SCIENCE for MONKS

creating science learning communities with tibetan buddhist monastics since 2001

Tibetan Monastic Science Leaders

Monastic Graduates & Dialogues

Workshop Faculty

David Presti

Senior Lecturer, University of California Berkeley

David E. Presti is a neuroscientist at the University of California in Berkeley, where he has taught in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology for nearly twenty years. For many years he also worked as a clinical psychologist in the treatment of addiction and of post-traumatic-stress disorder (PTSD) at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Francisco, where he treated thousands of individuals for these conditions. His areas of expertise include the chemistry of the human nervous system, the effects of drugs on the brain and the mind, and the treatment of addiction. He has doctorates in molecular biology and biophysics from the California Institute of Technology and in clinical psychology from the University of Oregon. He teaches large undergraduate courses at UC Berkeley on the subjects of "Brain, Mind, and Behavior", "Drugs and the Brain", and "Molecular Neurobiology and Neurochemistry," as well as small seminar classes on "Music and the Mind" (for freshmen) and "From Synaptic Pharmacology to Consciousness" (for molecular-biology and neuroscience graduate students), and has received multiple University awards for teaching. His primary research interest is the relation between mental phenomena (such as what is called consciousness) and brain physiology, the so-called mind-body problem.

Linda Shore

Director, Teacher Institute, Exploratorium

Linda Shore was born, raised, and educated in San Francisco. While taking an undergraduate astronomy course she discovered her interest in physics and astronomy. She earned a master's degree in physics from San Francisco State University. While there, she discovered her love for teaching. She was the youngest person in the California State University system ever to teach lecture sections of pre-med physics. In 1986, she moved to Massachusetts to study science education at Boston University. While in Boston, she conducted educational research at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, taught astronomy at Boston University, evaluated educational software, helped design a high school curriculum on fractals in nature, and earned a doctorate in Science Education. She returned to San Francisco and joined the Exploratorium in 1993, where she is now director of the Teacher Institute. Linda is a co-author of The Science Explorer, a series of Exploratorium activity books for children and their parents. When not at the museum, she teaches graduate courses in educational technology at the University of San Francisco and writes science fiction short stories.

David Barker

Senior Artist, Exploratorium

David Barker has worked at the Exploratorium since 1980, and is a Senior Designer and Art Director of Exploratorium Institutional Media. Having studied physics at the University of California at San Diego, David turned an interest in the relationship between science and perception into a studio art degree from UC Santa Barbara. At the Exploratorium, he has created exhibits exploring visual perception and illusions, including Angel Columns, Talking Face-to-Vase, and other "figure-ground" investigations. David's exhibits are currently exhibited in many museums around the world. David has taught several professional development workshops on visual perception and illusions to audiences at home and abroad. He also works with Exploratorium Exhibit Services to help other museums across the country and around the world with their exhibition conception and design.

Paul Doherty

Senior Scientist, Exploratorium

Dr. Paul Doherty is a Ph.D. physicist who graduated from M.I.T in 1974. He then became a professor of physics at Oakland University for a dozen years. For the last 25 years he has been a scientist at the Exploratorium. In 1992 he was the founding director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at the Exploratorium. He is now a senor staff scientist and the co-director of the Teacher Institute at the Exploratorium. In 2002, the national Association of Science Teachers presented him with the Faraday Award for Excellence in Science Teaching. Dr. Doherty has authored many books including the Exploratorium Science Snackbook, and the million-selling Explorabook. In 2011, he taught a 2-week course for Tibetan monks and nuns in India during a meeting of the Sager Science Leadership Institute.

Emiliana Simon-Thomas

Associate Director of CCARE, Senior Research Scientist, Stanford University

Emiliana Simon-Thomas earned her Ph.D. in Cognition Brain and Behavior at University of California, Berkeley. Her doctoral research investigated the interplay between emotion and cognition, and reported important, sometimes paradoxical influences that negative states can have on thinking cognitive processes. Using behavioral, EEG and fMRI methods, she showed that negative states facilitate some kinds of thinking (right hemisphere dominant), and hinder others (left hemisphere dominant). Transitioning towards a focus on how thought processes (appraisal, self-regulation) affect a broader range of emotions, and on the biological underpinnings of positive and pro-social states, Dr. Simon-Thomas studied love of humanity and compassion during her postdoc, mentored by Dr. Dacher Keltner at the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. From emotion signaling, perception and self-report to peripheral autonomic and neural activation during induced emotion, Emiliana's research with CCARE continues to examine the conceptual nature, experiential properties, biological correlates, and cultivation potential for pro-social states like compassion, as well as related acts of altruism.

Duke Tsering

Principal, Tibetan Children’s Village, Selakui

Duke Tsering is a master teacher and principle of Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) school in Selakui. A graduate of TCV Dharamshala, Duke went on to earn a B.S. and teaching credential from Chandigarh University. Duke also completed (non-degree) graduate studies under a fulbright scholarship at the University of North Carolina (1992/1993). For over 20 years, Duke has served as a senior teacher of biological and physical sciences for TCV. Duke is well known in the Tibetan community for his leadership and dedication to teaching and learning. Duke has also served as a translator for several of the early Science for Monks workshops, and more recently has provided simultaneous translation for Tibetan audience members during meetings between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and western scientists.

Geshe Lhakdor

Director, Library of Tibetan Works & Archives

Geshe Lhakdor is the director of the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives in Dharamshala India. A distinguished Buddhist scholar, he was the English translator for His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, from 1989 to 2005. He has co-translated and co-produced several books by the Dalai Lama. From 1976 to 1986, Lhakdor studied specialized Buddhist philosophy in the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics, Dharamshala and received the Master of Prajnaparamita in 1982. He also received the Master of Madhyamika in 1989 and the Master of Philosophy from the University of Delhi. Since 2002, Geshe Lhakdor has been an Honorary Professor at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. In 2008, he was also conferred an Honorary Professorship by the University of Delhi, Department of Psychology.

Bryce Johnson

Staff Scientist, Exploratorium

Project Manager, Science for Monks

Bryce Johnson has 10-years of experience directing and implementing inquiry-based professional development institutes for the Science for Monks program in India, and is currently a Scientist in Residence at the Exploratorium. He received a B.S. in 1997 and M.S. in 1999 from the University of California, Santa Barbara in Mechanical Engineering. During this time he developed a personal interest in science and philosophy. Bryce lived in Dharamshala for two years from 1999-2001 where he helped start the Tibetan Libraries science education initiative. During this time he began a deep appreciation for Buddhist philosophy and sharing western science with Tibetan monastic scholars. In 2007, he completed a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Johnson has worked as a scientist for the California Environmental Protection Agency on water quality issues related to mercury contamination in Northern California. In 2008 he worked as an IC Postdoctoral Fellow at Texas A&M University at the Laboratory for Oceanographic and Environmental Research in Galveston, Texas. Bryce's academic research focuses on issues related to water quality with an emphasis on the connection between humans and their impact on natural and engineered environments. At the Exploratorium, Dr. Johnson works with Exploratorium’s Teacher Institute on professional development for middle and high school teachers, and with the Outdoor Exploratorium developing exhibit ideas that connect visitors with the San Francisco Bay. His teaching interests focus on environmental sciences with an emphasis on the connection between humans and their impact on aquatic environments.

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