55 Music Concourse Dr.
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco CA
94118
415.379.8000
Regular Hours:

Daily

9:30 am – 5:00 pm

Sunday

11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Members' Hours:

Tuesday

8:30 – 9:30 am

Sunday

10:00 – 11:00 am
Closures
Notices

The Academy will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Parking and traffic in Golden Gate Park will be congested the weekend of 4/19–4/20. Save $3 on Academy admission when you take public transportation.

The Academy will be closing at 3:00 pm on 4/24. We apologize for any inconvenience.

 
Lectures and Workshops

The Academy is committed to engaging, inspiring, and empowering the public with its scientific mission. Its events and lecture programs offer thought provoking discussions on topics such as astronomy, ecology, sustainability, natural history, biodiversity, evolution and the science of life.

Conservation Photography Class & Excursion
Point Reyes National Seashore

Gary Sharlow  Photographer, Education Manager

Sat April 19th 1pm to 4pm & Sun April 20th 8am to 6pm
Dive into the art of conservation photography during this hands-on, two-day workshop. On Day One, workshop participants will be introduced to the field’s methodology and techniques among the Academy's live animals. On the second day, the group will put its skills into practice on an all-day excursion to some of California's most dramatic protected spaces in Point Reyes National Seashore. Conservation photography is a field rich with history, which has only recently been recognized as a discipline and powerful medium for conservation of wild areas. Throughout the experience, Academy staff and guest experts will offer photographic guidance and insight into the subjects' natural history. Full day admission to the Academy on April 19th for Earth Day celebrations and a 3-hour afternoon photography workshop held at the Academy. The second day includes round-trip transportation between the Academy and Point Reyes, and lunch will be provided as well as a tour and discussion about the history of conservation in Marin open space and Point Reyes.

Get The Full Details Here

Reservations:  Members: $150, General $175. Seating is limited and advanced ticketing is required. Ages 18+ (or 12+ with a parent). To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831


 

Benjamin Dean Lecture
The Visualization of Astronomical Information: From Galileo to the Zooniverse

Alyssa Goodman, Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University

Monday April 21st at 7:30pm, Planetarium
In 1610, when Galileo pointed his small telescope at Jupiter, he drew sketches to record what he saw. After just a few nights of observing, he understood his sketches to be showing moons orbiting Jupiter. It was the visualization of Galileo’s observations that led to his understanding of a clearly Sun-centered solar system, and to the revolution this understanding then caused. Similar stories can be found throughout the history of Astronomy, but visualization has never been so essential as it is today, when we find ourselves blessed with a larger wealth and diversity of data, per astronomer, than ever in the past.

Using amazing new, and often free, software tools, we can immerse ourselves in data about the Universe. In a literal "immersion" setting, we can see data describing our Universe all around us on the "sky' of the Morrison Planetarium. In research, we can connect visualization, data mining, and statistical tools to each other in order to discover and understand new phenomena. In education, we can change the way we learn about the the Universe by offering learners "real" data in rich, multimedia environments on desktop, touchscreen, and mobile computers. We can even use novel interfaces and gaming systems to let users interact with data, and the Universe, using whole body. Goodman will demonstrate the full power visualization brings to this range of endeavors, using examples spanning everything from a free, rich, "Universe Information System" from Microsoft Research (WorldWide Telescope program), to a NASA-sponsored system for understanding the 3D data that the James Webb Space Telescope will send to Earth ("Glue"), to the Zooniverse, where hundreds of thousands of citizens join scientists in their quest to understand the Universe using "big data."

Reservations: Members: $8, General $12, Seniors $10. Seating is limited and advanced ticketing is required. To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831

 

Extreme Weather & The Science of Superstorms
Heidi Cullen in Conversation with Elizabeth Farnsworth

Tues, April 22 7:30pm at the Nourse Theatre
Superstorms capture the imagination in Hollywood and effect our real world hearts and homes. We are captivated by extreme weather and the forces of nature. Are they becoming more common? Hurricanes, tidal waves, giant tornadoes, rivers in the sky. What does the science of superstorms uncover about the powerful forces of nature? What do we know about weather and our future? Heidi Cullen serves as Chief Climatologist for Climate Central — a non-profit science journalism organization headquartered in Princeton, NJ. She was the Weather Channel’s first on-air climate expert and helped create Forecast Earth. Cullen, a climatologist, observes that our brain is hardwired to perceive that which is most immediate to us devoting our energy to responding to near time events. Extreme weather is an immediate result of a much larger phenomenon- the science of superstorms and the evolving human response. Cullen is a member of the American Meteorological Society, an Associate Editor of the journal Weather, Climate, Society and is a visiting lecturer at Princeton University.

Heidi Cullen will be in conversation with Elizabeth Farnsworth who is a former chief correspondent of The NewsHour and an award-winning filmmaker and CEO of West Wind Productions. She has won numerous accolades for her documentary reporting including multiple Emmy nominations, a Director's Guild of America nomination, and a Silver World Medal from the New York Festivals.

Reservations:
The Conversations on Science series is held downtown at San Francisco's beautiful Nourse Theatre at 275 Hayes Street at Franklin Street. Call 415-392-4400 or visit: City Box Office (Academy discounts applied during checkout.)

