It’s against my own interests to post this, since more people trying to get the same number of tickets makes it potentially harder for me to get tickets. However, I am a humanitarian, and this is an area in which I have some expertise.

Plus I sent this info to the guys at work yesterday, so it’s already written…

Because PI started the lecture season early this year, next one’s not til March 4th. The speaker is Rob Cook, a VP from Pixar, and he’ll be talking about how 3D animation movies get made. w00t! (Public Lectures list)

For future reference, at this week’s lecture, Dr. Turok said Prof. Hawking will be doing a lecture or some sort of event when he gets here, but that won’t be til summer. (He’s not a snow/winter fan, unsurprisingly.)

Lectures start at 7pm and run for an hour(ish). After that there’s a relatively brief Q&A (sometimes boring, sometimes with awesome whackjobs), and you’re usually out of there by 8:15-8:30. Lectures are held at WCI, which is at 300 Hazel Street in Waterloo (map). They also record them and broadcast them on Rogers, Ch. 20, I think. And, of course, they’re available on the internets at the PI website.

Tickets are only honoured until 6:45, then they start letting in the rush line (yes, there is an overflow for these things). I’d recommend getting there by 6:30, earlier if you want to sit in the front half of the auditorium.

When you go into the auditorium, you will be handed a ticket. That’s for the book draw after the lecture. They always give away either the speaker’s book or a book on a related topic. (We never win.)

Do not park in the parking lots across the street. It’s a royal bitch to get out. (Also: dark + winter.) Ideally park along one of the side streets a block away (we like Hickory). Much easier to get out of there and back to a main street.

Now, how to get tickets. BEFORE tickets go on sale, you will need an account. Go here and create an account.

Also, I recommend subscribing to the Public Lectures email list (link is in the sidebar on the right side of this page). You get an email a few days before tickets go on sale for the next lecture, giving details about it and when the tickets go on sale. Tickets always go on sale at 9am on a Monday morning. You need to login and get tickets at 9am on that Monday morning. They will be sold out within minutes. Srsly.

You need to login to the PI site before you can book tickets. Tickets are free, but due to insane demand they’ve limited the number you’re allowed to 2 per account as of this year. So if you have more than one geek friend, he/she will need an account, too.

Once you’ve logged in, click the Order Tickets tab. Find the lecture you want in the list of events displayed (check the date), then click Order Tickets. From there it’s a pretty standard booking process, and once confirmed, it’ll display a ticket page with barcodes on it — print that out. Then don’t lose it, cuz it’ll be several weeks between booking tickets and the date of the lecture.

They scan the barcodes when you arrive at the lecture. If you book tickets but can’t go, login to your account and cancel them by clicking the cancel link under the barcode(s) — there will be a waiting list of folks who’ll appreciate it.

Note that I have no idea what they do on the site to “activate” the ability to book tickets, presumably something to do with jabbing sleeping hamsters, but it usually borks the site around 9am, sometimes for 10 or 15 minutes. So it can take a couple of tries. And sometimes IE tends to work better than FF, too. (Hmm, didn’t test cross-platform, did we…?) Just fyi.

Enjoy. 🙂

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