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Sex, Death and Immortality

For Immediate Release:
July 01, 2008

Media Available
Contact:
Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367
images@exploratorium.edu

Sex, Death and Immortality

Cutting-Edge Biology Under the Microscope
Summer Public Lectures at the Exploratorium
July 12 and August 3 at 1pm in the McBean Theater



Delve into research at the frontiers of biology at the Exploratorium's summer public lectures, Sex, Death and Immortality: Cutting-Edge Biology Under the Microscope on July 12 and August 3, at 1pm. This isn't just dry science. One talk includes rubber pants on frogs and the other, Planaria penises that are sword-like lethal weapons and sex organs all at the same time. (See details below.) Each presentation includes a stimulating interactive talk by a leading researcher presenting stunning live microscope images. Using simple organisms, these researchers look for clues to the common function and chemistry of stem cells and ultimately the keys to human stem cells and a kind of immortality. Lectures are included in the price of admission to the Exploratorium.

On Thursday, July 12, at 1pm, Dr. Thierry Brassac from the Universitié Montpellier, France, presents sex and embryo development in frogs. Dr. Brassac discusses how we've come to know what we know about ourselves from our distant cold-blooded cousins, including putting rubber pants on frogs (!) in order to capture their sperm and thereby explore sperm’s role in fertilization.

On Friday, August 3 at 1pm, Dr. Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado from the University of Utah explores the ultimate stem cell artists, the planarians. These even more distant cousins provide insight into the very beginnings of multi-cellular life and the intersection of death and sex and immortality. How? Planaria are the starting point for understanding stem cells as they keep dividing and going on and on. They are hermaphroditic males with the ability to regenerate. For example, some marine Planaria mate in a mixture of love and war. Their penis is both a weapon -- used to cut up their potential mate -- and a sex organ. They then inject those pieces with their own sex cells to fertilize and create both new organisms as well as their clones, the remains of the battle. The stem cell is the origin of the very first cells on the planet -- a continuous line of life. And Planaria are full of them.

 


Hours of Operation & New Evening Hours
Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm;  every Thursday evening adults only (ages 18 and up) 6pm-10pm.

Admission
$29 for adults, with lower rates for SF Bay Area residents, youth, seniors, students, teachers and the disabled. Tickets available at the door and advance tickets available online at www.exploratorium.edu/visit/tickets.

Getting Here
The Exploratorium is easily accessible by public transit. Convenient parking is available nearby. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit/location-directions

About the Exploratorium
The Exploratorium is the global leader in informal learning, igniting curiosity and inspiring creativity in people of all ages. The world-renowned science museum creates original, interactive exhibits, on display at more than 1,000 science centers, museums and public spaces around the world. Dedicated to education reform in and out of the classroom, the Exploratorium is a premier professional development center for educators and a creator of award-winning educational resources. Since 1969, the Exploratorium has influenced generations of entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, teachers, students, children, museum professionals and everyday doers, reaching nearly 180 million people annually from around the globe. On April 17, 2013, the Exploratorium opened at Pier 15 in the heart of San Francisco's Embarcadero, where it will celebrate a new era of experiences that encourage critical thinking and awaken wonder for generations to come. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit.

Exploratorium
Pier 15
San Francisco
California 94111
(415) 528-4444 telephone
media@exploratorium.edu
www.exploratorium.edu

Contact Us:
Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367