ask a scientist header
Ask a Scientist is a casual, educational, entertaining lecture series that takes place at cafes and other informal venues around San Francisco. Founded in 2003, Ask a Scientist was a pioneer in the now-familiar world of science night life, and holds the title of the oldest "science cafe" in the western U.S. Our talks feature an expert speaker on a scientific topic, a short presentation, and the opportunity to ask all those burning questions that have been keeping you up at night. No tests, grades, or pressure — just food, drinks, socializing, and conversation about the universe’s most fascinating mysteries!

UPCOMING EVENTS:

A Planet for Goldilocks
Friday, September 5, 2014 | 7:00 pm

“Not too hot, not too cold" reads the prescription for a world that's just right for life as we know it. Finding evidence of life beyond Earth is one of the primary goals of science agencies in the United States and abroad. The goal looms closer as a result of discoveries made by NASA's Kepler Mission. Launched in March 2009, Kepler is exploring the diversity of planets and planetary systems orbiting other stars in the galaxy. Finding inhabited environments is a path of exploration that stretches decades into the future. It begins by determining if so-called Goldilocks planets abound. Dr. Natalie Batalha will describe the latest discoveries of NASA’s Kepler Mission and the possibilities for finding inhabited environments in the not-so-distant future. This event is presented in partnership with Chabot Space & Science Center and Wonderfest, the Bay Area Beacon of Science.

7:00 pm: Eat, drink, mingle (complimentary cheese & crackers; wine & beer available for purchase)
8:00 pm: Presentation
9:00 pm: Stargazing and telescope viewing at Chabot Observatory Deck

Speaker: Natalie Batalha, Astrophysicist at NASA Ames Research Center and the Kepler Mission Scientist

Location: Chabot Space & Science Center, Tien Megadome Theater. 10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland.

Cost: $15 for presentation only; $25 for presentation PLUS general musem admission. Buy tickets here.

Eats: Enjoy cheese & crackers (compliments of Chabot) and beer & wine (available for purchase) before the presentation, starting at 7pm.

The Physics of Baseball
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 | 7:00 pm

Spring is no longer in the air, and the grass is worn down. But excitement is building as the boys of summer become the play-off boys of October with the end of the Major League Baseball season. Please join two veteran physics teachers as they explain — and demonstrate — the physical nuances of the game: how a curve ball curves, why a 550-foot homer is so unlikely, how the half-millisecond collision of ball-on-bat is so beautifully complex. From aerodynamics to energy conservation, and from Magnus force to center of percussion, you be the umpire as simple physics illuminates our national pastime. This event is presented in partnership with Wonderfest, the Bay Area Beacon of Science.

Speakers: Tucker Hiatt, long-time physics teacher, Stanford Visiting Scholar (emeritus!), and Wonderfest Founding Director.; and Marc "Zeke" Kossover, long time physics teacher, Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow to the National Science Foundation and Teacher in Residence and Co-Director of the Leadership Program at the Exploratorium.

Location: SoMa StrEat Food Park, 428 11th Street, San Francisco. (This awesome venue has a huge indoor seating area.)

Eats: Bring your appetites! SoMa StrEat Food Park is San Francisco’s first permanent food truck pod. They host up to ten gourmet food trucks at a time, along with the city’s only beer and wine truck.

Cost: FREE. Not required, but registration will help us tally a headcount.

Science Trivia Contest!
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 | 7:00 pm

Ready to put your science smarts to the test? Ask a Scientist will be celebrating the Bay Area Science Festival the best way we know how — with a boisterous science trivia contest hosted by Robin Marks of Discovery Street Tours. (It’s just like a pub trivia night, but without all those other boring categories.) Even if you don’t know your cortex from a coprolite, come enjoy a night of fascinating science trivia and general revelry. You can bring your own team of ringers with you, assemble a team with others on the spot, or just come to cheer, hang out, and learn stuff. The winning team will receive an awesome prize and a really cool feeling of superiority that should last at least several days. Six people max per team. Bring your own writing utensils.

Trivia Mistress: Robin Marks of Discovery Street Tours

Location: SoMa StrEat Food Park, 428 11th Street, San Francisco. (This awesome venue has a huge indoor seating area.)

Eats: Bring your appetites! SoMa StrEat Food Park is San Francisco’s first permanent food truck pod. They host up to ten gourmet food trucks at a time, along with the city’s only beer and wine truck.

Cost: FREE

 

 

return to top

To join the Ask a Scientist mailing list, drop us a note.

Watch some videos!

The Neuroscience of Magic. November 19, 2013.
video icon Watch this talk

New Science Smorgasbord: Viruses, Stars, Brains, & Shapes. December 11, 2013.
video icon Watch this talk

amateur astronomers share their telescopes at ask a scientist

Amateur astronomers share their scopes after Jennifer Heldman's talk about the moon. More photos.

Ask a Scientist
has been making news

Read about Ask a Scientist in Chemical Heritage Newsmagazine. Spring 2009.

best of the bayAsk a Scientist is the SF Bay Guardian's "Best Place to Get an Expert Opinion." (PDF)

And 7x7 Magazine calls us San Francisco's "Best Way to Get Smart Quick."

Visit our press page for more.

Want to get freaked out? Click here.