We shouldn't need legislation, it's science

with the SciSchmooze 10.13.21

Hello Fans of Science, Reason, and Critical Thinking,

I have to say that this edition of the SciSchmooze has been tough for me to get done. There are a few things that have really had me stirred up recently.

Let’s start with a topic that has a very limited time to play out but harkens much for the future, and the need to continue doing it. Have you voted in the 2021 California gubernatorial recall election? If you have, skip the rest of this paragraph. I firmly believe that voting is an obligation that we all need to take on. If you haven’t voted, you should have received your Vote by Mail ballot. You have options even now. Fill it out and mail it. You can take it to a vote center and deliver it or surrender it and vote there. If you didn’t get it you can go to a vote center and vote in person. If you haven’t registered YOU CAN STILL VOTE! Where? Look here. If you are one of the folks that thinks elections are stolen if you lose I refer you to this… Democratic processes in the United States, including elections, rely on complex systems and evolving technologies to operate effectively.

I thought the “dark ages” were pretty much over. I’m not so sure when I see some of the falsehoods, misstatements, and outright lies about the covid-19 pandemic. These days it seems like a large group of citizens has lost understanding and/or faith in science. The benefits we all receive from the practice of good science are taken for granted, go unnoticed or appreciated, and often ignored. It is possible that the pandemic might end!

I’ve tried to keep the political side out of this but you can’t separate a lot of what is going on in science from politics these days, even if it is only funding for a pure raw science research project! Thank you for reading this far. As far as I want to go politically is this… I feel a deep sadness that it is now necessary to legislate what seems obvious with what we know and have to draw upon today. That people share clean air, water, and many benefits of science and technology, but don’t want to do everything that science has to offer, to avoid any association with Covid-19 is truly sad and disturbing. "Mask compliance has become a political issue instead of a health issue despite the evidence. “This is a life-and-death issue. Masks, physical distance and hand-washing are the three things we have to reduce the spread of the virus in the absence of a vaccine”, according to Dr. David Abrams, NYU School of Global Public HealthPseudoscience and COVID-19 — we’ve had enough already

Science used to be based on plain observation and myth. It often had nothing to do with connecting two observations in a testable logical way. Science is based, in part, on figuring out what was believed is wrong. Science has limits and it is imperative that we understand something about them. It also has doubt and we need to understand that as well. Good science is really important.

I suggest that there are many things that have been proposed in the last few decades that don’t need any more proof to act on but we can’t seem to do it. You don’t need to be a scientist to decide that since doctors wear masks in the operating room, the incidence of flu decreased in the last year, the distribution of people who are vaccinated is uneven, and you can look at the counties in the country that voted “red” last November have much higher rates of covid infections, hospitalizations, and deaths, getting vaccinated and wearing a mask is probably a good thing to do. “No Shirts, No Shoes, No Masks | NO SERVICE” isn’t really a violation of your rights and should be in every entrance. It just makes sense and coincidentally it also makes nice. If you see a depleted population of your favorite food swimming in the ocean you probably should figure out why and what needs to change. If some idiot goes to congress to throw a snowball he probably isn’t a source you should trust.

May I suggest that we need to pay heed to some major problems that truly don’t take a scientist to recognize and we need to accept science and our best hope to get out of the gathering doom. California is still playing with fire | pollution is almost everywhere | The future of humanity: can we avert disaster? We need to choose our battles and wage them!

There are many opportunities as always this coming week to learn something new and interesting. I really recommend that you choose something that is webcast that you know little or nothing about and give it a try.

Why Some Diseases Only Affect Babies - Livestream is Mon at 12:00

The Genetic Lottery - Livestream is Tue at 11:00

If you know a future scientist you must see Ask the Scientist - Ana Spalding Wed @ 2:30 but wait there’s more! Don’t leave there’s more at 3:30!

Tales from the Stratosphere - Livestream is Wed @ 7:00

Here’s a class that I took last year and can’t recommend enough. Exploring the Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy Professor Fraknoi is one of the great astronomy lecturers and a Bay Area treasure. It is a course of 6 lectures (which is why it doesn’t work well on our calendar) and you need to register now before it fills up.

Now to test what you have retained. Please be sure to let us know what you think... Pandemic-era audience survey

Even more ponderables!!! In case of cold fries… | 5 things about Perseverance |You aren't going to believe some of this(Two versions one NSFW one SF)

Last week, Dave forgot to include his email address for entering the contest to win a diecast Virgin Galactic model. The contest is extended a week. You have until noon Friday to send an email to david.almondsmith@gmail.com with an integer between 0 and 1,000.

