulsion for Human Mars Exploration. During the webinar, members of the committee will discuss the key findings and recommendations in the report and take questions from the audience.

See weblink to register


Stanford Symbolic Systems Forum : Daniel Ho - Livestream - 02/22/2021 02:30 PM
Stanford Symbolic Systems Forum

This talk will provide an overview of Stanford's Regulation, Evaluation, and Governance Lab (RegLab), which partners with government agencies to carry out high impact demonstration projects for better government. The RegLab is an interdisciplinary team of legal experts, data scientists, social scientists, and engineers, with an extensive track record of working with external partners, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Santa Clara County's Public Health Department (Covid-19 response).

Speaker: Daniel Ho, Stanford University

See weblink for Zoom link.


Building the next ubiquitous computing platform drawing on condensed matter physics - Livestream - 02/22/2021 02:30 PM
UC Berkeley

Computing is at a momentous point today. AI, big data and decentralized work are driving a surging demand for computing power. At the same time, an ending of Moore’s Law and Dennard’s scaling are making it increasingly difficult (and expensive) to improve processor performance. The energy consumed by computing is therefore growing exponentially, doubling every 3 years, and could go on to consume as much as 25% of the world’s primary energy production in the next few decades if action is not taken to significantly improve computing energy efficiency [1]. The past decades improvements in computing, drawing from improvements in systems engineering, are not poised to deliver the demands of next decade.

A Unified Computing framework  translated to physical, complexity and thermodynamic axes :  In this talk, I will first outline a unified framework for reducing energy consumption whilst increasing compute performing, combining energy/dimension scaling (Moore’s law) with computer error rates (Shannon computing) and complexity (architectures), drawing from our Nature Physics perspective on Beyond CMOS computing with spin and polarization. Furthermore, we identify the key limiting factors for near-term computing: the utilization of logic inside a computing system (activity factor); the Turing wall to access stored data (memory bandwidth); and thermal extraction.

Next-generation computing with quantum materials : Building on this framework, I will describe a quantum and memory-materials-centric approach to enable beyond-CMOS computing, outline a number of pathways [3,4] for computing devices that utilize quantum materials.

Artificial General Intelligence and condensed matter physics: I will end by describing the potential ways to build the hardware for artificial general intelligence, overcoming the key interconnect, memory and compute bottlenecks, and the role that condensed matter physics needs to play.

The aim of this talk is to give an overview of the potential for using condensed matter to scale computing beyond-CMOS. I will generalize the search for the next ubiquitous computing device with a comprehensive list of quantum materials classes, and will highlight the top-10 outstanding problems that a condensed matter physicist can solve to address this generational goal.

Speaker: Sasikanth Manipatruni, Kepler Computing

See weblink for Zoom information.


From Frozen Beaches to Tropical Poles: The Evolution of Earth’s Carbon Cycle - Livestream - 02/22/2021 03:30 PM
SLAC Colloquium

Hundreds of millions of years ago, massive ice caps blanketed Earth’s continents from coast to coast.  More recently, lush mega-forests of swamp cypress and dawn redwood have occupied what is now the Arctic circle. These dramatic shifts in Earth’s climate have long fascinated geoscientists. What caused these dramatic transitions between Icehouse and Greenhouse Earths? How did these different climate states influence the evolution of life on Earth? Could life itself have altered Earth’s climate? Ultimately, periods when the Earth was fundamentally different from today have provided key insights into the Earth’s carbon cycle, or the planetary machinery that moderates climate over geologic time. Based on what we currently know about the history of Earth’s carbon cycle, Earth has never seen a geologic agent as rapid and relentless as humans and this understanding should strongly shape our response to the current carbon crisis.

Speaker: Kate Maher, Stanford

See weblink for Zoom information


Testing Einstein’s theory of gravity using the first image of a black hole - Livestream - 02/22/2021 04:00 PM
What Physicists Do @ Sonoma State University

Speaker: Dr. Lia Medeiros, Institute for Advanced Study


Stanford Energy Seminar - Greg Mulholland - Livestream - 02/22/2021 04:00 PM
Stanford Energy

Speaker: Greg Mulholland is the CEO and cofounder of Citrine Informatics, which builds software to help materials scientists, chemists, and product designers discover, manufacture, and design with advanced materials in 90% less time than with traditional approaches.


