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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.
Lose yourself in over 650 interactive exhibits exploring perception, art, and science at our adults-only After Dark. Grab your friends and a drink and get immersed in mind-bending experiences and unique, thought-provoking programs.
What’s funny? It depends on your point of view -- whether it’s the randomness of riding the bus, humor in relationships, teaching AI to understand human emotion, or the funny side of astrophysics. Get all of this at After Dark: Humor Me, and discover Pairings: Bananas to learn the latest on efforts to save one of the world’s most popular fruits.
Muni Diaries Express
Hosted by the Muni Diaries and San Francisco Diaries Podcast Producers
Dhaya Lakshminarayanan and Wonder Dave
7:00 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum
Muni: it’s transportation and a giant social experiment, all mashed together. Anything can happen on Muni, and Muni Diaries is here to blow up the party talk. Hear Hear true, hilarious transit tales by everyday bus riders. And vote for the next contender in the Muni Haiku Battle.
With Ioannis Stergiopoulos, Loretta Keller, and Clay Reynolds
7:00 p.m. | Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery 6
Note: To reserve a seat and something to eat, pick up free tickets onsite at the Observatory starting at 6:00 p.m. Seating is limited to 120.
Orange you glad I didn’t say banana? Whether you like them green at the stem or just before they get turned into bread, bananas are the most-consumed fruit in the United States—and their tangy-sweet appeal goes well beyond breakfast. Try an unusually addictive preparation for avocado-banana dip with chef Loretta Keller, find out why a fungal disease is placing the worldwide banana crop in danger with plant pathologist Ioannis Stergiopoulos, and sample a banana-washed rum cocktail spun through a centrifuge by beverage master Clay Reynolds.
Middle Ground: Reconsidering Ourselves and Others
With Shawn Lani, Josh Gutwill, and Heike Winterheld
7:30 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio
Middle Ground is an NSF-funded public exhibition located in the Civic Center, developed by the Exploratorium in collaboration with the City of San Francisco and community members. The project seeks to engage people in experiences that promote learning about social phenomena, inviting people from different backgrounds to explore humor and social behaviors and connect with each other. Join Exploratorium staff Shawn Lani, Josh Gutwill, and Heike Winterheld in a conversation about this project, and try out an exhibit that relies on humor to promote social interaction.
Space in Your Face
With Julia DeMarines
8:00 p.m. | Osher Gallery 1, Kanbar Forum
Do you like space? Do you like to laugh? Join astrobiologist and sometimes-comedian Julia DeMarines for an overview on the best ways to find life in the universe. You'll guarantee to laugh Uranus off while learning something new!
The question "are we alone?" has inspired humans since we began looking up to the cosmos. With new technology we are closer than ever to answering this question. To find life in the universe we must understand the differences between signs of life (biosignatures)and signs of nonlife (technosignatures) through SETI (Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence). There will be hands-on demos, space karaoke, and a quiz with prizes to win.
The Science of Being Funny: How Humor Can Make or Break Relationships
With Heike Winterheld
8:30 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio
Do you think a sense of humor is hot? We're often attracted to funny people and consider a sense of humor a highly desirable trait. But humor doesn't always spark laughter—it can also offend people and drive them apart. Science offers important insights into the role of humor in relationships, and why we use humor in certain ways with partners, friends or co-workers. Come join Exploratorium staff social psychologist Heike Winterheld to learn what science and her research reveal about your sense of humor (quiz yourself!), its surprising roots in your early upbringing and cultural context, how it can shape relationship dynamics, and how you can use the power of humor to make yourself and others happy.
Fake Smile Detector
With Casey Brown and Suzie Shdu
7:00– 9:00 p.m. | Gallery 2
You know humor works—or that your hilarious joke landed—because it makes people smile...right? But how can you tell that smile is genuine, and how do these types of positive emotions help us build and maintain relationships? Take the test with Casey Brown and Suzie Shdu of the UC Berkeley Psychophysiology Laboratory, find out how to tell a real smile from a fake one, and learn more about the lab’s study of human emotion.
Laughbot: Detecting Humor in Spoken Language with Language and Audio Cues
With Kate Park, Annie Hu and Natalie Muenster
7:00–9:00 p.m. | Gallery 2
Sure, your digital assistant—Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant—knows everything about you, but does it really get your sense of humor? What if the artificial intelligence behind these devices could understand and respond properly to humorous human interactions? Join a trio of recent Stanford computer science grads to test out Laughbot, their humor-aware AI program.
With Cinema Arts
7:00 and 9:30 p.m. | Bechtel Gallery 3, Wattis Webcast Studio
Tickle your funny bone with this collection of short films. Whether animated, avant-garde, cerebral, or surreal, each film finds a different way to solicit a groan, giggle, or gasp of laughter.
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.