Have an amazing week learning cool new stuff.

herb masters

“There may be babblers, wholly ignorant of mathematics, who dare to condemn my hypothesis, upon the authority of some part of the Bible twisted to suit their purpose. I value them not, and scorn their unfounded judgement.” Nicholas Copernicus

“The saddest aspect of life right now is that it gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” Isaac Asimov


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


Monday, 09/13/2021


Investigating thermodynamic properties of correlated electronic phases in graphene by chemical potential measurements - Livestream - 09/13/2021 10:00 AM
UC Berkeley

Strong electronic interactions in narrow electronic bands give rise to emergent phases such as fractional quantum Hall (FQH) states, charge density waves, and magnetism. Quantitative understanding of these phases requires probing thermodynamics quantities, which cannot be directly accessed through conventional transport measurements that are only sensitive to electron scattering. My talk will focus on using chemical potential measurements to study thermodynamic quantities in several electron-correlated states hosted in graphene heterostructures. Applied to partially filled Landau levels in monolayer graphene, this approach enables us to precisely measure the ground state energy of the FQH liquids and electron solid states. I will discuss the comparison between our experimental results and theoretical calculations which reveals microscopic pictures of these phases. Recently, intrinsic narrow bands have been discovered in twisted bilayer graphene with specific rotating angle. A combined spin and valley (isospin) degeneracy is spontaneously broken by strong electronic interactions in the narrow band. I will also discuss the measurements of chemical potential to investigate isospin magnetism in the system. By determining magnetization and entropy, our measurements indicate an isospin ferromagnetic state that "melts" into an unpolarized Fermi liquid with decreasing temperatures. Our findings imply that isospin fluctuations at finite temperatures might be an important mechanism in understanding certain temperature dependent resistivity phenomena and superconductivity in such systems.

Speaker: Fangyuan Yang, UC Santa Barbara

See weblink for Zoom information


Point cloud applications to collider physics - Livestream - 09/13/2021 11:00 AM
Berkeley Institute for Data Science

At the LHC Experiment, each proton collision creates thousands of particles. Extracting information from a high dimensional space such as the space of collisions requires algorithms that take advantage of particle symmetries while being capable of handling high dimensional inputs. Point cloud processing methods, often applied to robotics and self-driving cars, are able to handle such datasets and exploit the geometrical relationship between points. In this talk, I will present the application of this concept to different problems in collider physics, comparing the results with other well established algorithms.

Speaker: Vinicius Mikuni, NERSC

See weblink for Zoom instructions


Why Some Diseases Only Affect Babies - Livestream - 09/13/2021 12:00 PM
Stanford University

Newborns are more susceptible to bacterial pneumonia than older children or adults. In addition, the high rate of chronic lung disease in preterm infants (bronchopulmonary dysplasia) is likely due to infection or exposure to inflammation. Both situations may result from pathogens taking advantage of a window of opportunity as infants transition from an immune tolerant state to one of protection against microbes. While existing dogma has considered newborns as immunocompromised, the facts around the development of immunity are more nuanced. Dr. Lance Prince’s laboratory uses both patient studies and experimental disease models to understand the basic cellular and molecular mechanisms of developmental immunity. In this talk, Dr. Prince will discuss ongoing projects focused on the role of lung macrophage populations in the pathogenesis of bronchopulmonary dysplasia and in mediating lung repair following injury. Additionally, the molecular basis for newborn susceptibility to Group B streptococcus pneumonia, which rarely causes disease in older populations. The goal of this work is to develop new precision treatment strategies for newborn lung diseases based on fundamental biological mechanisms.

Speaker: Lawrence Prince, Stanford School of Medicine

Register at weblink to receive connection information


UC Berkley Theoretical Astrophysics Center Seminar - 09/13/2021 12:10 PM
Campbell Hall, Rm 131 Berkeley

Speaker: Ellen Price


Tuesday, 09/14/2021


Monitoring Bird Movement - Livestream - 09/14/2021 10:00 AM
Audubon Canyon Ranch

Avian Ecologist David Lumpkin will review ACR’s recent and upcoming avian telemetry studies, including the latest details from Great Egrets carrying GPS tags, and collaborative efforts involving Long-billed Curlews and Western Sandpipers. Learn about how Motus towers recently installed at Toms Point and Cypress Grove Research Center will function as part of the Motus Wildlife Tracking System network, offering infrastructure for future study of Dunlin space use, and scanning for animals tagged as parts of other studies.


The Genetic Lottery - Livestream - 09/14/2021 11:00 AM
The Royal Institution

Scientists like Kathryn Paige Harden have shown that DNA makes us different, in our personalities and in our health - and in ways that matter for educational and economic success in our current society.

In this talk, she will introduce the latest genetic science, dismantling dangerous ideas about racial superiority and challenging us to grapple with what equality really means in a world where people are born different.

Harden believes our refusal to recognize the power of DNA perpetuates the myth of meritocracy, and she argues that we must acknowledge the role of genetic luck if we are ever to create a fair society. Reclaiming genetic science from the legacy of eugenics, she will offer a bold new vision of society where everyone thrives, regardless of how one fares in the genetic lottery.

Register at weblink to receive connection information


May the Forces Be with You - Measuring Forces that Hold Molecules Together - Livestream - 09/14/2021 04:00 PM
UC Merced

In these interactive sessions, we will talk about the forces that hold solids and liquids together, fabricate our own force measuring apparatus, and quantify the strength of glues. Finally, we will talk about how to present, compare, and discuss the strength of tested glues. The suggested list of materials will be sent before the session.

Speaker: Roberto Andresen Eguiluz, UC Merced

Register at weblink to receive connection information

Target audience: Middle and High school students


Evening Tours of Lick Observatory - SOLD OUT - 09/14/2021 05:30 PM
Lick Observatory Mt. Hamilton

The event will last approximately 4 to 6 hours. Visitors should be prepared to walk about one mile during the evening, including taking stairs. Events are held rain or shine.

