OCTOBER 17-20, 2019

and year round

in partnership with the MADISON PUBLIC LIBRARY FOUNDATION

11

Oct

Big Ideas for Busy People: Contagion

10/11/2018 - 7:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

This popular, fast-paced event features 5 minute talks from some of UW-Madison’s biggest brains. This year’s episode turns a microscope on microbes—specifically, infectious diseases. What do we have to fear, what can we expect and what can we do to keep the tiny bugs at bay? Come prepared for a highly interactive event and stay after the talks to learn more, get your hands wet and see for yourself the creatures that are on, in and around us. Featured presenters include: 

 

  • Patrick Anderson, author, Autobiography of a Disease on the experience of life-threatening illness
  • Paul Ahlquist, virologist, Morgridge Institute for Research, on the how to fight many viruses with one punch
  • James Conway, pediatrician, UW Health, on the power of vaccination
  • Jo Handelsman, director, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, on the search for new antibiotics
  • Laurel Legenza, pharmacy, UW-Madison, on forecasting antibiotic resistance

 

Presented in partnership with the Wisconsin Science Festival.

Big Ideas for Busy People: Contagion -  - <span class="date-display-single">10/11/2018 - 7:00pm</span>

13

Oct

Wisconsin State Parks

Scott Spoolman

10/13/2018 - 4:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

Wisconsin State Parks connects geologic processes to the current landscape, taking a dramatic and historic look at northwestern Wisconsin’s volcanoes, at the glacial masses that flattened and molded northern Wisconsin, at mountain ranges that rose up and wore away over hundreds of millions of years, and at many other bedrock-shaping phenomena. These stories, as well as to the evolution of flora and fauna and development of human settlement and activities, for a deeper understanding of our state's natural history.

 

Presented in partnership with the Wisconsin Science Festival.

Wisconsin State Parks - Scott Spoolman - <span class="date-display-single">10/13/2018 - 4:00pm</span>

13

Oct

Gastropod Live!

Cynthia Graber Nicola Twilley

10/13/2018 - 8:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

Are oysters really an aphrodisiac? Can you hack your tastebuds? When did carrots become orange? In this special live performance of the podcast Gastropod, co-hosts Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley will serve up a three-course feast for your eyes and ears. From live experiments to interactive tastings, the evening will combine special guests and field recordings to reveal the history and science behind the food we eat every day. Gastropod is the award-winning podcast that looks at food through the lens of science and history.

 

Presented in partnership with the Wisconsin Science Festival.

Gastropod Live! - Cynthia Graber - <span class="date-display-single">10/13/2018 - 8:00pm</span>

13

Oct

The Man Who Caught the Storm

Brantley Hargrove

10/13/2018 - 2:00pm

Discovery Building - Orchard View

At the turn of the twenty-first century, the tornado was one of the last true mysteries of the modern world. It was a monster that ravaged the American heartland a thousand times each year, yet science’s every effort to divine its inner workings had ended in failure. Researchers all but gave up, until the arrival of an outsider.

 

In a field of PhDs, Tim Samaras didn’t attend a day of college in his life. He chased storms with brilliant tools of his own invention and pushed closer to the tornado than anyone else ever dared. When he achieved what meteorologists had deemed impossible, it was as if he had snatched the fire of the gods. Yet even as he transformed the field, Samaras kept on pushing. As his ambitions grew, so did the risks. And when he finally met his match—in a faceoff against the largest tornado ever recorded—it upended everything he thought he knew.

 

The Man Who Caught the Storm - Brantley Hargrove - <span class="date-display-single">10/13/2018 - 2:00pm</span>

13

Oct

Lost Connections

Johann Hari

10/13/2018 - 3:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

Depression and anxiety are now the most common mental illnesses in the US, affecting 18 percent of the population. Almost one in six Americans is now taking a drug for these or related disorders. A deeply researched new book asks: what if we have been radically misunderstanding these problems for more than a generation—and missing the real solutions?

 

New York Times bestselling author Johann Hari radicalized the addiction debate with his acclaimed book Chasing the Scream and accompanying TED talk—which, along with the animation based on it, has been viewed more than 21 million times. He has now carried out a bold three-year investigation about what really causes depression and anxiety, and how to actually solve these disorders.

 

Lost Connections - Johann Hari - <span class="date-display-single">10/13/2018 - 3:00pm</span>

13

Oct

Milk!

Mark Kurlansky

10/13/2018 - 7:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

Mark Kurlansky's first global food history since the bestselling Cod and Salt; the fascinating cultural, economic, and culinary story of milk and all things dairy--with recipes throughout. 

 

According to the Greek creation myth, we are so much spilt milk; a splatter of the goddess Hera's breast milk became our galaxy, the Milky Way. But while mother's milk may be the essence of nourishment, it is the milk of other mammals that humans have cultivated ever since the domestication of animals more than 10,000 years ago, originally as a source of cheese, yogurt, kefir, and all manner of edible innovations that rendered lactose digestible, and then, when genetic mutation made some of us lactose-tolerant, milk itself. 

