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Scott L. Montgomery

Global threats of climate change and rising air pollution have led many experts to believe that we must transition away from carbon energy and pursue alternative energy sources. Sustainability author Scott L. Montgomery argued that nuclear power is not an option for the future but an absolute necessity, and he joined us with realities and implications for the coming decades from his new book Seeing The Light: The Case for Nuclear Power in the 21st Century. Montgomery took the stage to...


ISB Panel: The Future of Health

Seattle’s Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) is revolutionizing science with a powerful approach to predict and prevent disease, and enable a sustainable environment. Join a panel of experts as they explore the cross-disciplinary and collaborative approach of systems biology and how it is applied in the exploration of new frontiers in biology and medicine. This moderated forum will provide a focused discussion on the advances in major areas that affect human health, at both an individual...


Sang-Hee Lee

What do we truly have in common with the Neanderthals? What can fossilized teeth tell us about the life expectancy of our ancient ancestors? How can simple geometric comparisons of fossils suggest a possible origin to our social nature? Korea’s first paleoanthropologist Sang-Hee Lee explored some of our greatest evolutionary questions from new and unexpected angles. She joined us with excerpts from her book Close Encounters with Humankind, and shareed fresh perspectives and surprising...


Nadine Burke Harris, MD with Kristin Leong

Renowned pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris, MD took our stage to discuss new research that illustrates a deep connection between toxic stress during childhood and the likelihood of lifelong illnesses. In her book, The Deepest Well, Burke Harris relates findings from her survey of more than 17,000 adult patients and illuminates us on an astonishing breakthrough: childhood stress changes our neural systems and lasts a lifetime. Town Hall’s own Kristin Leong moderated the conversation, leading...


Charles Mann

In forty years, some scientists project that Earth’s population will reach ten billion. Can our world support that many people? What kind of world will it be? According to Charles Mann’s newest book The Wizard and the Prophet, the experts answering these questions generally fall into two deeply divided groups—Wizards and Prophets. The Prophets, he explains, follow William Vogt, a founding ecologist and environmentalist who believed that if we use more than our planet has to give, our...


Maryn McKenna

We often take for granted the ubiquity of chicken in the American diet. Acclaimed journalist Maryn McKenna bypassed our familiarity with a fascinating history of chicken in her book Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Changed Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats. She took the stage to share her chronicle of how economic, political, and cultural forces converged to make America’s favorite meat a hidden danger. McKenna brought us on an extraordinary journey...


Ama Marston and Stephanie Marston

In turbulent times, we need a unique perspective to find the opportunities in adversity and to respond to challenges with action. Mother/daughter team Stephanie Marston and Ama Marston join us to illuminate this perspective with wisdom from their book Type R: Transformative Resilience for Thriving in a Turbulent World. They share details on a critical quality they call Transformative Resilience: the ability to “move away from a tendency to catastrophize” and pursue success despite facing...


Devin Briski with Robyn Schumacher

Beer has played a pivotal role throughout history—from influencing ancient Mesopotamian agriculture to bankrolling Britain’s imperialist conquests. Food and tech journalist Devin Briski chronicled the fascinating history of the world’s (arguably) most popular beverage in her book Beeronomics: How Beer Explains the World. Briski was joined onstage by Robyn Schumacher, Washington State’s first female cicerone (the beer equivalent of a sommelier). Together the two take us on a history of the...


Building the Blockchain Ecosystem

Credit card encryption chips fundamentally altered our perceptions of financial security—and according to the MIT Enterprise Forum, blockchain technology has the potential to do the same. From funding and regulations, to tangible technology rollouts—what’s practical today? Join us for a discussion of cryptocurrency and the future of digital economics! Innovation Forum programs delve into cool or disruptive technology or a venture of interest to our audience of entrepreneurs, investors,...


Jaron Lanier

Virtual Reality is at once a revolutionary tool for entertainment and a technology raising fundamental questions about the experience of being inside the human body. Jaron Lanier―interdisciplinary scientist and father of the term “virtual reality”―takes a look at what it means to be human at a moment of unprecedented technological possibility. His book Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality exposed VR’s ability to illuminate and amplify our understanding of...


