Upcoming Events: Science & Technology
Learning from LeonardoDate: Tue, March 18, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Fritjof Capra, Founding Director, Center for Ecoliteracy; Author, Learning from Leonardo
Capra, a physicist and systems theorist well-known for his highly influential The Tao of Physics, presents Leonardo Da Vinci's scientific work – his fluid dynamics, geology, botany, mechanics, aerodynamics and anatomy. Most of his astonishing discoveries and achievements remain virtually unknown, as has Leonardo's focus on understanding the nature of life, because until recently the nature of life was defined only in terms of cells and molecules, to which Leonardo had no access. But the understanding of life that is emerging today, in terms of metabolic processes and their patterns of organization, are precisely the phenomena that Leonardo explored throughout his life.
Arthur M. Shapiro: Ecological Communities and the March of TimeDate: Mon, March 24, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Arthur M. Shapiro, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, Department of Evolution and Ecology, College of Biological Sciences, UC Davis
Ecological communities as we know them are similar to freeze-frames from a long movie. Associations among species are very dynamic on millennial scales, as demonstrated by the evidence since deglaciation 15,000 years ago. Coevolution of species occurs locally in geographic mosaics and can be extremely dynamic as well. Frederic Clements, the father of American community ecology, had a holistic vision. He saw communities as super-organisms. He was wrong.
This program is part of “The Science of Conservation and Biodiversity in the 21st Century”: This series of lectures will present a new way of looking at public policy issues in conservation. The things we’ve assumed as facts often are not. Traditional approaches are losing ground as science illuminates new pathways for framing and achieving conservation goals.
Joe R. McBride: The History, Ecology and Future of Eucalyptus Plantations in the Bay AreaDate: Wed, April 09, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning
Joe R. McBride, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley
McBride will explain the ecology of the eucalyptus forest in the Bay Area. He will discuss its structure, the variety of plants and animals that live within it, its health and the ecological functions it performs. There will be a description of the dynamics within these forest stands (such as whether they are successional or a climax-species that replace themselves over time without human input) and about their invasive potential.
This program is part of The Science of Conservation and Biodiversity in the 21st Century series. This series of lectures presents a new way of looking at public policy issues in conservation. The things we’ve assumed as facts often are not. Traditional approaches are losing ground as science illuminates new pathways for framing and achieving conservation goals.
Paul Giroux: Building Panama CanalDate: Mon, April 14, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
A project of unprecedented scope and challenges.
Raymond Paul Giroux, M.ASCE, Senior Engineer, Kiewit Corporation
In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal, Raymond “Paul” Giroux, accomplished engineer, builder, and award-winning civil engineering historian, will highlight how the right people, the right machines and the right methods all came together in 1904 to build a project of unprecedented scope and challenges.
The Panama Canal’s successful construction was the result of the convergence of extraordinary people, machines and methods. In the decades preceding Panama Canal’s construction, tremendous advancements were realized in every discipline of engineering. In the realm of heavy civil construction, these collective engineering advancements provided the construction technology that made the Panama Canal possible.
Stephen Palumbi and Anthony Palumbi: The Extreme Life of the SeaDate: Wed, April 16, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Director of Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford
Stephen R. Palumbi, Ph.D., Professor of Biology and Director of the Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University; Co-author, The Extreme Life of the Sea
Anthony Palumbi, Writer; Co-author, The Extreme Life of the Sea
Stephen Palumbi, one of today’s leading marine scientists, and his son Anthony, a writer, take us on an adventure to the absolute limits of the aquatic world – the fastest and deepest, the hottest and oldest creatures of the oceans, diving into the icy Arctic and boiling hydrothermal vents all while exposing the eternal darkness of the deepest undersea trenches to demonstrate how marine life thrives against the odds. He also discusses how ocean adaptations can inspire innovative commercial products – such as fan blades modeled on the flippers of humpback whales – and how climate change and overfishing could pose the greatest threats yet to our planet's tenacious marine life.
Robots In The ClassroomDate: Tue, April 22, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Interacting with robots in ways prior generations couldn't imagine.
Elad Inbar, CEO, RobotsLAB
Vikas Gupta, CEO, Play-i
Sheena Vaidyanathan, Computer Science Teacher, Los Altos School District
Tina Barseghian, Senior Editor, MindShift, KQED – Moderator
Robots are making inroads in a wide variety of industries, with particularly interesting applications in the field of education. Both as a means of instruction and as an emerging discipline, today's students are interacting with robots in ways that prior generations couldn't even imagine. In this panel, experts will discuss the implications, benefits and risks associated with robots in the classroom
Science & Technology Planning MeetingDate: Tue, May 06, 2014
Time: 6:15 PM
Brainstorm visions for the future.
Join fellow Club members with similar interests and brainstorm upcoming Science & Technology programs. All Commonwealth Club members are welcome. We explore visions for the future through science and technology. Discuss current issues and share your insights with fellow Club members to shape and plan programs for the months ahead.
MLF: Science & Technology
Program organizer: Chisako Ress
John A. Amster: Patents in the Boardroom – The Truth Behind the HeadlinesDate: Wed, May 14, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
CEO and Co-founder, RPX Corporation
John A. Amster, CEO and Co-founder, RPX Corporation
Patents have been big news in recent years. Large electronics rivals have made headlines by waging high-stakes legal battles over infringement of smartphone patents. Bankrupt companies have auctioned off their patent portfolios for hundreds of millions – or even billions – of dollars. The most significant development affecting patents, however, has been the rise of non-practicing entities (NPEs), also known as “patent trolls.” NPEs acquire patents and litigate them to extract license payments or legal settlements from an allegedly infringing company. Operating companies spent nearly $11 billion dealing with NPE litigation in 2012 alone.
RPX CEO and Co-founder John Amster will describe how patents have been transformed from legal protection of a novel invention into a major source of operating risk. Today, owners of patents are monetizing their value through costly and inefficient legal processes. The discussion will focus on a different perspective: how patents can and should be transacted using market mechanisms instead, and in the process, save operating companies billions of dollars every year.
Leonard Susskind & Art Friedman: Quantum Mechanics - The Theoretical MinimumDate: Thu, May 22, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
A lively and accessible introduction to a famously difficult field
Leonard Susskind, Felix Bloch Professor of Theoretical Physics, Stanford University; Co-author, Quantum Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum
Art Friedman, Data Engineer; Co-author, Quantum Mechanics: The Theoretical Minimum
Come hear physicist Susskind and data engineer Friedman present a lively and accessible introduction to a famously difficult field, the theory and associated mathematics of quantum mechanics, which attempts to understand the behavior of sub-atomic objects through mathematical abstractions. Susskind and Friedman offer crystal-clear explanations of the principles of quantum states, uncertainty and time dependence, entanglement and particle and wave states, among other topics. They provide a tool kit for amateur scientists to learn physics at their own pace.