 

Milk! - Mark Kurlansky - <span class="date-display-single">10/13/2018 - 7:00pm</span>

13

Oct

Play On

Jeff Bercovici

10/13/2018 - 1:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

A lively, deeply reported tour of the science and strategies helping athletes like Tom Brady, Serena Williams, Carli Lloyd, and LeBron James redefine the notion of “peak age.”

 

Season after season, today’s sports superstars seem to defy the limits of physical aging that inevitably sideline their competitors. How much of the difference is genetic destiny and how much can be attributed to better training, medicine and technology? Is athletic longevity a skill that can be taught, or a mental discipline that can be mastered? Can career-ending injuries be predicted and avoided? 

 

Play On - Jeff Bercovici - <span class="date-display-single">10/13/2018 - 1:00pm</span>

13

Oct

Where Honeybees Thrive

Heather Swan

10/13/2018 - 11:00am

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

Colony Collapse Disorder, ubiquitous pesticide use, industrial agriculture, habitat reduction—these are just a few of the issues causing unprecedented trauma in honeybee populations worldwide. In this artfully illustrated book, Heather Swan embarks on a narrative voyage to discover solutions to—and understand the sources of—the plight of honeybees.

 

Through a lyrical combination of creative nonfiction and visual imagery, Where Honeybees Thrive tells the stories of the beekeepers, farmers, artists, entomologists, ecologists, and other advocates working to stem the damage and reverse course for this critical pollinator. Using her own quest for understanding as a starting point, Swan highlights the innovative projects and strategies these groups employ. Her mosaic approach to engaging with the environment not only reveals the incredibly complex political ecology in which bees live—which includes human and nonhuman actors alike—but also suggests ways of comprehending and tackling a host of other conflicts between postindustrial society and the natural world. Each chapter closes with an illustrative full-color gallery of bee-related artwork.

 

Where Honeybees Thrive - Heather Swan - <span class="date-display-single">10/13/2018 - 11:00am</span>

12

Oct

Life in the Anthropocene

Erle Ellis

10/12/2018 - 2:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

Erle Ellis' latest book explains the science behind the Anthropocene and the many proposals about when to mark its beginning: the nuclear tests of the 1950s? The beginnings of agriculture? The origins of humans as a species? Erle Ellis considers the many ways that the Anthropocene’s “evolving paradigm” is reshaping the sciences, stimulating the humanities, and foregrounding the politics of life on a planet transformed by humans. The Anthropocene remains a work in progress. Is this the story of an unprecedented planetary disaster? Or of newfound wisdom and redemption? Ellis offers an insightful discussion of our role in shaping the planet, and how this will influence our future on many fronts.

 

Presented in partnership with the Wisconsin Science Festival.

Life in the Anthropocene - Erle Ellis - <span class="date-display-single">10/12/2018 - 2:00pm</span>

13

Oct

The World in a Grain

Vince Beiser

10/13/2018 - 6:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

The gripping story of the most important overlooked commodity in the world--sand--and the crucial role it plays in our lives. After water and air, sand is the natural resource that we consume more than any other--even more than oil. Every concrete building and paved road on Earth, every computer screen and silicon chip, is made from sand. From Egypt's pyramids to the Hubble telescope, from the world's tallest skyscraper to the sidewalk below it, from Chartres' stained-glass windows to your iPhone, sand shelters us, empowers us, engages us, and inspires us. It's the ingredient that makes possible our cities, our science, our lives--and our future. And, incredibly, we're running out of it.

 

The World in a Grain - Vince Beiser - <span class="date-display-single">10/13/2018 - 6:00pm</span>

13

Oct

American Wolf

Nate Blakeslee

10/13/2018 - 5:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

Before men ruled the earth, there were wolves. Once abundant in North America, these majestic creatures were hunted to near extinction in the lower 48 states by the 1920s. But in recent decades, conservationists have brought wolves back to the Rockies, igniting a battle over the very soul of the West.

 

With novelistic detail, Nate Blakeslee tells the gripping story of one of these wolves, O-Six, a charismatic alpha female named for the year of her birth. Uncommonly powerful, with gray fur and faint black ovals around each eye, O-Six is a kind and merciful leader, a fiercely intelligent fighter, and a doting mother. She is beloved by wolf watchers, particularly renowned naturalist Rick McIntyre, and becomes something of a social media star, with followers around the world.

 

But as she raises her pups and protects her pack, O-Six is challenged on all fronts: by hunters, who compete with wolves for the elk they both prize; by cattle ranchers who are losing livestock and have the ear of politicians; and by other Yellowstone wolves who are vying for control of the park’s stunningly beautiful Lamar Valley.

 

American Wolf - Nate Blakeslee - <span class="date-display-single">10/13/2018 - 5:00pm</span>

11

Oct

The Tangled Tree

David Quammen

10/11/2018 - 6:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

In the mid-1970s, scientists began using DNA sequences to reexamine the history of all life. Perhaps the most startling discovery to come out of this new field—the study of life’s diversity and relatedness at the molecular level—is horizontal gene transfer (HGT), or the movement of genes across species lines. It turns out that HGT has been widespread and important. For instance, we now know that roughly eight percent of the human genome arrived not through traditional inheritance from directly ancestral forms, but sideways by viral infection—a type of HGT.