Nematic Fluctuations in Iron-based Mott Insulators - Livestream - 02/22/2021 04:15 PM
UC Berkeley

My research focuses on how electrons organize according to their charge, spin, orbital and lattice degrees of freedom in order to exhibit novel phases of matter. A particular area of interest is iron-based superconducting materials and low-dimensional systems that exhibit emergent, quantum phenomena.  This talk will discuss a combined experimental-theoretical study of quantum materials known as iron oxychalcogenides La2O2Fe2O(S,Se) 2, close cousins to the structurally similar to the iron pnictides but with a slightly increased iron unit cell.  These materials are Mott insulators and their reduced kinetic energies, owing to narrowed Fe bands, are thought to lead to increased electron correlation.  A combination of incoherent Hubbard features in x-ray absorption and resonant inelastic x-ray scattering spectra, as well as resistivity data, reveal that the parent oxychalcogenides are correlation-driven insulators. To uncover the microscopics underlying these findings, we performed local density approximation-plus-dynamical mean field theory (LDA+DMFT) calculations that revealed a novel Mott-Kondo insulating state.   We also applied neutron diffraction in order to probe the establishment of long-range antiferromagenetic order. Neutron diffraction also indicates that global, structural C4 symmetry is preserved above and below Neel temperatures.  However, local structure probes reveal C2 nematic fluctuations. Ideas will be presented on how the observed structural nematicity fits into the overall context of iron-based superconductivity.  While, spin nematicity might manifest through geometrically frustrated magnetism and orbital selectivity, our findings highlight the interplay between orbital order and structural nematicity and the ubiquity of nematicity in strongly correlated Fe-based materials.

Speaker: Byron Freelon, University of Houston

See weblink for Zoom link, posted day of lecture.


Deep Networks Are Kernel Machines - Livestream - 02/22/2021 07:00 PM
SF Bay Association of Computing Machinery

Deep learning's successes are often attributed to its ability to automatically discover new representations of the data, rather than relying on handcrafted features like other learning methods. In this talk, however, Pedro Domingos will show that deep networks learned by the standard gradient descent algorithm are in fact mathematically approximately equivalent to kernel machines, a learning method that simply memorizes the data and uses it directly for prediction via a similarity function (the kernel). This greatly enhances the interpretability of deep network weights, by elucidating that they are effectively a superposition of the training examples. The network architecture incorporates knowledge of the target function into the kernel. The talk will include a discussion of both the main ideas behind this result and some of its more startling consequences for deep learning, kernel machines, and machine learning at large.

Speaker: Pedro Domingos, University of Washington

Register at weblink to receive connection information


Tuesday, 02/23/2021


Listening to Elephant Seals - 02/23/2021 11:00 AM
UC Santa Cruz

Explore the fascinating world and interesting adaptations of northern elephant seals during the Seymour Center’s virtual Elephant Seal Celebration Week. Special at-home activities, lectures, and interviews with scientists will reveal natural history, migration strategies, and allow participants to immerse themselves in elephant seal science at UC Santa Cruz. Virtual Elephant Seal Celebration Week activities will be available for viewing and download February 21-27, 2021.

See weblink for series purchase option


ML pipelines for research: Stop doing R|D, start doing R&D - 02/23/2021 11:50 AM
Magnimind Academy

In this talk, we will harness the pipeline concept towards manageable high throughput experimentation in ML/DL research. We will make a distinction between top-down pipelines used in production and a bottom-up design that we propose for researchers. We make the claim that using such a design principle mitigates some of the problematic aspects of moving from research to development Agenda:11:40 am - 11:50 am Arrival and socializing 11:50 am - 12:00 pm Opening 12:00 pm - 1:50 pm Ariel Biller, "ML pipelines for research: Stop doing R|D, start doing R&D 1:50 pm - 2:00 pm Q&A Speaker: Ariel Biller, Allegro Ai  Zoom link at website


