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$15 General; $10 Members; Free for Lab Members;
Members, show your membership card to receive free admission as part of May Is for Members month.
Adults Only (18+)
Note: Some programs have limited seating and will be made available to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis.
Fisher Bay Observatory Gallery
Learn how science is used—and misused—in legal decision-making with host David Faigman. Hear compelling discussions with special guests, and share your own insights on topics such as forensics, neuroscience, and climate change.
Learn more about the series, In the Balance: Bringing Science to Justice.
What if your brain showed signs of Alzheimer’s disease—decades before any symptoms occurred? Would you want to know?
Alzheimer’s disease, which “can’t be slowed, stopped, or prevented,” is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Among older Americans, Alzheimer’s is more feared than any other disease, including cancer, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. Research suggests that the molecular changes of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias may occur up to two decades before symptoms appear.
Clinicians are able to clarify diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease using molecular “biomarkers” found through techniques such as lumbar punctures or molecular brain scans. Someday, these techniques could be applied to cognitively normal people to predict whether or not they’ll develop the disease. But should they?
Professional societies have cautioned against this use, given the lack of proven treatments to prevent Alzheimer’s disease in cognitively normal individuals who test positive. Many of us would value knowing this health information, either in its own right or to help us plan for our futures. But society hasn’t caught up to living with a brain at risk. There are laws prohibiting employment insurance discrimination based on our genetic information; however these laws don’t apply to molecular biomarkers. Those who seek predictive testing may also face serious, unintended consequences from receiving this information.
Please join David Faigman in conversation with special guests Jason Karlawish and Gil Rabinovici to discuss the science of predictive testing for Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Explore potential outcomes for those seeking testing, as well as the legal and ethical implications for individuals and society.
Jason Karlawish is Professor of Medicine, Medical Ethics and Health Policy, and Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania. He directs the Penn Neurodegenerative Disease Ethics and Policy Program; co-directs the Penn Memory Center; and directs a CDC-funded Healthy Brain Initiative Center. Dr. Karlawish’s clinical practice focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders. His research examines the ethical and policy issues encountered in research and care that engages older adults with late-life cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, and cognitive aging. He is a regular contributor to Forbes.com.
Gil Rabinovici is Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. He leads the PET imaging program at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center and is Principle Investigator of a cohort study of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and of Imaging Dementia: Evidence for Amyloid Scanning (IDEAS), a national study sponsored by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to assess the clinical utility of amyloid PET. Dr. Rabinovici’s work investigates how structural, functional and molecular brain imaging techniques can be used to improve diagnostic accuracy in dementia and to study the biology of neurodegenerative diseases, with the goal of accelerating treatment development.
David L. Faigman is the Acting Chancellor and Dean, and the John F. Digardi Distinguished Professor of Law, at the University of California Hastings College of the Law. He is the author of numerous articles and books, including two books written for a general audience: Laboratory of Justice: The Supreme Court’s 200-Year Struggle to Integrate Science and the Law (2004) and Legal Alchemy: The Use and Misuse of Science in the Law (1999). Professor Faigman has been widely cited by scholars and courts, including several times by the United States Supreme Court. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences panel that investigated the scientific validity of polygraphs and is a member of the MacArthur Law and Neuroscience Network.
Come be in your elements with Exploratorium host and scientific raconteur Ron Hipschman. Follow tales of intrigue and invention, join in dynamic demonstrations, and uncover fascinating connections between individual elements and our collective human experience.
Learn more about the series, Everything Matters: Tales from the Periodic Table..
Discover the genius of biologically made glass in silica-based organisms such as diatoms and venus flower baskets, and encounter the epic usefulness of elemental silicon in everything from stone tools to start-ups.
Ever-useful silicon has always been near, whether in flint tools chipped by prehistoric hands or as integrated circuits guiding electrons through our phones. Thrown from supernovae, silicon is the eighth most abundant element in the universe and second only to oxygen in the Earth’s crust, which is primarily comprised of silicate compounds, including silica (SiO2), or quartz, commonly found in sand. Silica is absorbed by plants and transformed into intricate glass shells by radiolarians and other microscopic marine creatures. Humans, for their part, have worked silica into glass, ceramics, and devices such as phonograph pickups and crystal oscillators for clocks.
Jöns Jacob Berzelius isolated amorphous silicon in 1824; crystalline silicon was identified in 1854. In this brittle, lustrous form, the metalloid is now grown into enormous cylinders that are then sliced into wafers to be printed with millions of electronic components necessary for modern life.
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.