SMCAS News Events of Week of 02/19/2024 and Beyond

Tuesday, 02/20/24  3:30 PM

Hewlett Teaching Center
370 Jane Stanford Way, Room 201
Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305

Chaotic quantum dynamics and the quantum geometry of spacetime

Research in string theory has uncovered deep connections between strongly coupled quantum systems with chaotic dynamics and the quantum physics of black hole spacetimes. The realization of these ideas for cosmological spacetimes such as de Sitter space is much less well understood. After highlighting some of the challenges for finding a quantum mechanical description of an accelerating universe, we describe some recent progress toward this goal in the form of a close link between the Sachdev-Ye-Kitaev model and quantum de Sitter spacetime in low dimensions.

Speaker: Herman Verlinde, Princeton University.



Tuesday, 02/20/24  3:30 PM


Astronomy on Tap Tucson #95:

Watch on YouTube:

A Trial by Sun’s Fire: Designing a Telescope to Study the Solar Atmosphere with India’s First Solar Space Observatory
Speaker: Aafaque Khan

Fireworks in the Sky: a tale of one of the most energetic explosions in our universe
Speaker: Manisha Shrestha

On tap this month, we have Steward Observatory graduate student talking about India’s first solar space observatory, and Steward Observatory postdoc Manisha Shrestha teaching us about the most energetic explosions in the universe! And you won’t want to miss the latest Astronomy in the News with Steward postdocs Jackie Champagne and Danny Krolikowski!


Cost:  Free


Wednesday, 02/21/24  5:30 PM

Attend in person or online. Register at weblink.

Commonwealth Club
110 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA 94105

From Cancer to UAP – A Common Investigatory Framework to Study the Knowable

Join us in person for a fascinating conversation with Garry Nolan, a cancer researcher at Stanford School of Medicine, whose scientific research interests extend to Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP).

The study of the unknown starts with an observation of nature that begs explanation. Science as a template for exploring nature, or phenomenon, proceeds according to rules laid out over at least two millennia in Western civilization alone. Framed against a universe now thought to be nearly 15 billion years old, what have we yet to learn, and what might others have learned separately from humanity?

Nolan will talk about one path through science that started with traditional investigations of how questions lead to human benefit in his cancer and immunology work over the last few decades, and will use that as a template to focus on the reasons why we should be interested in UAP and the potential benefits even asking those questions might provide to human progress, with an emphasis on exploitation of the potential science of alleged UAP materials and physics.

Speaker: Garry Nolan, Stanford School of Medicine; George Hammond, Author, Moderator


Fungi hold immense promise as cell factories for a sustainable future. Their remarkable versatility, coupled with their ability to produce a vast array of valuable bioproducts, makes them indispensable allies in our efforts to address global challenges and create a more sustainable processes. By harnessing the power of these microbial marvels, we can pave the way for a future where biotechnology plays a pivotal role in addressing the pressing needs of humanity while safeguarding the delicate balance of our planet and our exploration of outerspace locations.

At the same time, fungi can also be critical since they can be responsible for the production of unwanted compounds (e.g., mycotoxins) and infect many different organisms, posing as a threat to our own health (as highlighted by the fungal priority pathogens list released by the World Health Organization), and therefore our survival outside our planet, especially in long term space missions.

For all of these reasons astromycology needs to better research the impact of fungi in space exploration, to develop new processes and technologies that can be safely used during space missions (and also transferred to our planet and daily lives), in order to better plan and implement safer and more sustainable space missions.

Speaker: Marta Filipa Simões, Macau University of Science and Technology

Attend the lecture here.


Cost:  Free


Thursday, 02/29/24  3:30 PM


Physics North
UC Berkeley
Room 1
Berkeley, CA 94720

UC Berkeley Astronomy Colloquium


Speaker: Natalie Batalha, UC Santa Cruz


Cost:  Free


Friday, 03/01/24
07:00 PM – 08:30 PM


Sonoma State University Public Astronomy
1801 East Cotati Ave
Rohnert Park, CA 94928

Public Astronomy Viewing Nights

Sonoma State University hosts astronomical viewing nights open to the public.  Events are weather dependent.  Check the weblink for cancelations prior to attending.


Cost:  Free


Friday, 03/01/24 8:00 PM

In-person and recorded

San Mateo Co.Astronomical Society

Room: Planetarium

College of San Mateo Bldg 36
1700 W Hillsdale Rd
San Mateo, CA 94402

Experiencing the Great North American Eclipse!
Speaker: Rob Hawley


Cost:  Free


Friday, 03/01/24  7PM

Telescope Makers Workshop
Chabot Space and Science Center
10000 Skyline Boulevard
Oakland, CA 94619-245

The Chabot Telescope Maker’s workshop reopens! Chabot’s TMW is one of only a handful of regularly scheduled telescope making workshops in the U.S., and probably the world; it meets every Friday evening throughout the year, except Memorial Day weekend. It has been in operation since December of 1930, founded by Franklin B. Wright, and is currently run by Eastbay Astronomical Society member Rich Ozer, with help from other EAS members, Dave Barosso, Barry Leska, and others. The price of admission is FREE. All you have to do is show

up, buy a mirror blank and a “tool” (typically around $100 – $200 depending on the size of the mirror) and start “pushin’ glass!” We supply you with instruction, the various grits you’ll need to first grind, and then polish and figure your mirror, and all the testing equipment needed. With a small bit of luck, you could wind up with a telescope that costs 1/3 or 1/4 the cost of a store-bought telescope, that is yet optically superior! It does take time – depending on how much time you put in on it, and other factors, it could take a few months.. But, it’s a fun project, great for kids, and at the end you get a great telescope!