Members: $25 Orchestra
Non Members: $27 Orchestra



 

Presented in Partnership With:
The Leakey Foundation & The Stone Age Institute
Discoveries at Dmanisi: Evidence from Skull 5

David Lordkipanidze,
Professor and Director, The Georgian National Museum

April 28th 7pm Tusher African Hall
David Lordkipanidze’s research team has yielded a treasure of protohuman fossils, dated to 1.8 million years ago, from the site at Dmanisi in the Republic of Georgia. The Dmanisi discoveries document the first expansion of hominins out of Africa and into Eurasia, and show that this was neither due to increased brain size, nor to improved technology. Dmanisi gives us an opportunity to study early hominins within a short span of time and see the variability of early Homo within one population. The Dmanisi sample, which now comprises five crania, provides direct evidence for wide variation within an early Homo population, moreover one outside Africa. The fossils are remarkably well-preserved, and the recently published Skull 5 represents the world’s most complete skull of early Homo. The study of this specimen yields new evidence on the evolutionary biology of early Homo and supports the idea of the existence of a single evolving lineage of early Homo. David Lordkipanidze, is the General Director of the National Museum of Georgia and has authored over 100 scientific articles published in journals such as Nature, Science Magazine, Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences of USA, Journal of Human Evolution and more. He is regularly featured in the popular scientific magazines such as National Geographic magazine, GEO magazine, and Scientific American.

Reservations: Academy And Leakey Members: $12, General $15. Seating is limited and advanced ticketing is required. To reserve a place today, buy a Academy Member or General and Leakey Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831


 

Naturalist 101
Listening to Life

Nan Sincero, Naturalist Center Educator, Program Lead
Ore Carmi, Guide, Lifelong Learning

Sunday May 4th 9:45am – 12:00pm
While walking in to work, strolling through the park, or sitting on your deck, have you wondered about the sounds around you? What is that animal? Not everyone has binoculars or the time to figure out what’s scurrying or flying by. In this workshop, you’ll master recognizing local animals by the sounds they make.

Please Note: Please enter via the Academy's Staff and Research Entrance at the back door located at 75 Nancy Pelosi Drive.

Reservations: Members: $12, General $15. Seating is limited and advanced ticketing is required. (Museum Admission not Included) To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831


 

Benjamin Dean Lecture
The Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter

Katherine Freese,
Professor of Physics, University of Michigan

Monday, May 5th at 7:30pm, Planetarium
The ordinary atoms that make up the known universe, from our bodies and the air we breathe to the planets and stars, constitute only 5% of all matter and energy in the cosmos. The remaining 95% is made up of a recipe of 25% dark matter and 70% dark energy, both nonluminous components whose nature remains a mystery. Freese will recount the hunt for dark matter, from the discoveries of visionary scientists like Fritz Zwicky, the Swiss astronomer who coined the term "dark matter" in 1933, to the deluge of data today from underground laboratories, satellites in space, and the Large Hadron Collider. Theorists contend that dark matter consists of fundamental particles known as WIMPs, or weakly interacting massive particles. Billions of them pass through our bodies every second without us even realizing it, yet their gravitational pull is capable of whirling stars and gas at breakneck speeds around the centers of galaxies, and bending light from distant bright objects. In this talk Freese will provide an overview of this cosmic coctail, including the evidence for the existence of dark matter in galaxies. Many cosmologists believe we are on the verge of solving this mystery and this talk will provide the foundation needed to fully fathom this epochal moment in humankind's quest to understand the universe.

Reservations: Members: $8, General $12, Seniors $10. Seating is limited and advanced ticketing is required. To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831


 

Pritzker Lecture
The Gulf of Guinea Island Expeditions: Academy Adventures at the Center of the World

Robert Drewes, Curator,
Department of Herpetology

Wednesday May 7th at 7:00pm African Hall
Robert Drewes is a American biologist with a long fascination for the African continent, having conducted field research in 30 different countries in Africa since 1969. In this presentation, he will bring us up to date on the Academy’s research and conservation efforts in São Tomé and Príncipe. These two mountainous islands together form Africa's second smallest republic (after the Seychelles Islands) and are biologically unique. They are the two middle members of a four-island chain, sometimes known as the Gulf of Guinea Islands, which is the only archipelago on earth comprised of both continental and oceanic islands. São Tomé and Príncipe arose some 2 to 4000 meters up from the ocean floor and thus have never been attached to mainland Africa. This means that the ancestors of all the plants and animals that are found on the islands today must have crossed hundreds of km of deep salt water to get there. The colonizers that make it to the islands through a various dispersal methods are then separated from their mainland founder populations and, over time, begin to accumulate genetic changes, a process we all know as evolution. Among the vertebrates found there, more than half of the 49 species and subspecies of land birds breeding on the islands are endemic and include the world’s largest sunbird as well as the smallest ibis. But one of most surprising findings of all, is the presence of an amphibian fauna. This is because amphibians almost never cross saltwater barriers and are therefore considered among the poorest of dispersers. Please join us for this evening presentation to find out what else has been discovered in the Academy’s many years of scientific travel to this remote island region to study the process of evolution and life on Earth.

Reservations: Members: Free, General $12, Seniors $10. Seating is limited and advanced ticketing is required. To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831


 

In Partnership with San Francisco Public Library Main
The Secret Lives of Microbes: Amoeba in the Room

Nicholas Money,
Professor of Botany, Miami University

Thursday May 8th at 6:00pm Koret Auditorium
Animals and plants rule the world - or do they? A cup of seawater contains 100 million cells which are preyed upon by billions of viruses; a pinch of soil swarms with cryptic microbes whose activities are a mystery; 50 million tons of fungal spores are released into the atmosphere every year and affect the weather. Human beings are mobile ecosystems that farm, and are farmed by, vast populations of bacteria and viruses involved with almost every aspect of our wellbeing. These are the vast, unnoticed, unmentioned 'elephants in the room' of planet earth. The more we learn about microbial biodiversity, the less important do animals and plants become in our understanding life on earth. The flowering of microbial science is revolutionizing biology and medicine in ways unimagined even a decade or two ago, and is inspiring a new view of what it means to be human. Nicholas P. money explores the extraordinary breadth of the microbial world and the vast swathes of biological diversity that are now becoming recognized using molecular methods. Money argues for nothing less than a revolution in our perception of the living world: the big lumbering forms we see are just froth on a vast ocean of single-celled protists, bacteria, and viruses that constitute most of life on earth.

