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"Bad Blood: Battling Cancer in the U.S. and Vietnam" - An Interview with Michelle Hermiston, Ph.D. M.D. of UCSF

By Shoshana Harlem (MSS Intern, Terra Linda High School) 

Dr. Michelle Hermiston,  M.D. Ph.D. is director of the pediatric immunotherapy program at UCSF. She studies blood cancers in children and also works in Vietnam developing infrastructure for pediatric oncology.


  1. What made you interested in doing cancer outreach work in Vietnam? 
I am passionate about curing children with cancer. The cure rates for children with cancer in the United States is approaching 85% due to advances in basic research and clinical trials. However, 80% of children with cancer live in low or middle income countries (LMIC) where outcomes range from 5-40%. 

   2. What infrastructure have you already developed in Vietnam for children with cancer and other blood diseases? 
Our team at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals Oakland and San Francisco have been working with an international team of investigators to improve childhood cancer outcomes. We are using an implementation science approach. So far, we have per…

Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, 3D Animation, and Einstein's Theory of Gravity

By Shoshana Harlem, Terra Linda High School
http://marinscienceseminar.com/ai-vr-3d-amazing-applications-for-understanding-physics-with-david-levitt-ph-d-9-25-19/




Virtual reality is when a computer generates an artificial simulation. By simulating a person's vision and hearing, virtual reality makes a person feel like they are experiencing the video game firsthand. To experience virtual reality, people wear a headset. There are two main reasons why people use virtual reality. One is for entertainment and gaming (E.g.: computer and video games, 3D movies) because it helps create and enhance an imaginary reality. Virtual reality is also used to help train for real-life situations by creating a simulation. This helps people be able to practice the situation beforehand, and therefore be prepared if and when the situation comes up in real life. Pilots often use flight simulators to train for real-life situations.

     Augmented reality is a technology that uses computer-generated enhance…

AI, VR, & 3D: Amazing Applications for Understanding Physics

Marin Science Seminar for Teens & Community presents a free event:

AI, VR, & 3D: Amazing Applications for Understanding Physics” (plus learn about Swift mobile software development) with David Levitt of Pantomime Corp.

Date: Wed. September 25th, 2019; 7:30 – 8:30 pm at Terra Linda HS in San Rafael, Room 207

Dr. Levitt will present on augmented/virtual reality and Artifical Intelligence, and will show how 3D animation helps us visualize Einstein’s theory of gravity. He will also give a pep talk about becoming a self-taught Swift mobile software developer.

Dr. David Levitt is a cognitive scientist, artificial intelligence researcher, virtual and augmented reality innovator, mobile software developer, entrepreneur, physicist and writer. He was on the founding team of the MIT Media Laboratory, on the team at VPL Research that created the first commercial virtual reality systems, and he was a co-founder of Atari research laboratories. Levitt’s doctoral thesis ‘A Representation for Mus…

Fall 2019 Marin Science Seminar schedule

Marin Science Seminar - Fall 2019Join us and Learn!  Please share if appropriate. We have targeted extra credit forms available at all sessions. We will send out a more detailed email about the talks before each presentation. More details can be found at marinscienceseminar.com. Download the Fall 2019 flyer here. SEPTEMBER 2019 20:  MSS internship application deadline25: "AI, VR, & 3D: Amazing Applications for Understanding Physics" (plus learn about Swift mobile software development) with David Levitt  Sci.D. of Pantomime Corp. OCTOBER 9: "Bad Blood: Battling Cancer in the U.S. and Vietnam" with  Michelle Hermiston Ph.D. M.D. of UCSF16: "How Dangerous are Microwaves? The physics behind non-ionizing radiation and a tale of two books titled 'Zapped'" with Warren Wiscombe Ph.D. of NASA Goddard NOVEMBER 6: "Let's Learn About Lysosomes!" with Gouri Yogalingam Ph.D. of BioMarin, Novato13: "Star Clusters: Many-Body Gravitational L…

The Deep Roots of Climate Skepticism with Warren Wiscombe PhD

Title: “Merchants of Doubt:The Deeper Roots of Climate Skepticism ” with Warren Wiscombe of NASA-Goddard

Date, Time, Location: Wednesday, February 13th, 2019; 7:30 – 8:30 pm at Terra Linda HS in San Rafael, Room 207

