If you asked me to list my favorite things about the Bay Area, somewhere near the top of the list (perhaps in between the fantastic weather and sourdough bread) would be the unusually large amount of geek appreciation and culture that exists here. Gone are the days where “geek” meant sitting in your room, face aglow as coding forums and throwback episodes of Star Trek scroll down your computer screen. No, in the San Francisco Bay, being a geek is something to be proud of!
So here’s an opportunity for all of you science geeks out there to enjoy. It’s at the Lawrence Hall of Science (LHS), an amazing museum nestled within the Berkeley hills that has all kinds of fun and informative things to enjoy (see here and here for our coverage of other events at LHS). When you hear “science museum,” it may invoke painful images of screaming children, organizational destruction, and long lines. This has been an all-too-familiar experience for us adults who have managed to hold on to our love of science and technology through the years, but luckily the LHS has heard our demands for a more adult-friendly experience. I’m talking, of course, about the LHS Geek Out!
Once a month, the Geek Out provides a place where us adults can act like the awestruck children we want to be (but without being judged by the little kiddos themselves). I attended my first Geek Out last month. The theme for the night was “Dark Energy,” a fascinating topic that I’ve had virtually no experience with, so I was excited to learn. The entire museum is open for the night to everybody over 21, so you can play with the exhibits and do what you like in the museum. All the essentials are there, including free and delicious hors d’oeuvres as well as a cash bar!
After some time, a short lecture was given by Dr. Alexie Leauthaud, a physicist at LBNL who does amazing research on uncovering the structural components of our very existence. It was a wonderful talk that spanned the vast distance of the cosmos as well as the infinitesimal world of atoms and their sub-structures. It was also quite understandable for someone who’d never looked into these things before, something that the LHS makes a great effort to ensure.
Following the lecture, we continued sipping our drinks in the facility’s planetarium, being treated to a tour of our galaxy and beyond as the evening came to a close. For a lover of science such as myself, it was an extremely interesting and entertaining night.
This month’s Geek Out is this Wednesday (tomorrow!) from 7-10pm. It’s going to feature a lecture by Dr. Roger Falcone on natural occurrences that happen “Light Fast.” It promises to be another engaging, awe- inspiring, and fun evening. I know I’ll be there, and I hope to see you too!
Check out the LHS Geek Out website for more information.