Nicholas P. Money is Professor of Botany and Western Program Director at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He is the author of more than 70 peer-reviewed papers on fungal biology and has authored four books, including, Mr. Bloomfield's Orchard, The Mysterious World of Mushrooms, Molds, and Mycologists (2002), and Mushroom (2011) described by Nature magazine as a 'brilliant scientific and cultural exploration' of his research subject.

Reservations: This is a Free lecture taking place at the SFPL at 100 Larkin Street San Francisco, CA. Seating is limited making advanced ticketing required. To reserve a place today, reserve your ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831


 

Presented in Partnership with the Leakey Foundation
The Story of the Human Body

Daniel Lieberman, Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University

Monday May 12th 7:00pm African Hall
How and why is the human body the way it is? What did evolution adapt our bodies for? And how is the human body changing today? To address these questions, this lecture will examine the major evolutionary transformations that shaped the human body since we diverged from the apes, and how our bodies have further evolved and changed for the better and the worse since the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions. As we try to chart a better future for the human body, thinking about our evolutionary past is more relevant than ever for preventing the expanding burden of chronic diseases whose symptoms we must increasingly treat.

Daniel Lieberman is the Professor and Chair of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, the Edwin M. Lerner II Professor of Biological Sciences, a Harvard College Professor at Harvard University, and a member of the Scientific Executive Committee of the LSB Leakey Foundation. He was educated at Harvard (AB ‘86, PhD ’93) and Cambridge (M.Phil. ’97). His research is on how and why the human body is the way it is, with particular foci on the origins of bipedalism, how humans became superlative endurance runners, and the evolution of the highly unusual human head. Lieberman has published 3 books and more than 100 articles. His latest books are "The Evolution of the Human Head (Harvard University Press, 2011), and “The Story of the Human Body” (Pantheon, 2013).

Reservations: Academy Members: $12, Foundation Members: $12, Seniors: $12, General $15. Seating is limited and advanced ticketing is required. To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831


 

Conservation Photography Class
Introduction to your DSLR

Gary Sharlow
Photographer, Education Manager

Sunday May 18th at 1:00pm
In this three-hour classroom presentation, you will learn about the inner workings of your DSLR camera. This class is designed as an overview to help you better understand your camera, the digital workflow and how to make better images. We cover basic features of the DSLR camera to include choosing lenses and filters, ISO, white balance, shutter, aperture and program modes, EV, exposure, bracketing, focusing, resolution, histograms and more. The main objective is to help you understand the fundamentals of exposure so that you can get your camera out of auto mode and start making images the way you want them to look. Once you have the skills to get the correct exposure under any conditions, we can shift our efforts to proper techniques for focus, light metering, depth of field and some basic rules of composition.

Please Note: Entrance is via the Academy's Staff and Research Entrance at the back door located at 75 Nancy Pelosi Drive. You will not be permitted entry at the front door. Please arrive at least 10 minutes early.

Reservations: Members: $40, General $50. Seating is limited and advanced ticketing is required. To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831


 

The Neuroscience of Music & Creativity
Indre Viskontas in Conversation with Kelly McGonigal

Wed, May 21 7:30pm at the Nourse Theatre
A cognitive neuroscientist with UCSF and member of the faculty at the San Franciso Conservatory of Music, Indre Viskontas studies how memories, creativity and other cognitive processes are supported by neural networks  using the latest techniques  including direct recordings from neurons in the human brain and high-resolution functional MRIs. She has published ground-breaking work on the neural basis of memory and creativity and has won numerous research and teaching awards. Viskontas is a classically trained soprano and performs with regional opera companies and chamber music groups in the Bay Area and is the co-founder of Vocallective, a consortium of singers and instrumentalists dedicated to the art of vocal chamber music.

Indre Viskontas will be in conversation with Kelly McGonigal a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University. She teaches for the School of Medicine's Health Improvement Program and is a senior teacher/consultant for the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. Her work demonstrates the applications from psychology, neuroscience, and medicine to personal health and happiness, as well as organizational success and social change. She is the author of the popular books: The Neuroscience of Change, The Willpower Instinct, and Yoga for Pain Relief.

Reservations:
The Conversations on Science series is held downtown at San Francisco's beautiful Nourse Theatre at 275 Hayes Street at Franklin Street. Call 415-392-4400 or visit: City Box Office (Academy discounts applied during checkout.)

Members: $25 Orchestra
Non Members: $27 Orchestra



 

Hearst Symposium on Being Human
On Being Human and Our Evolutionary Trajectory

Moderated by Zeray Alemseged,
Irvine Chair and Senior Curator of Anthropology

Wednesday May 28, 1pm - 5pm Boardroom
Join us as some of the top anthropologists in the world gather to explore the question of what it means to be human. Seven scientists will speak in succession giving six 25 minute presentations to summarize a key part of their research. We’ll follow this up with an hour of dialogue with the audience in an intimate setting limited to 70 total participants. Zeray Alemseged, the Irvine Chair and Senior Curator of Anthropology at the California Academy of Science will start us off with a presentation that explores our origins as a key to understanding our place and role in nature. Dr. Brian Richmond from The George Washington University & National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution will follow with a conversation on the pros of bipedalism while addressing the question: What is so great about walking upright? Taking the opposite viewpoint, he will be followed by Dr. Jeremy DeSilva of Boston University who will address the cons of bipedalism: Is upright walking such a good idea after all? Then we will shift gears to hear a talk from Dr. Fred Spoor from the Max Planck Institute & University College London titled “Happy birthday Homo habilis: 50 years of exploring the origins of the human lineage.” Drs. Tanya Smith & Paul Tafforeau of Harvard University & European Synchrotron Radiation Facility will follow with their presentation on “How teeth help us understand the evolution of human life history”. Finally the program will close out with Dr. Dean Falk of Florida State University & School for Advanced Research, Santa Fe presenting on the question “Brain evolution from Australopithecus to Albert Einstein: What matters, size or wiring?”