Whole Earth Seminars - Livestream - 02/23/2021 03:30 PM
UC Santa Cruz

Speaker: Jenny Middleton, Columbia University

See weblink for Zoom information


Erin Brockovich: The Power of Community to Bring Change - Livestream - 02/23/2021 07:00 PM
Peninsula Open Space Trust

While working as a file clerk at a Los Angeles law firm in 1992, Erin Brockovich uncovered documents that ultimately led to more than 600 residents of Hinkley, California, filing a lawsuit against utility giant PG&E. Since then, Erin has worked on a host of a environmental issues across the country.

Immortalized in the 2000 film, Erin Brockovich has never stopped her consumer advocacy efforts since she began her work in the 90’s. She has been involved in dozens of legal cases and campaigns over the past three decades including a variety of groundwater contamination issues, oil and natural gas pollution, fracking, and pharmaceuticals.

Erin is a believer in the power of people. She will share inspiring stories of how bringing people together to address environmental issues can have an enormous impact.


Vanishing Vaquitas: Lessons From a Humble Porpoise - Livestream - 02/23/2021 07:00 PM
American Cetacean Society

Join us for a thought-provoking presentation by Dr. Barbara Taylor about what we can learn from the plight of the vaquita porpoise. Only a handful of Mexico's desert porpoise remains, and their habitat is a war zone controlled by illegal wildlife poachers. While there is still some hope, most lessons learned from this toxic situation warn us about the consequences of our unsustainable behavior. Vaquitas are collateral damage in a global struggle to save coastal and riverine cetaceans from gillnets.

Register at weblink to receive connection information.


Searching With NASA’s SOFIA - Livestream - 02/23/2021 07:00 PM
Chabot Space and Science Center

Get to know SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, which recently helped scientists find water on the Moon. SOFIA is a specially-modified Boeing 747SP aircraft that carries a very powerful 106-inch reflecting telescope.

Soaring above 40,000 feet allows astronomers to study the Universe in ways that are not possible from the ground. What have scientists discovered from SOFIA’s views beyond Earth’s atmosphere? Learn more about this unique telescope and its role in research from NASA’s Dr. Backman.

Speaker: Dana Backman, NASA

See weblink for Facebook Live and YouTube links.


Wednesday, 02/24/2021


Ask the Scientist - Kate Randolph - Livestream - 02/24/2021 02:00 PM
Estuary & Ocean Science Center

How do scientists go from OMG to PhD? How do they turn their passion for science into their profession? What advice do they have for future scientists?

If you are a 5th-12th grade student, undergraduate, teacher or parent, join us to ask these questions and more in a Q&A session with our weekly Seminar speakers.

Parents must give permission for children under 18 to participate.

Register at weblink to attend.


Breaking waves, bubbles, light scattering and energy dissipation - Livestream - 02/24/2021 03:30 PM
Estuary & Ocean Science Center

Breaking waves enhance the transport of gas, momentum and heat between the atmosphere and ocean, facilitating climate-relevant physical and chemical processes. Despite their substantial physical relevance to climate, contemporary ocean models cannot numerically solve the small-scale boundary layer structure due to computational expenses and will require parameterizations based on relevant field observations. But years of effort have shown that breaking waves and bubble plumes can be difficult to measure, to describe analytically and parameterize using forcing. Because breaking waves have a marked impact on the color of the surface ocean, altering the magnitude and spectral shape of reflected light in unique ways for the submerged air cavity, fresh and decaying foam and entrained bubbles, measurements of ocean color could prove useful as a proxy for the processes associated with wave breaking. Here, using datasets collected from various experiments conducted in estuarine, coastal and open ocean conditions, we have developed ocean color derived metrics to estimate wave driven turbulence at the air sea interface, including the enhancement in turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rates, the void fraction of air in water and penetration depth of bubble plumes. These methods serve as an alternative and complementary approach to further elucidating the role and implications of wave breaking dynamics and kinematics at the air-sea interface.

