Upcoming Events

Mon 10/17

Longevity Explorers Discussion Group: Better Aging. You. Your Parents.

Date: Mon, October 17, 2016
Time: 2:00 PM
Discussion group

Dr. Richard G. Caro, Facilitator

This regular discussion group explores new and emerging solutions to the challenges of growing older. Not only do we uncover interesting new products at the intersection of aging and technology, we also conduct a series of ongoing deep-dive discussions into topics such as brain health, apps for seniors, hearing and wearables for seniors. The results of our discussions will be shared with a larger community of older adults interested in improving their quality of life through our partner in this initiative, Tech-enhanced Life, PBC.

The discussions are facilitated by Dr. Richard Caro, whom many of you have heard speak at prior Grownups forum events

Image - Brower Youth Award Winners

Special Preview: Meet the 17th Annual Brower Youth Award Winners

Date: Mon, October 17, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Recognizing youth environmental activism

Xerxes Libsch, New York, age 17
Susette Onate, Florida, age 17
Karina Gonsalez, Arizona, age 22
Heidi Kritz, Alaska, age 21
Erica Davis, Tennessee, age 22
Will Amos, California, age 21
Rosemary Brower Olsen, Granddaughter of David R. Brower—Moderator

The Brower Youth Awards are recognized as North America's most prestigious prize for youth environmental activism between the ages of 13-22. Six winners will be announced at the public awards ceremony in San Francisco.

Join us for a special preview night, when we will hear more about what inspires, challenges and excites each of these young environmental change-makers. Learn more about past winners and the awards program by visiting broweryouthawards.org.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Social Hour 10/17/16

Date: Mon, October 17, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Are you prepared for the November election? We'll help

Joe Garofoli, Senior Political Writer, San Francisco Chronicle; Twitter
Carla Marinucci, Senior Writer, Politico California Playbook; Twitter  
Additional Panelist TBA

Election Day is almost here. Some of you will have already voted, and are now biting your nails for the final outcome.

Join us then as we explore the biggest, most controversial, and sometimes the surprising political issues with expert commentary by panelists who are smart, are civil, and have a good sense of humor. Join our panelists for informative and engaging commentary on political and other major news, audience discussion of the week’s events, and our live news quiz!

And come early before the program to meet other smart and engaged individuals and discuss the news over snacks and wine at our member social (open to all attendees).

Tue 10/18

Image - Elaine Kamarck

Why Presidents Fail and How They Can Succeed Again

Date: Tue, October 18, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Success and failure in the White House

Elaine Kamarck, Professor, Harvard Kennedy School; Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution; Author, Why Presidents Fail and How They Can Succeed Again

Elaine Kamarck argues that for most of their lives, Americans have experienced government failure. The idea that government can and will produce results, implement policy, and efficiently govern the nation is met with rolled eyes. Kamarck explores the failings of presidents Carter, Bush and Obama with a bipartisan analysis of how and why each fiasco occurred.

Her insider’s perspective provides accessible explanations into the inner-workings and political bureaucracy that can cause a governmental meltdown. One big problem she sees is that we reward communicators over managers, rhetoric over governing skills. But persuasive speeches and tweets need to be balanced with a grasp of policy and how to implement it.

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Bread, Wine and Chocolate in a Warming World

Date: Tue, October 18, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
A matter of good taste

Jonathan Foley, Executive Director, California Academy of Sciences
Simran Sethi, Author, Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love

The industrialization of food has caused much of the food we eat to taste the same, whether you are nibbling at a farmer’s market in San Francisco, a Midwestern barbecue or a fast food joint in China. Ninety-five percent of the world’s calories now come from only 30 species, and Simran Sethi says a closer look at America’s cornucopia of grocery store options shows that our foods are primarily made up of only corn, wheat, rice, palm oil and soybeans. Sethi traveled to six continents in search of delicious and endangered tastes and how we can save the foods we love.