 

The Tangled Tree - David Quammen - <span class="date-display-single">10/11/2018 - 6:00pm</span>

05

Nov

The Genome Factor

Jason Fletcher

11/05/2017 - 10:00am

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

For a century, social scientists have avoided genetics like the plague. But the nature-nurture wars are over. In the past decade, a small but intrepid group of economists, political scientists, and sociologists have harnessed the genomics revolution to paint a more complete picture of human social life than ever before. The Genome Factor describes the latest astonishing discoveries being made at the scientific frontier where genomics and the social sciences intersect.

 

The Genome Factor - Jason Fletcher - <span class="date-display-single">11/05/2017 - 10:00am</span>

04

Nov

The Water Will Come

Jeff Goodell

11/04/2017 - 5:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

What if Atlantis wasn't a myth, but an early precursor to a new age of great flooding? Across the globe, scientists and civilians alike are noticing rapidly rising sea levels, and higher and higher tides pushing more water directly into the places we live, from our most vibrant, historic cities to our last remaining traditional coastal villages. With each crack in the great ice sheets of the Arctic and Antarctica, and each tick upwards of Earth's thermometer, we are moving closer to the brink of broad disaster. By century's end, hundreds of millions of people will be retreating from the world's shores as our coasts become inundated and our landscapes transformed. From island nations to the world's major cities, coastal regions will disappear. Engineering projects to hold back the water are bold and may buy some time. Yet despite international efforts and tireless research, there is no permanent solution-no barriers to erect or walls to build-that will protect us in the end from the drowning of the world as we know it.

 

The Water Will Come - Jeff Goodell - <span class="date-display-single">11/04/2017 - 5:00pm</span>

02

Nov

The Death and Life of the Great Lakes

Dan Egan

11/02/2017 - 7:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

The Death and Life in the Great Lakes is an ode to the majesty and history of this national, natural treasure. Egan, a master reporter and storyteller, begins with European explorers arriving at these shores for the first time in the 1600s. Egan takes the reader deep beneath the lakes’ shimmering surface to illuminate the ongoing and unparalleled ecological unraveling of the continent’s most precious natural resource, all while retaining a sense of awe and respect for their immensity and danger: “A Great Lake can swallow freighters almost three times the length of a football field; the lakes’ bottoms are littered with an estimated 6,000 shipwrecks, many of which have never been found. This would never happen on a normal lake, because a normal lake is knowable. A Great Lake can hold all the mysteries of an ocean, and then some.”

 

The Death and Life of the Great Lakes - Dan Egan - <span class="date-display-single">11/02/2017 - 7:00pm</span>

04

Nov

The War On Science

Shawn Otto

11/04/2017 - 6:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

“Wherever the people are well informed,” Thomas Jefferson wrote, “they can be trusted with their own government.” But what happens when they are not? In every issue of modern society—from climate change to vaccinations, transportation to technology, health care to defense—we are in the midst of an unprecedented expansion of scientific progress and a simultaneous expansion of danger. 

 

At the very time we need them most, scientists and the idea of objective knowledge are being bombarded by a vast, well-funded, three-part war on science. The result is an unprecedented erosion of thought in Western democracies as voters, policymakers, and justices actively ignore the evidence from science, leaving major policy decisions to be based on the demands of the most strident voices. Shawn Otto’s provocative book investigates the historical, social, philosophical, political, and emotional reasons for why and how evidence-based politics are in decline and authoritarian politics are once again on the rise, and offers a vision, an argument, and compelling solutions to bring us to our collective senses, before it’s too late.

 

The War On Science - Shawn Otto - <span class="date-display-single">11/04/2017 - 6:00pm</span>

04

Nov

The Geography of Madness

Frank Bures

11/04/2017 - 4:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

The Geography of Madness is an investigation of “culture-bound” syndromes, which are far stranger than they sound. Why is it, for example, that some men believe, against all reason, that vandals stole their penises, even though they’re in good physical shape? In The Geography of Madness, acclaimed magazine writer Frank Bures travels around the world to trace culture-bound syndromes to their sources–and in the process, tells a remarkable story about the strange things all of us believe.

 

 Presented in partnership with the Wisconsin Science Festival.

The Geography of Madness - Frank Bures - <span class="date-display-single">11/04/2017 - 4:00pm</span>

04

Nov

Slow Medicine

Victoria Sweet

11/04/2017 - 3:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

Over the years that Victoria Sweet has been a physician, “healthcare” has replaced medicine, “providers” look at their laptops more than at their patients, and costs keep soaring, all in the ruthless pursuit of efficiency. Yet the remedy that economists and policy makers continue to miss is also miraculously simple. Good medicine takes more than amazing technology; it takes time—time to respond to bodies as well as data, time to arrive at the right diagnosis and the right treatment.

 

Sweet knows this because she has learned and lived it over the course of her remarkable career. Here she relates unforgettable stories of the teachers, doctors, nurses, and patients through whom she discovered the practice of Slow Medicine, in which she has been both pioneer and inspiration. Medicine, she helps us to see, is a craft and an art as well as a science. It is relational, personal, even spiritual. To do it well requires a hard-won wisdom that no algorithm can replace—that brings together “fast” and “slow” in a truly effective, efficient, sustainable, and humane way of healing.