The tour will start at the main building’s Visitor Center. Participants can learn about the unique history of the world’s first permanently occupied mountain top observatory, the eccentric California pioneer James Lick, technology used for observing on different telescopes along the tour route, and current science being conducted at Lick Observatory.

A highlight of the tour will be visiting the dome of the 3-meter Shane Telescope to see the mountain’s largest telescope up close. After the walking tour, there will be an opportunity to enjoy the sunset, and the Gift Shop will be open. During twilight, a history lecture about James Lick and the construction of the observatory will be presented. Once the sky is dark (and weather permitting), viewing celestial objects through the historic 36-inch Great Refractor Telescope will commence. Insights will be provided throughout the evening on how we find planets beyond our solar system, how exploding stars teach us about the evolution of the universe, how we discern the nature of galaxies and black holes, how new technologies are used to undo the blurring effects of Earth’s atmosphere, and about Lick Observatory’s rich astronomical history and bright scientific future.

Complimentary coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are included with the tour. The event will last approximately 4 to 6 hours. For safety reasons and due to late hours, children under the age of 8 cannot participate; this event is recommended for ages 12 years and up. Visitors should be prepared to walk about one mile during the evening, including taking stairs. Events are held rain or shine. Weather may restrict telescope viewings, but other activities will still take place. Due to historic construction of telescope domes and safety concerns, the telescopes are not wheelchair accessible at this time. Those having difficulty navigating stairs may also find the telescopes inaccessible.

Maximum of 30 people per tour.

Tickets go on sale July 30 at noon and are expected to sell out quickly.


Wednesday, 09/15/2021


Human-robot Collaboration for Fruit Harvesting - Livestream - 09/15/2021 12:00 PM
CITRIS Research Exchange

Manual harvesting of fresh-market fruits is costly and labor-intensive. This presentation will discuss two different robotic harvest-aid systems and report results from their deployments during commercial harvesting. The first system comprises two mobile robots that reduce workers’ non-productive walking times by carrying full and empty trays in the field. The second system is a robotic orchard platform that was developed to assist in tree fruit harvesting. The platform uses advanced sensing to estimate the fruit load on the trees and the workers’ harvesting speeds, and controls platform speed and picker elevations to load-balance the amount of fruit picked by each worker and maximize the system’s harvesting speed.

Speaker: Stavros Vougioukas, UC Davis

Register at weblink to receive Zoom information


Climate Conversations: Extreme Events - Livestream - 09/15/2021 12:00 PM
The Climate Communications Initiative

As a result of climate change, extreme events such as floods, wildfires, storms, and heat waves are already becoming more dangerous and destructive. Marshall Shepherd (University of Georgia) will moderate a conversation with Craig Fugate (former FEMA Administrator) and Marissa Aho (Washington State Department of Natural Resources) about the connections between climate change and extreme events, and about how communities and governments at different scales can plan for and become more resilient to the risks from extreme events today and into the future.

See weblink for instructions on making the connection.

Speakers: Marissa Aho, Washington State Department of Natural Resources; Craig Fugate, former FEMA administrator; J. Marshall Shepherd, University of Georgia


Ask the Scientist - Ana Spalding - 09/15/2021 02:30 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.

Dr. Spalding is an Associate Professor at Oregon State University’s School of Public Policy; and Research Associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Coiba Research Station in Panama. Her research encompasses the human dimension of the marine environment, including policy analysis and science-to-policy pathways in the context of climate change adaptation strategies by resource-dependent communities along the U.S. West Coast, social outcomes and enabling conditions of marine protected areas, and equity in ocean governance. Dr. Spalding also has an extensive research network in Panama, where she co-leads a team studying the human dimension of plastic waste.


Assessing Community Vulnerability to Ocean Acidification Across the California Current System - Livestream - 09/15/2021 03:30 PM
Estuary & Ocean Science Center

Understanding a community’s ability to prepare for, respond to, and adapt to impacts of environmental, economic, or cultural change is an essential component of understanding social vulnerability. In the context of Ocean Acidification and associated environmental stressors, for this project we identified shellfish farms in California that were located in areas that could be considered as “hot spots” for OA in order to examine their capacity to adapt to risks from OA. Specifically, we explored shellfish growers’ perceptions of the impacts of environmental change, in particular OA, and identified explicit strategies currently used, or being considered for use, within the industry to adapt to these changes. Our research questions included: 1. What are perceptions of OA and environmental change? 2. What adaptive strategies are being used to decrease vulnerability and increase resiliency to OA and environmental change? And 3. What barriers exist to implementing these strategies?

Speaker: Ana Spalding, Oregon State University

Register at weblink for Zoom information


Biomaterial Design for 3D Hydrogel Microenvironments and Neural Tissue Engineering - Livestream - 09/15/2021 04:00 PM
UC Berkeley

Speaker: Kyle Lampe, University of Virginia

See weblink for Zoom information


Tales from the Stratosphere - Livestream - 09/15/2021 07:00 PM
San Francisco Amateur Astronomers

SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, operated by NASA, is a Boeing 747SP aircraft that flies into the stratosphere, above 99 percent of Earth’s infrared-blocking atmosphere, allowing research in ways not possible with ground-based telescopes.

