Upcoming Events: Science & Technology

Thu 12/4

Image - John A. Amster: Patents in the Boardroom – The Truth Behind the Headline
This event is Canceled

John A. Amster: Patents in the Boardroom – The Truth Behind the Headlines

Date: Thu, December 04, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

John A. AmsterCEO 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.

Tue 12/16

Image - Dr. Jane Lubchenco: The Stephen Schneider Award

Dr. Jane Lubchenco: The Stephen Schneider Award

Date: 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.

Climate One Minute Stories
Michael Mann, Professor of Meteorology, Penn State University; Author, The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines
Ben Santer, Climate Researcher, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 
Dr. Jane Lubchenco: The Stephen Schneider Award
Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D. Ecology, Harvard; Former Administrator, NOAA; Former President of AAAS
As droughts, fires and rising temperatures continue to make headlines, 2014 is on track to be another record year for extreme weather. No one has had a better view of raging weather than Jane Lubchenco. While she ran the NOAA, the country experienced nearly 800 tornadoes, suffered Super Storm Sandy and other major hurricanes, raging floods and tsunamis. Scientists say that burning fossil fuels increases the likelihood of such weird weather and is having devastating impacts on oceans. What does the latest science say about climate impacts on the U.S. economy and ecosystems? How did science become a political issue? We’ll discuss these questions and more with the person who led the creation of the most ambitious National Climate Assessment ever conducted.

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.

Thu 1/8

Image - The Home that Watches Over Your Parents

The Home that Watches Over Your Parents

Date: 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

Like many of us, the speakers (a scientist and a geriatric care manager) were concerned about elderly family members who spent a lot of time at home alone. What would happen if they fell and hurt themselves? Or if they started to become forgetful and accidentally left the stove on and started a fire?

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.

In this talk, they'll share some of the insights they learned on their journey of discovery, and explain how to decide whether these emerging products might be suitable for someone you care about and how to pick the right one.

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.