Description:  Climate skepticism often appears superficial — just lazy people who have anointed themselves “climate scientists” without putting in the work required to earn that title.  But there is more to it.  We dig below the surface to uncover the roots of the phenomenon in the 1980s.  After the fall of the Soviet Union and the turn of China toward capitalism, a group of Cold Warrior scientists with no communists left to fight turned their fire instead on environmentalism (which in their minds equated to “big government and regulations”).  These people were strongly rooted in “free-market fundamentalism”, an economic philosophy going back to Friedrich Hayek in the 1940s.  Their rise coincided with that of Ayn Rand and her dramatizations of the woes…

Green Building with Barry Giles CEO of BREEAM - Wed. 1/16/19

Green Building with Barry Giles of BREEAM Title: “Green Building Standards: How to Make Existing Buildings Healthier and Better for the Environment” with Barry Giles of BREEAM
Date, Time, Location: Wednesday, January 16th, 2019; 7:30 – 8:30 pm at Terra Linda HS in San Rafael, Room 207

Description:  Most of us spend about 90 percent of our time inside buildings of one sort or another –homes, offices, schools, or shopping centers. Despite the best endeavors from those involved in building design, construction and operations, buildings have a mostly negative effect on our health and well-being as the occupiers and on the environment. Climate change will have a major effect on how efficient buildings can be – or if they will even stand up to extreme weather events.
While we could just demolish all the existing buildings and start again, that’s not practical. So what can we do to increase our health and well-being and make buildings more resilient? How can we turn all the ‘ugly du…

"The Higgs Boson" - An Interview with Heather Gray, PhD of UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley Labs

By Shoshana Harlem (MSS intern, Terra Linda High School)

Heather Gray is an Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley/Lawrence Berkeley Lab. Her main area of study is the Higgs Boson, but she also focuses on studying silicon pixel detectors and algorithms.



1. What made you want to study the Higgs Boson?
I came to study physics somewhat by chance, but as soon as I heard about particle physics, it was immediately obvious to me that this is something that I find extremely interesting and wanted to study. When I finished my PhD, we were collecting lots of data and I wanted to look for the Higgs boson because it's an important particle and was the only particle missing from the Standard Model.
2. What are the best parts of your job?
 There are many great parts about my job. The privilege of being able to understand deep questions about how the universe works is probably the best. I also get to work with smart people from all over the world and to travel to interesting places.
3. What are the worst …

"Green Building Standards" - An Interview with CEO of BREEAM USA, Barry Giles

by Shoshana Harlem, Terra Linda High School

Barry Giles has worked as an engineer, general contractor, systems operator, and a facilities supervisor. In 2016, he was appointed CEO of BREEAM USA. BREEAM USA is the original green building rating system created in 1990 in the United Kingdom. Barry also helps think of practical approaches to green building.



1. What made you want to work for BREEAM USA? The only realistic 'green building rating system' in use in the USA is the US Green Building Councils' LEED program. For existing buildings that program has many prerequisites that stop many buildings getting into its program. BREEAM dispenses with those prerequisites and allows all buildings to make a start.
2. What are the best parts of your job?    The best parts of my job are working with great buildings and great clients.
3. What are the worst parts of your job?    The worst part of my job is t.ravel
4. What is your practical approach to green building?    My practical approach to g…

Winter - Spring 2019 Marin Science Seminars Announced!

Join us and learn!

Marin Science Seminar sessions take place on Wednesday evenings from 7:30 - 8:30 at Terra Linda High School (320 Nova Albion) Room 207 in San Rafael. See the Contact page for directions.
Download the Winter-Spring 2019 flyer here. - Subscribe to our newsletter to be informed when new events are scheduled. An archive of previous talks 2008 - previous year can be found here: MSS Calendar Archives (opens in a new tab/window)

Winter - Spring 2019 JANUARY
9: “The Higgs Boson” with Heather Gray PhD of UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley Labs16: “Green Building Standards: How to Make Existing Buildings Healthier and Better for the Environment” with Barry Giles, CEO of BREEAM USA FEBRUARY
13: “The Deep Roots of Climate Skepticism: Merchants of Doubt” with Warren Wiscombe PhD of NASA Goddard27:  NEW DATE! “Air Quality in the Bay Area and Around the World” with Kaitlyn Lieschke of Ramboll, Novato MARCH
13: “Dental and Medical Education Simulation Workshop!” with Rich Fidler PhD, …