 

Slow Medicine - Victoria Sweet - <span class="date-display-single">11/04/2017 - 3:00pm</span>

04

Nov

Flock Together

B. J. Hollars

11/04/2017 - 11:00am

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

After stumbling upon a book of photographs depicting extinct animals, author and UW-Eau Claire English professor B.J. Hollars became fascinated by the creatures that are no longer with us: specifically, extinct birds.  How, he wondered, could we preserve so beautifully on film what we’ve failed to preserve in life? Hollars discusses what we can do to save threatened species, including ourselves.

 

Presented in partnership with the Wisconsin Science Festival.

Flock Together - B. J. Hollars - <span class="date-display-single">11/04/2017 - 11:00am</span>

02

Nov

We Have No Idea

Jorge Cham Daniel Whiteson

11/02/2017 - 6:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

PHD Comics creator Jorge Cham and particle physicist Daniel Whiteson have teamed up to spelunk through the enormous gaps in our cosmological knowledge, armed with their popular infographics, cartoons, and unusually entertaining and lucid explanations of science.

 

In We Have No Idea, they explore the biggest unknowns in the universe, why these things are still mysteries, and what a lot of smart people are doing to figure out the answers (or at least ask the right questions). They helpfully demystify many complicated things we do know about, from quarks and neutrinos to gravitational waves and exploding black holes. With equal doses of humor and delight, they invite us to see the universe as a vast expanse of mostly uncharted territory that's still ours to explore. This entertaining illustrated science primer is the perfect book for anyone who's curious about all the big questions physicists are still trying to answer.

 

Presented in partnership with the Wisconsin Science Festival.

We Have No Idea - Jorge Cham - <span class="date-display-single">11/02/2017 - 6:00pm</span>

04

Nov

The Close Encounters Man

Mark O'Connell

11/04/2017 - 12:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

One man can arguably be credited with bringing our fascination with alien life into modern times, and that man is Dr. J. Allen Hynek. The Close Encounters Man is the definitive biography of an often misunderstood and misrepresented figure in UFOlogy. Responsible for (among many other things) coining the phrase “close encounters of the third kind,” Dr. Hynek is a controversial figure on both sides of the UFO debate, to say the least. He enthusiastically debunked UFO reports on behalf of the Air Force for years. Then, he recanted. His agonizing transformation from skepticism to true believer is one of the great misunderstood and misreported stories of science.

 

The Close Encounters Man - Mark O11/04/2017 - 12:00pm'>

10

May

Pandora's Lab

Paul Offit

05/10/2017 - 7:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

What happens when ideas presented as science lead us in the wrong direction? History is filled with brilliant ideas that gave rise to disaster, and this book explores the most fascinating—and significant—missteps: from opium's heyday as the pain reliever of choice to recognition of opioids as a major cause of death in the U.S.; from the rise of trans fats as the golden ingredient for tastier, cheaper food to the heart disease epidemic that followed; and from the cries to ban DDT for the sake of the environment to an epidemic-level rise in world malaria. These are today's sins of science—as deplorable as mistaken ideas from the past such as advocating racial purity or using lobotomies as a cure for mental illness. These unwitting errors add up to seven lessons both cautionary and profound, narrated by renowned author and speaker Paul A. Offit. Offit uses these lessons to investigate how we can separate good science from bad, using some of today's most controversial creations—e-cigarettes, GMOs, drug treatments for ADHD—as case studies.

Pandora's Lab - Paul Offit - <span class="date-display-single">05/10/2017 - 7:00pm</span>

23

Oct

One In A Billion

Mark Johnson Kathleen Gallagher

10/23/2016 - 2:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

The breathtaking story of a young boy with a never-before-seen disease, and the doctors who take a bold step into the future of medicine to save him—based on the authors’ Pulitzer Prize–winning reporting.
 
In this landmark medical narrative, in the tradition of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalists Mark Johnson and Kathleen Gallagher chronicle the story of Nic Volker, the Wisconsin boy at the center of a daring breakthrough in medicine—a complete gene sequencing to discover the cure for an otherwise undiagnosable illness. At just two years old, Nic experienced a searing pain that signaled the awakening of a new and deadly disease, one that would hurl Nic and his family up against the limits of modern medicine.
 
For years, through false starts and failed cures, Nic holds on to life, buoyed up by his mother’s fierce drive to get him the care he needs. But when even the world’s experts are stumped by Nic’s illness, his doctors come up with a radical, long-shot plan: a step into the unknown.
 

One In A Billion - Mark Johnson - <span class="date-display-single">10/23/2016 - 2:00pm</span>

22

Oct

Big Ideas, Busy People: Shakespeare's Genome?

Joshua Calhoun

10/22/2016 - 7:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

The wildly popular “Big Ideas for Busy People” returns to the Wisconsin Science Festival for a third-consecutive year. Five leading thinkers will feature their groundbreaking work at this unique event that began at the Cambridge (MA) Science Festival. Each presenter has five minutes to share their idea and five minutes to answer questions (time will be kept with a gong). 
 
