Our 24th Season on the Mountain
Apr 21: The May 2012 Annular Solar Eclipse, the June 2012 Transit of Venus, and the Search for Transiting Exoplanets
Be prepared to observe two exciting upcoming celestial events and learn their connection to the search for planets orbiting other stars.
Our speaker, Dr. Alex Filippenko, is one of the world's most highly cited astronomers. He was the only person to serve on both teams that simultaneously discovered the Nobel-worthy accelerating expansion of the universe. Alex has been voted UC Berkeley's "Best Professor" a record nine times.
May 26: What Happens if We Find ET?
Searches for signals from intelligent extraterrestrials are getting better as technology improves. So a signal might be discovered in your lifetime. But then what? Would you be told, and would it be dangerous?
Dr. Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer, SETI Institute. He’s co-authored a college textbook on astrobiology, and has written three trade books on SETI. In addition, he’s published more than 400 popular articles on science including regular contributions to NBC News MACH, gives many dozens of talks annually, and is the host of the SETI Institute’s weekly science radio show, “Big Picture Science.”
Jun 23: The Milky Way as a Dark Matter Laboratory
Over the next decade, a combination of astronomical observations and particle physics experiments hold great promise to finally shed light on the nature of dark matter. Co-sponsored by Wonderfest
Dr. Michael Kuhlen, UC Berkeley Theoretical Astrophysics Center
Jul 21: Astrobiology Investigates Life in the Context of Space
The origins of life on Earth and how this could take place on other planets in the vast universe. Water is regarded as a critically important component to life as we know it, a solvent that can harness energy to create life. We also have to expand our minds to grasp a concept of life that is conceivably not as we know it.
Dr. David J. Des Marais from the NASA Ames Research Center. His long-term research interests have been the biogeochemical carbon cycle and the early evolution of Earth and its biosphere. He is the principal investigator of the Ames Research Center team of the NASA Astrobiology Institute.
David J. Des Marais
Aug 18: The Reality Interface
A look at how the brain processes sensory data and affects perceptions of reality.
Ransom W. Stephens, Ph.D. As a physics professor, he discovered a new type of matter and was on the team that discovered the top quark. He’s the author of The Left Brain Speaks The Right Brain Laughs: a look at the neuroscience of innovation & creativity in art, science & life.
Ransom W. Stephens
Sep 22: Sustainability Base
Learn about Sustainability Base, a NASA office building that is billed as the government's greenest building on Earth.
Krisstina Wilmoth, NASA Ames Research Center, Executive Officer. Key senior staff to the Associate Center Director for Mission Support and the Associate Center Director for Technical in the implementation of strategies and as the Associate Center Directors’ liaison to upper echelons of government.
Oct 20: MSL and the Search for Organics on Mars
NASA's Mars Science Laboratory will land on the red planet in August. Find out about the mission's rover, Curiosity, which is packed with innovative research tools designed to study the environment of Mars and contribute to the search for evidence of life on Mars.
Dr. Chris McKay, Planetary Scientist, NASA Ames Research Center, studying planetary atmospheres, astrobiology, and terraforming.
Nov 3: When Worlds Collide & A View of the Heavens
Planetologist Dr. Zahnle reminds us that the famous K/T extinction event (death knell of the dinosaurs) shows that, even today, the collision of Earth with a small world gone astray can refresh the face of our planet. Impacts were much larger and more frequent on the early Earth. In all likelihood, impacts posed the greatest challenge to the survival of early life; and they remain a major threat, today.
Our speaker, Dr. Kevin Zahnle, is Planetary Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center.