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Senior Mondays

The First Monday of Each Month

Lots of science fun!
Lots of science fun!
Explore the exhibits!
Explore the exhibits!
Enjoy a lecture!
Enjoy a lecture!

The first Monday of every month, seniors 65 and better can enjoy the Science Center exhibits, a show in the Heikoff Giant Dome Theater and a lecture on the quietest day of the month for only $8! No coupons or additional discounts are accepted. The Fleet's doors will open at 9:30 a.m. on the first Monday each month to get Senior Monday started early.

Lecture Series for Adults
Join local scientis to learn about a variety of topics as they share their latest research in a friendly and exciting environment. Beginning in October 2013, lectures will begin at 10:30 a.m. and will be held in the Heikoff Giant Dome Theater.

The lecture is free with purchase of the noon theater ticket. Tickets are required to attend the lecture and can be requested at the Ticket Counter. Visitors are encouraged to stay to enjoy the galleries and special senior discounts in Galileo’s Café and the North Star Science Store.


Date: June 1

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Noon Theater Show: Africa: The Serengeti

Lecture Topic: What Can Evolution in Rodents Tell Us About Human Limb Development and Musculoskeletal Disease?

Most of the genes required for limb development are needed by both the arms and legs. However, many animals have very different fore and hindlimbs, and 92% of human limb birth defects specifically affect the arms or legs, but not both. How are shared genes deployed differently in the two pairs of limbs? We answer this question and more by studying limb development in mice and its close relative: the three-toed jerboa. The jerboa is a bipedal rodent with “normal” arms and unique legs that allow it to bound through the deserts of Africa and Asia. It has extraordinarily long hindlimbs (particularly the feet), fused metatarsals, three toes and no foot muscles. Our lab capitalizes on these specialized features of the jerboa hindlimb, the strengths of mouse genetic engineering and the close evolutionary relationship of the two species to understand the mechanisms that shape limb form and function. Our research provides insight into the mechanisms that generate diversity among and within species and extends to an understanding of the fundamental causes of musculoskeletal disease and human birth defects.

Dr. Kimberly Cooper earned her bachelor's degree in Biology at Cornell University and her PhD from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. Her graduate research focused on how the motor neurons that control face and jaw movements develop using the zebrafish as a model species. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School where she established the three-toed jerboa as a new research model to study limb development and evolution. This led to the establishment of her independent research program in the Division of Biological Sciences at UCSD where her lab continues to use the jerboa to understand mechanisms of skeletal growth, digit formation, bone fusion and muscle maintenance.

Date: July 6

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Noon Theater Show: Hubble

Lecture Topic: The New Horizons Mission

New Horizons launched on January 19, 2006. It swung past Jupiter for a gravity boost and scientific studies in February 2007 and now it’s on its way to conduct a five-month-long reconnaissance flyby study of Pluto and its moons this summer. The New Horizons mission will help us understand worlds at the edge of our solar system by making the first reconnaissance of the planet Pluto. The closest Pluto approach is scheduled for July 14, 2015. As part of an extended mission, the spacecraft is expected to head farther into the Kuiper Belt to examine one or two of the ancient, icy mini-worlds in that vast region, at least a billion miles beyond Neptune’s orbit. Jerry Hillburn will share mission details and give us insight on what to expect from the New Horizons mission.

Jerry Hilburn is an active member in the San Diego Astronomy Association. His interests include tracking asteroids, exoplanet photometry and teaching practical astronomy techniques to budding amateur scientist. Jerry feels that the most important message we can send to children is that there is great opportunity in the future of space exploration and that they must prepare now for that future by learning, questioning, and exploring the space sciences. In addition to his public speaking role with NASA/JPL he also works to provide free star party events for nonprofit organizations and schools in Southern California.