Reservations: Members: $12, General $15. Seating is limited and advanced ticketing is required. (Does not include admission to the Academy.) To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831


 

In Partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Network
Wildlife Conservation: Large Carnivores in N. Kenya

Shivani Bhalla, Ewaso Lions, Founder

Tuesday June 3rd at 7pm African Hall
Shivani Bhalla is a fourth generation Kenyan who believes the key to lion conservation is working in partnership with local communities to deliver real solutions and ensure the long-term sustainability of not only northern Kenya’s lions but its other large carnivores as well. In 2007, she founded Ewaso Lions, a Kenya based conservation organization that uses scientific research and community-based outreach programs to promote coexistence between lions and people. It is the only project in northern Kenya to focus on lions in and out of protected areas. Bhalla’s study area covers over 1,466 km2 (approx. 566 square miles) and includes Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba National Reserves and the adjacent community lands. The preserves’ resident lions are source populations for lion prides outside the reserves and therefore play an important role in the region. Ewaso Lions’ core research activities focus on understanding the factors driving lion pride establishments, their associations and movements in the wild and the extent of human-lion interaction in order to formulate strategies for long-term lion conservation. Her research makes use of conservation tools such as GPS-radio collar tracking, whisker-spot pattern identification, and scout patrols to achieve an accurate estimate of lion numbers, gain a better understanding of their movements in and out of protected areas, and assess the extent and impact of human-lion conflict. Ewaso Lions has established several community outreach and education programs to engage local people in conservation, provide training, find creative solutions to human-wildlife conflict, and give back to the community. Through her considerable efforts, Bhalla was recognized as “Africa’s Young Women Conservation Biologist of 2009” by the Society of Conservation Biology. Bhalla will be accompanied by Paul Thomson, Ewaso Lion’s Managing Director and Jeneria Lekilelei, a Samburu warrior and excellent wildlife tracker who serves as Shivani's right hand man in the field and is quickly becoming a rising star in Samburu.

Reservations: Members: Free, General $12, Seniors $10. Seating is limited and advanced ticketing is required. To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831

 

Science & Scripture: Inside the Vatican Observatory
Father George Coyne, SJ in Conversation with Ryan Wyatt

Mon, June 9 7:30pm at the Nourse Theatre
As a priest and an astronomer, Fr. Coyne bridges the worlds of faith and science. He has also been active in the continuing debate about the religious implications of scientific evolution. George V. Coyne, SJ is Director Emeritus of the Vatican Observatory and currently holds the McDevitt Chair in Religious Philosophy at Le Moyne College where he is teaching astronomy and developing a lecture series regarding the science and religion dialogue. He is an observational astronomer of international stature and has been widely recognized for promoting the dialogue between science and religion. He pioneered the series of conferences on “Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action” which bring together scientists and theologians from around the world.  

Fr. Coyne will be in conversation with Ryan Wyatt, the Director of the Morrison Planetarium and Science Visualization studio at the California Academy of Sciences. Wyatt has written and directed the Academy’s three fulldome features, Fragile Planet (2008), Life: A Cosmic Story (2010), and Earthquake: Evidence of a Restless Planet (2012) and is currently in production on the Academy’s upcoming fourth planetarium show.

Reservations:
The Conversations on Science series is held downtown at San Francisco's beautiful Nourse Theatre at 275 Hayes Street at Franklin Street. Call 415-392-4400 or visit: City Box Office (Academy discounts applied during checkout.)

Members: $25 Orchestra
Non Members: $27 Orchestra


 

Benjamin Dean Lecture
Exploring Mars: A Decade of Discovery and Interpretation of the Red Planet

Jeffrey Moore and Eldar Noe Dobrea, NASA Ames

Monday, June 16th at 7:30pm, Planetarium
Join two planetary geologists on a fully immersive tour of the Red Planet. Using the latest high-resolution data collected by spacecraft currently in orbit around Mars, Morrison Planetarium’s fulldome display will make you feel like you’re flying over places where water once flowed and amazing processes still transform the martian surface. Your expert tour guides for the evening will give you an introduction to what our many missions have taught us about Mars—as well as the mysteries that remain to be solved.

Reservations: Members: $8, General $12, Seniors $10. Seating is limited and advanced ticketing is required. To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831


 

Brilliant!Science: Brain Power
Journey to Your Brain

Jonathan Fisher, Founder and Director of Neurdome
Patrick McPike, Lead Technical Director

Friday, June 20th 7:00pm, Planetarium
Join us in Morrison Planetarium as we travel from deep space to the inner workings of the human brain. Our journey takes place on the canvas of our all digital dome to create a visual and educational experience like you’ve never experienced before. See how new technology is changing the way scientists view the brain, allowing us all to explore a world almost impossible to imagine. At a microscopic level, researchers can visualize sparks of electrical activity in individual neurons and resolve motifs of neural connectivity that ultimately support consciousness, emotions, and complex thought. At a macroscopic level, researchers use clinical imaging technologies to identify brain regions that underlie this broad repertoire of higher cognitive processes. Journey to Your Brain explores the fundamental mechanisms of brain function—and what it means to be human.

