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Copywrite 2001-2004, California Science Center
Media Contact: Shell Amega
August 11, 2005
California Science Center
Launches Provocative Speakers Program

Science Matters
“Promise and Pitfalls of
Stem Cell Research”

Dr. Irving Weissman, immunologist, professor, and Director of the Stem Cell Institute at Stanford University, School of Medicine is one of the featured panelists for the September 24, 2005 Science Matters panel discussion exploring the "Promise and Pitfalls of Stem Cell Research" at the California Science Center.
The California 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 cloning.


The California Science Center and IMAX Theater are located in historic Exposition Park just west of the Harbor 110 Freeway at 700 State Drive, Los Angeles. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission to the exhibits is free. For recorded information, including IMAX show times, call 323.SCIENCE (323.724-3623). IMAX ticket prices range from $4.75 to $8.00. For advance ticket purchases, group rates, or to make free reservations for any visiting group of 15 or more (required), call 213.744-2019. Parking is available in the guest lot at Figueroa and 39th Street at $6 per car, $10 for buses or oversized vehicles. Both the Science Center and IMAX Theater are wheelchair accessible. For further information, please visit our website at www.californiasciencecenter.org.
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