Bay Area Science Festival 2017

Bay Area Science Festival 2017
Explore the wonders of science with free events for all ages at UC Berkeley and throughout the East Bay during the Bay Area Science Festival! All festival events presented by Science at Cal are open to the public. Other festival or partner events may have an attendance fee or require registration. Please check the festival event link for details. Events and activities are subject to change without notice.

Art & Science

Dark Matter Day

Talks & Tours


Vision + Light: Converging Senses

Saturday, October 28 — 4:30-8:30 pm

Sunday, October 29 — 1:00-5:00 pm

Li Ka Shing Center

University of California, Berkeley

This acclaimed program returns, featuring the convergence of art and science. Journey through ancient and modern worlds, from the nano to cosmic scale. Explore exhibits of microscopy, painting, video installations and sculpture, created by artists and scientists probing our world for deeper understanding.

Program Details


Five Tables. . . of Cal Scientists and Their Takes on Art

Thursday, November 2 – 4:00-7:00 pm

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive  2155 Center Street, Berkeley Drop by the art study centers on Free First Thursday for an up-close look at treasures from the BAMPFA collections, laid out on the five tables in the seminar area. In conjunction with this year’s Bay Area Science Festival (October 26 through November 11), UC Berkeley scientists give us their take on a nonrandom selection of art from our collections. Works on view might include: Harold Edgerton’s multiflash image of a tennis serve; kites flying high over Mt. Fuji in Hokusai’s simultaneously soaring and gravity-bound ukiyo-e print; Richard Misrach’s long-exposure night view of the temple and star tracks at Sounion, Greece; glorious close-ups of flowers in photos by Papo Colo and Marion Brenner; nineteenth-century cabinet cards of Thomas Henry Huxley, “Darwin’s Bulldog,” and much more. More information

The Art of Emotions/Emotions in Art: From the Pixar Film to the Empathetic Museum

with Dacher Keltner

Monday, October 30 – 6:30 pm 

Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive  2155 Center Street, Berkeley Dacher Keltner, co-founder and director of the Greater Good Science Center and professor of psychology at UC Berkeley, talks about art and empathy. Keltner is the coauthor of two textbooks, as well as the bestselling Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life and The Compassionate Instinct. BAMPFA Event Info
On and around October 31, 2017, the world will celebrate the historic hunt for the unseen—something that scientists refer to as dark matter. Local events planned by institutions and individuals around the planet will engage the public in discussions about what we know about dark matter, and about the many present and planned experiments that seek to solve its mysteries.
LUX Dark Matter Experiment

Grounds for Science: Dark Matter Day!

Elizabeth Boulton (LBNL) and Katelin Schutz (UCB)

Friday, October 27 – 6:30 pm

Scarlet City Espresso Bar 3960 Adeline Street Emeryville, CA  94608 How do we look for evidence of “Dark Matter” in the universe? Two young researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and UC Berkeley will share stories of their search for dark matter in the heavens and deep underground. Grounds for Science is a public science talk series organized by and featuring UC Berkeley graduate students. Enjoy cutting-edge science at Scarlet City: a science-fiction-themed cafe that offers a small, intimate environment, home-roasted coffee, select beers and snacks, and a collection of sweet pinball machines. Event Info
Phantom of the Universe - Chabot Science Center