Reservations: Members: $12, General $15. Seating is limited and advanced ticketing is required. To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831


 

Benjamin Dean Lecture
Black Holes, Magnetars and Millisecond Pulsars:
The Wickedly Cool Stellar Undead

Scott Ransom, Astronomer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and Research Professor at UVA

Monday, July 14th at 7:30pm, Planetarium
The most massive stars burn the fastest and brightest and die spectacularly, exploding as supernovae and leaving behind some of the most fantastic objects in the Universe: neutron stars and black holes. These are fascinating objects themselves, but ever since Bell and Hewish discovered the first pulsar over 40 years ago, we've realized that we can use the neutron stars especially as powerful tools for basic physics and astrophysics as well. We currently know of more than 2000 neutron stars in our Galaxy, almost all of them as pulsars or magnetars. But recently, instrumentation improvements have been rapidly expanding the numbers of the so-called millisecond pulsars (MSPs). These systems, which spin hundreds of times per second, act as Nature's atomic clocks. Specialized "timing" observations of the MSPs are providing a wealth of science, including new tests of general relativity, fantastic probes of the interstellar medium, constraints on the physics of ultra-dense matter, new windows into the evolution of stellar systems both simple and complex, and the promise of a direct detection of massive ripples in space-time, gravitational waves.

Reservations: Members: $8, General $12, Seniors $10. Seating is limited and advanced ticketing is required. To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831


 

Benjamin Dean Lecture
Beyond Hubble: The James Webb Space Telescope & The Search for Life in the Universe

Dr. Jason Kalirai, Project Scientist Space - Telescope Science Institute

Monday, August 4th at 7:30pm, Planetarium
For over twenty-three years the Hubble Space Telescope has been a centerpiece of modern astronomy. Today, it is regarded as one of the most important scientific instruments that humans have every built. Using Hubble's amazing images, I will show why the New York Times described Hubble as having “taught us to see the properties of a universe humans have been able, for most of their history, to probe only with their thoughts.” With the hugely successful but last Hubble servicing mission in May 2009 now behind us, attention is now turning to Hubble's successor, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). JWST will be the size of a tennis court, be launched 1 million miles into space, and be 100x more powerful than Hubble and all previous telescopes. I will describe the design and technology behind this audacious "Hubble 2.0", and outline a prescription to use it and other telescopes to answer the fundamental question, "are we alone?".

Reservations: Members: $8, General $12, Seniors $10. Seating is limited and advanced ticketing is required. To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831

 

Conversations On Science

For this series, the Academy has partnered with City Arts & Lectures, Inc. to present distinguished scientists, professors, writers, thinkers, photographers and artists who discuss important and timely scientific and environmental issues. These conversations are held downtown at San Francisco's beautiful Nourse Theatre at 275 Hayes Street at Franklin Street.


Reservations:
Call 415-392-4400 or visit: City Box Office (Academy discounts applied during checkout.)

Members: $25 Orchestra
Non Members: $27 Orchestra


 

The Neurobiology of Mind & Behavior
Antonio Damasio in Conversation with Amy Standen

Tuesday, February 11 2014 7:30pm at the Nourse Theatre
Antonio Damasio is a professor of neuroscience and director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California. His research helped uncover the neural basis for emotions and has shown that they play a central role in social cognition and decision-making. Since antiquity, artists and philosophers have sought to explain how we perceive, interpret, and shape our existence. Recent advances in brain imaging and fresh insights into the functioning of the human brain at the level of systems, cells and molecules, now provide opportunities for uncovering the neurological basis for a large array of mental functions from emotion and decision-making to the creativity expressed in the arts, sciences and technology.

Antonio Damasio will be in conversation with Amy Standen from KQED Science, an award-winning multimedia science and environment series. Her work has been recognized by the National Association of Public Radio News Directors and Northern California's Society of Professional Journalists. Standen has been a producer on Pulse of the Planet, editor of Terrain Magazine, an editor at Salon and a roving reporter for KALW's Philosophy Talk.

Ticketing Information


 

A Long Bright Future: The Science of Longevity
Laura Carstensen in Conversation with Roy Eisenhardt

Tuesday, February 18 2014 7:30pm at the Nourse Theatre
What if we could live longer, healthier, happier lives? Laura Carstensen is the founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity and a noted expert on socioemotional selectivity theory, a life-span theory of motivation. “Life expectancy is ballooning just as science and technology is on the cusp of solving many of the practical problems of aging. What if we could not only have added years but spend them being physically fit, mentally sharp, functionally independent, and financially secure? At that point, we no longer have a story about old age; we have a story about long life.” Carstensen studies the nature and development of the human life span looking for innovative ways to use science and technology to improve the well-being of people of all ages. She is a Stanford professor in Public Policy and professor of Psychology.

Laura Carstensen will be in conversation with Roy Eisenhardt who currently teaches at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law and previously served as the Executive Director for the California Academy of Sciences. Some of his numerous stage interviews include Stephen King, Gene Wilder, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Desmond Tutu, David Remnick and Isabella Rosselini.

Ticketing Information


 

Pandemic! A Plan for the Planet
Nathan Wolfe in Conversation with Shannon Bennett

Tuesday, March 11 2014 7:30pm at the Nourse Theatre
Armed with high-tech tools and a small army of fieldworkers, Nathan Wolfe hopes to re-invent pandemic control and reveal hidden secrets of the planet's dominant lifeform: the virus. Wolfe has spent his life studying deadly viruses to detect worldwide disease pandemics before they kill millions. He is founder and executive chairman of Global Viral, a non-profit organization promoting understanding, exploration and stewardship of the microbial world. Wolfe’s endeavors coordinate over one hundred scientists and staff around the planet by spotting viruses as soon as they surface through collecting and cataloguing blood samples, surveying wild animals, scanning urban blood banks and documenting the transfer and distribution of disease. 

