Lots of great science events going on in Los Angeles in October. Why not check one or more of them out?

October 4, 5pm: Dino Hall talks at the Natural History Museum.

Justin Hall is a Ph.D. student in the Human and Evolutionary Biology Program at the University of Southern California. Justin worked on a number of the 3D models in the Dinosaur Hall including creating the digital models for the Parasaurolophus skull and airway animation, and the Tyrannosaurus rex feeding animations. He also constructed the digital brain reconstruction for Thomas the T. rex, which was then rapidly prototyped and put on display. Come hear how advances in medical technology inform today's understanding of dinosaur biology.

Free! More information and other dino talks here.

October 7, 7:30pm: All Space Considered at the Griffith Observatory.

All Space Considered is the Griffith Observatory's free program on the first Friday of every month in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon theater. This month will be extra special as physicist Lisa Randall of Harvard will be present to discuss her new book Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World. In it, Randall "examines some of the biggest, most powerful and technologically advanced experiments recently created in particle physics and cosmology while exploring the underlying nature of science." There will be also be a signing.

Additional topics for this month: falling space junk, new exoplanets, faster-than-light neutrinos, and as always, the October sky report. More information here.

October 9, 6pm: Categorically Not!

Categorically Not! is a talk series that is near and dear to me, as it is organized by my own former science journalism professor, K.C. Cole. Categorically Not! is a series of Sunday evenings talks that are dedicated to explore the intersections of art, science, and politics. It is inspired by artist Bob Miller's quotation: "The worst disease afflicting humankind is the hardening of the categories."

October's theme is Seeing:

We don’t believe what we see; we see what we believe. Seeing the unfamiliar is extremely difficult and the artists and scientists who help us open windows to new worlds deserve our deepest gratitude. Our special October 9th Categorically Not! features presenters who are each masters at the art and science of seeing the unseen.

The speakers this month are:

  • Shelley Claridge, a chemist at the California NanoSystems Institute a UCLA, who will talk about how you see the world around you, why you can't see something as small as an atom, and how technology allows us to do just that.
  • Writer, actor and science communicator Alan Alda, who has written a new place that will open at the Geffen Playhouse on November 1 called "Radiance," about Marie Curie. "The trick was to see her as she was: not simply a heroic icon, but a three dimensional woman who was as passionate about the two men she loved as she was about science."
  • Nancy Linehan Charles, an award-winning actress and a director, who is taking the Bard to the streets, and has orchestrated a MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM flashmob on the Venice Boardwalk. She believes that the "mission of art is to disturb the peace."

The event takes place at the Santa Monica Art Studios, 3026 Airport Ave, Santa Monica, CA. Come at 6pm for refreshments and wander the studios. Program begins at 6:30pm. They ask a for an $8 donation to cover expenses. More information here.

October 11, 7:30pm: Deepak Chopra and theoretical physicist Leonard Mlodinow will engage in conversation with Patt Morrison about Science and Spirituality.

The event will take place at All Saints Church, 132 North Euclid Ave. Pasadena, CA, and is co-sponsored by KCET & KPCC.

How did the universe emerge? What is the nature of time? What is life? What makes us human? What is the connection between mind and brain? Bestselling authors Deepak Chopra and Leonard Mlodinow first met in a televised Caltech debate on "the future of God," one an articulate advocate for spirituality, the other a prominent physicist. War of the Worldviews: Science versus Spirituality is the product of that serendipitous encounter and the contentious--but respectful--clash that grew out of the friendship between these two great thinkers. See them live as they probe the fundamental questions that define the human experience.

More information here, and $20 tickets here.

October 22, 9:30am: Take the kids fossil hunting at Silverado Canyon with the Natural History Museum Education Department!

Search for marine fossils with Lindsey Groves, the Museum's Collection Manager of Malacology (mollusks). This rich fossil site is a great place to get some dirt under your fingernails. Record your fossils as Museum scientists do. Bring a bag for your best finds.

Participants provide their own transportation. Appropriate for kids in second grade and up, accompanied by an adult. Cost: NHM Members $29, Nonmembers $39. Call (213) 763-3348 or e-mail educate@nhm.org to register. More information and other NHM field trips, here.

October 25, 5pm: What Makes a Bird a Dinosaur? at the Natural History Museum.

Dr. Luis M. Chiappe is Director of the NHM's Dinosaur Institute. He has conducted extensive research on a wide range of topics related to the evolution of dinosaurs, from their reproductive behavior to their evolutionary connection with birds. He is considered a world’s authority in the origin and early evolution of birds, two issues that are core of his research and that of his postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. Join him as he sheds light on the evidence that supports the idea that dinosaurs are not extinct — that birds are the living descendants of dinosaurs.

Free! More information and other dino talks here.

November 1, 8pm: Rebecca Skloot talks HeLa at UCLA

Rebecca Skloot (web, twitter) will be at UCLA discussing her (fantastic) book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, followed by a book signing.

Skloot’s bestselling work—10 years in the making—was selected as the 2011-12 UCLA Common Book, given to every incoming freshman and transfer student, who will read and participate in related activities as part of intellectual community-building programs.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, her debut book, took more than a decade to research and write, and instantly became a New York Times best-seller. She has been featured on numerous television shows, including CBS Sunday Morning, The Colbert Report, Fox Business News, and others. Named a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick for Spring 2010 and awarded the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, The Immortal Life received widespread critical acclaim, with reviews appearing in The New Yorker, Washington Post, Science, Entertainment Weekly, People, and many others. Currently, The Immortal Life is being made into an HBO movie produced by Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball.

I heard Rebecca talk last year at CSUN, and can tell you that if you haven't yet attended one of her talks, you are seriously missing out.

Tickets are free for UCLA faculty, staff, and students, and $20 for everyone else. More information, and tickets: here.

Griffith Observatory photo by the author.