Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
KPBS Midday Edition

Serving A Pint Of Science In San Diego

Neva Parker, head of laboratory operations at White Labs Pure Yeast and Fermentation in San Diego, talking about the science of beer at a Pint of Science event held in San Diego, May 18, 2015.
Pint of Science
Neva Parker, head of laboratory operations at White Labs Pure Yeast and Fermentation in San Diego, talking about the science of beer at a Pint of Science event held in San Diego, May 18, 2015.
Serving A Pint Of Science In San Diego
Serving Up A Pint Of Science In San Diego Tonight GUESTS:Steven Snyder, executive director, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Erilynn Heinrichsen, coordinator, Pint of Science Andrew Huberman, neuroscience and ophthalmology professor, UC San Diego

Ever sit down and a bar, order a drink in think I wonder what it feels like to try to breathe on the moon, probably not, but that is what some San Diegans will be doing tonight. They will also think about how dogs learn and what marmosets have to do with neuroscience. The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center has teamed up with an international group called pint of science aimed at bringing conversations about science to the nonscientific community. Joining me to talk about t onight's event are Dr. Steven Snyder, executive director of the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. Stephen, it is good to see you. -- is a San Diego Cindy coordinator for point of science and a postdoctoral fellow at UC San Diego. Welcome. And Dr. Andrew Huberman is Professor of professor of neuroscience and ophthalmology at UC San Diego and speaker tonight about marmosets in North Park. Stephen, last time we talked about of the defense called two scientists walk into a bar, is this point of science Festival very much like it? I think they are related in getting getting scientists into the community where people live work in place when that part it is much more casual in terms of like a formal luxury. This certainly goes a little more depth than to scientists does and it's more targeted and you get more time with a specific scientist. Erilynn, there are scientific topics that are going to go over better in a social atmosphere than others, what would you say assigned to pint -- needs to be -- The most successful is talk you get half was atop that tells the story. If you have a way for the scientist to connect the topic with the audience and for them to feel a real connection they're going to -- more fun night overall. How do you pick the topics? How does that work? It is a mix. We start with a broad range of topics that will interest the public. From there we go in see what scientists we have in our community making discoveries and known for being good public speakers and we try to match them up and find specific topics from there. What are the range of topics you covered in this particular festival? We have everything from robots and dolphins to stem cells in your science, climate change. Attraction and love, don't forget that. Why was this point of science project started in the first place? It happens all over the world, right? Just the idea of bringing scientists into a bar to talk about science in a more casual setting with the community. Last year was the first year it came to the U.S. and San Diego was one of five cities that started in the U.S. so this is our second annual year for pint of science U.S.. It came out as an idea of wanting to bring science into the community. Andrew, when you got a call about giving a science lecture in a bar, what was your reaction? To be honest, I was a little bit supplies. -- surprised. When the graduate student who was involved in pint of science at UC San Diego asked me and when he mentioned the topic for tonight's discussion I was intrigued and excited to participate. What are you anticipating? I'm anticipating one part thoughtful discussion about how we're going to understand as a community of scientists and nonscientists how the brain works. The most interesting questions about what our brains do and what goes wrong in disease of the brain. Also a lively and entertaining discussion about what critters might inform us about how our brains work and maybe use some playful argument about why one critter over another critter might be the better model. Who are some of the scientists participating in tonight's event, Erilynn? I don't have the lineup line up in front of me but we have five neuroscientists. Andrew being one of them. Then we have two cognitive scientists including one that has his own company speaking at low pay of brewing. That's more about animal behavior. Then error 30. Is that 57 degrees. We scientists talking about space. Shelley right will be speaking about searching for extraterrestrial intelligence and Kim Frisk will talk about our log -- The first pint of science event in San Diego this your started on Monday, how did that go? We had an absolute blast. I was at Mission brewery for the and where we were talking about the bittersweet side of sugar metabolism and we had three speakers speaking about various topics related to diabetes. We had a great discussion. The audience was participating and asking questions and that help guide the discussion the scientist was talking about. It was a very informal discussion a lot of people got a lot out of. Steve, even though you say this is a little more formal than the two scientists walk in a bar event, people can still ask questions and interact. It's more formal than two people standing by a bar but not a whole lot.That's the nice thing about these events, what are you interested in and the questions you have, engaging everybody in this calling of science. We all have these questions and we want to know this is the opportunity to get into those things we all brush aside from time to time but get into them and have a great night and maybe a beer or two. Were people engaged or was something that was happening at one end of the bar and there was a whole lot of people not paying any attention at all? It is all things to all people. I would say people do get intrigued. The nice thing about doing something in these events in bars or restaurants is you capture people not there for this that wanted to ease their way in or heard something was going on. What is that and why are they here? Then they can engage. What we are talking about is us. This isn't an abstract stuff. This is how our brains work and how her lungs work. What happens in space? What is the world we live in? These are questions everybody has and love to explore them. Andrew, I have to ask the question I posed in the opening of this, what do marmosets have to do with neuroscience? They have quite a lot to do with neuroscience now and I expect in the future they will let even more to do with neuroscience. We are in an incredible phase of the field of neuroscience. Neuroscience is a very young science. The expiration of the brain in detail is something humans have been fascinated with since the origins of time. And at the same time, the tools investigate how the brain works have been in their infancy. The marmoset is a New World primate, it is a small monkey that can fit into the palm of your hand. They have a lot of interesting behaviors that mimic human behavior. The way there visual system works is very sophisticated and humans are very visual animals. Most of our brains are devoted to social interaction, movement and vision. In contrast to some of the other more popular model organisms for studying how the brain works, fruit flies for instance, their vision is good but we lack the ability to understand how a fruit fly social interactions might tell us about our social interactions. Marmoset social interaction said interesting features. They do extensive reaching. These the find digits of their bangles. I think we are familiar with going to the zoo in seeing a monkey and understanding they are at some level our cousins that some level their brains are more like ours than the brain of the world. The marmoset offers a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between the similarities to humans and bring with it all sorts of elegant and beautiful genetic sophisticated tools that are commonly used in animals like organisms like fruit flies that until recently just having been available in primates. The marmoset offers the opportunity to understand the genes and mechanisms underlying brain function development and disease. I'm hearing this argument and thank you for that, quickly, Andrew, do you find it is hard for scientists to talk to nonscientists about science? I think the problem of scientists talking to nonscientists it is systemic. It's not limited to neuroscience or to physics or the cosmos, they are isolated examples of people who have had phenomenal communication skills to talk about science to nonscientists. People who have written popular books, names pop up here and there, but in terms of keeping the general public informed about recent discoveries as they relate to our day-to-day lives, that is something that is becoming recently more important. Unfortunately, we are a short distance away from people where brain disease or Alzheimer's, schizophrenia or altered or autism. There is a deep interest in understanding how our brains work normally. What is going on in your dog's brain? These are the questions that move us and make us human. Throughout the history of science there has been a wall and I think it is great that pint of science and other things like it are starting to cut through those walls and I think scientists are taking note of this and getting better trained in terms of how to communicate with the general public. Steve, conversely, do you think there is a yearning among the public who we constantly hear rates as scientifically illiterate in a lot of fundamental ways to learn more about science? Absolutely. These are questions everybody wonders about. Science again is not about the abstract. Some of the models are abstract but the reality is it is about us and the real world. We are narcissists at heart and that is what science helps illuminate. With marmosets, that was cool. Imagine what you can do when you have all these scientists to talk about the different ways we are studying the brain or space or our environment or lives or how we interact. It is so enriching. Is a powerful tool for economics but also incredibly enriching and that is one of the nice things about plaintiff science. Science is also culture and part of our science and certainly in San Diego where there is so much science and scientists. This is a great way to embrace our scientific identity and people have an interest and a thirst. Erilynn, how do people take part in this tonight? If you go to the website, all of the events will show up, there most likely sold-out him as we are able to add more tickets but that does not mean people should not come. Almost every night we've had no shows and either way we still let people in. We want to maximize the number of people that can come. Anybody that wants to come tonight, we may wake you wait until 7:00 to come in so we can let those with tickets get the first seats, but after that we will let as many people who then you will allow us. Is Stephen allowed to have an adult beverage? That is between pint of science and the scientists and how well they can handle questions. Is going to be as sons in science event coming up not too far away? In June we do our next sons in science which is about -- and what is going on with water. We would do another one in July where we talk about forensic anthropology and lots of great program events going on. There is a lot happening right now. There is a lot of groups trying to connect people and that is what we want to do. Make sure everyone has the opportunity to experience these events. Eylea, Stephen, Prince of science, -- what kind of feedback have you gotten? It's great.What we have noticed -- the last time we had people barhopping going from scientists and going from bar to bar not looking for different brew but a different question so that is been great. You see sold-out pint of science events. We do our night of science at the plate and again is a huge strong response and the gross all the time. It has been phenomenal. I've been speaking with Steven Snyder. Erilynn Heinrichsen of the San Diego city coordinator forced pint of science and Dr. Andrew Huberman. Thank you all very much. Thanks so much.

