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Adults Only (18+)
Note: The Tactile Dome and some programs have limited capacity and are available to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis.
How can we know the truth? Do facts matter? What distinguishes justified belief from opinion, and why do our personal biases keep us from seeing the whole picture? Join us to learn more about the anchors of scrupulous science and diligent data, how they can be exploited, and tools to find the facts for yourself.
Lose yourself in thought-provoking programs and mind-bending experiences at adults-only After Dark Thursdays—including more than 650 interactive exhibits exploring perception, art, and science. Grab some friends, stash your stuff in our musical lockers, get a drink at one of our pop-up bars or food at Seaglass Restaurant, and start exploring. You may find that things look different after dark.
Why Do People Reject Good Science?
With Eugenie Scott
7:30 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum
Scientists often find themselves puzzled when members of the public reject what they consider to be well-founded science data, concepts, and theory. Join Eugenie Scott for a discussion of the research behind what prompts people to remain unconvinced by scientific facts, including how personal ideology affects our scientific assessments and speculation on why proven concepts like climate change and evolution have become the targets of controversies.
Disinformation: The Threat We Are Facing is Bigger Than Just "Fake News”
With Rachel Thomas
8:30 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum
In the past few years there have been remarkable leaps in machine learning, including models that generate text, videos, and audio. While there is vast potential for these tools to have transformative impacts in a number of fields, their power to proliferate fraudulent material is immense. Get an overview from Rachel Thomas, Director of the Center for Applied Data Ethics at USF, on ways in which emerging AI tools are being used to create and disseminate disinformation, the increasing risks to society, and how we can address these risks.
Personal Truth (2017)
With Charlie Lyne
6:00–10:00 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1, Microcinema
Inspired by "pizzagate," this short film essay considers the power of fake news and our capacity to let healthy skepticism slip into conspiratorial conviction. Filmmaker Charlie Lyne approaches the idea from a place of empathy, framing his probing through the lens of his own bygone conspiratorial beliefs. Constructed in a quick-paced and enthralling style that blends crime television tropes and personal diary, Lyne poses urgent questions. At what point does healthy skepticism become firm conviction? How easy is it to believe in a conspiracy theory? And once you do, is there any way to shake off that belief?
With Tyler Vigen
6:00–9:00 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1 screen
Correlation does not equate causation—and Tyler Vigen’s book-turned-website Spurious Correlations examines this golden rule to hilarious effect. Vigen designed software that scours large data sets to uncover unlikely statistical correlations. He then creates graphs of the most bizarre, confounding, and comedic. Leave your mathematical sense behind and enjoy a best-of-show of selections from his project that will, at the very least, leave you saying, “Wait, what?”
Prove Your Paranormal Skills
With Bay Area Skeptics, East Bay Skeptics Society, and San Francisco Independent Investigations Group
6:30–9:30 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1
Do you think you have a paranormal power? Join the Bay Area Skeptics, East Bay Skeptics Society, and San Francisco Independent Investigations Group as they pit the paranormal against scientific rigor with a selection of entertaining exercises. From debunking horoscopes to moving objects with your mind, these activities will showcase how a little bit of science and a little bit of statistics can unmask the supernatural.
6:00–9:45 unless noted
Various locations throughout the museum
Ticketing at 6:00 p.m., first come, first served
Osher Gallery 1
Draw hypnotically flowing patterns with a swinging table, and watch friction cause the patterns to slowly shrink along a spiral path. Pick up a ticket to reserve your spot in line for this popular activity.
Bechtel Gallery 3
Tune in to surrounding sounds by experimenting with strings and vibrations, and use electromagnets to build a basic speaker. Learn how to listen with your bones, and explore the workings of the inner ear.
Van de Graaff Generator
With the Explainers
Bechtel Gallery 3
Get ready to have your hair stand on end (literally). Experience our electrostatic generator firsthand—with high-voltage direct-current electricity turned down to low current levels, our Van de Graaff generator both will, and won’t, shock you. Please keep your hands on the sphere until our Explainers tell you to let go!
Cow Eye or Flower Dissection (alternating)
Do cows see color? How does a lens work? Examine the intricate structure of a cow eye to learn about similar structures in our own eyes, as well as some key differences.
Stigma, stamen, pistil, anther, style: Uncover the beautiful architecture of flower anatomy, and gather some surprising strategies that plants use to reproduce.
Osher Gallery 1
Everything is not as it seems—at first. Pick a card, any card, and watch the Explainers reveal some surprising aspects of human perception.