About this project
Big Picture Science is a weekly science radio show produced at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. Each week, we take on big questions in science by interviewing leading researchers and weaving together their stories of discovery in a clever and off-kilter narrative style.
On Saturday, October 27, 2012, we'll be participating in the Bay Area Science Festival by taking our show to the stage for a live investigation of doomsday. End of the world predictions are as old as civilization, and while some have no basis in reality, others are actually scientifically credible. Some people believe that the world will end this December, and credit the ancient Mayan civilization for doing the math to reach that conclusion. But is there any truth to the claim? Others believe that aliens are among us, preparing for a hostile takeover of our planet. But some cosmic threats from space are plausible. Could a giant rock from space strike the earth, and, if big enough, sterilize the planet? We'll bring a variety of top scientists from a number of fields on stage to help separate the fact from the fiction when it comes to doomsday prediction.
Big Picture Science runs high on ideas, but a live show is a financial challenge, and that's where you come in. We'll need your support to help pay for the theater, staff, and equipment, as well as transportation for our guests. As thanks, we offer a variety of rewards, including the brand new Big Picture Science t-shirt with our logo on the left chest, and Paul Duffield's amazing depiction of the Big Picture Science staff as a space age radio production team.
Of course, anyone can attend the show itself, since it's free! (Please register if you plan to attend)
If you can't attend the show, don't worry. We'll put together audio versions for our regular radio show and podcast which will be available before December 21st, because, well, you never know...
The SETI Institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Your donation is tax deductible.
The booking of guests has commenced! Please welcome the following sooth- and/or nay- sayers who'll be joining us on stage on October 27th:
Andrew Fraknoi is the Chair of the Astronomy Program at Foothill College in Los Altos, California and Vice-chair of the Board of Trustees of the SETI Institute. In 2007, he was named Professor of the Year for the state of California and for several decades, he has been active in helping teachers and the public deal with such astronomical pseudo-sciences as astrology, UFO’s, faces on other worlds, and, now, the so-called “Doomsday 2012.”
Ken Caldeira is a climate scientist working for the Carnegie Institution Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University. He investigates issues related to climate, carbon, and energy systems. His primary tools are climate and the carbon cycle models, although he does field work related to ocean acidification.
Guy P. Harrison is an award-winning writer focused on promoting science and skepticism. His latest book, 50 Popular Beliefs that People Think are True, is a skeptical grand tour of extraordinary claims such as ESP, ghosts, gods, psychics, astrology, UFOs, doomsday prophecies, Roswell, faith healing, Bigfoot, homeopathic medicine, and many more.
**Now With Even More Guests!**
Luke Muehlhauser is Executive Director of the Singularity Institute. He has published dozens of articles on technological forecasting, intelligence explosion theory, and the cognitive science of rationality, including a Singularity FAQ and Facing The Singularity. In addition to running the Singularity Institute, he is currently developing several research papers, including a survey of proposals for dealing with superhuman AI, and a survey of recent progress in artificial intelligence.
Bradley Voytek, PhD is a NIH-funded neuroscience researcher making use of big data, brain-computer interfacing, and machine learning to figure out cognition. A post-doctoral fellow in the lab of UCSF neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley, Brad is an avid science teacher and outreach advocate, and has spoken at events ranging from elementary schools to TEDxBerkeley, @GoogleTalks, and SciFoo. His research and science writing has been featured in The Washington Post, Wired, Forbes, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Guardian, The Atlantic, and Scientific American. He runs the blog Oscillatory Thoughts, tweets at @bradleyvoytek, and co-created brainSCANr.com with his wife Jessica Bolger Voytek.
Dr. Kirsten Gilardi is co-director of Gorilla Doctors at the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center and works with the PREDICT wildlife disease surveillance project. PREDICT, a project of USAID's Emerging Pandemic Threats Program, is building a global early warning system to detect and reduce the impacts of emerging diseases that move between wildlife and people.
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