Jonathan Foley is an expert on the environmental and human health benefits of a diversified food system and the perils of industrial monoculture. In an influential National Geographic article, he outlined a vision for feeding 9 billion people. He says the answer doesn’t need to be factory farms versus small organic ones; there’s another way, and researchers at the California Academy of Sciences are busy working on ways to feed the people without destroying their home.

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Simon Sinek: Author and Optimist

Date: Tue, October 18, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Embrace working together to overcome challenges

Simon Sinek, Author, Start with Why and Together is Better: A Little Book of Inspiration; Twitter

Sinek's newest book, Together is Better, is a celebration of that simple human idea that we are better when we help each other than we are when we work alone.

Too often, we avoid asking for help when we need it or refuse to accept it when it’s offered for fear that it will make us look weak or put us or our job at risk. We often keep self-doubt to ourselves instead of turning to someone we trust for inspiration.

Together is Better has combined some of Sinek’s favorite quotes, amazing illustrations, storytelling and commentary. In the simplest way possible, Sinek reminds us what it means to be a leader, the courage it takes to ask for help and the value of working together. It is a story that illustrates the need for leaders to foster environments in which trust and cooperation can thrive.

Sinek, the best selling author of Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last, has taught companies and employees around the world how to inspire people. He is known for popularizing the concept of “Why,” and his TED talk is the third most-watched presentation with more than 27 million views.

Wed 10/19

Image - Dr Gary Gottlieb

Better Health for the World’s Poorest Will Strengthen Global Security

Date: Wed, October 19, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
Global health and global peace

Dr. Gary Gottlieb, CEO, Partners In Health

While the developed world enjoys economic and social advancement enabled by health-care improvements, millions of people around the world continue to die from 18th and 19th century illnesses. The world’s poorest people deserve access to the modern health care that people in wealthier countries take for granted. We not only can deliver modern health services, we must do so. Global health is a key to global order.

Dr. Gottlieb is the CEO of Partners In Health. From 2010 until February of 2015, he served as president and CEO of Partners HealthCare, the parent of the Brigham and Women’s and Massachusetts General Hospitals, operating the largest health-care delivery organization in New England and among the nation’s largest nonprofit biomedical research and training enterprises. Dr. Gottlieb is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

Co-founded by visionary humanitarians Dr. Paul Farmer, Ophelia Dahl, current World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and others, Partners In Health today reaches 7 million people around the world and employs 18,000 people, including 15,000 local community health workers.

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This event is Sold Out

Presidential Debate Watch Party 10/19

Date: Wed, October 19, 2016
Time: 5:30 PM
Watch the debates

Join INFORUM, Brigade and KQED at the swanky Hotel Zetta to watch all three 2016 presidential debates!

This election cycle has already been full of unforgettable moments; you won't want to miss the opportunity to watch Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump face off live and debate the issues as they compete for your vote in November.

Bring your friends and your opinions, we'll provide the snacks and drinks!

Image - Marcus Samuelsson

Marcus Samuelsson in Conversation with Chris Cosentino

Date: Wed, October 19, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Kitchen adventures from Ethiopia to Sweden to Harlem

Marcus Samuelsson, Chef; Author, The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem; Twitter:
In conversation with Chef Chris Cosentino

This program is part of our Food Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

When Chef Samuelsson opened Red Rooster in Harlem, he envisioned more than just a restaurant. He wanted to create a melting pot that would highlight Harlem’s vibrant multicultural history with food, art and music.

A James Beard award-winner, Samuelsson reflects on his journey from Ethiopia to Sweden to Harlem, and all the kitchen adventures he has encountered along the way.

Image - Pascal Lee and Andy Weir and Mary Roach

Exploring Mars with Pascal Lee, Andy Weir and Mary Roach

Date: Wed, October 19, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
How to turn the Earthling into the Martian.

Dr. Pascal Lee, Co-founder, Mars Institute; Planetary Scientist, SETI Institute; Principal Investigator of the Haughton-Mars Project, NASA Ames Research Center; Author, Mission: Mars
Andy Weir, Author, The Martian
Mary Roach, Author, Packing for Mars—Moderator

Sooner or later, humans will walk on the Red Planet. Weir and Lee want it to be “sooner,” and they have deep insights—both technical and psychological—about how to make it happen. Join Lee and Weir for a spirited conversation on the promise and peril of humanity’s first in-person exploration of an alien planet.