Chasing a ‘Phantom’: Our Hunt for Dark Matter

Heather Gray, Zach Marshall, Dan McKinsey

Sunday, October 29 – 2:00-3:30 pm

Chabot Space and Science Center Presented by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory The event is free with admission to the Chabot Space & Science Center. (Chabot admission is free to members, $18 for non-member adults, $14 for youths ages 3-12, and $15 for seniors 65 and up and for students ages 13-18 or college students with college ID.) In this special Dark Matter Day presentation, dark matter scientists will share their experiences searching for dark matter particles using underground particle accelerators and ultra-sensitive detectors. Attendees will also see the “Phantom of the Universe” planetarium show. There is no registration for this event, and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Speaker presentations will include: Bringing Balance to the LHC Data (Heather Gray) Dark matter wouldn’t appear at the LHC as a signal in the data — actually it’s quite the opposite!  Physicists at ATLAS use the basic law of conservation of momentum to “see” when something is missing from an event.  This relies on measuring each collision in the detector very precisely.  Dr Gray will explain what ATLAS measures, and how we detect when something is missing. What’s Missing in the LHC Data (Zach Marshall) The Standard Model of particle physics has held up for a half-century as the most precise theory ever derived.  It’s precision could be it’s downfall: with careful study of the imbalance in events at the LHC, it might be possible to find Dark Matter!  Dr Marshall will describe how some of these searches take place, and whether there might be a new Dark Matter discovery lurking around the corner. Searching for Dark Matter Particles in a Gold Mine (Dan McKinsey) To avoid cosmic ray interference, experiments searching for dark matter interactions must be located deep underground. One new project is the LUX-ZEPLIN dark matter experiment that is taking shape at an underground research facility in South Dakota, built in the former Homestake gold mine. LUX-ZEPLIN will look for flashes of light produced by dark matter particles when they scatter in a tank filled with 10 tons of liquid xenon.

Airing of “Phantom of the Universe” Planetarium Show

Searching for Dark Matter – SuperCDMS (Cryogenic Dark Matter Search)

Talk by Matt Pyle, followed by lab tours

Thursday, November 9 – 6:30 pm

375 Le Conte Hall  University of California, Berkeley What is dark matter? For decades, firm astronomical evidence from observations of stars and galaxies has indicated that most of the matter in the universe cannot be seen directly in telescopes. Instead, this matter must be observed indirectly through its gravitational pull on the objects that we can see. This is how the term “dark matter” was coined…But how do we search for something we can’t see? Explore these questions with a short talk and tour inside the labs of the SuperCDMS (Cryogenic Dark Matter Search) group and the Müller group laser interferometry lab. Matt Pyle is the Michael M. Garland Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics at UC Berkeley. Questions about the nature of the universe today, for example “Could dark matter be composed of particles with mass less than that of a proton?” are simply impossible to answer with present technology. Dr. Pyle’s goal is to develop and employ new detector technologies to find answers to these questions. Please register, space is limited! 
Melissa Walter - A New Stellar Order

Dark Matter as Art – Film Screening and Artist & Scientist Panel

by the Department of Nuclear Engineering – UC Berkeley

Tue, November 7, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Sibley Auditorium UC Berkeley In celebration of Dark Matter Day, the Department of Nuclear Engineering presents The Artist Odyssey, and Director Chris Fessenden’s film “New Stellar Order,” a documentary about science artist and illustrator Melissa Walter (view the trailer). Following the film screening, Director Chris Fessenden, artist Melissa Walter, and Dark Matter Scientists Karl van Bibber, Ph.D., Bernard Sadoulet, Samantha Lewis, Maria Simanovskaia, and Al Kenany will have a panel discussion regarding illustrating and researching that which has not yet been visualized. Please join us for this fun, informative and visually stunning conversation. This event is free to the public, but please register for tickets at EventBrite.  
Dan McKinsey