Speaker:  Kaylan Randolph, Assistant Research Scientist, California State University Maritime Academy

Register at weblink to receive Zoom information


Insurance in a Warming World - Livestream - 02/24/2021 04:00 PM
Energy and Resources Group

At the same time that disaster insurance is becoming ever more essential to ensure the financial resiliency of households and communities in the face of escalating extremes, those very events are stressing these markets. This presentation will discuss the design of public-private partnerships to stabilize disaster insurance markets, the extent to which insurance can be a risk signal to housing and mortgage markets, and how to harness insurance for greater investments in resilience.

Speaker: Carolyn Kousky, Univ. of Pennsylvania

See weblink for connection information


Conversations About Landscape Online: Hidden in Plain Sight - The Unique Natural Landscape of San Francisco - 02/24/2021 07:00 PM
ExplOratorium

Looking at the City of San Francisco today, it can be hard to imagine a once wild and natural landscape. Within all of living memory, towering skyscrapers, iconic bridges, and busy streets have shaped the city. Before the metropolis, however, there was a remarkably unique landscape unlike any other in the region. Join us as we take a tour of San Francisco's ecological past, walk through the process of discovering these stories of the past, and explore historical ecology’s potential to inform the future with nature-friendly urban design.

Register at weblink to receive connection information


Science on Tap: Using Genetic Tools to Understand the Master Regulator: The Spliceosome - Livestream - 02/24/2021 07:00 PM
Science on Tap

Did you know that the DNA in your body is inert and “silent”? Your cells require a constant stream of instructions to tell them what to do next, but the genetic information they need is locked away in DNA. The only way that the information in your genes is “expressed” is in a similar molecule called RNA. Did you know that every RNA message that comes from your genes gets edited by a molecular machine called the spliceosome, and most of your genetic information gets left on the cutting room floor? Wow! Come learn about the master regulator of all master regulators, the spliceosome, and learn how I’m using the awesome power of genetics to understand the functioning of this fascinating molecular machine.

Speaker: Messie Lopez, UC Santa Cruz

Register at weblink to receive connection information


Wonderfest: The Most Famous Equation - Livestream - 02/24/2021 08:00 PM
Wonderfest

Around the world, people recognize that E=mc^2 oozes cosmic insight. But what does this "most famous equation" really say? What are energy and mass? And what makes the speed of light, c, so important? [Hint: mass, moving at speed c, doesn't turn into energy!] Using little more than common experience and middle-school math, Einstein's "special relativity" gem can come to life - with surprising insights into the nature of reality.

Speaker: Tucker Hiatt, Wonderfest


Thursday, 02/25/2021


Elephant Seals Week labside Chat - 02/25/2021 11:00 AM
UC Santa Cruz

Explore the fascinating world and interesting adaptations of northern elephant seals during the Seymour Center’s virtual Elephant Seal Celebration Week. Special at-home activities, lectures, and interviews with scientists will reveal natural history, migration strategies, and allow participants to immerse themselves in elephant seal science at UC Santa Cruz. Virtual Elephant Seal Celebration Week activities will be available for viewing and download February 21-27, 2021.

Speaker: Jessica Kendall-Bar, UC Santa Cruz

See weblink for series purchase option


Large area Weak Lensing and the LSST Camera - Livestream - 02/25/2021 12:30 PM
SLAC Special Seminar

Weak gravitational lensing of the light from distant galaxies is a powerful tool for mapping the total matter distribution of the Universe, although measurement of the effect faces many subtle and challenging issues.  Detecting the coherent shape distortion of weak lensing requires high-quality imaging and precise measurements. Ongoing and forthcoming surveys collect weak lensing data for very large areas of the sky.  The Subaru Hyper Suprime-Cam is one of the current leading imagers for deep, large-area surveys.  I was active in the development of Hyper Suprime-Cam and completed its commissioning. Using the images taken during commissioning, I conducted several weak lensing projects.  I developed techniques to reduce the systematic error in weak lensing mass maps and verified the resultant mass maps by correlating them with dense spectroscopic surveys. Weak lensing measurements together with dense spectroscopy form a foundation for continuing advances in precision cosmology to constrain the distribution of dark matter and the nature of dark energy.  I will discuss my work on the Vera Rubin Observatory's LSST Camera as a step toward obtaining high-quality weak lensing data over the entire southern sky.