Nathan Wolfe will be in conversation with Shannon Bennett who is the Academy’s first ever Associate Curator of Microbiology. In this new position, she broadens the Academy’s research scope to include a dedicated focus on viruses and bacteria. Her specialty lies in infectious diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans.

Ticketing Information


 

Extracting DNA: The Power to Restore Life
Beth Shapiro in Conversation with Michael Krasny

Tuesday, April 8 2014 7:30pm at the Nourse Theatre
Imagine a future with mammoths and sabre tooth tigers. Is it possible? Is it ethical? A National Geographic emerging explorer, MacArthur Fellow and professor in the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Santa Cruz, Beth Shapiro aims to better understand how populations and species change through time in response to changes in their habitat. Through her explorations of prehistoric DNA, Shapiro develops important new approaches for inferring the factors that shape the dynamics of species’ populations. She is able to observe mammoths and dodos, witness the last ice age and study the eventual arrival of humans in North America. Her research with ancient DNA takes her on a journey through time that gives science and society a whole new view of our tumultuous past and a potentially life changing reality for our future.

Beth Shapiro will be in conversation with Michael Krasny who is the host of the KQED radio program Forum. He is also a professor of English at San Francisco State University and the author of Spiritual Envy: an Agnostic’s Quest and Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life. His many stage interviews include Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, Norman Mailer, Joyce Carol Oates, and Brian Greene.

Ticketing Information


 

Extreme Weather & The Science of Superstorms
Heidi Cullen in Conversation with Elizabeth Farnsworth

Tuesday, April 22 2014 7:30pm at the Nourse Theatre
Superstorms capture the imagination in Hollywood and effect our real world hearts and homes. We are captivated by extreme weather and the forces of nature. Are they becoming more common? Hurricanes, tidal waves, giant tornadoes, rivers in the sky. What does the science of superstorms uncover about the powerful forces of nature? What do we know about weather and our future? Heidi Cullen serves as Chief Climatologist for Climate Central — a non-profit science journalism organization headquartered in Princeton, NJ. She was the Weather Channel’s first on-air climate expert and helped create Forecast Earth. Cullen, a climatologist, observes that our brain is hardwired to perceive that which is most immediate to us devoting our energy to responding to near time events. Extreme weather is an immediate result of a much larger phenomenon- the science of superstorms and the evolving human response. Cullen is a member of the American Meteorological Society, an Associate Editor of the journal Weather, Climate, Society and is a visiting lecturer at Princeton University.

Heidi Cullen will be in conversation with Elizabeth Farnsworth who is a former chief correspondent of The NewsHour and an award-winning filmmaker and CEO of West Wind Productions. She has won numerous accolades for her documentary reporting including multiple Emmy nominations, a Director's Guild of America nomination, and a Silver World Medal from the New York Festivals.

Ticketing Information


 

The Neuroscience of Music & Creativity
Indre Viskontas in Conversation with Kelly McGonigal

Wednesday, May 21 2014 7:30pm at the Nourse Theatre
A cognitive neuroscientist with UCSF and member of the faculty at the San Franciso Conservatory of Music, Indre Viskontas studies how memories, creativity and other cognitive processes are supported by neural networks  using the latest techniques  including direct recordings from neurons in the human brain and high-resolution functional MRIs. She has published ground-breaking work on the neural basis of memory and creativity and has won numerous research and teaching awards. Viskontas is a classically trained soprano and performs with regional opera companies and chamber music groups in the Bay Area and is the co-founder of Vocallective, a consortium of singers and instrumentalists dedicated to the art of vocal chamber music.

Indre Viskontas will be in conversation with Kelly McGonigal a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University. She teaches for the School of Medicine's Health Improvement Program and is a senior teacher/consultant for the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. Her work demonstrates the applications from psychology, neuroscience, and medicine to personal health and happiness, as well as organizational success and social change. She is the author of the popular books: The Neuroscience of Change, The Willpower Instinct, and Yoga for Pain Relief.

Ticketing Information


 

Science & Scripture: Inside the Vatican Observatory
Father George Coyne, SJ in Conversation with Ryan Wyatt

Monday, June 9 2014 7:30pm at the Nourse Theatre
As a priest and an astronomer, Fr. Coyne bridges the worlds of faith and science. He has also been active in the continuing debate about the religious implications of scientific evolution. George V. Coyne, SJ is Director Emeritus of the Vatican Observatory and currently holds the McDevitt Chair in Religious Philosophy at Le Moyne College where he is teaching astronomy and developing a lecture series regarding the science and religion dialogue. He is an observational astronomer of international stature and has been widely recognized for promoting the dialogue between science and religion. He pioneered the series of conferences on “Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action” which bring together scientists and theologians from around the world.  

Fr. Coyne will be in conversation with Ryan Wyatt, the Director of the Morrison Planetarium and Science Visualization studio at the California Academy of Sciences. Wyatt has written and directed the Academy’s three fulldome features, Fragile Planet (2008), Life: A Cosmic Story (2010), and Earthquake: Evidence of a Restless Planet (2012) and is currently in production on the Academy’s upcoming fourth planetarium show.

Ticketing Information



 

Reservations:
Call 415-392-4400 or visit: City Box Office (Academy discounts applied during checkout.)