Enter from the main loading dock behind the main building.

Please be prepared with proof of vaccination and a mask. These are
Chabot Rules, which we always must adhere to.

If you have a project, bring it with you so we can assess next steps.
You can also bring any other equipment or literature you may have
questions about.

For more information call or email Richard Ozer at richozer1@… or phone (510) 406-1914.


Friday, 03/01/2024 9PM-11PM for night observing and Saturday 03/02/2024
10AM-12 Noon for solar observing

Foothill Observatory is open again!
12345 El Monte Road
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022

Foothill Observatory now Open EVERY clear Friday night and Saturday morning

The Foothill College Astronomy Department and Peninsula Astronomical Society (PAS) have reopened public viewing programs at Foothill College Observatory on:

·       Every clear Friday night from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. for star gazing

·       Every clear Saturday morning from 10 a.m. to noon for solar viewing

Since we are still dealing with COVID, we are adopting the following guidelines to enable safe operation of the Observatory for both our public visitors and our PAS operators.  We ask that visitors please agree to complying with these guidelines before visiting the Observatory, and to direct any questions to info@….

1.    Full vaccination against COVID-19 is required to visit the Foothill College campus — This is a College requirement detailed on the Foothill College COVID-19 Behavioral Expectations page. So bring your vaccination certificate if possible.

2.    Mask usage is required anytime visiting the Foothill College campus — This includes the Observatory, per the same college policy linked above in item 1. 

3.    The number of visitors allowed inside the Observatory is reduced — To avoid overcrowding within the limited space, please wait outside the observatory until a PAS telescope operator lets you and your group inside. Once your group is done viewing through the telescope, you will exit the Observatory so that a new group may enter. 




Friday,  03/01/2024 and Saturday 03/02/2024
07:30 PM – 10:00 PM–Free telescope viewings are back!

Chabot Space and Science Center
10000 Skyline Blvd
Oakland, CA 94619

Free Telescope Viewings

Join Chabot astronomers on the Observatory Deck for a free telescope viewing! Weather permitting, this is a chance to explore stars, planets and more through Chabot’s historic telescopes. Chabot’s three large historic telescopes offer a unique way to experience the awe and wonder of the Universe. Our observatory deck offers breathtaking views 1,500 feet above the Bay. Three observatory domes house the Center’s 8-inch (Leah, 1883) and 20-inch (Rachel, 1916) refracting telescopes, along with a 36-inch reflecting telescope (Nellie, 2003).

Are the skies clear for viewing tonight? Viewing can be impacted by rain, clouds, humidity and other weather conditions. Conditions can be unique to Chabot because of its unique location in Joaquin Miller Park. Before your visit, check out the Weather Station to see the current conditions at Chabot.



Saturday, 03/02/24
12:00 PM – 03:00 PM


Nike Missle Site
Field Rd
Mill Valley, CA 94941

Nike Missile Site Veteran Open House

Veterans of the Nike program come to the site to share their stories with visitors and give guided tours of SF88 between the hours of 12pm – 3pm 

The SF-88 Nike Missile Site is the most fully restored Nike missile site in the country. During the tense years of the Cold War, from 1953 to 1979, the United States Army built and operated close to 300 Nike missile sites in the United States. These sites were designed to be the last line of defense against H-Bomb carrying Soviet bombers that had eluded the Air Force’s interceptor jet aircrafts. SF-88 in the Marin Headlands was one such site. Today, Golden Gate National Recreation Area works together with a dedicated group of volunteers to preserve the site as it was during operations to remind visitors of the physical and psychological effects of the Cold War on the American landscape.


Cost:  Free


Saturday, March 02, 2024
Sunset: 6:04 PM

San Mateo Co. Astronomical Society
Crestview Park
1000 Crestview Drive 
San Carlos, CA

Public Star Parties at Crestview Park in San Carlos

SMCAS and the City of San Carlos Parks Department host a public star party at Crestview Park in San Carlos twice a month when there is a new moon.  Members set up telescopes and let the public view and share their knowledge of the night sky all for Free.  All ages are welcome.  If you have kids interested in space or science, bring them here for a real time view of planets, nebula, star clusters, and galaxies.

If you are a Non-member and own a telescope, bring it to share!  Experts are available if you need assistance or have questions about buying a telescope.

Telescope setup begins at sunset and observing starts one hour after sunset.  In the event of inclement weather (rain, clouds, fog, or high winds) the star party will be cancelled.  Because each astronomer makes his or her own decision about bringing their telescope, there is no official cancellation notice. 

Crestview Park is located at 1000 Crestview Drive in San Carlos


Sunday, 03/03/24
01:30 PM – 03:30 PM


San Jose Astronomical Association
Houge Park
3972 Twilight Drive
San Jose, CA 95124

Solar Observing

Cost:  Free


Monday, 03/04/24
03:30 PM – 04:30 PM

This event was originally scheduled on February 5, 2024

Attend in person or online via Zoom.

Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC) Colloquium Series
2575 Sand Hill Rd, Building 51
Kavli Auditorium
Menlo Park, CA 94025


Controlled Nuclear Fusion: Scientific Achievement or Power to the Grid?

Cost:  Free


Monday, 03/04/24  4:00 PM


Sonoma State University – What Physicists Do
1801 E. Cotati Ave.
Darwin Hall, Room 103
Rohnert Park, CA 94928

A Magic Show of the Neutrinos

Dr. Kam-Biu Luk will present an exploration of an intriguing phenomenon called neutrino oscillation.

Speaker: Kam-Biu Luk, UC Berkeley


Cost:  Free


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