Ten years after her first flight on SOFIA, Marita Beard's stories about her experiences on SOFIA continue to serve as a way to engage and connect learning goals to real world education opportunities for her students. As an Airborne Ambassador for SOFIA, Marita will share how her experiences on several SOFIA flights helped her achieve her lifelong dream of being a part of a NASA mission. She works to inspire her students to pursue their own STEM goals through learning how science is conducted on SOFIA. Her students also learn about the backgrounds of people involved with SOFIA, and what SOFIA has discovered since its first flight.

Marita believes she has much to contribute because of working with SOFIA at NASA Ames prior to going into teaching, and she will share her experiences with us.

Speaker: Marita Beard, Leigh High School, San Jose


Quantum Computing: Theory to Application - Livestream - 09/15/2021 07:00 PM
SF Bay Association of Computing Machinery

In recent years, there has been a substantial amount of research on quantum computers - machines that exploit quantum mechanical phenomena to solve mathematical problems that are difficult or intractable for conventional computers. If large-scale quantum computers are ever built, they will be able to break many of the public-key cryptosystems currently in use. This would seriously compromise the confidentiality and integrity of digital communications on the Internet and elsewhere. The goal of post-quantum cryptography (also called quantum-resistant cryptography) is to develop cryptographic systems that are secure against both quantum and classical computers, and can interoperate with existing communications protocols and networks.

Speaker: Bhairav Mehta, Microsoft

Register at weblink to receive connection information.


Nerd Nite SF #120: LSD Art, Redwoods, and Fish-Mediated Epilepsy Research! - 09/15/2021 08:00 PM
Rickshaw Stop San Francisco

The lineup for all you nerds this month is a doozy! We’ll take a rollercoaster ride through the twists and turns of Mark McCloud’s mind as he tells us stories of his in-home museum of blotter art comprised of over 33,000 LSD sheets collected over the decades. If that’s not fishy enough for you, don’t worry. There will be actual fish featured in a talk about how zebrafish are helping neuroscientists study rare epilepsies. Also, no one knows fog as well as San Francisco in August, unless you’re a redwood tree. We’ll bond over fog and learn how redwoods rely on it.

Finding Danio: Can transparent zebrafish help us see through diseases?

Small freshwater fish called zebrafish (Daniorerio) help researchers across the world study human diseases and develop treatments for disease. Why is the zebrafish such a powerful research model for human disease? Is it actually more closely related to humans or zebras? Come find out in this talk that will guide you through “Finding Danio”

Speaker: Dr. Prahatha Venkatraman, UC San Francisco

The Institute of Illegal Images

Artist and San Francisco staple Mark McCloud will take us on a trip through his personal collection of LSD blotter housed, well, in his house. Born in Detroit, raised in Buenos Aires, but a resident of the Mission since the 80s, he has dedicated his life to making and preserving blotter art in order to pay homage to the substance that he says saved his life.

The California Redwood: Way cooler than you thought (& also cooler than you!)

Redwoods are cool in both senses of the word. Chilling quietly in cold foggy forests but also unique and interesting, these spectacular trees define a rare and endangered ecosystem that contributes to the amazing biodiversity found in California. Redwoods harness the fog to transform coastal habitats into the most lush forests in the state, working collectively to reach larger sizes than any other tree on Earth. Clear your brain fog with a beer and let’s learn about what makes these trees so special and fascinating! 

Speaker: Ryan Kenneally is a PhD student in Plant Biology at UC Berkeley


Thursday, 09/16/2021


A Bird’s Eye View of Coyote Valley - Livestream - 09/16/2021 11:00 AM
Peninsula Open Space Trust

Learn about Coyote Valley and the wildlife who call this vibrant landscape home. With representatives from the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center, the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory, and the Peninsula Open Space Trust, participants can engage with local experts about birding in Coyote Valley and learn about Coyote Creek as an important resource for wildlife in Coyote Valley. This webinar will also discuss how the upcoming Coyote Valley Conservation Areas Master Plan will support a diverse variety of local wildlife - and there will even be a surprise guest of the feathered variety joining the fun.

Speakers:

Walter Moore, President and Neal Sharma, Wildlife Linkages Program Manager, Peninsula Open Space TrustAnna Pascual, Educational Outreach Coordinator, Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation CenterKatie LaBarbera, Senior Biologist, and Sirena Lao, Environmental Education and Outreach Specialist, San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory


Smoky Skies Ahead: How to Reduce Indoor Smoke Exposure to Improve Public Health during Wildfire Season - Livestream - 09/16/2021 12:00 PM
Science @ Cal

A history of limited forest management and a hotter planet is leading to more frequent and catastrophic wildfires. While this underscores the importance of finding solutions to contain fires, the reality is that we must also learn to adapt better to their associated health threats. In this month’s Midday Science Cafe, you’ll meet two scientists who are dedicated to understanding wildfire health risks and improving public health protection. Berkeley Lab scientist Dr. Jacob Bueno de Mesquita examines the patterns of inhalation exposure from wildfire smoke and the associated effects on population health. He will provide a framework for understanding how the burden of wildfire-related health threats is inequitable across exposed communities and suggest ways for public health action to address this urgent crisis. UC Berkeley scientist Dr. Stephanie M. Holm focuses her research on one of the communities particularly vulnerable to wildfire smoke: children. She will discuss how indoor air quality interventions and mask and respirator use can protect children from wildfire smoke exposure.