Members: $25 Orchestra
Non Members: $27 Orchestra


Pritzker Lectures 

Free to Academy members, the Pritzker lecture series features engaging speakers from the Bay Area and beyond. Topics cover a wide range of subjects related to the Academy's mission to "explore, explain, and sustain life."


 

Pritzker Lecture
The Gulf of Guinea Island Expeditions: Academy Adventures at the Center of the World

Robert Drewes, Curator,
Department of Herpetology

Wednesday May 7th at 7:00pm African Hall
Robert Drewes is a American biologist with a long fascination for the African continent, having conducted field research in 30 different countries in Africa since 1969. In this presentation, he will bring us up to date on the Academy’s research and conservation efforts in São Tomé and Príncipe. These two mountainous islands together form Africa's second smallest republic (after the Seychelles Islands) and are biologically unique. They are the two middle members of a four-island chain, sometimes known as the Gulf of Guinea Islands, which is the only archipelago on earth comprised of both continental and oceanic islands. São Tomé and Príncipe arose some 2 to 4000 meters up from the ocean floor and thus have never been attached to mainland Africa. This means that the ancestors of all the plants and animals that are found on the islands today must have crossed hundreds of km of deep salt water to get there. The colonizers that make it to the islands through a various dispersal methods are then separated from their mainland founder populations and, over time, begin to accumulate genetic changes, a process we all know as evolution. Among the vertebrates found there, more than half of the 49 species and subspecies of land birds breeding on the islands are endemic and include the world’s largest sunbird as well as the smallest ibis. But one of most surprising findings of all, is the presence of an amphibian fauna. This is because amphibians almost never cross saltwater barriers and are therefore considered among the poorest of dispersers. Please join us for this evening presentation to find out what else has been discovered in the Academy’s many years of scientific travel to this remote island region to study the process of evolution and life on Earth.

Reservations: Members: Free, General $12, Seniors $10. Seating is limited and advanced ticketing is required. To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831


 

In Partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Network
Wildlife Conservation: Large Carnivores in N. Kenya

Shivani Bhalla, Ewaso Lions, Founder

Tuesday June 3rd at 7pm African Hall
Shivani Bhalla is a fourth generation Kenyan who believes the key to lion conservation is working in partnership with local communities to deliver real solutions and ensure the long-term sustainability of not only northern Kenya’s lions but its other large carnivores as well. In 2007, she founded Ewaso Lions, a Kenya based conservation organization that uses scientific research and community-based outreach programs to promote coexistence between lions and people. It is the only project in northern Kenya to focus on lions in and out of protected areas. Bhalla’s study area covers over 1,466 km2 (approx. 566 square miles) and includes Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba National Reserves and the adjacent community lands. The preserves’ resident lions are source populations for lion prides outside the reserves and therefore play an important role in the region. Ewaso Lions’ core research activities focus on understanding the factors driving lion pride establishments, their associations and movements in the wild and the extent of human-lion interaction in order to formulate strategies for long-term lion conservation. Her research makes use of conservation tools such as GPS-radio collar tracking, whisker-spot pattern identification, and scout patrols to achieve an accurate estimate of lion numbers, gain a better understanding of their movements in and out of protected areas, and assess the extent and impact of human-lion conflict. Ewaso Lions has established several community outreach and education programs to engage local people in conservation, provide training, find creative solutions to human-wildlife conflict, and give back to the community. Through her considerable efforts, Bhalla was recognized as “Africa’s Young Women Conservation Biologist of 2009” by the Society of Conservation Biology. Bhalla will be accompanied by Paul Thomson, Ewaso Lion’s Managing Director and Jeneria Lekilelei, a Samburu warrior and excellent wildlife tracker who serves as Shivani's right hand man in the field and is quickly becoming a rising star in Samburu.

Reservations: Members: Free, General $12, Seniors $10. Seating is limited and advanced ticketing is required. To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831

Benjamin Dean Lectures

This series of talks for the general public is given by noted scientists in the fields of astronomy and space science. It is held in the Morrison Planetarium, home of the most accurate and interactive digital Universe ever created, which is shown on the world's largest all-digital dome.


 

Benjamin Dean Lecture
The Visualization of Astronomical Information: From Galileo to the Zooniverse

Alyssa Goodman, Professor of Astronomy at Harvard University

Monday April 21st at 7:30pm, Planetarium
In 1610, when Galileo pointed his small telescope at Jupiter, he drew sketches to record what he saw. After just a few nights of observing, he understood his sketches to be showing moons orbiting Jupiter. It was the visualization of Galileo’s observations that led to his understanding of a clearly Sun-centered solar system, and to the revolution this understanding then caused. Similar stories can be found throughout the history of Astronomy, but visualization has never been so essential as it is today, when we find ourselves blessed with a larger wealth and diversity of data, per astronomer, than ever in the past.

Using amazing new, and often free, software tools, we can immerse ourselves in data about the Universe. In a literal "immersion" setting, we can see data describing our Universe all around us on the "sky' of the Morrison Planetarium. In research, we can connect visualization, data mining, and statistical tools to each other in order to discover and understand new phenomena. In education, we can change the way we learn about the the Universe by offering learners "real" data in rich, multimedia environments on desktop, touchscreen, and mobile computers. We can even use novel interfaces and gaming systems to let users interact with data, and the Universe, using whole body. Goodman will demonstrate the full power visualization brings to this range of endeavors, using examples spanning everything from a free, rich, "Universe Information System" from Microsoft Research (WorldWide Telescope program), to a NASA-sponsored system for understanding the 3D data that the James Webb Space Telescope will send to Earth ("Glue"), to the Zooniverse, where hundreds of thousands of citizens join scientists in their quest to understand the Universe using "big data."