Thu 10/20

Image - Eric Swalwell

Election Education: An Evening with Rep. Eric Swalwell

Date: Thu, October 20, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Eric Swalwell, U.S. Representative (D, CA-15)
Nellie Bowles, Silicon Valley Correspondent, HBO'S "Vice News Tonight"—Moderator

Congressman Eric Swalwell has quickly made a name for himself as the voice of the millennial generation in Congress. The first person in his family to go to college, Rep. Swalwell is fighting for student loan reform and advocating for affordable housing and paid family leave.

An avid user of social media platforms like Snapchat and Twitter, Swalwell has even inspired the popular hashtag #Swalwelling. He’s also believed to be the first member of Congress to Vine on the House floor and he has used Facebook Live to stream from the House chamber.

Last year Swalwell created the bipartisan Sharing Economy Caucus with Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, which focuses on the opportunities and challenges related to the rise of companies like Uber and Airbnb. Rep. Swalwell is also a member of the United Solutions Caucus, created in 2012 by a group of incoming freshman lawmakers who are working across political party lines to address important policy matters.

Join INFORUM to hear more from this political up-and-comer and to share your thoughts with him about the issues that matter most to you as we look toward the 2016 elections.

Image - Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader: Fighting for Democracy

Date: Thu, October 20, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Of the people, by the people

Ralph Nader, Activist; Author, Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think; Twitter:

In this unprecedented election year, Nader makes an inspired case about how he thinks our country can—and must—be democratically managed by communities guided by the U.S. Constitution, not by big business or the wealthy few.

Nader has fought for decades to give Americans back their political voice. He draws from his own experiences and shares his core political beliefs on how we can protect our rights to ensure democracy for all.

Fri 10/21

Image - Bill McKibben and Terry Tamminen

McKibben and Tamminen: Disruptive Climate and Politics

Date: Fri, October 21, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
A veteran of three decades of climate activism

Bill McKibben, Co-founder, 350.org
Terry Tamminen, CEO, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation

As we careen toward unknown climatic changes and near the end of an equally unpredictable election cycle, what will the political and planetary climate be in 2017? Is climate disruption an issue high on the minds of the voters and political leaders? As co-founder of 350.org, Bill McKibben has been working to influence major policy decisions around the world with campaigns such as Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline, Frack Free California and Break Free from Fossil Fuels.

Have those demonstrations actually kept carbon in the ground? What has his organization 350.org been focused on this election cycle, and what are his thoughts on 2017? Join us for politics, activism and stories from 30 years of writing and fighting.

Image - Barbara Rose Brooker

Dispelling Ageism: The Journey of the Age March

Date: Fri, October 21, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
Finding and enjoying love at any age

Barbara Rose Brooker, Author, The Viagra Diaries and There's Something Wrong with All of Them

Years of age is a poor metric for quality of life. The true measure is functional ability and one's capacity to enjoy life. Come join Barbara Rose Brooker, San Francisco native author and founder of the first Age March in history. She will talk about the journey of the Age March and her dream that ageism will dissolve and numbers won’t matter.

“Anything is possible at any age,” Brooker says. She will then read from her new book, There’s Something Wrong with All of Them, stories about finding love after 60, love and ageism.

Image - Mary Ellen Hannibal

Mary Ellen Hannibal: How to Be a Citizen Scientist

Date: Fri, October 21, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Inside the tech-enabled movement of citizens doing science

Mary Ellen Hannibal, Science Writer; Author, Citizen Scientist

Digging deeply, Mary Ellen Hannibal traces today’s tech-enabled citizen science movement to its roots: the centuries-long tradition of amateur observation by writers and naturalists. Combining original reporting, meticulous research, and memoir in impassioned prose, Citizen Scientist is a literary event, a blueprint for action, and the story of how one woman rescued herself from an odyssey of loss—with a new kind of science.

