The 2015 World Science Festival took place May 27-May 31 in New York City.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Who Run the Lab?

PARTICIPANTS: Chiye Aoki, Shara Bailey, Jasna Brujic, Jane Carlton, Lara K. Mahal, Wendy Suzuki, Christine Vogel, Alexandra Zidovska

What better way to inspire the next generation of women scientists than to meet working scientists, tour their labs, and learn about their paths to exciting careers? Women in labs from anthropology, neural science, physics, and more opened their doors to NYC high school girls at universities throughout the city, including New York University, Columbia University, and CUNY’s City College. Students had the rare opportunity to experience the work of several prominent scientists as they cycled through the labs to learn about the fields, meet the scientists, and be inspired to follow in their paths.

This program was produced in collaboration with the College of Arts and Science at New York University (NYU) and the Women in Science program (WINS), Columbia University and the City College of New York.


Space Exploration: Reaching New Heights

Ever wonder how rockets launch or spacecraft land when coming back from space? Curious about the technology that gives us those spectacular images of other planets and distant stars? NASA scientists and educators at the World Science Festival gave answers to such questions through hands-on activities with infrared cameras, seltzer rockets, models of the James Webb Space Telescope, and more. Also explored at this event: future flights to Mars and other parts of the solar system and the advancements in flight and technology that will help us journey through space.


NASA Orbit Pavilion

This massive, interactive art installation featured a captivating soundscape to represent the 19 Earth Science satellites that monitor our planet’s ever-changing pulse from their unique vantage points. In addition to the sonic interpretations of this group of satellites orbiting Earth, visitors were able to view our planet through 3-D programs, and conduct hands-on activities with NASA scientists. Created by NASA in collaboration with STUDIOKCA and Shane Myrbeck.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

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Pioneers in Science: Ellen Stofan

MODERATOR: Bill Ritter
PARTICIPANT: Ellen Stofan

Great minds inspire greatness. Our Pioneers in Science programs offer high school students a path toward greatness through rare opportunities to interact with world-renowned scientists. This year, students from around the globe got to engage with NASA chief scientist and leading planetary geologist Ellen Stofan. Stofan is one of the premier experts on the terrain of Titan, Venus, Mars, and Earth. During this intimate gathering, students asked Stofan about her career, her inspirations, and NASA’s science programs.


NASA Orbit Pavilion

This massive, interactive art installation featured a captivating soundscape to represent the 19 Earth Science satellites that monitor our planet’s ever-changing pulse from their unique vantage points. In addition to the sonic interpretations of this group of satellites orbiting Earth, visitors were able to view our planet through 3-D programs, and conduct hands-on activities with NASA scientists. Created by NASA in collaboration with STUDIOKCA and Shane Myrbeck.


Space Exploration: Reaching New Heights

Ever wonder how rockets launch or spacecraft land when coming back from space? Curious about the technology that gives us those spectacular images of other planets and distant stars? NASA scientists and educators at the World Science Festival gave answers to such questions through hands-on activities with infrared cameras, seltzer rockets, models of the James Webb Space Telescope, and more. Also explored at this event: future flights to Mars and other parts of the solar system and the advancements in flight and technology that will help us journey through space.


Friday, May 29, 2015

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Pioneers in Science: Lee Berger

MODERATOR: Shara Bailey
PARTICIPANT: Lee Berger

Great minds inspire greatness. Our Pioneers in Science program offers high school students a path toward greatness through a rare opportunity to interact with world-renowned scientists. This year, students from around the globe got to engage with Lee Berger, one of the world's top paleoanthropologists. Professor Berger discovered an ancient skull in the Rising Star Cave in South Africa, and since then, more than 1,200 more fossils have been unearthed, contributing to our understanding of human evolution. During this intimate gathering, students had the opportunity to ask Professor Berger about his career, inspirations, and what he hopes to discover next.


NASA Orbit Pavilion

This massive, interactive art installation featured a captivating soundscape to represent the 19 Earth Science satellites that monitor our planet’s ever-changing pulse from their unique vantage points. In addition to the sonic interpretations of this group of satellites orbiting Earth, visitors were able to view our planet through 3-D programs, and conduct hands-on activities with NASA scientists. Created by NASA in collaboration with STUDIOKCA and Shane Myrbeck.


