University of California, Riverside

Palm Desert Center


Events and Programs at UCR Palm Desert

Enjoy the 2016-2017 academic year with great lectures, films, and programs to interest, inspire, and intrigue inquisitive minds of all ages. Most events are held in our auditorium exceptions are indicated below. RSVP's are highly encouraged. All pre-registered guests will be seated first. 

UCR Boyd Deep Canyon Lecture Series 2016-2017 

This free lecture series investigates the world around us. Facilitated by Dr. Allan Muth, director, Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Research Center, University of California, Riverside, each free discussion is brought to you in partnership with UCR Palm Desert and The Living Desert. 

6pm-Nov. 10, 2016:  A Big Brain: How'd We Get It and What Do You Feed It ? 
  • Two lectures in one! Discussions by Dr. Christopher Hancock and Dr. Joseph Scherger will look at the care and maintenance of our minds, and how we got these big human brains anyway. RSVP now!
6pm-Dec. 08, 2016: Sand Dunes and Lizards: Two Species, Two Ways To Do Things
  • This lecture by Dr. Allan Muth will look at two species of sand lizards - the Coachella Valley fringe-toed lizard and the Namibia Desert's Shovel Snouted Lizard - that have different solutions to living in harsh dune systems. RSVP now!
6pm-Jan.12, 2017: In the Shadow of a Lizard: Endemic Reptiles of Namibia
  • Dr. Jill Heaton will discuss her work with five lizard species in Namibia, currently understudied and threatened by the illegal reptile pet trade, and share opportunities for reptile conservation and education. RSVP now!
6pm-Feb. 09, 2017: Forensic Entomology: Bugs in the Legal System
  • Insects at crime scenes can often provide important clues about when a person died, what happened to the body following death, and other aspects surrounding the investigation. This overview by David Faulkner will include several case studies. RSVP now!
6pm-Mar. 09, 2017: Science and Management of the Desert Tortoise
  • The desert tortoise has been considered a threatened species since 1989. But after more than 25 years and millions of dollars, populations of desert tortoise continue to trend downward. Dr. C. Richard Tracy will discuss some solutions to the problem. RSVP now!

Are We Alone? Lecture Series 2016-2017 

The search for alien life is defining a new era of space exploration, from Mars and icy moons in our solar system to Earth-like planets orbiting distant stars. Learn how scientists hope to find life beyond Earth, and what that might mean for humanity.
Our Cosmic Origins: Stars, Galaxies, and the Stuff of Life

6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1: Lecture by Bahram Mobasher, UCR professor of physics and astronomy, followed by a Star Party with the UCR Astronomy Division and the Riverside Astronomical Society. RSVP now! 

Alternative Earths: How Earth's Past Guides NASA's Search for Life 

6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017: Lecture by Tim Lyons, UCR professor of biogeochemistry, followed by a celestial viewing. RSVP now! 

Mars 2020 and Beyond: Will We Find Life on the Red Planet?

6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017: Lecturer TBD, followed by a panel discussion on colonizing the Solar System. RSVP now!

Galactic Discoveries: Delving into the Early Universe

6 p.m. Tuesday, March 14, 2017: Lecture by Brian Siana, assistant professor of physics and astronomy, followed by a space-themed musical performance. RSVP now! 

Alien Planets: Are there Other Earths Lurking in Our Galaxy? 

6 p.m. Thursday, April 6, 2017: Lecturer TBD. RSVP now!

Ongoing Art Exhibition 

Animal Magnetism: October. 20 - December 15, 2016

Don't miss Animal Magnetism, a show featuring 11 Coachella Valley artists under the influence of animal magnetism in every form. Featured artists include William Dey, Tim Townsley, Curt Miller, Sofia Enriquez, Arslane Merabet, James Schnepf, Diane Morgan, Peter Palladino, Nalani Hernandez-Melo, Gary Kott, Karen & Tony Barone. 

UCR Book Club

Our monthly book club meetings are free and open to every adult in the community. Genres will change every month, and there is no obligation -- just come whenever a book strikes your fancy! Meetings are facilitated by our Master of Fine Arts creative writing program students. Join us for a lively, educational chat about books in a fun, casual atmosphere. Book club meets in room A206 at UCR Palm Desert. Parking is free. For more information including books that will be discussed, email Maggie Downs at

Previous Events and Programs 2016-2017

Read about some of the lectures, films, and events that were held at UCR Palm Desert earlier this academic year. We update our website when we schedule new events and programs. 

