This is a good week for pop culture bookworms. America’s favorite scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Goosebumps author R. L. Stine and long haul trucker Finn Murphy are giving talks around Tampa Bay. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes:
• In a talk titled An Astrophysicist Reads the Newspaper, Neil deGrasse Tyson returns to Tampa’s Straz Center for the Performing Arts Thursday to explore all the funny, illuminating and alarming reports he has picked up about current events. "I rarely ever read anything on paper," People magazine’s Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive told the Times. "It’s all Internet, and it’s mostly whatever comes to me. I constantly have people sending me links. … I have a duty and obligation to be fluent in all the science that is triggering public interest." Click here to read the full interview. 7:30 p.m. Thursday. 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $75 and up. (813) 229-7827. strazcenter.org.
• It’s fitting that not long before Halloween Goosebumps author R.L. Stine is giving a free talk as part of the University Lecture Series at USF’s Marshall Student Center. He will discuss his career, creative process and sign books at 8 p.m. Wednesday. 4103 Cedar Circle, Tampa.
• Author Finn Murphy, who wrote a rollicking tale of trucking in The Long Haul that the New York Times called "almost shamefully enjoyable" will bring his 18-wheeler called Cassidy to talk about his career as a truck driver. A book purchase is required for autographs at 4 p.m. Saturday at Inkwood Books, 1809 N Tampa St., Tampa. (813) 253-2638.
The annual family-friendly open house at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute known as MarineQuest takes place at the same time as the University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg Science Festival. It’s a free day for kids to explore hands-on science, technology, engineering, art and math in the company of world renowned scientists. Visitors can handle animals in the touch tank, get face paintings, try archery and learn about manatee rescues. It runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday along the waterfront from the wildlife institute offices at 100 Eighth Ave. SE to the USF St. Petersburg campus, 140 Seventh Ave. S.
The first production under Palmetto-based Feld Entertainment’s new partnership with the public television favorites brings Sesame Street Live to the Mahaffey Theater for five shows Friday through Sunday. The audience will be encouraged to dance along to a pop-infused soundtrack. With some help from the audience, Elmo, Abby Cadabby and Big Bird will plan a party where guests will sing along to old chestnuts like I Love Trash and C Is for Cookie. A new preshow experience ($20) will be offered at select performances, letting families tour the on-stage neighborhood before the main show and try a variety of interactive activities. 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Friday; 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. Sunday. Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S, St. Petersburg. $15-$65. (727) 893-7832. themahaffey.com.