Speaker: Yousuke Utsumi

See weblink for Zoom information


Tackling Global Challenges - Plastic - Livestream - 02/25/2021 04:00 PM
Stanford Energy

A quarterly lecture series where you will hear from industry experts about pressing sustainability challenges so you can apply your expertise and ingenuity to develop solutions that will make an impact. The 2020-21 Tackling Global Challenges speaker series will bring in experts who will speak to the sustainability challenges and opportunities that exist around plastic manufacturing, recycling, and pollution.

Plastic: Episode 2: Reducing Plastic Waste and Recovering Value

Speakers:

Dr. Jay Fitzgerald, Chief Scientist, Bioenergy Technologies Office, DOE's EERE

Dr. Jack Lewnard, Program Director, DOE's ARPA-E

Through a proactive, solutions-focused lens, the speakers will provide insights into plastic recycling and energy recovery, highlighted by discussions of persistent challenges and examples of emerging innovations. There will be opportunities for Q&A from attendees.

Register at weblink to receive connection information


SFBBO Birdy Hour Talk: Almaden Lake - Evolution of the Environment and How Birds Adapt - Livestream - 02/25/2021 05:00 PM
San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory

Through SFBBO's Colonial Waterbird Program, our biologists and community science volunteers have monitored populations of colony nesting waterbirds during the breeding season at more than 70 sites throughout the Bay Area. Join us to hear Larry Manning, who has been a colonial waterbird monitoring volunteer for nearly 20 years, as he discusses the history of Almaden Lake in San Jose and the birds that nest there.

Speaker: Larry Manning

This program is family-friendly. The Zoom meeting link will be sent in the confirmation.


Plant Stories Trapped in Tar: Paleobotany at the La Brea Tar Pits - Livestream - 02/25/2021 05:00 PM
UC Los Angeles Botanical Garden

The La Brea Tar Pits in the heart of Los Angeles, California are world famous for their preservation of Ice-Age mammals, especially the iconic, extinct megafauna such as saber-tooth cats, dire wolves, mammoths and mastodons. What is less known, is that the unique asphaltic preservation of past life at La Brea includes much more than mammals, but entire ecosystems of Los Angeles from the Late Pleistocene through the Holocene spanning the last ~57,000 years. While much attention has been given to the fauna, relatively little is known about plant life during this time. Fossil plants preserved at the La Brea Tar Pits include seeds, wood, leaves, needles, cones, pollen and phytoliths. We will detail how these ancient floras reveal a rich history of climatic and environmental change in Los Angeles and Southern California over the last several millennia leading to the formation of our modern day ecosystems.

Join scientists Dr. Regan Dunn, Assistant Curator at La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, and Jessie George, UCLA PhD Candidate, to explore the ancient flora of Los Angeles and learn about the fascinating field of paleobotany.


February LASER Event - Livestream - 02/25/2021 06:00 PM
LASER Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous

The original idea was to celebrate 70th anniversary of George Orwell's death. The author of "1984" died one year before the introduction of the first commercial computer. His novel is therefore devoid of algorithms. The 70 years since his death have instead been the age of algorithms, that increasingly dominate our lives. An individual is increasingly defined by a combination of numbers (tour tax id, your driver license number, your medical insurance number, your credit card numbers, etc). And numbers are assigned to various aspects of your life: the DMV rates your driving skills, credit bureaus rate your financial life, and unknown numbers of algorithms spy on you online. We have slowly created "algorithmic societies", societies where algorithms rate us and sometimes spy on us. There is hardly any government or private entity that doesn't require you to run an algorithm in order to get what you want, whether it's an application for a driver license or a medical visit. China has launched a "social credit system" that is possibly the most advanced use of algorithms to enforce "proper" behavior in society, but de facto the network of algorithms that, here in the USA, keep track of our increasingly online lives constitute a decentralized version of it (and perhaps an even more effective one). Are we achieving "social engineering" through algorithms? Can we use algorithms in more positive ways?

