California Academy of Sciences
May 2004 Calendar of Events
Exhibits, Courses, Programs, and Lectures
875 Howard Street Open May 1
Grand Opening Saturday, June 19
The California Academy of Sciences will open to the public Saturday, May
1 for preview days. During preview days visitors may view natural history
exhibits including Ants: Hidden Worlds Revealed and Astrobiology: Life
in the Extreme. In addition, visitors may view the development of Steinhart
Aquarium's new home. One of the assets of the Academy at Howard Street
is the inside-out design of the aquarium. This design allows visitors
to view the complex life-support systems that are necessary to run an
aquarium. Over the course of the preview period, visitors can get those
"behind-the-scenes" sneak peeks as Steinhart literally comes
to life. Then on Saturday, June 19, all are invited to celebrate the Academy's
grand opening at 875 Howard Street.
ANTS: Hidden Worlds Revealed
Open Saturday, May 1
Audiences everywhere are ANTicipating the arrival of the fANTastic
new natural history exhibit at 875 Howard Street - ANTS: Hidden Worlds
Revealed. Curated by Academy entomologist Brian Fisher, this exciting
exhibit will showcase six colonies of live ants, each of which will display
distinctive nest building and food collecting behaviors. Four of the species
represented - Harvester Ants, Carpenter Ants, Honey Pot Ants, and invasive
Argentine Ants - are commonly found in California. The other two species,
however, come from further a field. Leaf Cutter ants, (pictured at left)
which cultivate gardens of fungus in order to ensure a steady food supply,
make their home in the tropical rainforests of South America, while meat
eating Army ants migrate through parts of Africa and the Americas in search
of prey. Each of the six live ant colonies will offer visitors the chance
to look inside the chambers and tunnels of the ants' nests and watch them
forage for food.
Astrobiology: Life in the Extreme
Open Saturday, May 1
What is life? How do we study it? Where is it found on Earth? And
does it exist elsewhere in the Universe? To identify the types of environments
that would be capable of supporting life beyond our own planet, astrobiologists
must study the limits of life here on Earth. They do this by researching
extreme environments, such as thermal springs and hydrothermal vents (geysers
on the ocean floor), that host hardy living organisms. Both of these types
of extreme environments will be explored in the Academy's new exhibit
Astrobiology: Life in the Extreme. Astrobiology is an exciting new scientific
discipline that combines the traditional fields of astronomy, biology,
geology, chemistry, and physics to address a vast topic: the study of
life in the Universe. The Academy is delving into this compelling new
field by creating an exhibit for its 875 Howard Street location titled
Astrobiology: Life in the Extreme.
The Evolution of Human Skin Coloration Special Lecture with Nina Jablonski,
Ph.D., Irvine Chair & Curator, Department of Anthropology, California
Academy of Sciences
Though human skin is not preserved in the fossil record and we have little
direct evidence of its evolution, it has long been recognized that the
distribution of skin colors among native peoples is not random. New evidence
from the fields of epidemiology and physiology, analyzed in conjunction
with remotely-sensed environmental data, clearly indicates that the worldwide
pattern of human skin color is a product of natural selection acting to
regulate the penetration of ultraviolet radiation into the skin. The level
of melanin pigmentation in human skin represents a compromise between
the demands of photo protection and vitamin D synthesis, both of which
are essential for survival and successful reproduction.
Thursday, April 29, 7:30 pm; $8; For tickets, call the JCCSF Box Office
at (415) 292-1233 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets may be purchased at
the door when available.
Empire of the Ants
Brian Fisher, Ph.D.
Assistant Curator, Department of Entomology, California Academy of Sciences
Explore the fascinating world of ants through the scientist's eyes whose
work led to the new ANTS exhibit at the Academy's Howard Street facility.
