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October 24, 2006

Wonderfest science celebration to be held at Stanford, UC-Berkeley Nov. 4 and 5

By Clara Moskowitz

Do we understand love? Is the world made of strings? Can we stop the human aging process? These questions and many more will be presented at Wonderfest, an annual two-day science festival returning the weekend of Nov. 4-5 to the campuses of Stanford University and the University of California-Berkeley. Admission is free and open to the public.

Stanford will host Wonderfest on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 1 to 10 p.m. at the Hewlett Teaching Center. The festival moves to UC-Berkeley's Andersen Auditorium on Sunday, Nov. 5, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Dedicated to the memory of the late astronomer and author Carl Sagan, Wonderfest aims to "challenge unexamined beliefs, stimulate curiosity, promote careful reasoning and encourage life-long learning," according to the festival website. Scheduled events include debates between leading scientists about controversial scientific issues and the WonderCup science duel between high school students and professors, as well as science-themed art and comedy by the Stanford Improvisers. On Saturday, the 2006 Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization will be awarded to Stanford's Paul Berg, the Robert W. and Vivian K. Cahill Professor in Cancer Research, Emeritus.

Wonderfest is co-sponsored by the Branson School, the Stanford Department of Chemistry, the UC-Berkeley Department of Physics and the Planetary Society. For more information and directions, visit Following is the schedule of events:

Nov. 4, Hewlett Teaching Center, Stanford
  • 1 p.m. Is Biodiversity Important, and Is It Radically Changing? Brent Mishler and Kevin Padian, UC-Berkeley
  • 2:30 p.m. The SImps Do Science—comedy from the Stanford Improvisers
  • 3 p.m. Can We Arrest Human Aging? Judith Campisi, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Thomas Rando, Stanford Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences
  • 4:30 p.m. Science in Art—protein sculptures of Julian Voss-Andreae
  • 5 p.m. BASIC WonderCup Challenge Championship
  • 8 p.m. Is the World Made of Strings? Raphael Bousso, UC-Berkeley; Leonard Susskind, Stanford Department of Physics
  • Presentation of Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization to Paul Berg
  • Mind Duel: Scientists vs. WonderCup Student Champions
  • Nov. 5, Andersen Auditorium, UC-Berkeley
  • 10 a.m. Do We Understand Love? Thomas Lewis and David Watts, University of California-San Francisco
  • 11:30 a.m. Science in Art—quantum sculptures of Julian Voss-Andreae
  • 1:30 p.m. Was the Origin of Life Inevitable? David Deamer, UC-Santa Cruz; Andrew Pohorille, NASA-Ames Research Center
  • 3 p.m. The SImps Do Science Anew—comedy from the Stanford Improvisers
  • 3:30 p.m. Can We Uncover the True Nature of Black Holes? Eliot Quataert, UC-Berkeley; Eva Silverstein, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center
  • Clara Moskowitz is a science-writing intern at the Stanford News Service.



    Mark Shwartz, News Service: (650) 723-9296,


    Richard Zare, Department of Chemistry: (650) 723-3062,

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