Two talks in the Old Dominion!

By Phil Plait | September 26, 2012 12:30 pm

This week sees me returning to the state I grew up in: Virginia.

I’ll be at James Madison University Thursday, September 27 to give my "2012: We’re All (not) Gonna Die!" talk – basically destroying the Mayan December 21, 2012 apocalypse nonsense – at 7:00 p.m at the Wilson Hall Auditorium. Admission is free and open to the public.

The talk is sponsored by the John C. Wells Planetarium, JMU Department of Physics & Astronomy, College of Science & Mathematics, and the JMU Center for STEM Education & Outreach. They even made the awesome poster seen here! [Click to Kukulkanenate.]

Then, the next day – Friday, September 28 – I’ll be at my alma mater, the University of Virginia, to be the keynote speaker for the 2012 Forum for Interdisciplinary Dialogue called "Fact, Fiction, and Supposition"! I’m honored to be a part of this event sponsored by the Jefferson Scholars Foundation and the Jefferson Graduate Fellows at the University of Virginia.

That talk is also open to the public, and will be at 16:00 at The Jefferson Scholars Foundation Hall. They’ve set up a Facebook page for the event if you like that sort of thing. My good friend Dr. Nicole Gugliucci (and UVa alumna) will be speaking the next day there, too!

I haven’t been back to central Virginia in a good long time, so it’ll be nice to see it again. I hope the trees are turning now! And I hope to see some of you Wahoos there, too.

Related Posts:

If the Mayans were right, it was probably about Internet comments
Re-cycled Mayan calendar nonsense
MSNBC interview: 2012, the year the Earth doesn’t end. Again.


Comments (14)

  1. RAF

    Darn you Phil,

    Just when I think you had “gone Hollywood”, you destroy that opinion by going and giving a free talk…

    Neat-o poster…

  2. Callie

    Not many leaves turning yet from what I’ve seen. Will be great to have you back in Virginia. Looking forward to your talk!

  3. Chris

    Just for kicks, you should end your talk with
    And in conclusion this is why the world ending in 2012 is complete nonsense. On the other hand, in 2013 we’re completely screwed.

  4. George Martin

    I hope the trees are turning now!

    Sorry Phil but I think that you might disappointed. From the Waynesboro side of Afton mountain, there seems to be no significant turning to fall colors. But I have no idea what might be happening along the Blue Ridge around Harrisonburg, Va.

    Alas, although a half hour away, I don’t think that I can make the Charlottesville talk.


  5. Meskine

    Phil, where in Virginia did you grow up? I’m a Lexington boy myself. Even though I’ve been in Texas for over 30 years, I still consider Lexington “home”. Alas, I’ll be missing your talks by about a month.

  6. Elwoodius

    “Perfect for the budding scientist in your family. He will be available afterword to autograph his book.”

    Sorry to be a pendant, but the budding scientist in my family hasn’t written any books…

    Shame I’m so far away – I’d like to hear this talk!

  7. Good to see you earlier! :)

  8. I’ll be there with bells on, so-to-speak, just have to figure out the parking situation… If it’s clear I might bring a solar scope or 2…
    Hi, Callie! :^D
    I’m from Lexington too! Graduated LHS in ’68. My dad taught history at VMI.

  9. Thanks for the plug, Phil!

    Hi Rich and Callie! So I’ve been told that parking is limited at the Jefferson Foundation, but just down the block is the stadium parking and that’s all open to anyone after 5pm. Look forward to seeing you again!

  10. j patrick

    Nice poster,Phil. Did u do the layout?


  11. Captn Tommy

    A. Admission Free, Open To The Public, Phil Plait…

    1. YOU are speaking
    2. You have a poster for it.
    3. Admission is Free

    Do you really need to say Open To The Public?

    B. It has been known for years that the Mayan calendar resets. wouldn’t it be more entertaining to wait until Dec. 22d and have a good laugh? Though if your talks are as good as your Blog, I can see why peaople would like to hear you kick a dead horse. (now there’s a silly phrase).

  12. mike burkhart

    Good but I think it for nothing, because when the world dose not end in December of 2012 they will just set the next date , and when the world dose’nt end the next,the next, the next,the next,the next,the next,the next. All the way to 1 billon years form now when the red giant sun ends the world .

  13. Martín Pereyra

    I might be pedantic, but I think that at this point, it should be a well-known fact among those interested in this stuff that the artifact depicted in the poster is not Maya but Aztec (Mexica, more specifically).

  14. I think skeptics are sometimes guilty of swinging too far in the other direction of what they are trying to refute. They rightly poke holes in the evidence of say, sasquatch claims, by examining and rejecting the so-called evidence and proving hoaxes. But then they say: “Sasquatch (definitively) does not exist”.

    But it all hinges on the amount and quality of evidence. The more scientific approach would be to say: “There is no reputable evidence for sasquatch. I will believe it when I see it.”

    “We are all (not) going to die” is another definitive statement that ignores the fact that, depending on what we are talking about, really really bad stuff can ALWAYS happen! The issue is: what evidence is there for Dec 21st in particular? The answer, as Phil is great at pointing out, turns out to be: not much. Nothing from the Maya, nothing from astronomy or geology. But that doesn’t mean something COULD NOT happen. Lots of “apocalyptic” things can always happen, every single day, including today. The question, from a scientist’s pov is: do we have enough evidence to go from “possible” to “likely”?


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