Science Center is set to launch the first in a series of unique
speakers programs entitled “Science Matters”.
The programs, exploring salient and charged science issues at
the forefront of public concern, feature nationally renowned
speakers and are distinguished by four aspects – a presentation
that illuminates the science behind the issue as well as a panel,
public discussion, web forum and special exhibit. The premiere
in this program series debuts September 24, 2005 with a look
at the “Promise and Pitfalls of Stem Cell Research.” The
program, scheduled to take place from 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
in the Loker Conference Center at the California Science Center
is free to the public.
The program's distinguished panelists include: Dr. Irving
Weissman, immunologist, professor, and Director of the
Stem Cell Institute at Stanford University; Dr. Lawrence
S.B. Goldstein, professor of cellular and molecular medicine
at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine,
and a leader in stem cell research; Dr. Ted Peters,
pastor and professor at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary,
Berkeley, California, and ethicist on the Stem Cell Citizen's
Oversight Committee; and Senator Deborah Ortiz, Chair
of the California State Senate Health and Human Services
Committee. The panel will be moderated by Geoffrey Cowan,
Dean of the USC Annenberg School of Communications. All those
interested in attending may RSVP on the Web at http://goto.californiasciencecenter.org/sciencemattersrsvp or
by phone at (213) 744-2420.
Promise and Pitfalls of Stem Cells Research
The panel discussion will kick-off with a science presentation
providing information on stem cells, and describing their
special characteristics and potential therapeutic value.
Following the science presentation, panelists will review
and discuss the stem cell research issue from different perspectives.
Stem cells hold great promise to cure a variety of devastating
human ills – Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord
injuries, diabetes, and cancer are only a few. Yet due to
the source of stem cells, the public is passionately divided
on whether stem cell research should proceed at all. Bypassing
federal funding, the voters of California passed a proposal
(Prop. 71) allocating State funds for just such research.
The successful passing of this proposition doesn’t
solve the basic question, but brings it into sharper focus
- what are we going to do to further explore the tremendous
potential healing power of the stem cell? What exactly is
a stem cell? What did we just vote on, and what are the implications
of this measure? This forum addresses these issues as well
as offers different, sometimes conflicting, expert opinions
on: who should direct and review such science research? Is
there a better way to harness the power of the stem cell?
What does the public needs to know about the issue?
A small special exhibit entitled “Stem Cells and You” will
be featured at the Science Center from September 1 through
January 2. It will address the questions of “What is
a stem cell?”, “Stem Cells in Medicine” and “Why
study stem cells?”
Three “Science Matters” programs will be held
annually (fall, winter, spring) at the Science Center on Saturday
afternoons. Next year’s two programs, which will also
have accompanying exhibits, will focus on:
Defining Life and Death - January 21, 2006
How do we ascertain when life ends? With technological advances,
clinical determinations of life and death have become more
finely tuned. Yet, defining the limits of life continues
to be a controversy played out in hospitals everywhere. In
this program, scientists, physicians and ethicists review
various ways of measuring life, and discuss related legal,
ethical, and cultural aspects of this question.
Cloning – April 15, 2006
For $30,000 you can clone your cat; for $50,000 your dog. Scientists
and ethicists explain the current science of cloning and
what’s possible in the near future. In this light,
policy makers, scientists and ethicists discuss the responsibilities,
obligations, and implications associated with reproductive