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San Diego - Festival of Science & Engineering

  • downtown library 330 Park Blvd San Diego, CA United States (map)

Join us for five true, personal stories about science in our first show in San Diego! Doors open at 7, stories begin at 7:30.

This program is jointly supported by the NSF/NASA Center for Chemical Evolution and the NSF Center for Aerosol Impacts on Climate and the Environment in partnership with the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering.

Stories by:

In 2000, Milo Shapiro left fifteen years in Information Technology to pursue his then-ten-year passion: applying improvisation to business practices and personal development.  He leads teambuilding events using improv games and gives highly-interactive motivational speeches where he gets the whole audience playing.  His customized “IMPROVfessionals” duo presentation is an improv “keynote show” that uses ten improv games to prove ten points on sales, management, teamwork, and other topics. In 2004, Milo launched the coaching side of his business “Public Dynamics”, helping individuals become more prepared, polished and powerful when speaking. A speech based on his book “Public Speaking: Get A’s, Not Zzzzzz’s!” provides a fresh voice on this old topic. Its sequel “Public Speaking for TEENS: Get A’s, Not Zzzzzz’s!” hit #2 on Amazon.  The entertaining “The Worst Days Make The BEST Stories!” is also a fun, light read with life lessons.  Visit for more.


Ramanarayanan Krishnamurthy received his B.Sc. in chemistry from Vivekananda College (University of Madras) in 1984 and M.Sc. in Chemistry (1986) from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. He obtained his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, Columbus in 1992 under the guidance of Professor David Hart. Captivated by a lecture given by Professor Albert Eschenmoser (OSU, 1990), he did his post-doctoral work at Swiss Federal Institute (ETH), Zürich, with Professor Eschenmoser. Following a NASA-NSCORT fellowship (1994-1996) with Professor Gustaf Arrhenius at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD, La Jolla, he rejoined Professor Eschenmoser at the Skaggs Institute of Chemical Biology at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla in 1996, spawning a nearly 13-year research-collaboration. He is currently an Associate Professor of Chemistry at TSRI applying synthetic organic chemistry to understand the chemistry behind the origins of life – and, in the process, developing molecular tools to probe biology and novel molecular leads for chemical therapeutics.


Matt Hartings is a chemist who works at American University. When he's not being bossed around by chairs and deans and provosts, he's more than happy to be bossed around by his wife and three kids. Matt's research involves putting nanoparticles inside of polymers to make new stuff that does new kinds of things. He also loves food. And the science of food. He's currently writing a book on kitchen chemistry and will be speaking about a little of that today.


Susan D. Richardson is the Arthur Sease Williams Professor of Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of South Carolina.  Prior to coming to USC in January 2014, she was a Research Chemist for several years at the U.S. EPA’s National Exposure Research Laboratory in Athens, GA.  For the last several years, Susan has been conducting research in drinking water—specifically in the study of toxicologically important disinfection by-products (DBPs). Susan is the recipient of the 2008 American Chemical Society Award for Creative Advancements in Environmental Science & Technology, has received an honorary doctorate from Cape Breton University in Canada (2006), serves as an Associate Editor of Water Research and on the Editorial Advisory Board of Environmental Science & Technology, Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, Journal of Hazardous Materials, Environmental Science and Pollution Research, and Journal of Environmental Sciences.  Susan has published more than 130 journal articles and book chapters and has written two ongoing invited biennial reviews for the journal Analytical Chemistry—on Emerging Contaminants in Water Analysis and Environmental Mass Spectrometry, She has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Emory University and a B.S. in Chemistry & Mathematics from Georgia College & State University.


Kimberly Prather holds a joint appointment in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego since 2001. She is the founding Director of the Center for Aerosol Impacts on Climate and the Environment (CAICE), a National Science Foundation Center for Chemical Innovation. The Center focuses on developing a better understanding of how the chemistry of atmospheric aerosol particles influences their impacts on clouds, climate, and water resources.

Her research focuses on identifying the major sources of air pollution and the impact on human health and climate.  She has authored over 180 scientific publications focusing on issues related to air quality and climate change.  Her research has been highlighted by Scientific American, Discover Magazine, LA Times, New York Times, CBS Evening News, CNN, Al Jazeera, and Wired, among a number of other media outlets. She has served on a number of advisory boards including as an advisor to the Director of Geosciences at National Science Foundation, National Academy of Sciences Board for Atmospheric Science and Climate, and the EPA PM2.5 subcommittee. She has received numerous awards and is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science, American Geophysical Union, and Association for the Advancement of Arts and Sciences. 


Brian Wecht is a theoretical physicist with a degree in jazz composition, and the keyboardist and ninja half of the band Ninja Sex Party. Their third album, Attitude City, topped the Billboard comedy charts in July 2015. He was a physics professor at Queen Mary, University of London before departing for the sunnier LA entertainment industry in 2015. He is @BWecht and

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