Ever sit down at a bar, order a drink and wonder what it feels like to try to breathe on the moon?

Maybe, maybe not. Curious San Diegans will have the chance to ask local scientists that and other questions Wednesday night as part of Pint of Science. The international group has teamed up with Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and UC San Diego to have top-flight scientists discuss their research and answer questions at San Diego bars and breweries.

They will also be thinking about how dogs learn and what marmosets have to do with neuroscience.

Erilynn Heinrichsen, San Diego city coordinator for Pint of Science, said the event first came to San Diego last year. This year’s event started on Monday at Mission Brewery in downtown.

“We had an absolute blast,” Heinrichsen told KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday. “We had a really great discussion and the audience was participating the whole time. It was a really informal discussion that people got a lot out of.”

Steven Snyder, executive director of the Reuben H Fleet Science Center, said Pint of Science, which will have three events on Wednesday, gives people an opportunity to ask questions.

“It’s more formal than two people standing at a bar but it’s really about engaging everybody,” Snyder said. “This is an opportunity to get into things that we normally just brush aside.”

Midday Edition is launching a new series called Sci-Q, an interactive campaign to help more people understand and be inspired by science. Scientists will join Midday Edition to answer questions from KPBS listeners and share details about their work. Keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook to find out when to submit questions or tweet your questions to @KPBSMidday and use the hashtag #Sci-Q.