Upcoming Events: Science & Technology
John A. Amster: Patents in the Boardroom – The Truth Behind the HeadlinesDate: Thu, December 04, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
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 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.
Dr. Jane Lubchenco: The Stephen Schneider AwardDate: Tue, December 16, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Former Administrator for the NOAA
Climate Denial, Education, and Politics
Naomi Oreskes, Professor of the History of Science, Harvard; Co-Author, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco to Global Warming
Joe Romm, Founding Editor, Climate Progress; Author, Language Intelligence: Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga
Eugenie Scott, Chair, National Center for Science Education
The story of human-caused climate disruption includes tales of distortion and deception that date to the Cold War. That history is told in a new documentary film from Jeff Skoll based on the book Merchants of Doubt. More recently, the battle for public opinion about global warming has also played out in conflicts over teaching climate in schools. In the political realm, most Americans accept climate change and want action, but that attitude is not reflected in Congress. This opening discussion will explore the messaging wars over climate with a historian, an educator and a leading communicator.
Dr. Lubchenco will receive the $15,000 Stephen Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication, awarded each year in memory of the late Stanford scientist Stephen H. Schneider. Dr. Schneider was a founding father of modern climate science, a fearless communicator and the first member of the Climate One Advisory Council. He passed away in 2010. Shortly thereafter Climate One established the award to recognize people who create new understanding in the physical and social sciences and communicate their discoveries to a broad public. Previous recipients are Richard Alley of Penn State University, former NASA scientist James Hansen and Nicholas Stern, former chief economist of the World Bank.
The Home that Watches Over Your ParentsDate: Thu, January 08, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
The authors discuss this latest report.
Richard Caro, D.Phil., Scientist; Silicon Valley Entrepreneur
Mary Hulme, Gerontologist; Care Manager
Hearing of the new class of products that use sensors embedded around the house to keep a friendly eye on a person and report back only if something is wrong, Mary and Richard wanted to find out what products were available, which worked best, and for which life circumstances each was suitable. Many hours of research later, they found that there are lots of products in this new emerging category and that some are particularly suited for specific life situations.
NASA’s Kepler Mission: A Bounty of Planets Orbiting Distant StarsDate: Thu, January 29, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Jack J. Lissauer, American Research Scientist
Jack J. Lissauer, American Research Scientist, NASA's Ames Research Center; Co-Investigator, Kepler Mission
Astronomers first detected planets around other stars – known as exoplanets – in the 1990s, but initially they were only able to discover giant planets that are hotter than a pizza oven. As time progressed, smaller and cooler exoplanets have been found. NASA launched the Kepler spacecraft in 2009 to search for more Earth-like worlds. Kepler has found more than 4,000 planet candidates, 1,000 of which have been verified as true exoplanets. Most are clearly inhospitable for life as we know it, but two are only slightly larger Earth and also may be as temperate.
Lissauer holds a doctorate in applied mathematics granted by the University of California, Berkeley, in 1982. His thesis is entitled "Dynamics of Saturn's Rings." He also has a degree in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.
Dodging Extinction: Power, Food, Money and the Future of Life on EarthDate: Wed, February 04, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
A practical, hopeful plan for avoiding yet another mass extinction.
Anthony D. Barnosky, Professor, Department of Integrative Biology, UC Berkeley; Cox Visiting Professor, Department of Environmental Earth System Science, Stanford University
Paleobiologist Barnosky weaves together evidence from the deep past and the present to offer a practical, hopeful plan for avoiding yet another mass extinction. His compelling evidence suggests that unless we rethink how we generate power, where we get our food, and how we make our money, we will trigger the sixth great extinction on Earth. Optimistic that we can change this ominous forecast, Barnosky provides clear-cut strategies to guide the planet away from global catastrophe using existing technology and know-how.