Speakers: Dr. Stehpanie Holm and Dr. Jacob Bueno de Mesquita, UC Berkeley

See weblink for connection information


UC Berkeley Astronomy Colloquium - 09/16/2021 12:40 PM
Campbell Hall, Rm 131 Berkeley

Speaker: Steve Furlanetto, UC Los Angeles


Oaks of the UC Botanical Garden - Livestream - 09/16/2021 01:00 PM
UC Botanical Garden

Join Garden curator Holly Forbes for an illustrated talk on the Garden's many diverse oaks.

Register at weblink to receive connection information


May the Forces Be with You - Measuring Forces that Hold Molecules Together - Livestream - 09/16/2021 04:00 PM
UC Merced

In these interactive sessions, we will talk about the forces that hold solids and liquids together, fabricate our own force measuring apparatus, and quantify the strength of glues. Finally, we will talk about how to present, compare, and discuss the strength of tested glues. The suggested list of materials will be sent before the session.

Speaker: Roberto Andresen Eguiluz, UC Merced

Register at weblink to receive connection information

Target audience: Middle and High school students


Seven Months of Perseverance on Mars - Livestream - 09/16/2021 05:00 PM
Cafe Scientifique Silicon Valley

I will discuss what the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover has been up to on Mars since landing on February 18, 2021.

Speaker: Ken Farley, California Institute of Technology

Register at weblink to receive connection information.


Evening Tours of Lick Observatory - SOLD OUT - 09/16/2021 05:30 PM
Lick Observatory Mt. Hamilton

The event will last approximately 4 to 6 hours. Visitors should be prepared to walk about one mile during the evening, including taking stairs. Events are held rain or shine.

The tour will start at the main building’s Visitor Center. Participants can learn about the unique history of the world’s first permanently occupied mountain top observatory, the eccentric California pioneer James Lick, technology used for observing on different telescopes along the tour route, and current science being conducted at Lick Observatory.

A highlight of the tour will be visiting the dome of the 3-meter Shane Telescope to see the mountain’s largest telescope up close. After the walking tour, there will be an opportunity to enjoy the sunset, and the Gift Shop will be open. During twilight, a history lecture about James Lick and the construction of the observatory will be presented. Once the sky is dark (and weather permitting), viewing celestial objects through the historic 36-inch Great Refractor Telescope will commence. Insights will be provided throughout the evening on how we find planets beyond our solar system, how exploding stars teach us about the evolution of the universe, how we discern the nature of galaxies and black holes, how new technologies are used to undo the blurring effects of Earth’s atmosphere, and about Lick Observatory’s rich astronomical history and bright scientific future.

Complimentary coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are included with the tour. The event will last approximately 4 to 6 hours. For safety reasons and due to late hours, children under the age of 8 cannot participate; this event is recommended for ages 12 years and up. Visitors should be prepared to walk about one mile during the evening, including taking stairs. Events are held rain or shine. Weather may restrict telescope viewings, but other activities will still take place. Due to historic construction of telescope domes and safety concerns, the telescopes are not wheelchair accessible at this time. Those having difficulty navigating stairs may also find the telescopes inaccessible.

Maximum of 30 people per tour.

Tickets go on sale July 30 at noon and are expected to sell out quickly.


After Dark: See for Yourself - 09/16/2021 06:00 PM
ExplOratorium San Francisco

Spark your curiosity at After Dark - as the Sun sets, we’ll hit the rainbow lights, turn the music up, and open our doors, inviting you to take your imagination out to play. Fuel up with a cocktail and prepare to roam free through six spacious outdoor and indoor spaces. Be ready to bring fresh eyes to old favorites and uncover phenomenal new experiences. 


Nightlife - 09/16/2021 06:00 PM
California Academy of Sciences San Francisco

Calling all creatures of the night: explore the nocturnal side of the Academy at NightLife and see what's revealed. With live DJs, outdoor bars, ambiance lighting, and nearly 40,000 live animals (including familiar faces like Claude the albino alligator), the night is sure to be wild.

Step inside the iconic Shake House and our four-story Rainforest, where you can explore the Amazon’s treetops surrounded by free-flying birds and butterflies. Reservations for these exhibits are no longer required. However, please note that the last entry into the rainforest is 7:30 pm our animals need their sleep.

Venture into our latest aquarium exhibit Venom to encounter live venomous animals and learn the power of venom to both harm and heal.

Visit the Big Picture exhibit in the Piazza to marvel at the most recent winners of the Big Picture Natural Photography competition.

Bask in the glow of one of the largest living coral reef displays in the world: our 212,000-gallon Philippine Coral Reef tank.

