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Wonderfest is a nonprofit California corporation dedicated to informal science education. Wonderfest inspires and nurtures a deep sense of wonder about the world. Through provocative public discourse about science, Wonderfest stimulates curiosity, promotes careful reasoning, challenges unexamined beliefs, and encourages lifelong learning. Wonderfest achieves these ends primarily through regular public science gatherings in the San Francisco Bay Area and through online science videos. To date, more than 25,000 people have attended Wonderfest events, and more than 1 million have watched Wonderfest videos.
Wonderfest achieved corporate independence in September 2011. During the preceding fourteen years, Wonderfest was an educational project of, first, San Francisco University High School, then, The Branson School. From 1998 to 2010, Wonderfest produced an annual science festival—the first such community-wide event in the United States—that presented a series of expert dialogues on topics of scientific controversy. The topics were varied, covering astronomy, biology, psychology, physics, etc. In 2011, this festival was supplanted by the Bay Area Science Festival, headquartered at the University of California, San Francisco.
Wonderfest, subtitled "The Bay Area Beacon of Science," is dedicated to the memory of Carl Sagan. From 2002 through 2010, and again in 2015, Wonderfest awarded the $5000 Carl Sagan Prize for Science Popularization.
Wonderfest's founding director is Tucker Hiatt, physics teacher and former Stanford Visiting Scholar. Wonderfest's board of directors now guides its development:
- Jacob Bien -- Assistant Professor of Computational Biology and Biological Statistics, Cornell University
- Jack Conte -- Musician, videographer, & Patreon CEO
- Marriner Eccles -- Economist
- Alex Filippenko -- Professor of Astronomy, University of California, Berkeley
- Maribel Fraser -- Emeritus Director of Information Technology, AT&T
- Juliana Gallin -- Author and creator of Ask a Scientist
- Howard Rheingold -- Author and Educator
- Kendra Kramlich -- Financial Modeler, PRJ Holdings
- Robert Strong -- Comedy Magician, San Francisco
- Eric Yao -- Technical Director of Wonderfest and CEO of Picturoo
Emeritus Board Members
- Eugenie Scott, Chair, Advisory Council, National Center for Science Education
- Richard Zare, Professor of Chemistry, Stanford University
- "Sagan Prize Recipients". wonderfest.org. 2011. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
- "Directors". wonderfest.org. 2011. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
- Keay Davidson (August 13, 1998). "Wonderfest - A weekend of scientific debate and lectures". San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco: Hearst. ISSN 1932-8672. Retrieved September 10, 2011.
- "Astronomer Geoff Marcy, Earth's Premier Planet Hunter, Wins Carl Sagan Prize". prnewswire.com (Press release). October 22, 2009. Retrieved September 10, 2011.