Reservations: Members: $8, General $12, Seniors $10. Seating is limited and advanced ticketing is required. To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831


 

Benjamin Dean Lecture
The Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter

Katherine Freese,
Professor of Physics, University of Michigan

Monday, May 5th at 7:30pm, Planetarium
The ordinary atoms that make up the known universe, from our bodies and the air we breathe to the planets and stars, constitute only 5% of all matter and energy in the cosmos. The remaining 95% is made up of a recipe of 25% dark matter and 70% dark energy, both nonluminous components whose nature remains a mystery. Freese will recount the hunt for dark matter, from the discoveries of visionary scientists like Fritz Zwicky, the Swiss astronomer who coined the term "dark matter" in 1933, to the deluge of data today from underground laboratories, satellites in space, and the Large Hadron Collider. Theorists contend that dark matter consists of fundamental particles known as WIMPs, or weakly interacting massive particles. Billions of them pass through our bodies every second without us even realizing it, yet their gravitational pull is capable of whirling stars and gas at breakneck speeds around the centers of galaxies, and bending light from distant bright objects. In this talk Freese will provide an overview of this cosmic coctail, including the evidence for the existence of dark matter in galaxies. Many cosmologists believe we are on the verge of solving this mystery and this talk will provide the foundation needed to fully fathom this epochal moment in humankind's quest to understand the universe.

Reservations: Members: $8, General $12, Seniors $10. Seating is limited and advanced ticketing is required. To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831


 

Benjamin Dean Lecture
Exploring Mars: A Decade of Discovery and Interpretation of the Red Planet

Jeffrey Moore and Eldar Noe Dobrea, NASA Ames

Monday, June 16th at 7:30pm, Planetarium
Join two planetary geologists on a fully immersive tour of the Red Planet. Using the latest high-resolution data collected by spacecraft currently in orbit around Mars, Morrison Planetarium’s fulldome display will make you feel like you’re flying over places where water once flowed and amazing processes still transform the martian surface. Your expert tour guides for the evening will give you an introduction to what our many missions have taught us about Mars—as well as the mysteries that remain to be solved.

Reservations: Members: $8, General $12, Seniors $10. Seating is limited and advanced ticketing is required. To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831


 

 

Benjamin Dean Lecture
Black Holes, Magnetars and Millisecond Pulsars:
The Wickedly Cool Stellar Undead

Scott Ransom, Astronomer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and Research Professor at UVA

Monday, July 14th at 7:30pm, Planetarium
The most massive stars burn the fastest and brightest and die spectacularly, exploding as supernovae and leaving behind some of the most fantastic objects in the Universe: neutron stars and black holes. These are fascinating objects themselves, but ever since Bell and Hewish discovered the first pulsar over 40 years ago, we've realized that we can use the neutron stars especially as powerful tools for basic physics and astrophysics as well. We currently know of more than 2000 neutron stars in our Galaxy, almost all of them as pulsars or magnetars. But recently, instrumentation improvements have been rapidly expanding the numbers of the so-called millisecond pulsars (MSPs). These systems, which spin hundreds of times per second, act as Nature's atomic clocks. Specialized "timing" observations of the MSPs are providing a wealth of science, including new tests of general relativity, fantastic probes of the interstellar medium, constraints on the physics of ultra-dense matter, new windows into the evolution of stellar systems both simple and complex, and the promise of a direct detection of massive ripples in space-time, gravitational waves.

Reservations: Members: $8, General $12, Seniors $10. Seating is limited and advanced ticketing is required. To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831

Benjamin Dean Lecture
Beyond Hubble: The James Webb Space Telescope & The Search for Life in the Universe

Dr. Jason Kalirai, Project Scientist Space - Telescope Science Institute

Monday, August 4th at 7:30pm, Planetarium
For over twenty-three years the Hubble Space Telescope has been a centerpiece of modern astronomy. Today, it is regarded as one of the most important scientific instruments that humans have every built. Using Hubble's amazing images, I will show why the New York Times described Hubble as having “taught us to see the properties of a universe humans have been able, for most of their history, to probe only with their thoughts.” With the hugely successful but last Hubble servicing mission in May 2009 now behind us, attention is now turning to Hubble's successor, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). JWST will be the size of a tennis court, be launched 1 million miles into space, and be 100x more powerful than Hubble and all previous telescopes. I will describe the design and technology behind this audacious "Hubble 2.0", and outline a prescription to use it and other telescopes to answer the fundamental question, "are we alone?".

Reservations: Members: $8, General $12, Seniors $10. Seating is limited and advanced ticketing is required. To reserve a place today, buy a Member or Non-Member ticket online or over the phone at 1-877-227-1831

Recorded Lectures

   

            

Miss a Pritzker or Leakey Lecture?
Watch on Fora.tv
Or on iTunes University
Miss a Dean Astronomy Lecture?
Listen on iTunes University

Lectures eBlast

   

Sign up for our monthly eMail! It's the easiest way to stay informed about upcoming lectures and workshops.


e-news Sign up for our eBlast

BigPicture Competition

   

Our first year is complete and the judges are picking the winners! Winning images on exhibt  August 1st - November 2nd 2014

Learn More

Member Perks

   

There are numerous benefits to being an Academy member:

  • Free unlimited daily admission
  • Personalized member card
  • Members-only hours
  • Free Pritzker members' lectures
  • And Many More...

Parking Options

   

Parking is available in the Music Concourse Garage seven days a week from 7 am–7 pm.  Limited 4hr parking is available on John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Nancy Pelosi Drive until 10pm (Except on Sundays) Please note that the garage is not operated by the California Academy of Sciences. For information, call 415.750.0741 Get Directions