The Oakland Marriott City Center will be host to the first ever Evolution Expo from June 27th to 29th. While the Bay Area has its healthy share of pop-culture events, this is the first to merge the aspects of Science Fiction alongside Science fact. U.S. astronauts Joe Edwards (pilot, Space Shuttle Endeavour) and Wendy Lawrence (mission specialist Space Shuttles Endeavour, Atlantis, and Discovery) headline a star-studded list of celebrities, astronauts, engineers, along with the next generation of innovators in space exploration. The event's keynote speaker is herself a blend of brilliant scientist and television celebrity - Mayim Bialik (actress, the Big Bang Theory, and Ph.D. in neuroscience).
Joining Bialik and astronauts Edwards and Lawrence at the event for onstage panels, autograph signings, photo opportunities and more are such stars as: Jason Momoa ("Game of Thrones," "Conan," "Stargate: Atlantis"), Amanda Tapping ("Stargate SG-1," "Sanctuary," "Stargate: Atlantis"), John Rhys-Davies ("Lord of the Rings,", "Indiana Jones," "Sliders"), Tim Russ ("Star Trek: Voyager"), Kevin Sorbo ("Hercules: The Legendary Journeys," "Andromeda"), Tom Skerritt ("Alien," "Top Gun," "MASH"), Veronica Cartwright ("Alien," "Invasion of the Body Snatchers), and Garrett Wang ("Star Trek: Voyager," "Star Trek: Of Gods and Men," "Star Trek: Renegades").
Also confirmed to participate in workshops and onstage presentations to date are: Dr. Pascal Lee, planetary scientist and founder of the Mars Institute; Dr. Chris McKay, planetary scientist; Dr. John Jaquish, bio-medical engineer; Dr. Jenn Fletcher, molecular biologist; Celeste Yarnall, Ph.D.: and Blaze Sanders, engineer.
"Evolution Expo is the next generation of events, bringing our audience a chance to learn about the real science behind the science fiction they love," observes Julie Caitlin Brown, CEO of Science Fiction Entertainment (SFE). "We are committed to inspiring our attendees to know more about STEM outreach, (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and to create opportunities for greater learning in the Bay Area."
As a result of their commitment to education, Evolution Expo has garnered the support of Tony Leavitt, Educational Specialist for NASA Ames and will feature a specific educational program named Evo-Kids. Evo-Kids is open to general attendees all three days, and also will welcome 900 fourth- and fifth-grade students from the Oakland Unified School District, who are sponsored guests of the Expo.
Evo-Kids participants will be able to hear directly from the event's planetary scientists on Mars exploration, what it is really like to be in space from the astronauts and can take part in a variety of hands-on activities at the Expo. Those activities include a Think Tank focused on solving the challenges facing human flights to Mars; a Brainstorm Room where kids collaborate with each other, guided by real scientists; a Build Your Own Gravity Data Board workshop which controls robots; and visits to the Chabot Space and Science Center's planetarium exhibit at the event. Evo-Kids also will have opportunities to take photos with astronauts and/or meet the celebrities who work in science fiction.
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