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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!


Ask a Scientist's PI DAY Puzzle Party
Saturday, March 14th, 2015 | 7pm

Trying to decide how you're going to celebrate Pi Day (3.14) this year? Avoid the congested airports and typical math holiday madness, and join us instead for Ask a Scientist's Pi Day Puzzle Party — a boisterous math and logic puzzle competition, hosted by the inimitable Wes Carroll. You can compete solo or on a team of up to 6 people. Come with your own crew, or form a team on the spot with other partnerless smarties. Bring your own pencils, scratch paper, and basic non-scientific calculators. The winning team receives a round of applause and a boundless feeling of pride! Plus, a new twist: the members of this year's winning team will be promoted from Competitors to Scouts — helping us search for and test the best possible puzzles for Pi Day 2016!

Puzzle Master: Wes Carroll of BodSAT SAT Prep and Do The Math Private Tutoring Services

Location: SoMa StrEat Food Park, 428 11th Street, San Francisco. NOTE: Due to St. Patrick's Day revelry, this event will be held in the bus at the back of the park instead of the main barn.

Eats: Bring your appetites! SoMa StrEat Food Park hosts up to ten gourmet food trucks at a time, along with the city’s only beer and wine truck.

Cost: Free.

Love in the Time of Facebook
Wednesday, March 18, 2015 | 7pm

Facebook is a great way to share news, keep in touch with friends, and make fun of old photos. It’s also a gold mine of information about human relationships. Data scientists have studied the communications of people who change their Facebook relationship status from “Single” to “In a relationship.” We now know how their timeline posts change, and how their use of positive wording (“love,” “nice,” “happy,” etc.) evolve. Aggregate, anonymized Facebook data tells us a lot about the formation of love, its duration, its stages, and the role of other factors like religion and age. Join Facebook scientist Dr. Carlos Diuk as he mines the data to explore love and relationships in the modern era. This event is presented in partnership with Patreon and Wonderfest, the Bay Area Beacon of Science.

Speaker: Dr. Carlos Diuk, Facebook Data Scientist

Location: Patreon Headquarters, 230 9th Street, San Francisco

Eats: Complimentary snacks and drinks provided by Patreon.

Cost: $5. Purchase tickets here.

Our Future with Bees
Monday, April 6, 2015 | 7pm

The world’s bees can improve economic and ecological sustainability, if only we let them. We know the vital importance of bees, yet we also know that they are dying off. What does the future human condition look like in a world that incorporates bees into our architecture, healthcare, and everyday lives? Join Noah Wilson-Rich for a dynamic discussion about bees and how they fit into our future. This event is presented in partnership with Wonderfest, the Bay Area Beacon of Science.

Speaker: Noah Wilson-Rich, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer at The Best Bees Company

Location: PianoFight, 144 Taylor Street, San Francisco

Eats: Come early! PianoFight serves "classic California Americana and a twist on nostalgic concessions." Plus beer and wine.

Cost: FREE. Please register.

The Sciences in Ancient Greece and Rome: How Far Did They Get?
Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Dr. Richard Carrier — world-renowned author and speaker — is an expert in ancient science. Since earning his PhD at Columbia University, he has written numerous books on modern philosophy and ancient history. In this lively, illustrated talk, Dr. Carrier will compare modern science (from the Scientific Revolution to today) with science in the ancient Greco-Roman world, where science as we know it began. We will understand what the Greeks and Romans achieved — and how close they got to their own scientific revolution. This event is presented in partnership with Chabot Space & Science Center and Wonderfest, the Bay Area Beacon of Science.

7:00 pm: Wine & Light Food Reception
8:00 pm: Presentation

Speaker: Dr. Richard Carrier, historian and author

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: Beer and wine will be available for purchase before the presentation, starting at 7pm.








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Watch some videos!

The Neuroscience of Magic. November 19, 2013.
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New Science Smorgasbord: Viruses, Stars, Brains, & Shapes. December 11, 2013.
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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.

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