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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: January 6, 2020

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Noon Theater Show: Africa: The Serengeti

From Stem Cells to Wireless Medicine: Effective Treatments for Atrial Fibrillation

Your heart skips a beat, races, then flutters. You think to yourself: Is this something serious? These heart palpitations could be Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), one of the most common types of arrhythmia, which can be very serious. AFib can increase a person’s risk for stroke and lead to more severe heart problems. At least six million people in the US alone are living with some variation of AFib. While treatments are available, they are not sufficient and alarmingly, controlling symptoms and restoring heart rhythms in some instances come with potentially lethal side effects. Join Dr. Chris Larson from the Sandford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, who works closely with clinical partners at Scripps Clinic, as he shares why he believes that more effective and safer treatments are not just on the horizon, but well within our reach.

Lecturer Bio:
Christopher J. Larson, PhD is the Associate Professor of Development, Aging & Regeneration at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, where his research focuses on understanding the causes of heart failure and atrial fibrillation, and on discovering potential new drugs to treat the large unmet medical need for both diseases. Previously he served as the Associate Global Head of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Drug Discovery for Takeda Pharmaceuticals. His research efforts in several biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies contributed to over a dozen drugs in clinical trials or currently on the market.

Date: February 3, 2020

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Noon Theater Show: Cosmic Voyage

Going to the Ends of the Earth to Glimpse the Beginning of Time

What would it have been like to be an eyewitness to the Big Bang? In 2014, astronomers using the powerful BICEP2 telescope at the South Pole thought they’d glimpsed evidence of the period of cosmic inflation at the beginning of time. But had these scientists been deceived by a galactic mirage? In this popular-level talk, cosmologist Brian Keating tells the inside story of BICEP2’s detection and the ensuing scientific drama.  Keating will follow up with a question and answer period and a signing of his popular science book, Losing the Nobel Prize,  which  was selected as one of the Best Science Books of 2018 by Science Friday, Amazon, Science News, Physics Today, Forbes, Symmetry Magazine.

Lecturer Bio:
Brian G. Keating is Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor of Physics at the Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences in the Department of Physics at University of California, San Diego. Keating's research area is the study of the origin and evolution of the universe. In 2001 Keating conceived the first Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) B-mode observing campaign, called BICEP (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization), located at the South Pole. In 2014 the BICEP2 successor project announced that it had found evidence of B-modes. The BICEP2 experiment team received the 2010 NASA Group Achievement Award. Keating is Co-Principal Investigator of the Simons Array, a Cosmic Microwave Background polarimetry experiment which consists of three POLARBEAR-2 type receivers located at the James Ax Observatory in the Atacama Desert in Chile. These are successor to the original POLARBEAR experiment which measured B-Modes in 2014. In 2016, Keating became Director of the Simons Observatory, Cosmic Microwave Background experiment co-located near the Simons Array and ACT telescopes in northern Chile. In 2001, Brian Keating was selected as a National Science Foundation Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow. In 2005, Keating received an NSF CAREER award for BICEP. In 2006 he was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers by the National Science Foundation. As part of the BICEP2 team, Keating received the 2010 NASA Group Achievement Award[20]. Keating received the Buchalter Cosmology Prize in 2014. Keating is a Fellow of the American Physical Society[22], and an honorary member of the National Society of Black Physicists. 


Date: March 2, 2020

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Noon Theater Show: Journey to Amazing Caves

Neurodegenerative Diseases

Lecturer Bio: Dr. Jerold Chun, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery


Date: April 6, 2020

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Noon Theater Show: Alaska

Sexuality Across the Lifespan

Touch—our earliest means of connecting with another human being—remains a vital force throughout life. Yet, educational resources dedicated to important types of touch—romantic and sexual touch—are rarely focused on or directed toward older individuals or individuals with chronic disability or illness (states of being that become even more common with advancing age). Limited resources, in combination with shame or embarrassment surrounding discussions of sexuality, may prevent individuals from nurturing their sexual health and redefining themselves sexually as they age or face chronic disability or illness. Join us as Dr. Erin N. Castelloe reviews the physical, social, and psychological changes that may impact sexuality across the lifespan. Then, participate in a discussion about the unique impacts of aging and chronic disability or illness on sexuality, including sexual values, desire, attraction, responses, and identity.

Lecturer Bio:
Erin Nissen Castelloe, MD, California-licensed and American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM)-certified physician, independent pharmacovigilance consultant, and comprehensive sexuality educator, divides her professional time between clinical research and teaching. She collaborates with organizations that are developing medications for conditions with few or no treatment options and is currently focused on treatments for Alzheimer disease, achondroplasia, and Prader-Willi syndrome. In addition, she creates and delivers educational programs that empower individuals and communities, promote health and well-being, and nurture respectful communication and social justice. She warmly welcomes opportunities to network and can be reached through her web sites: www.erincastelloe.com and www.castelloe.org.



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.