Panel: Irina Raicu (Program Director of Internet Ethics at the Santa Clara University), Michal Kosinski (Stanford Graduate School of Business), Simina Mistreanu (China-based journalist) and cultural historian Piero Scaruffi on "The Algorithmic Society".

Register at weblink to receive connection information


Hardcore Natural History: Sea Level Rise in Southern Monterey Bay: Process, Protection, and Habitat Impact - Livestream - 02/25/2021 06:00 PM
Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History

Join us as we speak to Dr. Doug Smith, a professor in the Applied Environmental Science Department at CSU Monterey Bay. Doug’s recent research projects include using drone photogrammetry and other precise survey technology to quantify annual and catastrophe-driven landscape change.

Global sea level rose nearly 400 feet in the past 18,000 years. In response, the coastline of southern Monterey Bay eroded 10 miles east to its present position. Coastal erosion continues unabated today under the combined stress of winter storm waves, high tides, and rising sea level. Sea level rise predictions indicate that coastal erosion will accelerate in the near future. Given that information, we will consider what will happen to beach habitat - home to plovers, killdeer, and a host of wading shorebirds. What does the future hold for our homes, hotels, and roads that were built close to the shore? We will explore these difficult topics in the context of the natural variability of sea level, typical management responses, and anticipated environmental impacts of management choices.

Speaker: Dr. Doug Smith, Cal State University, Monterey Bay

Register at weblink to receive connection information


NightSchool: California Grizzlies- Livestream - 02/25/2021 07:00 PM
California Academy of Sciences

California grizzly bears once roamed the entire length of the state, from the Sierras to the coastal regions. Learn about this now-extinct iconic species, discover what it might look like to reintroduce grizzlies to the state, and meet Monarch, one of the last of his species and now part of the Academy’s research collections.

Ages 21+

See weblink to watch on YouTube or Facebook Live.


After Dark Online: (Re)Collections - 02/25/2021 07:00 PM
ExplOratorium

Dig into archives and collections that celebrate, document, and preserve the history and lived experiences of Black Americans. From home movies to oral histories, through artists’ reclamations and reframing of historic materials, join us in hearing from the archivists, artists, and librarians who are committed to bolstering the voices, culture, and stories of Black Americans.

Ages 18+

See weblink for YouTube and Facebook Live links


Friday, 02/26/2021


Live from Año Nuevo Natural Reserve - 02/26/2021 11:00 AM
UC Santa Cruz

Explore the fascinating world and interesting adaptations of northern elephant seals during the Seymour Center’s virtual Elephant Seal Celebration Week. Special at-home activities, lectures, and interviews with scientists will reveal natural history, migration strategies, and allow participants to immerse themselves in elephant seal science at UC Santa Cruz. Virtual Elephant Seal Celebration Week activities will be available for viewing and download February 21-27, 2021.

See weblink for series purchase option


The Geometry of the Ancient Lunar Magnetic Field - Livestream - 02/26/2021 12:00 PM
UC Santa Cruz

Paleomagnetic studies of Apollo samples indicate that the Moon generated a core dynamo lasting for at least 2 billion years. However, the geometry of the lunar magnetic field is still largely unknown because the original orientation of nearly all Apollo samples are unconstrained. Determining the direction of the lunar magnetic field over time could elucidate the mechanism by which the lunar dynamo was powered, whether the magnetic field underwent reversals, and whether the Moon experienced true polar wander. I will present measurements of the lunar magnetic field at 3.7 Ga as recorded by Apollo 17 mare basalts 75035 and 75055. These samples formed as part of basalt flows that make up wall-rock within Camelot crater in the Taurus-Littrow valley. Using layering in the parent boulder for 75055, we inferred its original paleohorizontal orientation on the lunar surface at the time of magnetization. We find that 75035 and 75055 record mean paleointensities of 37.3 ± 5.4 µT and 43.6 ± 4.6 µT, respectively. Furthermore, 75055 records a paleoinclination of 34 ± 11°. This inclination is consistent with, but does not require, a selenocentric axial dipole. Additionally, although true polar wander is also not required by our data, polar wander inferred from independent studies is consistent with our reported paleoinclination.