Featured talk: Shakespeare’s Genome?
 
Josh Calhoun discusses new, intriguing, bookish collaborations that are bringing humanists and scientists together in an unlikely space: rare books archives. Studying Medieval and Renaissance books all the way down to the microbial level is changing what we know about the habits and habitats of historical book readers. Come find out how close reading and proteomic sequencing can tell us more about Shakespeare’s biome—and maybe even his genome.

Big Ideas, Busy People: Shakespeare's Genome? - Joshua Calhoun - <span class="date-display-single">10/22/2016 - 7:00pm</span>

22

Oct

The Sacred Disease

Kristin Seaborg

10/22/2016 - 3:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

Young Kristin Seaborg had the world at her fingertips: a loving family, happiness and security, early admission to medical school--until the frightening diagnosis of epilepsy threatened to destroy both her career path and her health. Living in constant fear that her seizures would intensify and prevent her from practicing medicine, Kristin kept her condition a closely guarded secret, leading a tenuous double life as patient and practitioner. A memoir of discovery, acceptance, and hope, The Sacred Disease chronicles Kristin’s tenacious fight for a seizure-free life. Remarkably, although Kristin's knowledge and expertise continue to develop as a pediatrician and mother, her experiences as a vulnerable patient provide the most valuable lessons of all.
 
Presented in partnership with the Wisconsin Science Festival.

The Sacred Disease - Kristin Seaborg - <span class="date-display-single">10/22/2016 - 3:00pm</span>

21

Oct

Barcadia! Arcade-Era Cocktails Re-Imagined

Andre Darlington

10/21/2016 - 5:30pm

Discovery Building

The golden age of the arcade was a time of colorful, tacky, fruity drinks full of innuendo.  Long considered the cocktail dark ages, this era is making a comeback.  Even if you've never rested your drink on a Pac-Man cocktail table, you'll want to join us for a humorous exploration of arcade-era cocktails re-imagined for modern tastes.  Long Islands, Amaretto Sours, and neon-blue drinks-- get in on the 80s revival!  $12 ticket price includes samples of two cocktails. This event is for individuals ages 21 or older.
 
There will be three seatings for this event:
5:30pm-6:15pm
6:30pm-7:15pm
7:30pm-8:15pm
 
Tickets must be purchased in advance.  Purchase tickets online.
 
About The New Cocktail Hour:
 

Barcadia! Arcade-Era Cocktails Re-Imagined - Andre Darlington - <span class="date-display-single">10/21/2016 - 5:30pm</span>

22

Oct

Weapons of Math Destruction

Cathy O'Neil

10/22/2016 - 12:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

Weapons of Math Destruction traces the arc of a person’s life, from school to retirement, and looks at models that score teachers and students, sort résumés, grant (or deny) loans, evaluate workers, target voters, set parole and prison sentences, and monitor our health. The models being used are opaque, unregulated, and uncontestable, even when they’re wrong. Most troubling, they reinforce discrimination: If a poor student can’t get a loan because a lending model deems him too risky (by virtue of his race or neighborhood), he’s then cut off from the kind of education that could pull him out of poverty, and a vicious spiral ensues. O’Neil has dubbed these harmful models Weapons of Math Destruction, or WMDs. In our society, where money buys influence, WMD victims are nearly voiceless. These models are propping up the lucky and punishing the poor and oppressed, creating a toxic cocktail for democracy. But the poor are hardly the only victims of WMDs. They hit the middle class, too. Even the rich find themselves micro-targeted by political models.
 

Weapons of Math Destruction - Cathy O10/22/2016 - 12:00pm'>

21

Oct

Tetris: The Games People Play

Box Brown

10/21/2016 - 7:30pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

It is, perhaps, the perfect video game. Simple yet addictive, Tetris delivers an irresistible, unending puzzle that has players hooked. Play it long enough and you’ll see those brightly colored geometric shapes everywhere. You’ll see them in your dreams.  Alexey Pajitnov had big ideas about games. In 1984, he created Tetris in his spare time while developing software for the Soviet government. Once Tetris emerged from behind the Iron Curtain, it was an instant hit. Nintendo, Atari, Sega—game developers big and small all wanted Tetris. A bidding war was sparked, followed by clandestine trips to Moscow, backroom deals, innumerable miscommunications, and outright theft.  New York Times–bestselling author Box Brown untangles this complex history and delves deep into the role games play in art, culture, and commerce. For the first time and in unparalleled detail, Tetris: The Games People Play tells the true story of the world’s most popular video game.
 

Tetris: The Games People Play - Box Brown - <span class="date-display-single">10/21/2016 - 7:30pm</span>

22

Oct

Children of the New World

Alexander Weinstein

10/22/2016 - 5:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

Children of the New World introduces readers to the lost characters of a near-future of social media software implants, manufactured memories, dangerously immersive virtual reality, and frighteningly intuitive androids. Some live in a superficially utopian future of instant connection and mutual understanding that belies an unbridgeable distance; others inhabit a post-collapse landscape made primitive by disaster, which they must work to rebuild. All are attempting to hold on to their humanity.
 

