Exhibits & Programs

Lectures from Pacific Science Center

Science In The City Lecture Series

Science in the City Lectures
Science is everywhere in Seattle, there’s no question about that. Keep up with the latest scientific trends, topics and research happening literally in our backyard at Pacific Science Center’s new lecture series, Science in the City Lecture.

Each month, join Pacific Science Center for a discussion on current science topics and research from leading, local organizations that dives into topics that affect our community. At the Science in the City Lectures, seize the opportunity to join lively conversation with scientists and researchers in Pacific Science Center’s Communication Fellowship Program. Each lecture will include a short presentation and moderated question and answer. Periodically, lectures will include special presentations of IMAX documentaries and hands-on activities; be sure to check back to see for upcoming topics.


Wednesday, August 31
7:30 p.m. (Door open at 7:15 p.m.) | Price: $5 (Free for Members)
Pacific Science Center’s PACCAR Theater
“Opportunities and Obstacles for Life on Proxima Centauri B”
Rory Barnes, Professor of Astronomy and Astrobiology at University of Washington
The discovery of Proxima Centauri b is the biggest exoplanet discovery since the discovery of exoplanets. The planet is not much bigger than Earth and resides in the “habitable zone” of the Sun’s nearest stellar neighbor. This planet may represent humanity’s best chance to search for life among the stars. But is planet b habitable? Is it inhabited? These questions are impossible to answer at this time because we know so little about the planet. However, we can extrapolate from the worlds of our Solar System, as well as employ theoretical models of galactic, stellar, and planetary evolution, to piece together realistic scenarios for Proxima Centauri b’s history. The possibilities are varied and depend on phenomena usually studied by scientists in fields that are considered distinct, but an integrated perspective — an astrobiological perspective – can provide a realistic assessment of the possibility that life could have arisen and survived on Proxima Centauri b. I will describe how the planet was discovered and how astronomers and astrobiologists are working to determine if our closest exoplanet can support life. Whether habitable or not, Proxima Centauri b offers a new glimpse into how planets and life fit into our universe.


Wednesday, September 28
7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:40 p.m.) | Price: $12 ($8 for Members)
Pacific Science Center’s PACCAR Theater
“Zika: A Real Outbreak” (Includes a screening of the 1995 movie Outbreak with Dustin Hoffman.)
Dr. Kate Williams, Postdoctoral Researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Pacific Science Center Science Communications Fellow
Dr. Molly Ohainle, Staff Scientist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Pacific Science Center Science Communications Fellow


Tuesday, October 11
7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:40 p.m.) | Price: $5 (Free for Members)
Pacific Science Center’s PACCAR Theater
“Global Warming and the Arctic Ocean”
Dr. Mike Steele, Senior Principal Oceanographer, Polar Science Center, Applied Physics Laboratory at University of Washington
Some of the most extreme climate changes on the planet are happening at the top of the globe. The area covered by the floating sea ice pack is shrinking, and individual floes are on average much thinner than they used to be. These changes are affecting other parts of the climate system. For example, in summer much more ocean area is now exposed to direct sunlight, leading to warming and changes in marine ecosystems. It is perhaps disturbing to contemplate the causes of these changes and how they might affect the future of the Arctic Seas, but at the same time it’s honestly an exciting time to study this area. In this talk, we’ll show simple graphs illustrating these changes, and also some cool field pix from The Only Ocean You Can Walk On (for now).


Wednesday, October 26
7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:40 p.m.) | Price: $5 (Free for Members)
Pacific Science Center’s PACCAR Theater
“The Neuroscience of Zombies”
Kaitlyn Casimo,
Graduate Program in Neuroscience at University of Washington
Zombies are people too…or they were, at least. Whether they shamble, sprint, or just decompose, zombies are everywhere, and they’re out to eat human flesh. What is it about the undead plague that causes the distinctive and irreversible transformation from friendly neighbor to mindless cannibal? Come learn about neuroanatomy and what these parts of your brain normally do, how common symptoms of zombie infection originate in brain damage to specific areas, and the real-life science of neural regeneration and degenerative disease.