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The Science of Happiness

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We all want to be happy. But how? Learn the most provocative & practical lessons from studies about the roots of a genuinely happy life.

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The Science of Happiness

Wednesday, July 28th | 6:00 – 7:00 pm (PT)

Featuring: Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D.; Science Director, Greater Good Science Center

We all want to be happy, and there are countless ideas about what happiness is and how we can get some. But not many of those ideas are based on science. This presentation will share some of the most provocative and practical lessons from studies about the roots of a genuinely happy life, and shed light on how findings from cutting-edge research can be applied to your own life. We will zero in on a core finding: that true happiness is inextricably linked to having strong social connections and contributing to something bigger than yourself—the greater good, and dispel some common, often counterproductive myths about where happiness comes from. Drawing from fields like psychology, neuroscience, medicine, and evolutionary biology, we will survey the biological systems and behaviors that support the pro-social states and experiences that foster happiness, and discuss some practical strategies for tapping into and nurturing your own.

About our Speaker:

Emiliana Simon-Thomas, PhD is the Science Director at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. She oversees the student research fellowship program, runs key initiatives like Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude, and co-teaches both GG101x: The Science of Happiness massive open online course (MOOC) and the Science of Happiness at Work Professional Certificate Series. She serves as an expert voice on human pro-sociality, as well as empirically-supported approaches to fostering kindness, resilience, and overall well-being at individual, interpersonal, and collective levels. Alongside her academic and popular publications Emiliana co-edited the transdisciplinary Oxford Handbook of Compassion Science authored by leading world-class researchers. She also directs the Network for Emotional Well-being, and advises organizations - both from a product and policy perspective - on why and how to promote well-being in internal and public-facing ways. In sum, Emiliana’s work shares scientific insights and practical tools for strengthening the skills of connection, positivity, and resilience that measurably and reliably increase health, well-being, and happiness.

About Science at Cal Lecture Series:

Originating in 2009, the Science at Cal Lecture Series features in-depth public science lectures from renowned UC Berkeley researchers. These talks are free, open to the public, and are geared towards lay audiences.

About Science at Cal:

In 2008, Science at Cal was envisioned as a unifying effort to raise public awareness, understanding and appreciation of scientific research at Berkeley. To realize this vision, we engage the vast Berkeley STEM community as science communicators and foster creative collaborations among campus and community-based groups who share our commitment to equity and inclusion in STEM education and careers.

Science at Cal connects UC Berkeley STEM researchers with diverse community groups of all ages and backgrounds, for science engagement and learning. Accessibility, inclusiveness, creativity and innovation are hallmarks of Science at Cal events, which reach tens of thousands of people annually.


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Science at Cal connects UC Berkeley STEM researchers with diverse community groups of all ages and backgrounds, for science engagement and learning. Accessibility, inclusiveness, creativity and innovation are hallmarks of Science at Cal events, which reach tens of thousands of people annually.

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