Children of the New World - Alexander Weinstein - <span class="date-display-single">10/22/2016 - 5:00pm</span>

22

Oct

Mapping the Heavens

Priyamvada Natarajan

10/22/2016 - 6:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

This book provides a tour of the “greatest hits” of cosmological discoveries—the ideas that reshaped our universe over the past century. The cosmos, once understood as a stagnant place, filled with the ordinary, is now a universe that is expanding at an accelerating pace, propelled by dark energy and structured by dark matter. Priyamvada Natarajan, our guide to these ideas, is someone at the forefront of the research—an astrophysicist who literally creates maps of invisible matter in the universe. She not only explains for a wide audience the science behind these essential ideas but also provides an understanding of how radical scientific theories gain acceptance.
 

Mapping the Heavens - Priyamvada Natarajan - <span class="date-display-single">10/22/2016 - 6:00pm</span>

22

Oct

The 100 Year Miracle

Ashley Ream

10/22/2016 - 1:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

If you were given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to save yourself, would you take it? Even if it cost you everything? This question is the driving force behind Ashley Ream’s whip-smart, powerful and captivating The 100 Year Miracle.
 
Once a century, for only six days, the bay around a small Washington island glows like a water-bound aurora. Dr. Rachel Bell arrives on the island as part of a team researching this once-in-a-lifetime event, but she's also got a personal mission: to find out if the tiny sea creatures truly offer the powerful pain relieving effects of native myths and folklore, and to finally end the chronic pain she's been silently suffering most her life.
 
When Rachel connects with Harry and Tilda, a divorced couple cohabiting once again as Harry enters the last stages of a neurological disease, Harry is pulled into Rachel's obsession and hope. But if Rachel really wants to learn the truth about the 100-year miracle and harness its powers, she must contend with forces desperate to keep the island's secrets before the waters go dark for another 100 years.
 

The 100 Year Miracle - Ashley Ream - <span class="date-display-single">10/22/2016 - 1:00pm</span>

24

Oct

Science Cafe: Red All Over

Jennifer Angus Jude Stewart

10/24/2015 - 6:00pm

Discovery Building

What's in a color? When it comes to the color red, it can be everything from Badger pride to fire engine alarms to sexy sports cars. Bring your own perspective to the discussion led by consumer science professor Dee Warmath and featuring Jude Stewart, author of ROY G BIV: An Exceedingly Surprising Book About Color; atmospheric science professor and "Weather Guy" Steve Ackerman; and artist and design studies professor Jennifer Angus. Feast on an all-red menu by the creative culinarians at Steenbock's on Orchard. 

 

 

Science Cafe: Red All Over - Jennifer Angus - <span class="date-display-single">10/24/2015 - 6:00pm</span>

24

Oct

Survival of the Storied: Why Science Needs Art and Art Needs Science

Lauren Gunderson

10/24/2015 - 7:00pm

Discovery Building

Playwright and author Lauren Gunderson, whose play Silent Sky has its Midwestern premier with the Forward Theater Company on November 5, will explore ways that science and story share a structure that begs for heroism, action, surprise, mystery and wonder. Drama is built into discovery, just as engineering underpins good drama. Discover the synchronicities of science and story: why we are always in desperate need of both, why both need each other and why telling the untold stories of science can change the world.

Survival of the Storied: Why Science Needs Art and Art Needs Science - Lauren Gunderson - <span class="date-display-single">10/24/2015 - 7:00pm</span>

24

Oct

Nerd Nite 2015

Pupa Gilbert B. Venkat Mani Dietram Scheufele

10/24/2015 - 8:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

Nerd Nite is a monthly-ish informal gathering at which nerds get together for nerdery of all sorts (well, mostly presentations and drinking). Nerds and non-nerds alike gather to meet, drink and learn something new. Back for a second consecutive year, the Wisconsin science festival edition of Nerd Nite features interactive audience participation with life science communications expert Dietram Scheufele on the science of science communication and physicist Pupa Gilbert on the essence of color and a focus on bibilomigrancy with German scholar Venkat Mani and will be hosted by Ben Taylor with an appearance from the Atlas Improv company. Be there and be square.

Nerd Nite 2015 - Pupa Gilbert - <span class="date-display-single">10/24/2015 - 8:00pm</span>

07

Nov

Atmosphere of Hope

Tim Flannery

11/07/2015 - 5:30pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

In his new book, Atmosphere of Hope: Searching for Solutions to the Climate Crisis, bestselling author and world renowned scientist and environmentalist Tim Flannery puts forward an engaging and practical alternative plan to deal the climate crisis, with achievable goals grounded in reasonable optimism that can lead us toward an ecologically viable future.
 
A decade ago, Tim Flannery’s #1 international bestseller, The Weather Makers, was one of the first books to break the topic of climate change out into the general conversation. Today, Earth’s climate system is fast approaching a crisis. Political leadership has not kept up, and public engagement with the issue of climate change has declined. Opinion is divided between technological optimists and pessimists who feel that catastrophe is inevitable.
 

