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Senior Mondays

The First Monday of Each Month

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 $10! No coupons or additional discounts are accepted. The Fleet's doors will open at 10 a.m. on the first Monday each month to get Senior Monday started. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the galleries and special senior discounts in Craveology and the North Star Science Store.

Sharp Minds Lecture Series for Adults

Join local scientists to learn about a variety of topics as they share their latest research in a friendly and exciting environment. Sharp Minds lectures begin at 10:30 a.m. on the first Monday of the month (except Labor Day) and are held in the Heikoff Giant Dome Theater.

The Sharp Minds 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. 


Date: November 4, 2019

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Noon Theater Show: Dolphins

Studying the Deep Sea with Sound: a Window into a World We Rarely See

Deep-sea animals are especially difficult to study. Humans can only infrequently take a peek into their lives. Join us this month as Dr. Simone Baumann-Pickering, associate research scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, describes how using sound can open a view into these remote and inaccessible areas of the ocean. Deep-diving sperm whales and elusive beaked whales use echolocation to forage in the deep sea for squid. Dr. Baumann-Pickering researches their use of sound, as well as sounds produced by other animals, the earth and humans through long-term, autonomous acoustic recordings. She uses fisheries sonar to illuminate presence of prey and measures changes in ocean properties. This provides insights into interactions of predators and prey, as well as adaptations of animals to changes in their deep-sea environment.

Lecturer Bio:
Dr. Simone Baumann-Pickering is an associate research scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. She is interested in biological and ecological questions in regard to climate adaptations that range from a basic understanding of short and long-term cyclical behavioral patterns and geographic distribution of animals, to ecological questions like habitat
preference and quality, predator-prey interactions, or adaptations to anthropogenic impacts and a changing environment. Her goal is to contribute to the conservation and management of ecosystems.

Date: December 2, 2019

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Noon Theater Show: The Human Body

God Food: The History of Chocolate and New Science on its Health Benefits

Cacao held great prominence in the life of Mesoamerican Indians for thousands of years. It was used as money and was recognized for its health promoting capacities, including its ability to increase muscle strength and endurance. Join Dr. Francisco Villarreal as he shares how recent science appears to support these historical claims.


BiosketchDr. Villarreal is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He trained as a Medical Doctor in the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, Mexico. He pursued doctoral (Ph.D. in Physiology and Pharmacology, 1989) and postdoctoral studies at UCSD. Major areas of research interest include cardiac pathophysiology and cardioprotection. Over the years Dr. Villarreal has published more than 100 manuscripts in peer review journals. The early focus of this work related to understanding the pathophysiology of cardiac remodeling and fibrosis. Later work focused on pharmacological strategies to protect the heart from infarction. Most recently his work has evolved to examine the cardioprotective effects of the cacao flavanol (-)-epicatechin. A series of pre-clinical and clinical studies has yielded encouraging results leading this area to be the major focus of his current work. Support for this work is provided by USA federal funding agencies and private entities. Dr. Villarreal is also a founder of Cardero Therapeutics Inc. a biotechnology start-up.


From Rare Gene Mutations to Personalized Treatment of Autism
The August Sharp Minds lecture will explore genetic links to autism. Our speaker, Dr. Jonathan Sebat, leads the lab that was the first to identify rare mutations as a major cause of autism. The discovery of hundreds of new genes has revealed critical information about the development of autism and has prompted new efforts to create personalized treatments for autism.

Quantum Mechanics: Mysticism or Science?
Probably, most of what you’ve heard about Quantum Mechanics is wrong. For example, reality is not subjective and we don’t get to choose our own reality. However, particles do exist in many places at once, distant particles are “connected” and experimental measurements do alter outcomes, though in a more subtle way than is often said. This talk will shine light on the implications of experience and the reality of quantum mechanics.

Prolonged sitting time impairs your health and reduces your life span - Get Up, Stand Up!  
The developed world enables us to spend a lot of time sitting down. On average, people of all ages spend at least half of their waking time sitting, with older adults spending the most time sitting. Sedentary time and sitting are associated with poor health outcomes and death. Interestingly, these risks are independent of guideline levels of exercise (150 minutes/week). Growing evidence suggests that changing your sitting patterns to effectively improve your health can be simple. Join us as Dr. Dorothy Sears tells us about the negative impact of sitting time on health and what you can do to reduce that. Spoiler alert – she’s not going to recommend exercise!

Exploring Space in a Tin Can:  How Mercury and Vostok Opened up the Universe Forever
Six decades ago, two superpowers committed themselves to getting a human traveler into orbit.  Within three years, the space barrier had been broken by both sides.  How did we achieve that unprecedented goal?  Who were the brave souls who made the journey?  And how did we stumble along the way?  Come learn the story and  the science of the first chapter of humanity's cosmic adventure.  Discover the legacy of Mercury and Vostok!

Invasion of the Gene Snatchers! How antibiotic-resistant bacteria swap and steal each others' armor
When antibiotics were discovered in the mid-1900's, we thought we had finally beaten bacteria. Now, the bugs are fighting back, outsmarting our best and strongest antibiotics faster than we can come up with new ones. Some experts even warn of a "post-antibiotic era". What makes these new superbugs so super? Is there any hope? We'll discuss how bacteria are using and even shortcutting evolution to escape our drugs, what scientists are trying to do about it, and the ongoing role of serendipity in scientific discovery and progress.

So you’re telling me I have more than a trillion epigenomes?
Yes, I am. Gene, genome, epigenome… not long ago these terms were rare to encounter outside of a laboratory. However, these terms are becoming increasingly common in our society, and our understanding of the concepts they represent can influence decisions about healthcare, lifestyle, politics, and more. Join us as we discuss recent advances in our understanding of the human genome, and how it contributes to our health and well-being on a daily basis.

Precision Medicine: Forging a Path to More Effective, Less Toxic, Personalized Treatments for Patients
Precision medicine seeks to identify the unique molecular characteristics of each patient and their disease.  The goal is to then treat the patient based on these personal and disease characteristics rather than with traditional, standard of care practices that are blanket therapies for anyone with this disease.  Advances in drug development for targeted therapies, "biomarkers” as predictive and diagnostic indicators, and the world of “omics” will be discussed in this presentation, with a few specific examples to highlight each of these.