Dr. John Vidale

As residents of the Pacific Northwest, we are all familiar with stories of Seattle’s vulnerability to seismic activity. And we certainly recall the haunting 2015 New Yorker article asserting that our region is long-overdue for “the big one.” To help contextualize these fears and delve into the science beneath the threat of earthquakes, Town Hall presents Dr. John Vidale—seismologist at UW’s College of the Environment and leader for several years of UW’s M9 Project. Dr. Vidale’s works lends...


Theo Gray

Are you aware that oxidation is beautiful? Yes, oxidation, particularly when it’s under the gaze of Theodore Gray. Photosynthesis is beautiful, too. And fermentation. With Reactions, Gray continues an exciting journey through our molecular and chemical world like no one ever has. In his new photographic masterwork, Reactions, following his bestselling books The Elements and Molecules, Gray demonstrates how molecules interact in ways that are essential to our very existence. With Gray, a...


Peter Wadhams with Brady Piñero Walkinshaw

Peter Wadhams, one of the world’s most experienced sea ice scientists, brings a report from the frontline of planetary change in his new book A Farewell to Ice. Wadhams shows how sea ice is the ‘canary in the mine’ of planetary climate change. He describes how it forms and the vital role it plays in reflecting solar heat back into space and providing an ‘air conditioning’ system for the planet. He shows how a series of rapid feedbacks in the Arctic region are accelerating change there more...


Tali Sharot

In The Influential Mind, neuroscientist Tali Sharot takes us on a thrilling exploration of the nature of influence. We affect others just by moving through the world―from the classroom to the boardroom to social media. But how skilled are we at this role, and can we become better? Sharot reveals that many of our instincts―from relying on facts and figures to shape opinions, to insisting others are wrong or attempting to exert control―are ineffective, because they are incompatible with how...


Max Tegmark

What does is it mean to be human in a world where A.I. is transforming war, crime, justice, and jobs? We stand at the beginning of a new era. What was once science fiction is fast becoming reality. Max Tegmark, a professor of physics at MIT and president of the Future of Life Institute, takes readers to the heart of thinking about A.I. and the human condition in his new book Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. How can we grow our prosperity through automation,...


Jonathan White

Many of us in the Pacific Northwest feel a profound connection to the water, and Seattle-based author Jonathan White is no exception. In his book Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean, White uses his surfing and sailing adventures across the globe to take us on a journey of scientific inquiry. As a water enthusiast, he’s traveled to five continents to experience the largest, fastest, scariest and most amazing tides in the world. As a conservationist, White is the founder and former...


Sam Kean

What’s invisible, ubiquitous, and has an epic story to tell? New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean provides us with a curious history of the air we breathe. In a tale as artful as it is scientific, Kean’s Caesar’s Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us, places air center stage in the tale of Earth’s and humanity’s existence. Join Kean to trace the origins and ingredients of our atmosphere–how the alchemy of air reshaped our continents, steered human progress, powered...


Suzanne O’Sullivan

Most of us don’t question a fluttery feeling in our chests when we’re excited or sweating armpits as we make a public speech. We accept these connections between our emotions and physical bodies. But according to neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan, the human body’s reactions to emotions can be much more severe. Up to a third of people go to the doctor with symptoms that cannot be medically explained; and often doctors suspect an emotional cause. O’Sullivan believes that “psychosomatic...


Alan Burdick

Are we born into time? Or is time born into us? Most people seem to agree that our experience of time changes depending on our mood or circumstance. “Time flies when you’re having fun” (as the saying goes), while in times of difficulty or boredom, each minute may seem to creep slowly by. In Why Time Flies: A Mostly Scientific Exploration, science writer Alan Burdick (The New Yorker) takes readers on a witty and meditative exploration of the human relationship with time. “This book blew my...


Walter Murch and Lawrence Weschler

In the film world, Walter Murch is undeniably successful. The three-time Academy Award winner is world-renowned for his work on films like Apocalypse Now, The Godfather trilogy, and The English Patient. But this is only one aspect of his multifaceted interests. As an amateur astrophysicist, Murch has worked to rehabilitate a long-discredited 18th century theory called Titius Bode, which considers how planets and moons array themselves in gravitational systems across the universe. As an...


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