Speaker: Speaker: Claire Nichols, University of Oxford

See weblink for connection information


How NASA’s Perseverance Rover Lands on Mars - Livestream - 02/26/2021 07:00 PM
Chabot Space and Science Center

The best part of traveling is when you arrive at your destination. You gather your belongings, freshen up and then start your trip. The Mars rover goes through a similar process. When a spacecraft approaches the planet Mars, there is an important process that requires extremely reliable technology! Learn more about the advanced techniques that deliver rovers to the Martian surface with incredible precision. This is your chance to ask how it’s done!

Speaker: Faride Khalaf, Aviator

See weblink for Facebook Live and YouTube links.


Saturday, 02/27/2021


Science Saturday: Animal Athletes - Livestream - 02/27/2021 10:00 AM
Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History Pacific Grove

This highest jumping, fastest flying, strongest biting Science Saturday of the year focuses on the Olympians in the animal kingdom. From falcons to mountain lions, and beetles to beavers, every athlete has a story to tell. Join us for crafts, activities, and science as we sprint, jump, and dive into the world of Animal Athletes!

See weblink for connection information


Virtual Elephant Seal Tour at Año Nuevo - 02/27/2021 10:00 AM
webinar

Año Nuevo Reserve Director, Patrick W. Robinson will lead us on a virtual elephant seal tour at Año Nuevo. His tour will include an introduction to the site, a walk through the colony, some show-and-tell of the electronic tags used on the seals, and a summary of some of the research projects that are being done. We will follow this tour with a Q and A session. Because this park is currently closed to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions, this is quite an opportunity to view these animals without the presence of crowds.

registration at website


How to build the world’s biggest telescopes - Livestream - 02/27/2021 07:00 PM
East Bay Astronomical Society

Increasing our knowledge of how the universe works has always been enabled by technological development. From the invention of the telescope by Galileo, over 400 years ago, to the development of 8 to 10 meter class telescopes and the launch of the Hubble telescope at the end of the last century, fantastic new discoveries have been made by users of the latest and greatest telescopes. Progress continues to this day, with three major new telescopes under development world-wide. After a brief overview Brian will concentrate on the current development of the Giant Magellan Telescope, a 25m diameter telescope expected to see light later this decade on Las Campanas Peak in Chile. Here are some of the questions he will address: Who’s designing and building it? What is the process for carrying out such a big project? Who will get to use it and what questions will they answer with the telescope?

Speaker: Brian McLeod, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

See weblink for Facebook Live link


Virtual Telescope Viewing - Livestream - 02/27/2021 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.


Monday, 03/01/2021


Social Medicine Data Storytelling & Clinician Burnout - Livestream - 03/01/2021 12:30 PM
Berkeley Institute for Data Science

Speaker: Laurens Kraal, UC Berkeley

Register at weblink to receive connection information


UC Berkeley Condensed Matter Physics Lecture - Livestream - 03/01/2021 02:30 PM
UC Berkeley

Speaker: Lena Kourkoutis, Cornell University

See weblink for connection information


Get ultracold! Cooling and trapping atomic gases for quantum simulation - Livestream - 03/01/2021 04:00 PM
What Physicists Do @ Sonoma State University

Speaker: Dr. Cora Fujiwara, Univ. of Toronto


How neural circuits are wired up during development to perform computations - Livestream - 03/01/2021 04:15 PM
UC Berkeley

How are neural circuits wired up during development to perform specific computations? We address this question in the retina, which comprises multiple circuits that encode different features of the visual scene.  These features are encoded in the neural activity of the activity of roughly 40 different types of retinal ganglion cells, the output cells of the retina that transit this information to the brain. We will explore the example of direction-selective ganglion cells, which respond strongly to an image moving in the preferred direction and weakly to an image moving in the opposite, or null, direction. This asymmetric computations is mediated by neurons that are symmetric in their shape but asymmetric in their connectivity,  I will present recent progress in the lab in characterizing how this asymmetric wiring emerges during development and the role that activity plays in establishing mature circuits.

