PubScience is our monthly event series where we bring scientists to local bars to give short, casual science talks and presentations on a variety of topics. These events are always free and open to the public of all backgrounds and interests.
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“Earthquakes in our Backyard”
The Hayward Fault, in our East Bay backyard, is a big earthquake hazard. What have we learned recently? What are we doing to improve earthquake outcomes? What can you do to be prepared? Come learn more from Dr. Peggy Hellweg (UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory) on Thursday, January 16th!
Dr. Javier Caravaca blew our minds with tales of teeny tiny neutrinos, and what we can learn about the universe if we force them to bump into stuff.
Dr. Norm Ellstrand enlightened us with stunning tales about the sex lives of our favorite foods. Did you know that avocados can be one sex in the morning and the other in the evening?!
Dr. Eti Ben Simon of UC Berkeley’s Center for Human Sleep Science explained how sleep affects our perceptions of others and their perceptions of us.
Dr. Rachel Mackelprang told us about her work with the NASA Mars Sample Return program. NASA’s objective is to bring samples from Mars to Earth. Rachel discussed what they will look for to determine if life did or does exist on Mars. Rachel studies permafrost here on Earth to learn what microbes on Mars – in similar conditions – may look like.
Dr. Michael Gomez (postdoctoral researcher, Innovative Genomics Institute, UC Berkeley) spoke about considerations with regards to editing human genomes, then guided a lively discussion by audience members of when, if, how, and why humanity should use CRISPR to edit our own genes.
Lagunita’s Brewing Innovation Manager, Bryan Donaldson, spoke about the biochemistry behind brewing flavor. We learned which types of compounds give beers their distinct flavors, and heard about scientists manipulating yeast to effect flavor profiles. Bryan also let us taste some deliciously hoppy beverages for ourselves!
Alex Jaffe (Ph.D. candidate, UC Berkeley) spoke about the incredible creatures that live far below the surface of the ocean. Only a small fraction of light can penetrate the water to such depths, and organisms have adapted in all kinds of ways. Alex told us about the organisms that have evolved bioluminescence and the ways it helps them survive in deep dark places.
Berkeley SETI’s Dr. Dan Werthimer gave a crowded room an overview of past and present attempts to detect and communicate with extraterrestrial life. Dotted with humor and fun space facts, Dr. Werthimer’s talk made us feel that we probably aren’t alone in the universe, but now the question is – when and how will contact be made?
Read our guest blog about this event here.
After years of drought and then horrendous fires in the North Bay, we asked UC Berkeley’s Dr. Bill Stewart to address some of our questions regarding forest health and dry seasons: Are the forests in danger? (Perhaps not.) Is the Park Service doing enough? (Yes.) What is the future of our landscapes? (Time will tell.)
Dr. Paula Shadle is an expert on all things regulatory when it comes to Pharmaceuticals, and she’s got some amazing stories, too. Using these anecdotes, she helped us understand just how medical regulations came to be, why we should always double check our medication pills and bottles and that, when in doubt, ask your pharmacist!
It was an absolutely packed house as Dr. David Presti answered all of our questions about drugs – from alcohol to cannabis, drug interactions to drug discoveries and explanations of how they do the things they do to our bodies and brains.
With Valley Fever cases at their highest in 20 years (with many cases in Central Valley Prisons), we asked UC Berkeley’s Dr. John Taylor to discuss how things got so bad, how it is spread and what we can do to prevent it.