Upcoming Events: Science & Technology

Thu 1/29

Image - NASA’s Kepler Mission: A Bounty of Planets Orbiting Distant Stars

NASA’s Kepler Mission: A Bounty of Planets Orbiting Distant Stars

Date: 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.

Wed 2/4

Image - Dodging Extinction: Power, Food, Money, and the Future of Life on Earth

Dodging Extinction: Power, Food, Money and the Future of Life on Earth

Date: 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.

Thu 3/26

Image - Deep Decarbonization of the United States

Deep Decarbonization of the United States

Date: Thu, March 26, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With scientist Jim Williams

Jim Williams, Chief Scientist, Energy and Environmental Economics (E3)

Is it possible to greatly reduce the carbon emissions of the United States and still maintain a vigorous economy? Concern about climate change impacts on the environment and economy is leading to innovation as scientists seek new ways to reduce carbon emissions. Dr. Williams and his team at E3, along with researchers at Berkeley Lab and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, have completed an assessment of the technical and economic feasibility of reducing U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Their work is based on a detailed sector-by-sector, region-by-region, year-by-year analysis of the infrastructure changes, technology requirements and costs of a low-carbon transition.

The work was sponsored by the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP), an international collaboration with research teams from the 15 largest GHG emitting nations, who are developing long-term scenarios for decarbonization in their own countries. The DDPP aims to advance the climate dialogue by providing decision makers with a more concrete understanding of what limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius would mean for their countries, states and businesses.