Wednesday, June 13, 2012

SETIcon II arrives next week to inspire space explorers and enthusiasts

Why do I hear about these things A WEEK BEFORE THEY HAPPEN? Seriously, had I known about SETIcon, I'd have been scrimping and saving all year to go. Forget ComicCon--poseurs!--this is for REALZ. From the SETIcon website:
SETIcon, envisioned and organized by the SETI Institute, is a unique, entertaining and enlightening public event where science and imagination meet.  SETIcon brings together innovative scientists, science fiction authors, space and science artists, space lovers, and the curious and adventurous everywhere for a 3-day public celebration and exploration of space, real science, technology, imagination, and science education.

There is no other event in the world like SETIcon that explores space and the human imagination through the lens of real science, attracting global interest and participation. This is not a science conference with technical lectures (SETI Institute scientists lecture all over the world). Instead we’ll bring together scientists with authors and artists to celebrate science and exchange ideas around space exploration and our place in the cosmos. SETIcon will create a new channel of discussion between Earthlings where real science and imagination will meet.
Among the speaker presentations is a keynote by Bill Nye the Science Guy! More to my interests though are several presentations by exoplanet/planetary experts like Geoff Marcy, Martin Still, and Franck Marchis.

Should someone leave me an envelope of $1,000 at my front door for airfare, reg, and expenses, (hint hint!) here's a few of the programs I'd be attending:

Sat, June 23
  • 9:30 a.m. – C1.Asteroids: Junkpiles or Resources for the Next Generation?
  • 11:00 a.m. – Interview with Kevin Grazier (science advisor for half-a-dozen major sci-fi shows, movies) and Alex Filippenko (the charasmatic scientist you've seen 100x on the History Channel's "The Universe")
    1:00 p.m. – This one's a toughie, I'm torn equally between:
    • A3. All Aboard the 100 Year Starship!
    • C3.Exoplanets – What Can SETI Learn from Kepler? (This one would likely win out)
    • And an interview with SETI director Jill Tarter
  • 3:00 p.m. – A4.The Race to Find Alien Life
  • 4:15 p.m. – C5. Do You Need Good Science to Have Good Science Fiction? and maybe sneak over to the Andre Bormanis (Producer for Star Trek and the new TRON cartoon) interview
Sun, June 24
  • 9:30 a.m. – A6.Do Any Exoplanets Have Intelligent Occupants?
  • 11:00 a.m. – Interviews with Marc Okrand (guy who invented the Klingon language!) and Debra Ann Fischer (exoplanetary science pioneer)
  • 12:00 p.m. Brunch with Frank Drake, "father of modern science of SETI"
  • 1:30 p.m. – Aw, man this one is REALLY tough. I'd flip a 1d4 and see where I end up:
    • A8.Would Discovering ET Destroy Earth’s Religions?
    • B8.Artists Imaging Exoworlds – Getting it Right*
    • C8.Citizen Science – Can Science Harness the Power of 7 Billion?
    • Kepler Planet Data Visualized
  • 3:00 p.m. – B9.The Magnificence and Majesty of the Outer Solar System* (given my recent fascination with the Kuiper Belt
  • 4:15 p.m. – B10.Gaming the Future: Science and Video Games * (I really should go to the Kepler session though) and if I can get there in time, I'd see the interview with Antarctica researcher Dale Anderson.
If you're in the Santa Clara, CA region or can drive, fly, or beam your way there, online registration is still open.

What would you see if you could go?

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