Take in the interstellar views from the Living Roof, then grab a bite from the Academy Cafe and head to the West Garden outdoor bar to drink and dine under the stars. For adults 21+.

See weblink for COVID restriction information.


Purple Martins in the Central Valley: Going, Going, Gone? - Livestream - 09/16/2021 07:00 PM
Golden Gate Audubon Society

Purple Martins have been in long-term decline in California due to factors such as habitat loss, competition with the European Starling, disturbance from construction projects,  and declines in their insect food supply due to  neonicotinoid insecticide use. Dan Airola has been studying and working for over two decades to conserve the last Central Valley population of Purple Martins, which nest in elevated freeways and overpasses in Sacramento.  This program will present his study results and describe conservation measures that have been implemented and are needed to protect this species and help it recover.

Speaker: Dan Airola

See weblink for connection information


Friday, 09/17/2021


The Secret Body: How the New Science of the Human Body Is Changing the Way We Live - Livestream - 09/17/2021 09:30 AM
Commonwealth Club - Online Event

In a revolutionary new vision of human biology and the scientific breakthroughs that will transform our lives. Professor Daniel M. Davis shows how radical new possibilities are becoming realities thanks to the visionary efforts of scientists who are revealing the invisible and secret universe within each of us.

Focusing on six important frontiers, Davis describes what we are learning about cells, the development of the fetus, the body's immune system, the brain, the microbiome, and the genome areas of human biology that are usually understood in isolation. Bringing them together, Davis offers a new vision of the human body as a biological wonder of dizzying complexity and possibility.


Plastics: How Die We Get Here, and What's Next? - 09/17/2021 02:00 PM
Tan Hall Berkeley

Future technologies depend on the development of functional materials having: (1) hierarchical structures spanning multi-length scale down to the molecular level, (2) built-in functionalities (biological, optical, electronic, magnetic properties), (3) superior selectivity with sensitivities comparable to what we find in nature, (4) responsiveness to external stimuli. These require one to select the right building blocks, understand the principles underpinning their self-assembly, and use these principles to direct the assemblies at various length scales to obtain targeted functional materials. More importantly, we need to develop a versatile methodology to generate new functional materials simply by substituting building blocks, instead of re-building them from scratch. Numerous building blocks have been explored to achieve this end and obtaining functional materials to meet these requirements remains a significant challenge to the soft material community. Our group focuses on generating hierarchical functional soft materials using synthetic polymers, peptides, proteins, small organic molecules, and nanoparticles as building blocks. Each offers unique properties and are complimentary to each other. Natural proteins have complexities in terms of structure and functionality unmatched by synthetic materials. De novo designed peptides are minimalistic natural proteins that mimic natural protein functionalities but are subject to degradation. Small organic molecules, especially those with optical, electronic and magnetic properties, can be readily synthesized with molecular control to provide built-in functionalities. Nanoparticles, due to their size, exhibit unique properties not seen in macroscopic materials and constitute essential building blocks in the fabrication of nanodevices. It is non-trivial to obtain macroscopic assemblies of either small molecules or nanoparticles at low cost. Polymers with different architectures can be synthesized and are amenable to various processing techniques. Developments in polymer sciences provide guidance to manipulate their assemblies at different length scales. However, generating molecular level assemblies with designer functionalities using polymers alone is challenging. Synergistic assemblies of these selected building blocks clearly have tremendous potential to construct technologically important functional materials. By developing better fundamental understanding of the physics of assemblage, our group aims to generate hierarchical structures spanning multi-length scales down to a few nanometers with built-in biological, electrical and magnetic functionalities.

Speaker: Ting Xu, UC Berkeley


May the Forces Be with You - Measuring Forces that Hold Molecules Together - Livestream - 09/17/2021 04:00 PM
UC Merced

In these interactive sessions, we will talk about the forces that hold solids and liquids together, fabricate our own force measuring apparatus, and quantify the strength of glues. Finally, we will talk about how to present, compare, and discuss the strength of tested glues. The suggested list of materials will be sent before the session.

Speaker: Roberto Andresen Eguiluz, UC Merced

Register at weblink to receive connection information

Target audience: Middle and High school students


Evening Tours of Lick Observatory - SOLD OUT - 09/17/2021 05:30 PM
Lick Observatory Mt. Hamilton

The event will last approximately 4 to 6 hours. Visitors should be prepared to walk about one mile during the evening, including taking stairs. Events are held rain or shine.

The tour will start at the main building’s Visitor Center. Participants can learn about the unique history of the world’s first permanently occupied mountain top observatory, the eccentric California pioneer James Lick, technology used for observing on different telescopes along the tour route, and current science being conducted at Lick Observatory.

A highlight of the tour will be visiting the dome of the 3-meter Shane Telescope to see the mountain’s largest telescope up close. After the walking tour, there will be an opportunity to enjoy the sunset, and the Gift Shop will be open. During twilight, a history lecture about James Lick and the construction of the observatory will be presented. Once the sky is dark (and weather permitting), viewing celestial objects through the historic 36-inch Great Refractor Telescope will commence. Insights will be provided throughout the evening on how we find planets beyond our solar system, how exploding stars teach us about the evolution of the universe, how we discern the nature of galaxies and black holes, how new technologies are used to undo the blurring effects of Earth’s atmosphere, and about Lick Observatory’s rich astronomical history and bright scientific future.