Space Exploration: Reaching New Heights

Ever wonder how rockets launch or spacecraft land when coming back from space? Curious about the technology that gives us those spectacular images of other planets and distant stars? NASA scientists and educators at the World Science Festival gave answers to such questions through hands-on activities with infrared cameras, seltzer rockets, models of the James Webb Space Telescope, and more. Also explored at this event: future flights to Mars and other parts of the solar system and the advancements in flight and technology that will help us journey through space.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Bird Tracker’s Apprentice

PARTICIPANT: Janelle Robbins

Kids got to learn how conservationists track birds and other wildlife at the Bronx Zoo using wearable technology. Bedford Audubon Society engineer Janelle Robbins led instruction in how radio telemetry and geolocators work, what information they provide about birds, and how we use this data to protect them. Apprentices also got to come up with their own recommendations to help birds survive and thrive.

This program was produced in collaboration with the the Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo.

This event is supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.


Aquatic Scientist’s Apprentice

PARTICIPANTS: Tina Walsh, Tony Wilson

Beneath the surface of New York's Hudson River, an underwater world teems with life. Brooklyn College biologist Tony Wilson and Hudson River Park educator Tina Walsh helped apprentices explore the diverse range of fish species in Hudson River Park’s waters. Kids learned about the reproductive genetics of a seahorse and observed a white perch dissection to learn more about fish anatomy.

This event is supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.


Dog Behaviorist’s Apprentice

PARTICIPANT: Julie Hecht

How much do we know about our dogs? When your pooch has done something naughty, is that really a guilty look? What does it mean when a dog rolls over during play? Apprentices worked side by side with dog behaviorist Julie Hecht to observe dogs in action in Washington Square Park, and learned to take the data they collected and analyze it as a behaviorist does.

This event is supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.


Genetic Engineer’s Apprentice

PARTICIPANT: Melissa Lee

There are good bacteria and bad bacteria, and at the Harlem DNA lab, there are also glow-in-the-dark bacteria. Apprentices joined biologist Melissa Lee who taught them how to take DNA from jellyfish and insert it into bacteria to create luminous microorganisms. They also toured the lab and learned about incubators, centrifuges, and DNA thermal cyclers, which help duplicate DNA.

This event is supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.


Space Exploration: Reaching New Heights

Ever wonder how rockets launch or spacecraft land when coming back from space? Curious about the technology that gives us those spectacular images of other planets and distant stars? NASA scientists and educators at the World Science Festival gave answers to such questions through hands-on activities with infrared cameras, seltzer rockets, models of the James Webb Space Telescope, and more. Also explored at this event: future flights to Mars and other parts of the solar system and the advancements in flight and technology that will help us journey through space.


Biochemist’s Apprentice

PARTICIPANT: Mandë Holford

There can be a fine line between potentially fatal poisons and lifesaving medicines. Kids joined biochemist Mandë Holford, who showed how to use a microscope to spot tiny venomous critters. Apprentices also learned how to remove an animal's venom glands and run a chemical analysis to isolate harmful compounds from helpful ones.

This event is supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.


Be the First to See Disney-Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’

PARTICIPANTS: Heather McKellar, Kelley Remole

The World Science Festival offered families the chance to attend the first New York City advance screening of Disney-Pixar's 2015 summer release, Inside Out.

The film takes place inside the mind of Riley, an eleven-year-old girl. Her emotions, including Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling), compete for control of Riley's mind as she struggles to adjust to a new life in a new city. Following the screening, there was a special talk about how our brains actually work led by neuroscientists Heather McKellar and Kelley Remole. Guests also got to see a real, specially-treated human brain.

Inside Out is set to open in U.S. theatres on June 19, 2015.


Nanochemist’s Apprentice

PARTICIPANT: Rein Ulijn

As any Lego builder will tell you, trying to connect really tiny items can be challenging. In this apprentice program, CUNY nanochemist Rein Ulijn took kids on a journey into the realm of the super small—the nano world. Using a process known as molecular assembly, apprentices got to mix special compounds to create gels like the ones scientists use to deliver medicines or to power electrical circuits. Then they used microscopes to see how these molecular building blocks fit together and toured a state-of-the-art lab to learn about nano fabrication tools and powerful electron microscopes.