Searching for Dark Matter Particles in a Gold Mine

with Dan McKinsey

Sunday, November 5 – 2:00-4:00 pm

Berkeley Public Library, Central Branch 2090 Kittredge St, Berkeley
The Berkeley Public Library in conjunction with the Bay Area Science Festival and the global celebration of Dark Matter Day presents Dan McKinsey, UC Physicist and the Georgia Lee Distinguished Professor of Physics. Professor McKinsey will present a lively talk with slides on the ‘search for the unseen’, an amazing experiment taking place miles underground and addressing the elusive phenomenon of dark matter in the universe. Professor McKinsey is a collaborator in ground-breaking current research projects. To avoid cosmic ray interference, experiments searching for dark matter interactions must be located deep underground. One new project is the LUX-ZEPLIN dark matter experiment that is taking shape at an underground research facility in South Dakota, built in the former Homestake gold mine. LUX-ZEPLIN will look for flashes of light produced by dark matter particles when they scatter in a tank filled with 10 tons of liquid xenon. Dan McKinsey is a leader in the field of direct searches for dark matter interactions, and serves as Co-Spokesperson of the LUX experiment. He also collaborates on the LZ experiment and is doing R&D on superfluid helium for low-mass dark matter detection. Berkeley Public Library Event Info  
Farmers' Markets

Explore what you eat! Science at local farmers’ markets

South Berkeley Market

Tuesday, October  31 —  2:00 – 5:30 pm

Adeline St. at 63rd. Berkeley

Temescal Market

Sunday November 5 — 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

5300 Claremont Ave, Oakland Ever wonder how plants live? Or what DNA really looks like? Get hands-on with (maybe even spooky!) science to find out! Join Cal Scientists for some cool, food-related investigations at East Bay farmers’ markets during the Bay Area Science Festival. Subject to reduced hours or cancellation in event of inclement weather.

Astronight: Talk and stargazing

Are We Alone? Searching for Cosmic Company

with Steve Croft

Thursday, November 2

Talk:  7:00 – 8:00 pm

Stargazing:  8:00 – 9:30 pm

Campbell Hall UC Berkeley For millennia, humans have gazed at the stars and asked, “Are we alone in the Universe?”. In the past few decades, we have discovered that many of the pinpoints of light scattered across our night sky are suns that host worlds similar to our own. Still, though, the question remains unanswered as to whether minds have arisen elsewhere, or if life as we know it is rare, or indeed unique. Event info
Artifical Intelligence

East Bay Science Cafe – The humanity of artificial intelligence

with Stuart Geiger

Wednesday, November 1 — 7:00 pm

Restaurant Valparaiso 1403 Solano Ave. Albany, CA 94706 Today, “artificial intelligence” seems to be everywhere — in our phones, vacuums, hospitals, and inboxes — but it can be hard to separate science fiction from science fact. Many discussions about AI imagine a fully autonomous superintelligence that designs itself with little to no human intervention, making decisions in ways that humans cannot possibly understand. Yet the work of designing, developing, engineering, training, and testing such systems requires a massive amount of human labor, which is typically erased when such systems are released as products. In this talk, Stuart Geiger will give a human-centered, behind-the-scenes introduction to machine learning, illustrating the creative, interpretive, and often messy work humans do to make autonomous agents work. Understanding the humanity behind artificial intelligence is important if we want to think constructively about issues of bias, fairness, accountability, and transparency in AI. Event info
Electron Microscopy Lab

Tour the Electron Microscopy Lab

Thursday, November 2nd — 3:30-5:00 pm

26 Giannini Hall (North basement) University of California, Berkeley
Come and explore the inner workings of a cell! See how electron microscopes are used to peer deep into the world around us and even our very own cells. Look at the building blocks of life: DNA, RNA, proteins, and lipids, and see how they combine to form a cell. We’ll take a hands-on look at how samples are prepared for imaging with electrons. Then, we’ll explore the rugged terrain of a plant leaf under the scanning electron microscope. Finally, we’ll explore the beautiful bands of muscle in a zebrafish with a transmission electron microscope.
Please register, space is limited! 
Bay Area Science Festival

Discovery Day

East Bay

Saturday October 28th — 11am – 4 pm

Cal State East Bay Hayward Campus, Science Buildings, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd, Hayward, CA 94542

AT&T Park

Saturday, November 11 — 10:00am – 4:00 pm

San Francisco Numerous UC Berkeley students and staff will participate in the Closing event Discovery Days at AT&T Park in San Francisco, with varioius STEM departments and organizations taking part. Look for the Science at Cal signs and come meet our scientists!