Atmosphere of Hope - Tim Flannery - <span class="date-display-single">11/07/2015 - 5:30pm</span>

24

Oct

The Man Who Painted the Universe: The Story of a Planetarium in the Heart of the North Woods

Avi Lank Ron Legro

10/24/2015 - 10:00am

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

The Man Who Painted the Universe: The Story of a Planetarium in the Heart of the North Woods introduces readers to the mild-mannered astronomy enthusiast whose creativity, ingenuity, fervor, and endurance realized a dream of galactic proportions. The story of this stargazer from Wisconsin's North Woods so inspired two newspapermen, authors Ron Legro and Avi Lank, that they sought to document the story of the Kovac Planetarium for a new generation of stargazers and dreamers.

The Man Who Painted the Universe: The Story of a Planetarium in the Heart of the North Woods - Avi Lank - <span class="date-display-single">10/24/2015 - 10:00am</span>

24

Oct

Patternalia : An Unconventional History of Polka Dots, Stripes, Plaid, Camouflage, & Other Graphic Patterns

Jude Stewart

10/24/2015 - 5:00pm

Discovery Building

Whether it be simple patterns—such as dots, squares, checks and florals or the more elaborate seersucker, gingham, tartan, and fleur-de-lis—patterns are everywhere, and each one has a fascinating backstory. Patternalia: An Unconventional History of Polka Dots, Stripes, Plaid, Camouflage, & Other Graphic Patterns delves into the deep trove of history and culture unique to each pattern.
 
Jude Stewart, the author of ROY G. BIV: An Exceedingly Surprising Book About Color brings her exceptional sense of humor, unique personality, and curiosity to the cultural history of decorative designs. How did the itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini come into fashion? Why do we always think of prisoners wearing striped uniforms? Why is June 21st known as “Seersucker Thursday” to many old patricians? Patternalia delves into the backstories of individual patterns, the surprising ways they developed, the parallels between patterns—natural and invented—and the multitude of quirky personalities these patterns gain over time.
 

Patternalia : An Unconventional History of Polka Dots, Stripes, Plaid, Camouflage, & Other Graphic Patterns  - Jude Stewart - <span class="date-display-single">10/24/2015 - 5:00pm</span>

23

Oct

The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science Is Still a Boys' Club

Eileen Pollack

10/23/2015 - 2:30pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

In 2005, when Lawrence Summers, then president of Harvard, asked why so few women, even today, achieve tenured positions in the hard sciences, Eileen Pollack set out to find the answer. A successful fiction writer, Pollack had grown up in the 1960s and ’70s dreaming of a career as a theoretical astrophysicist. Denied the chance to take advanced courses in science and math, she nonetheless made her way to Yale. There, despite finding herself far behind the men in her classes, she went on to graduate summa cum laude, with honors, as one of the university’s first two women to earn a bachelor of science degree in physics. And yet, isolated, lacking in confidence, starved for encouragement, she abandoned her ambition to become a physicist.
 
Years later, spurred by the suggestion that innate differences in scientific and mathematical aptitude might account for the dearth of tenured female faculty at Harvard, Pollack thought back on her own experiences and wondered what, if anything, had changed in the intervening decades.
 

The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science Is Still a Boys' Club - Eileen Pollack - <span class="date-display-single">10/23/2015 - 2:30pm</span>

24

Oct

Little Author in the Big Woods

Yona McDonough

10/24/2015 - 10:30am

Discovery Building - Biotech Lab

Many girls in elementary and middle school fall in love with the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. What they don't always realize is that Wilder's books are autobiographical. This biography describes more of  the details of Laura's real life as a young pioneer  homesteading with her family on many adventurous  journeys. Complete with charming illustrations, the narrative points out the differences between the fictional series and Wilder's real life, as well as the many similarities. It's a fascinating story of a much­ celebrated writer. 

Little Author in the Big Woods - Yona McDonough - <span class="date-display-single">10/24/2015 - 10:30am</span>

24

Oct

The Man Who Wasn't There

Anil Ananthaswamy

10/24/2015 - 11:00am

Discovery Building

A man who is convinced his leg doesn’t belong to him; a woman with voices in her head telling her to jump off a building; a boy who feels as though he’s living in a constant dream state. These are all real people whose complex neurological disorders have caused a disruptive rift in their sense of self, not to mention in their day-to-day lives. This fall, award-winning journalist and former New Scientist deputy news editor Anil Ananthaswamy explores the minds of these individuals and many more in his fascinating book The Man Who Wasn't There: Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self .
 

The Man Who Wasn't There - Anil Ananthaswamy - <span class="date-display-single">10/24/2015 - 11:00am</span>

22

Oct

Failure: Why Science Is So Successful

Stuart Firestein

10/22/2015 - 6:00pm

Discovery Building - DeLuca Forum

The general public has a glorified view of the pursuit of scientific research. However, the idealized perception of science as a rule-based, methodical system for accumulating facts could not be further from the truth. Modern science involves the idiosyncratic, often bumbling search for understanding in uncharted territories, full of wrong turns, false findings, and the occasional remarkable success.
 