Special Events

    • August 9, 2016 - Posthumous film screening: Filmed entirely on location in Berlin, "Posthumous" is a modern-day fairytale that contemplates the values we place on art, life and love. Starring Jack Huston & Brit Marling with Lambert Wilson. This is the first feature film by writer/director Lulu Wang, whose short film "Touch" played ShortFest15. 
    • September 27, 2016 - Visual Storytelling with Jacob ChaseJacob Chase has written films for the Jim Henson Company, Cirque du Soleil, Amazon Studios, and others. Most recently, he won the 2016 Crash the Super Bowl contest with his commercial, Doritos Dogs. 
    • October 01, 2016 - Sustainable Landscaping Workshop: Discussions will focus on drought-proof landscaping, desert gardening tips, what to plant when, and desert pollinators. Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer questions, as well as experts from UC Cooperative Extension and UCR. Click here for the Power Point presentation.
    • October 15, 2016 - Desert Garden Community Day: Learn from experts how to create and maintain a desert-friendly garden and reduce your water requirements at the 11th Annual Desert Garden Community Day. Presented by Desert Horticultural Society of the Coachella Valley.
    • October 17, 2016 - An Evening with Andrea Wulf: Andrea Wulf, the bestselling author of several acclaimed books, will discuss the extraordinary life of the visionary German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) and how he created the way we understand nature today. 

Lit Flicks


This season  had a fun twist: All of the movies are based on feature articles, not books, so it was easy for everyone to join in and read the works that inspired these films. Moderated by author and critic Tod Goldberg.
  • Argo:   6 p.m. Wednesday, August 17

  • Shattered Glass:   6 p.m. Wednesday, September 14

  • Saturday Night Fever:   6 p.m. Wednesday, October 19

Previous Events and Programs 2015-2016

Read about some of the lectures, films, and events that were held at UCR Palm Desert  this past academic year. 

            Spend time with some of today's most influential authors through interviews and personal readings.
      • Boyd Deep Canyon Lecture Series
        Facilitated by Dr. Allan Muth, director, UCR Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Research Center, in partnership with The Living Desert.
      • Ideas and Society
        The Center for Ideas and Society is an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to advancing humanistic studies and creativity at UC Riverside. The Center’s fellowships, research workshops and public events strengthen the intellectual and creative life of the university. The Center is committed to disseminating the results of its programs to the Riverside community and beyond. We were proud to engage the community with two series this academic year: LGBT Lecture Series and Health, Hope & Humanities Series-Learning to Live Well.
      • UCR Living Green Series
        Who said it wasn't easy being green? Learn how to improve your environment, health and quality of life with our new lecture series, Living Green! Our eco-experts will take a look at the issues that face our community and discuss solutions to ensure that the needs of people and environment are met in the present -- and long into the future. Our partner for this series year was Friends of the Desert Mountains.

      • Money Matters
        A unique series of workshops on financial wellness sponsored by UCR Osher and UCR Office of Gift Planning. The workshops provide information on issues and topics that can help improve your financial health. The series is FREE to Osher members and features professionals and experts from the legal, accounting and financial planning fields. About Osher: Since 2003, UCR Extension's Osher has provided a stimulating learning experience at a modest cost that enriches the intellectual, social, and cultural lives of people over the age of 50.
      • Native American Lecture Series
        This series is in partnership with UCR California Center for Native Nations.
      • Palm Desert Art Documentaries Film Series
        In partnership with the City of Palm Desert Public Art Department, this series features many memorable community works from all over the globe. These free movies are screened on the third Thursday of the month at 6 pm and are open to the public. Check back in Fall 2016 when we will post our new schedule!
      • Tuesdays with Spirit and Soul
        UCR Osher Lifelong Learning and UCR Palm Desert Center presented the second season of Tuesdays With Spirit and Soul, a documentary film series and symposium designed to start mindful conversations, exploring the concepts of empowerment, challenge cultural norms, and cultivate a more meaningful, authentic life. 
        • Conscious Living and Aging - An Intergenrational Symposium: Thought-provoking speakers, including internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecturer Marianne Williamson, dynamic, energetic panels, and engaging, and at times, revealing group and individual exercises.
      • Science Lecture Series
        UCR Palm Desert was proud to partner with the UCR College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences to bring you the Spring 2016 Science Lecture Series. The theme for this year's series was: "Sustainability in a Time of Rapid Change: The Future of Earth, Life and Humanity."

        UC Global Food Series
        The University of California Global Food Initiative addresses one of the critical issues of our time: how to sustainably and nutritiously feed a world population expected to reach eight billion by 2025. The initiative aligns the university’s research, outreach and operations in a sustained effort to develop, demonstrate and export solutions — throughout California, the United States and the world — for food security, health and sustainability. This series was presented via a partnership between UC Riverside and Hidden Harvest.

      • Special Events
        Read about the special events we enjoyed this academic year at UCR Palm Desert in addition to the programs featured in our series listed above.

Read about our 2014-2015 events!


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General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

UCR Palm Desert Center
75080 Frank Sinatra Drive
Palm Desert, CA 92211

Tel: (760) 834-0800
Fax: (760) 834-0796

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