Wonderfest (Musk vs. Zuck), Cosmic Gold: Neutron Star Mergers, Gravitational Waves, and the Origin of the Heavy Elements

Wonderfest (Musk vs. Zuck)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has surpassed humans at Jeopardy and Go, and driverless cars are widely believed to be around the corner. News articles claim we’re on the brink of a "Singularity" where robots will steal 50% of our jobs. Are AI and Robots an existential threat to humans as Elon Musk warns? Or is Mark Zuckerberg right in stating that humans have many good years ahead?

Drawing on his experience as a robotics and AI research expert, UC Berkeley's Ken Goldberg will explore the AI/Robotics issues in three parts: 1) What Isn’t New, 2) What Is New, and 3) How We Can Prepare. Ultimately, Goldberg will argue that new innovations tend to empower humans, not replace them, revealing the potential for new trends such as "Cloud Robotics" and "Multiplicity."


Wonderfest’s Mission is to inspire and nurture a deep sense of wonder about the world. Wonderfest programs stimulate curiosity, promote careful reasoning, challenge unexamined beliefs, and encourage life-long learning. Wonderfest achieves these ends through public science gatherings in the San Francisco Bay Area and through online science discourse & video that reach around the world.

Science for whom?

The scientific endeavor has universal appeal. Every inquisitive person, regardless of culture or gender or income, is improved by the intellectual challenge and reward that science offers. Wonderfest presentations reach people of diverse ages, too; they appeal to the student in all of us, no matter how old. After all, if you’re through wondering, … you’re through! Wonderfest events are suitable for students in high school, in college, in the school of hard knocks, and in retirement communities.


…to celebrate the scientific spirit! The rational investigation of our world is the grandest human adventure, with the most significant long-term implications imaginable. Nevertheless, our science is fragile. It’s a small flame nourished in each of us by skepticism, by humility, and, above all, by wonder.

Cosmic Gold: Neutron Star Mergers, Gravitational Waves, and the Origin of the Heavy Elements

Scientists have recently developed a new way to “see” the universe: using gravitational waves predicted by Einstein nearly a century ago. These waves can teach us about some of the most exotic objects known, including black holes and neutron stars. Remarkably, they have also helped solve a longstanding puzzle about where in the universe some of the elements we know and love here on Earth are produced, including gold, platinum, uranium, and even Californium! UC Berkeley astronomer Eliot Quataert will describe the exciting and remarkable new results coming out of our first steps into the gravitational wave era.



Who’s Going

Upcoming Events
HopMonk Tavern - Novato