Complimentary coffee, tea, and hot chocolate are included with the tour. The event will last approximately 4 to 6 hours. For safety reasons and due to late hours, children under the age of 8 cannot participate; this event is recommended for ages 12 years and up. Visitors should be prepared to walk about one mile during the evening, including taking stairs. Events are held rain or shine. Weather may restrict telescope viewings, but other activities will still take place. Due to historic construction of telescope domes and safety concerns, the telescopes are not wheelchair accessible at this time. Those having difficulty navigating stairs may also find the telescopes inaccessible.

Maximum of 30 people per tour.

Tickets go on sale July 30 at noon and are expected to sell out quickly.


Astronomy - From Passion to Profession - Livestream - 09/17/2021 07:30 PM
Tri-Valley Stargazers

I will discuss how I turned my passion for astronomy and outreach into a profession. I teach astronomy research seminars to students and educators around the country and the world, and get to use telescope networks covering the globe. Following my passion and taking advantage of opportunities that came my way, along with meeting some amazing mentors has led me to a life better than I could have dreamed of in astronomy.

Speaker: Rachel Freed, Institute for Student Astronomical Research

See weblink for instructions to receive connection information.


Saturday, 09/18/2021


Air Pollution in High Definition: Building Low-Cost Sensor Networks & Community Partnerships - Livestream - 09/18/2021 10:30 AM
California Section American Chemical Society

Measuring atmospheric pollutants at high spatiotemporal resolution has the potential to help identify problematic sources as well as pinpoint communities facing disproportionate risks. Most traditional air quality monitoring campaigns, however, have been necessarily sparse in their resolution owing to the significant upfront and operational costs of high-precision and high-accuracy instrumentation. We explore the intersection of this measurement challenge with the issue of environmental justice in the United States and make an argument for the benefits of tracking air pollution at the neighborhood scale using low-cost monitoring techniques. We also present initial results from community air quality studies in West Oakland and Richmond, two San Francisco Bay Area communities that are burdened by diesel particulate matter pollution. In these studies, we deployed custom-built, low-cost black carbon (BC) - or soot - sensors outside of community members’ homes and businesses. These dense networks captured seasonal trends in ambient BC on a block-by-block basis and found that the spatiotemporal patterns in BC concentrations were driven by truck activity. Through meaningful partnerships between researchers and key community stakeholders, these collaborations created actionable datasets that advance both science and advocacy goals as part of broader Community Air Protection Program monitoring efforts (AB 617).

Speakers: Dr. Alexis Shusterman, UC Berkeley; Dr. Chelsea Preble, UC Berkeley

Register at weblink to receive connection information


Fire Ecology of California - 09/18/2021 01:30 PM
Environmental Volunteers EcoCenter Palo Alto

Fires are an important fact of life in California. Humans have developed ways to deal with the fire season, but what about plants and animals? In what ways are they adapted to California’s fires?

Join us in this interactive exploration of fire ecology. Learn how plants and animals deal with fire, and discover some amazing facts you might not have known about how fire works in nature! All ages are welcome - activities will be accessible and enjoyable for kids and adults alike.

See weblink for important location information.

Registration required


Virtual Telescope Viewing - Livestream - 09/18/2021 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.


Sunday, 09/19/2021


Science Sundays: Recovery of Sea Otters in the Northeast Pacific: New Insights and Surprises from Soft-Bottom Ecosystems - Livestream - 09/19/2021 01:30 PM
Seymour Science Center

Sea otters are a model species for investigating how the recovery of a top marine predator impacts ocean ecosystems. As sea otters expand into new regions and habitats, such as saltmarsh ecosystems, they are unraveling secrets previously unknown to science. This presents an unprecedented learning opportunity, providing much needed knowledge and tools for resource managers.

Join Brent to learn more about sea otter ecological roles in seagrass beds and how collaborative research ties to the conservation of sea otters in the Northeast Pacific.


Monday, 09/20/2021


Coral Innate Immunity - Livestream - 09/20/2021 09:00 AM
Stanford University

Dr. Traylor-Knowles is an Assistant Professor in Marine Biology and Ecology at University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. She received her B.S. and M.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Johns Hopkins University, her PhD. in Biology from Boston University, and did a NSF Ocean Sciences Postdoctoral fellowship at Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University. Dr. Traylor-Knowles is passionate about innovative ocean conservation solutions and mentorship. She leads the Cnidarian Immunity Laboratory which investigates the evolution of immunity in corals, sea anemones and ctenophores. Specifically, her research focuses on disease processes, environmental stress, symbiosis, wound healing, regeneration, and cellular mechanisms of immunity. She is also the Founder and Director of Black Women in Ecology, Evolution and Marine Science and is an advocate for Black women in science and academia.

See weblink for Zoom link


Searching for the quietest compact objects in the Milky Way - 09/20/2021 12:10 PM
Campbell Hall, Rm 131 Berkeley

Speaker: Tharindu Jayasinghe Arachchilage


Chemogenetic and optogenetic technologies for probing molecular and cellular networks - 09/20/2021 04:00 PM
Stanley Hall Berkeley

I will describe recent work on scalable, single-cell molecular recorders of past cellular events; proximity labeling for the study of protein trafficking and RNA binding proteins; and other molecular technologies under development.