Mary Ellen Hannibal is an emerging voice in environmentalism and a sought-after speaker connecting the scientific community to the public. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Esquire and Elle, among many others. She is an Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellow, a Stanford Media Fellow, and a recipient of the National Society of Science Writers’ Science and Society Award.

Mon 10/24

Humanities West Book Discussion: The World of Yesterday, by Stefan Zweig

Date: Mon, October 24, 2016
Time: 5:00 PM
Portrait of an era

Join us to discuss Stefan Zweig's The World of Yesterday. Written as both a recollection of the past and a warning for future generations, it recalls the golden age of literary Vienna—its seeming permanence, its promise and its devastating fall. Surrounded by the leading literary lights of the epoch, Zweig draws a vivid and intimate account of his life and travels through Vienna, Paris, Berlin and London, touching on the very heart of European culture. His passionate, evocative prose paints a stunning portrait of an era that danced brilliantly on the edge of extinction. Discussion led by Lynn Harris.

Image - David Bodanis

Einstein's Greatest Mistake

Date: Mon, October 24, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Just how great could Einstein have been?

David Bodanis, Author, Einstein's Greatest Mistake

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

David Bodanis, best-selling author of E=mc2, has written a brisk, accessible biography of Albert Einstein that reveals his genius and his hubris. Einstein revolutionized our understanding of the cosmos with his general theory of relativity. Yet in the final decades of his life he was also ignored by most scientists. Bodanis explains how Einstein’s imagination and self-confidence led to his early successes, but when it came to newer revelations in quantum mechanics, those same traits undermined his quest for the ultimate truth. Einstein’s conviction in his own intuition proved to be his ultimate undoing.

An intimate and enlightening biography of the celebrated physicist, Einstein’s Greatest Mistake reveals how much we owe Einstein today—and how much more he might have achieved.

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Socrates Café

Date: Mon, October 24, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend. 

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How to Make a Spaceship! (without NASA)

Date: Mon, October 24, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
The private space race is on!

Julian Guthrie, Journalist; Author, How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Spaceflight
Mike Melvill, World's First Commercial Astronaut
Matt Stinemetze, Engineer and Project Manager, Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne
Erik Lindbergh, Grandson of Aviators Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh; Supporter of Private Race to Space
Brian Hackney, Electrical Engineer and Meteorologist, KPIX-TV CBS San Francisco—Moderator

Virgin founder Richard Branson said of Guthrie’s book, “This tells of a turning point in history, when entrepreneurs were offered the chance to do something only governments had done before. Whether you are 9 years old or 99, this inspiring tale will capture your imagination.”

Come meet the band of renegades who launched the private race to space, and the scrappy engineers and pilots who set out to win the $10 million prize offered to the first team that could build and fly a rocket to the start of space without the government's help. This is the entrepreneurial adventure story of Peter Diamandis, the XPRIZE, SpaceShipOne, and the other teams in the hunt. The winning of the XPRIZE wasn’t just a victory for one team; it was the foundation for a new industry and a new age—SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic. It is about dreamers and doers, and making the impossible possible.

Tue 10/25

Image - Candice Shy Hooper

Lincoln’s Generals’ Wives: Four Women Who Influenced the Civil War, for Better and for Worse

Date: Tue, October 25, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Influencing history

Candice Shy Hooper, Author, Lincoln's Generals' Wives

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

The story of the American Civil War isn’t complete without examining the extraordinary lives of Jessie Fremont, Nelly McClellan, Ellen Sherman, and Julia Grant, who were their husbands’ closest confidantes and had a profound impact on their ambitions and actions. Once shots were fired on Fort Sumter, the women were launched into a new world, where their relationships with their husbands and their personal opinions of the president of the United States had national and historical consequences. Using letters, memoirs, and photographs—and for the first time, maps of the women’s wartime travels—Hooper reveals how these four generals’ wives powerfully influenced our history.