In his sequel to Ignorance (Oxford University Press, 2012), Stuart Firestein shows us that the scientific enterprise is riddled with mistakes and errors - and that this is a good thing. Failure: Why Science Is So Successful delves into the origins of scientific research as a process that relies upon trial and error, one which inevitably results in a hefty dose of failure. In fact, scientists throughout history have relied on failure to guide their research, viewing mistakes as a necessary part of the process. Citing both historical and contemporary examples, Firestein strips away the distorted view of science as infallible to provide the public with a rare, inside glimpse of the messy realities of the scientific process.

Failure: Why Science Is So Successful - Stuart Firestein - <span class="date-display-single">10/22/2015 - 6:00pm</span>

18

Oct

NerdNite

Jordan Ellenberg

10/18/2014 - 8:00pm

Discovery Building - Town Center

Nerd Nite is a monthly-ish informal gathering at which nerds get together for nerdery of all sorts (well, mostly presentations and drinking). Nerds and non-nerds alike gather to meet, drink and learn something new. The science festival edition Nerd Nite will feature Jordan Ellenberg, Kristyn Masters, Emily Ruff and Eric Caldera.

 

This event is being held in partnership with the Wisconsin Science Festival.

NerdNite - Jordan Ellenberg - <span class="date-display-single">10/18/2014 - 8:00pm</span>

17

Oct

Science of the Supper Club

Terese Allen Ron Faiola Robin Shepard

10/17/2014 - 8:00pm

Discovery Building - H.F. DeLuca Forum

This hallmark event, which can only happen in Wisconsin, spotlights the distinctive food, culture and history of Wisconsin’s supper clubs. Presented in three “courses,” this Friday evening celebration features the origins of the signature Old Fashioned cocktail, relish tray, fish fry and other hallmarks of a true supper club experience.  Appetizers begin at 5 p.m. with a special happy hour SoundWaves lecture and concert, continues to the main course highlighting food samples, demonstrations and talks from University of Wisconsin–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences faculty and concludes with a special “dessert” with authors Terese Allen and Ron Faiola.

 

5 p.m., Happy Hour
Appetizers, cocktails, and SoundWaves
Steenbock’s on Orchard

Experience the heart and soul of Wisconsin and learn about the distinctive land, lakes, culture and music of the Badger state over an Old Fashioned and appetizers.

 

6-8 p.m., Main Course
Town Center

Science of the Supper Club - Terese Allen - <span class="date-display-single">10/17/2014 - 8:00pm</span>

18

Oct

All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr

10/18/2014 - 6:00pm

Discovery Building

Set during World War II, All the Light We Cannot See interweaves the lives of a young, blind French girl, Marie-Laure, and an orphaned German boy, Werner, whose paths collide as they try to survive the physical and emotional destruction of the war. When the book opens, Marie-Laure lives with her father, the lockmaster at the Museum of Natural History, in an apartment in Paris. When she becomes blind he creates a miniature model of the neighborhood, so that she can learn every house, every street corner, first with her fingers and then with her feet. As the German occupation begins, they flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast—carrying with them what might be the museum’s most fabled and valuable diamond—and live with Marie-Laure’s great-uncle in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.

 

All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr - <span class="date-display-single">10/18/2014 - 6:00pm</span>

18

Oct

Marketplace of the Marvelous

Erika Janik

10/18/2014 - 4:00pm

Discovery Building - H.F. DeLuca Commons

Chiropractic care, herbal remedies, and the mantra “eight glasses of water a day” are commonplace today, but these and many other modern-day staples of healthy living were originally devised by the outcasts of nineteenth-century medicine, as Erika Janik reveals in Marketplace of the Marvelous: The Strange Origins of Modern Medicine. During a time when formal medicine was both elitist and often physically torturous, a newly independent America was hungry for medical innovation, and as Janik shows, advancements began emerging from the unlikeliest corners of society.  

 

Illustrating how culture-shifting advancement often comes from the margins, Janik’s narrative probes this chapter of American history to unearth a series of bizarre medical practices, and their colorful founders and practitioners. Janik demonstrates the direct influences that unorthodox nineteenth-century methods have had on modern-day medical theory and practice. As the debate over alternative medicine’s authority continues, Marketplace of the Marvelous illustrates that today’s irregular treatments may be tomorrow’s mainstream.  

 

Marketplace of the Marvelous - Erika Janik - <span class="date-display-single">10/18/2014 - 4:00pm</span>

18

Oct

Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds For The Better

Clive Thompson

10/18/2013 - 5:30pm

Discovery Building - H.F. DeLuca Forum

It’s undeniable: technology is changing the way we think. But is it for the better? Amid a chorus of doomsayers, Clive Thompson delivers a resounding yes. The Internet age has produced a radical new style of human intelligence, worthy of both celebration and analysis. We learn more and retain the information longer, write and think with global audiences in mind, and gain an ESP-like awareness of the world around us. Modern technology is making us smarter and better connected and allowing us to think more deeply—both as individuals and as a society. Hosted by WPR's Steve Paulson.

Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds For The Better - Clive Thompson - <span class="date-display-single">10/18/2013 - 5:30pm</span>
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