Speaker: Alice Ting, Stanford University


Cosmic alchemy in the era of gravitational wave astronomy - Livestream - 09/20/2021 04:15 PM
UC Berkeley

The source of about half of the heaviest elements in the Universe has been a mystery for a long time. Although the general picture of element formation is well understood, many questions about the astrophysical details remain to be answered. Here I focus on recent advances in our understanding of the origin of the heaviest and rarest elements in the Universe.

Speaker: Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz, UC Santa Cruz

See weblink for connection information


Tuesday, 09/21/2021


Cork oak woodlands: human-shaped systems of conservation value - 09/21/2021 10:00 AM
UC Botanical Garden Berkeley


Mathematics: The Key to a Hidden World - Livestream - 09/21/2021 02:00 PM
National Math Festival


Two Talks: Popping the Science Bubble - Livestream - 09/21/2021 05:30 PM
Berkeley Public Library


Mary Roach's Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law - Livestream - 09/21/2021 06:00 PM
Commonwealth Club - Online Event


Wednesday, 09/22/2021


Sense for Less: Physical Informed Cyber-Physical Systems Adaptation for Device-Free Human Monitoring - Livestream - 09/22/2021 12:00 PM
CITRIS Research Exchange


3D imaging of living cells in real time - Livestream - 09/22/2021 05:30 PM
UC Santa


The Amazing Wildlife of Cape Cod - 09/22/2021 05:30 PM
San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory


SETI Talks: Is a Sixth Mass Extinction the future of living species on Earth? - Livestream - 09/22/2021 07:00 PM
SETI Institute


Thursday, 09/23/2021


The Past, Present, and Future Stewards of Coyote Valley - Livestream - 09/23/2021 11:00 AM
Peninsula Open Space Trust


UC Berkeley Astronomy Colloquium - 09/23/2021 12:40 PM
Campbell Hall, Rm 131 Berkeley


Scratch Space - Virtual Conversations on the Role of the Radical Imaginary - Livestream - 09/23/2021 01:00 PM
SETI Institute


Visualizing a Better Future: Celebrating Andries van Dam - Livestream - 09/23/2021 05:00 PM
Computer History Museum


Evening Tours of Lick Observatory - SOLD OUT - 09/23/2021 05:30 PM
Lick Observatory Mt. Hamilton


Nightlife - 09/23/2021 06:00 PM
California Academy of Sciences San Francisco


After Dark: Sea Otters - 09/23/2021 06:00 PM
ExplOratorium San Francisco


Micromitigation: Fighting Air Pollution with Activated Carbon - Livestream - 09/23/2021 07:00 PM
Counter Culture Labs


National Water Information System Modernization and the National Water Dashboard - Livestream - 09/23/2021 07:00 PM
US Geological Survey Public Lecture Series


Friday, 09/24/2021


Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics Seminar - 09/24/2021 12:00 PM
Earth and Marine Sciences Building Santa Cruz


Exploiting Automatic Image Processing and In-situ Transmission Electron Microscopy to Understand the Stability of Supported Nanoparticles - 09/24/2021 02:00 PM
Tan Hall Berkeley


Saturday, 09/25/2021


VIRTUAL SHARKTOBERFEST 2021 - 09/25/2021 10:00 AM
Greater Farallones Association


College of San Mateo's Family Science & Astronomy Festival + Makerspace - 09/25/2021 12:00 PM
College of San Mateo


Evening Tours of Lick Observatory - SOLD OUT - 09/25/2021 05:30 PM
Lick Observatory Mt. Hamilton


Coyote Point Movie Nights - 09/25/2021 07:30 PM
Coyote Point Recreation Area San Mateo


Virtual Telescope Viewing - Livestream - 09/25/2021 09:00 PM
Chabot Space and Science Center


Sunday, 09/26/2021


Día de la Ingeniería/Latinx Engineering Day 2021 - 09/26/2021 10:00 AM
ExplOratorium San Francisco


Evening Tours of Lick Observatory - SOLD OUT - 09/26/2021 05:30 PM
Lick Observatory Mt. Hamilton


Sunset Science - 09/26/2021 06:30 PM
Chabot Space and Science Center Oakland


Monday, 09/27/2021


UC Berkley Theoretical Astrophysics Center Seminar - 09/27/2021 12:10 PM
Campbell Hall, Rm 131 Berkeley


Unraveling soil community dynamics in the face of global change - Livestream - 09/27/2021 04:00 PM
Stanford University


Stanford Energy Seminar: Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves, CPUC - 09/27/2021 04:00 PM
Stanford Energy Seminar


UC Berkeley Physics Colloquia - Livestream - 09/27/2021 04:15 PM
UC Berkeley


Embattling for a Deep Fake Dystopia - Livestream - 09/27/2021 07:00 PM
SF Bay Association of Computing Machinery


Wonderfest - Decoding the Blueprints of Life with Synthetic Biology & Physics - 09/27/2021 07:00 PM
Hopmonk Tavern Novato