ANTS: Hidden Worlds Revealed features a live Army ant colony that is the
first of its kind and size to be housed outside of the tropics. In addition
to being one of the most aggressive insect species, with the ability to
hunt down and devour prey, the Army ant also has a magnificent capacity
for social cooperation. Join Fisher as he shares the adventures of procuring
the colony from Trinidad and the challenges inherent in housing a colony
of 500,000 to 2 million ants that requires an estimated 3,000 crickets
a day for food.
Monday, May 17, 2 & 7:30 pm; Zeum Theater; Free to members, $4 Zeum
members, $8 non-members; Tickets may be purchased at the door.
Seth Shostak, Ph.D., SETI Institute
Efforts to discover other thinking species in the cosmos have not yet
succeeded, but novel approaches and new equipment may soon provide proof
of such sentient beings. How are researchers planning to broaden reconnaissance
for intelligence elsewhere, and what may be the consequences of such a
Monday, May 10, 7:30-9 pm; Jewish Community Center of San Francisco;
$3; Tickets may be purchased by calling (415) 750-7145, or at the door,
City Arts & Lectures, INC. Presents
California Academy of Sciences
Conversations at the Herbst Theatre 2004
Paul Ekman, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, UC San Francisco
In conversation with Nina Jablonski, Ph.D.
Wednesday, April 28, 8 p.m. $18
Diane Ackerman, Naturalist, Poet
An Alchemy of Mind, Cultivating Delight A Natural History of the Senses
In conversation with Angie Coiro
Wednesday, May 26, 8 p.m. $18
The Annual Claire Matzger Lilienthal Distinguished Lecturer
Julie Gerberding, M.D. Director, Center for Disease Control and Prevention
In conversation with Paul Volberding, M.D.
Wednesday, June 2, 8 p.m. $18
To order tickets, please call City Box Office at (415) 392-4400 or visit
California Academy of Sciences does not process ticket orders for these
This series is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Richard and
Rhoda Goldman Fund.
Asian Pacific Heritage Month
In collaboration with the Asian Cultural Center in Oakland's Chinatown,
the California Academy of Sciences celebrates Asian Pacific Heritage Month
with two traditional art presentations. These programs take place at the
Oakland Asian Cultural Center. For directions and information, call (510)
637-0455 or visit their Web site at www.oacc.cc. Admission to all Oakland
Asian Cultural Center programs are free to the public.
Tongan Textiles and Asian Cultures Saturday, May 8, noon-4 pm
- Artists from the local Tongan community demonstrate the ancient process
of making tapa cloth (ngatu) - a textile created by pounding thin layers
of mulberry tree bark with wooden mallets and painting the surface with
typical Tongan designs. Other activities scheduled during the afternoon
include: Polynesian food; Chinese music and calligraphy; the art of carving
vegetables into animal and plant shapes; photographic exhibits on Asian
immigration in California; seminars on Asian cultures; and classes on
tai chi and feng shui.
Rarotonga Cultural Traditions Saturday, May 15, 4 pm - The Cook
Islands Maori Cultural Society performs music and dance from Rarotonga.
The program opens with rhythmic chants, followed by a drum dance (ura
pau) and an action song (kapa rima). Instruments include wooden drums
and slit gongs (pate), bongos (pau mango), bass drum (pau), conch shell
(pu), and strings (ukarere). The program ends with audience participation.
The California Academy of Sciences, including Steinhart
Aquarium and the Natural History Museum, is open to the public at 875
Howard Street. Admission to the Academy at 875 Howard Street is: $7 for
adults, $4.50 for youth ages 12 to 17, Seniors ages 65+ and students with
valid ID, $2 for children ages four to 11 and children ages three and
younger will be admitted free of charge. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. everyday.
www.calacademy.org (415) 750-7145
The California Academy of Sciences, the fourth largest natural history
museum in the United States, is home to Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium
and the Natural History Museum. The Academy is beginning an extensive
rebuilding project in Golden Gate Park. Pritzker prize-winning architect
Renzo Piano is designing the new Academy, which is expected to open in
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