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$10 Members; Free for Lab Members
$10 Add-On Ticket for the Tactile Dome Available for Purchase Onsite
Adults Only (18+)
Note: Some programs have limited seating and will be made available to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis.
Join Academy and Tony award-winning playwright Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love, Arcadia, Brazil) and American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) Artistic Director Carey Perloff in an intimate conversation with Exploratorium Executive Associate Director Robert Semper. They'll discuss A.C.T.'s upcoming production of The Hard Problem, Stoppard's provocative new drama of sex, science, and supercomputing. Also tonight, explore traditional indigenous foodways surrounding the American pumpkin with ethnobotanist Enrique Salmon at Pairings: The Great Pumpkin. Experience our pitch-black Tactile Dome, too, and explore an array of demonstrations.
Admission: Bring in an A.C.T. ticket during the run of Stoppard's play and receive a 10% discount onsite.
Note: Seating is extremely limited and requires a separate ticket, which includes museum admission. Overflow viewing will be available in the Phyllis C. Wattis Webcast Studio.
Why should physical processing give rise to a rich inner life at all? It seems objectively unreasonable that it should, and yet it does.
—David Chalmers, “Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness”
Join Academy and Tony award-winning playwright Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love, Arcadia, Brazil) and American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) Artistic Director Carey Perloff in an intimate conversation with Exploratorium Executive Associate Director Robert Semper about A.C.T.’s upcoming production of The Hard Problem. This is Stoppard’s provocative new drama of sex, science, and supercomputing. In his first play in nearly a decade, he grapples with consciousness as well as genetics, bringing the compelling conflict of mind versus matter to the stage.
Interspersed with readings from the play, we’ll talk with Stoppard and Perloff about his works that often explore what happens when complex scientific principles and the human condition collide.
While you’re here, we encourage you to visit our Science of Sharing exhibition in the Osher West Gallery to explore the science behind Stoppard’s play.
Book signings of Stoppard's The Hard Problem: A Play, Arcadia: A Play, and Tom Stoppard: Plays 5 and Perloff's Beautiful Chaos: A Life in the Theater will follow the conversation.
Tom Stoppard (playwright) is an award-winning playwright based in London. His plays include Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Jumpers, Travesties, Night and Day, The Real Thing, Hapgood, Arcadia, Indian Ink, The Invention of Love, The Coast of Utopia, and Rock ‘n’ Roll. His adaptations include Undiscovered Country (Schnitzler), On the Razzle (Nestroy), Rough Crossing (Molnar), The Seagull (Chekhov), Henry IV (Pirandello), Heroes (Sibleyras), Ivanov (Chekhov), and The Cherry Orchard (Chekhov). Screen credits include Brazil, Empire of the Sun, Enigma, and Shakespeare in Love (winner of the Academy Award for best original screenplay). His recent work includes Anna Karenina for the screen, Parade’s End for television, and Darkside with Pink Floyd for radio.
Carey Perloff has served as Artistic Director of the American Conservatory Theater since 1992. An award-winning playwright and theater director, Perloff is known for her innovative productions of classics and championing new writing for the theater. She is the author of Beautiful Chaos: A Life in the Theater (City Lights, 2015). A recipient of France’s Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and Theatre Forward’s 2007 Artistic Achievement Award, Perloff received a B.A. Phi Beta Kappa in classics and comparative literature from Stanford University and was a Fulbright Fellow at Oxford. She was on the faculty of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University for seven years, and teaches and directs in the A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program. Perloff is on the board of the Hermitage Artist Retreat in Sarasota, Florida, and is the proud mother of Lexie and Nicholas.
American Conservatory Theater nurtures the art of live theater through dynamic productions, intensive actor training in its conservatory, and an ongoing engagement with its community. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Carey Perloff, A.C.T. embraces its responsibility to conserve, renew, and reinvent the rich theatrical traditions that are our collective legacy, while exploring new artistic forms and new communities. A commitment to the highest standards informs every aspect of A.C.T.'s creative work.
Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery
The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star.
—Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, Physiologie du Gout, 1825
Join us for robust presentations and refreshing conversations designed to inspire your scientific palate.
Learn more about the series, Pairings: Cultivating a Taste for Science Through Food.
Tonight’s Menu: The Great Pumpkin
Prior to its grinning prominence at Halloween, the pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) was better known as an essential food of the Americas. First domesticated in southwestern Mexico some 8,000–10,000 years ago, C. pepo’s small, bitter progenitors later grew into a wide variety of squashes, gourds, and pumpkins across Central and North America, with related species raised further south. As one of “three sisters” grown alongside beans and corn, pumpkins and squash provided many indigenous cultures with a prolific and long-lasting food source enjoyed from flower to fruit.
Join ethnobiologist Enrique Salmón from California State University, East Bay, to explore traditional indigenous foodways surrounding the iconic American pumpkin. Learn its significance to preColombian agriculture, and how it enabled European colonists to survive their first winters in an unknown land.
Tastings include spiced, roasted pumpkin seeds, savory pumpkin gratin, and pumpkin bread pudding served alongside craft pumpkin ales.
Enrique Salmón is Associate Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at California State University, East Bay. He is a Rarámuri (Tarahumara). Dr. Salmón studies ethnobiology and traditional ecological knowledge to better understand his own and other cultural perceptions of culture, landscapes, and place. He is on the Board of Directors of the Society of Ethnobiology and the Cultural Conservancy, and is the author of Eating the Landscape: American Indian Stories of Food, Identity, and Resilience (The University of Arizona Press, 2012).
Bernard and Barbro Osher West Gallery
Take an excursion through total darkness in our Tactile Dome. Crawl, slide, and bump your way through the pitch-dark Dome using your sense of touch as your only guide through its chambers and mazes.
Please Note: Due to the nature of this experience, certain restrictions apply. Guests who are afraid of the dark; claustrophobic; have back, neck, or knee injuries; or are in their third trimester of pregnancy should not participate. Guests wearing casts are prohibited. Also, please wear comfortable clothes.
Learn more about the Tactile Dome.
6:00–9:45 unless noted
Various locations throughout the museum
Ticketing at 6:00 p.m., first come, first served
Bernard and Barbro Osher West Gallery
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 Central Gallery
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.
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.
Bernard and Barbro Osher West Gallery
Everything is not as it seems—at first. Pick a card, any card, and watch the Explainers reveal some surprising aspects of human perception.