Calendar in the Sky Webinar Series #1
Title: 2012: The Science of the Maya Apocalypse
Presenter: Dr. Bryan Mendez, UC Berkeley
Date: Friday, June 29, 2012
Time: 11am PT/12pm MT/1pm CT/2pm ET
Duration: 90 minutes
Format: Online Webinar (60 min presentation with 30 min discussion period)
A mistaken interpretation of the Long Count calendar used by the ancient Maya of Mesoamerica has led to a popular notion that they predicted the end of the world on December 21st, 2012. Doomsday enthusiasts have imagined a whole host of possible grand finales for the human race, many of which are natural disasters of cosmic origin. This talk will explore the science behind many of the doomsday scenarios as well as the actual nature of the Long Count calendar of the ancient Maya.
Dr. Bryan Mendez is the director of the NASA-funded "Calendar in the Sky" science education project. He hails from Traverse City, Michigan where the dark sky enthralled him from a very early age and inspired him to study astronomy. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1997 with degrees in Astronomy, Physics, and Saxophone Performance. Bryan continued his education at the University of California at Berkeley, where he researched the large scale flow of galaxies in the nearby Universe by measuring their distances. He received a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from UC Berkeley in 2002. Bryan now works at the Center for Science Education at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory to educate and inspire others about the wonder and beauty of the Universe. His work in space science education and public outreach involves developing programs for the public through the web and museums, developing classroom materials for students in K-12 classrooms, and conducting professional development for science educators. Bryan is bicultural, of Mexican and European backgrounds, and strives to foster diverse perspectives in his work.