Saturday, May 03, 2008

Andy Fraknoi to speak on "Fiction Science" May 16

Thanks to Dan Burns for this heads-up!

The Center for Inquiry, San Francisco presents:

"The White House Astrologer, the Roswell UFO, the "Face" on Mars, and a Young Universe: A Skeptical Look at Fiction Science"

a nontechnical talk by astronomer Andrew Fraknoi

Friday 16 May 2008

World Affairs Council Auditorium
312 Sutter St., 2nd Floor, San Francisco

Doors open at 6:00 pm; Presentation starts at 6:30 pm

Thanks to the popular media, an enormous amount of attention has been given to some pretty amazing claims on the fringes of astronomy. These include the idea that your life path and romantic destiny are determined by the position of objects in the sky at the moment of your birth; that extraterrestrial space-craft have regularly landed on our planet (and kidnapped innocent citizens without being noticed); that an ancient race left us a message on the planet Mars in the shape of a human face; and that the entire cosmos is less than 10,000 years old.

In this illustrated talk, astronomer and popular lecturer Andrew Fraknoi will discuss the most famous "fiction science" claims related to astronomy, and provide the background and analysis needed to appreciate them properly. He will unveil some recent detective work about these cases, and show how there is often a lot LESS to them than initially meets the eye. And he will demonstrate how a few skeptical questions and a bit of careful investigation can often help bring these extra-ordinary cosmic claims down to Earth.

Andrew Fraknoi is the Chair of the Astronomy Department at Foothill College and Senior Educator at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. He served as the Society's Executive Director for 14 years, and has organized over 20 national workshops on teaching astronomy. Fraknoi is the lead author of "Voyages Through the Universe," which has become one of the leading astronomy textbooks in the country and recently wrote a book for children, "Disney's Wonderful World of Space." He appears regularly on local and national radio explaining scientific developments in everyday language. In 2007, he was selected as the California Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Endowment for Higher Education and won the Gemant Prize of the American Institute of Physics for a lifetime of contributions to combining physics and culture. The International Astronomical Union has named asteroid 4859 Asteroid Fraknoi in recognition of his contributions to the public understanding of astronomy.

$10 General Admission

Free to 'Friends of the Center for Inquiry'

For more information, contact: Michael D Adkisson, Coordinator, Center For Inquiry | San Francisco

2215R Market St #418
San Francisco CA 94114

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