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Watson Lecture: The Dance of Life: How Do We Become Ourselves?

Wednesday, November 2, 2022
7:30pm to 8:30pm
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Online and In-Person Event
Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, Bren Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering, Division of Biology and Biological Engineering,
  • Public Event

Human and animal embryos are built from three types of stem cell that are established by the sixth day after fertilization and before the embryo implants into the womb. These three stem cell types can also be grown indefinitely in cell culture. In her lecture, Zernicka-Goetz will describe how she and her research group have been able to assemble embryo models not from eggs and sperm but from these stem cell types, and what those models are teaching us about human development.

This lecture will be presented in a hybrid format, allowing for both virtual viewers and in-person attendees. No advance registration is required for either format but you may sign up for event reminders here.

How to watch online
The lecture can be viewed via live stream on or on Caltech's YouTube channel. Virtual viewers can submit questions for the lecturer through the YouTube chat feed. Select questions will be answered after the lecture, during the audience Q&A.

How to attend in person
Local participants can attend the lecture inside Caltech's Beckman Auditorium. Doors open at 7:00p.m. By entering the auditorium, attendees attest to being fully vaccinated or having a legal medical exemption. Masks are optional inside Beckman Auditorium. In-person attendees can ask questions during the audience Q&A immediately following the program.

About the Series
The 2022–2023 season marks the centennial of The Earnest C. Watson Lecture Series, which has brought Caltech's most innovative scientific research to the public since the Friday Evening Demonstrations premiered in October of 1922. The series is named for Earnest C. Watson, a professor of physics at Caltech from 1919 until 1959. The Watson Lectures are geared toward a general audience, as part of the Institute's ongoing commitment to benefiting the local community through education and outreach.

Many past Watson Lectures are available on YouTube.

For more information, please contact The Caltech Ticket Office by email at [email protected].