Science Speakeasy Presents "Out of This World: From Caves to Space"

May 16, 2017 (PRLEAP.COM) Lifestyle News
May 16, 2017 - To know how far we can go, we have to understand where we have been.

The first Science Speakeasy, "Out of This World: From Caves to Space", will tackle that point as it explores the depths of humanity's past and future. Taking place May 23 from 6-9 pm at Public Works, Science Speakeasy will mix drinks, food, music and hands-on experiments with interactive expert talks.

Alia Gurtov, paleoanthropologist and "underground astronaut", will kick off the discussion portion of the event talking about her discovery of Homo naledi fossils in the Rising Star Cave in South Africa. During her time in South Africa, Gurtov often worked in extreme conditions, more than 90 feet underground and in 98% humidity, squeezing herself and ancient, delicate fossils through the tightest of spaces.

The discovery of the Homo naledi fossils marked the discovery of a whole new hominin species, and it shed new light on what it meant to be human.

"Many people are interested in understanding human nature," said Gurtov. "By studying where we came from, especially the variability in our ancestors' experiences, we come to understand that the variability and flexibility we see today is the essence of human nature."

Joining Gurtov to discuss the future of humanity as it relates to space will be Ariel Waldman, founder of and author of "What's it Like in Space?"

Waldman sits on the council for NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts and is on a mission to make science and space exploration disruptively accessible to all. She founded her website with the aim of providing a directory of ways to participate in space exploration and hopes to enlighten others on clever ways that they can contribute to the furthering of science and space exploration.

As a former art school student, Waldman never dreamed she would stumble into an opportunity with NASA and is living proof that anyone can get involved with space. Her belief is that by actively "doing" science, people can change their roles from observation to participation.

"Working at NASA really changed my own relationship with science," said Waldman. "Doing something changes the way you see it."

Science Speakeasy, presented by The Leakey Foundation, was designed to inspire enthusiasm for science in a fun, spirited and accessible way, providing people with the ability to socialize and meet new friends.

"Science, especially evolution, impacts our lives significantly," said Arielle Johnson, Outreach Coordinator for the Leakey Foundation. "Bringing together experts from different backgrounds to explore the intricate connections of our past, present and future in this type of environment is extremely exciting."

WHO: The Leakey Foundation

WHAT: Science Speakeasy Event Series

WHERE: Public Works - 161 Erie Street, San Francisco, CA 94103

WHEN: "Out of this World: From Caves to Space" - Tuesday, May 23 from 6-9 pm

COST: $10 Advance / $15 at the Door (Ages 21+ With Valid ID)


INFO: Visit for additional details; Call 415.561.4646 or email

About The Leakey Foundation:
The Leakey Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to funding scientific research that explores the many facets of human origins and sharing the results of this research through our innovative educational programs. Based in San Francisco, California, The Leakey Foundation is the only U.S. funding organization wholly committed to human origins research and education throughout the world, awarding more than $800,000 annually in field and laboratory grants for vital new research and long-term projects.

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