Speaker: Marla Feller, UC Berkeley

See weblink for Zoom link, posted day of lecture.


A Conversation on Wildfire Ecologies - Livestream - 03/01/2021 06:30 PM
UC Berkeley

With California wildfires becoming a seasonal inevitability, we turn our Indigenous Technologies series to the question of fire ecologies. Join us for a conversation on indigenous fire management and land practices with two indigenous ecologists. We’ll hear from Margo Robbins, co-founder and president of the Cultural Fire Management Council and Valentin Lopez, Chair of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and the President of the Amah Mutsun Land Trust.

Register at weblink to receive Zoom information.


Tuesday, 03/02/2021


When Words Aren’t Enough: The Visual Climate Story - Livestream - 03/02/2021 12:00 PM
Commonwealth Club - Online Event


Rainforests, Trees, and Tropical Ecology - Livestream - 03/02/2021 01:00 PM
UC Botanical Garden


Enrichment in H2O and elevated Fe oxidation states are linked to material recycling in Izu-Bonin-Mariana lavas - Livestream - 03/02/2021 03:30 PM
UC Santa Cruz


Lubricants and Glitter: Revolutionizing Sexual Assault Investigation @ Online Zoom Event - Livestream - 03/02/2021 05:00 PM
California Section American Chemical Society


Wednesday, 03/03/2021


From communities to ecosystems: linking ecological responses to multiple global change drivers - Livestream - 03/03/2021 03:30 PM
Estuary & Ocean Science Center


Energy and Resources Group Colloquium - Livestream - 03/03/2021 04:00 PM
Energy and Resources Group


Astronomy on Tap West Los Angeles and Davis - Two talks - 03/03/2021 07:00 PM
Astronomy on Tap


Thursday, 03/04/2021


Climate Change Innovation - Livestream - 03/04/2021 01:00 PM
Anchor Ventures


The Genome Odyssey: Medical Mysteries and the Incredible Quest to Solve Them - Livestream - 03/04/2021 06:30 PM
San Mateo Public Library


NightSchool: Women in Science - Livestream - 03/04/2021 07:00 PM
California Academy of Sciences


After Dark Online: Art + Science - 03/04/2021 07:00 PM
ExplOratorium


Friday, 03/05/2021


The Science and Culture of Coffee - Livestream - 03/05/2021 11:00 AM
UC Botanical Garden


Fish of the Peninsula and the South Bay Watersheds - Livestream - 03/05/2021 12:00 PM
Peninsula Open Space Trust


Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics Seminar - Livestream - 03/05/2021 12:00 PM
UC Santa Cruz


Applications of Data Science and AI to Equity, Race, and Inclusion in Mobility and Transportation - Livestream - 03/05/2021 03:00 PM
UC Berkeley


Data Is Not the Destination: A Conversation with Naturalist Christian Schwarz - Livestream - 03/05/2021 07:00 PM
Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy


Saturday, 03/06/2021


Wildflower Identification - Livestream - 03/06/2021 11:00 AM
Environmental Volunteers


TEDXBERKELEY 2021: IMAGINE IF... - Livestream - 03/06/2021 11:00 AM
TEDxBerkeley


Virtual Telescope Viewing - Livestream - 03/06/2021 09:00 PM
Chabot Space and Science Center


Sunday, 03/07/2021


TEDXBERKELEY 2021: IMAGINE IF... - Livestream - 03/07/2021 11:00 AM
TEDxBerkeley


Monday, 03/08/2021


Stanford Symbolic Systems Forum : Keren Haroush - Livestream - 03/08/2021 02:30 PM
Stanford Symbolic Systems Forum


Bill Gross, Founder and CEO of Heliogen - Livestream - 03/08/2021 04:00 PM
Stanford Energy Seminar


The physicist as a prism - Livestream - 03/08/2021 04:00 PM
What Physicists Do @ Sonoma State University


A fireside chat with two pioneers in science, Sandra M. Faber and Kathryn D. Sullivan - Livestream - 03/08/2021 05:30 PM
UC Santa Cruz