This event is supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.


The Great Fish Count

Across five boroughs and beyond, people of all ages pulled on a pair of waders, cast a net, and found marine life in New York’s waterways. Top ecologists and biologists helped catch, count, identify, and release the animals in NYC's swarming waters.

This event is supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.

Roboticist’s Apprentice

PARTICIPANT: Maurizio Porfiri

What can robots teach us about fish? Plenty, according to NYU Polytech professor Maurizio Porfiri, who engineers robotic animals and showed apprentices how it’s done. Using a design program and a 3-D printer, kids got to create their own robotic fish. Professor Porfiri also led a tour through his lab to explain how these engineering marvels are used in science experiments with real fish.

Ages: 6th-8th grade.

This event is supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.


NASA Orbit Pavilion

PARTICIPANT: Nicole Stott

This massive, interactive art installation featured a captivating soundscape to represent the 19 Earth Science satellites that monitor our planet’s ever-changing pulse from their unique vantage points. In addition to the sonic interpretations of this group of satellites orbiting Earth, visitors were able to view our planet through 3-D programs, and conduct hands-on activities with NASA scientists. Created by NASA in collaboration with STUDIOKCA and Shane Myrbeck.


Computer Scientist’s Apprentice

PARTICIPANTS: Jake Hofman, Justin M. Rao

Whether they're making the smallest smartphone apps or the biggest search engines, computer scientists need to know more than just how to write code. They need to be able to think like a computer too. Apprentices were one of the few to get a chance to visit Microsoft's Research Lab and join researchers Jake Hofman and Justin Rao. Kids wrote their own code to predict an opponent's next move in Rock, Paper, Scissors, distinguish spam from normal emails, and learned how search engines are not really different from auction houses.

This event is supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.


Neuroeconomist’s Apprentice

PARTICIPANT: Paul Glimcher

Decisions are a big part of daily life. What to eat? Go to bed or stay up late? Homework or video games? Apprentices ran an experiment with NYU neuroeconomist Paul Glimcher to determine how we arrive at these kinds of choices. Kids also predicted what risks their peers are willing to take for a potential big reward, and visited a brain-imaging center to watch a scan of an NYU student's brain.

This event is supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.


Museum Scientist’s Apprentice

PARTICIPANT: Marco Leona

Scientists are busy working in labs at art museums, and in this program, apprentices got a chance to go behind the scenes with one. Kids joined Marco Leona, scientist in charge at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and learned how to make dyes from dead bugs like the Maya and Aztec civilizations did. They also used the latest scientific techniques and technologies to identify dyes in artwork over 100 years old.

This event is supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.


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Cool Jobs 2015

MODERATOR: “Science Bob” Pflugfelder
PARTICIPANTS: Marah Hardt, Tanya Lowe, Amber Straughn, Steve Wolf

Imagine yourself on a movie set with the special effects exploding around you, or exploring a beautiful coral reef under a deep blue sea. Maybe you'd like to be a wildlife handler, or an astronomer studying the stars. Wait—you don't have to wonder about those jobs anymore; the World Science Festival brought together the coolest scientists with the most interesting jobs on the planet.


Astronomer’s Apprentice

PARTICIPANT: Allyson Sheffield

How do we study space from Earth? Astronomer Allyson Sheffield of LaGuardia Community College answered that question with a tour of the Rutherford Observatory. Apprentices learned how to spot sunspots through the optical telescopes, then got to test out a spectrograph and try to determine elements of stars, gas clouds and more.

This event is supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.


Neuroscientist’s Apprentice

PARTICIPANT: Wendy Suzuki

How brainy are you about brains? New York University neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki led students in a (very) up-close exploration of the brain. Apprentices got to dissect a sheep’s brain and learn about its anatomy and function. They also discovered which parts of your brain control the muscles and the senses.

This event is supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.


Scientific Sails: Under the Sun

PARTICIPANT: Frank Nitsche

Attendees found their sea legs during a daytime sail aboard the schooner Mystic Whaler. On deck, geophysicist Frank Nitsche showed how he analyzes the waters surrounding Antarctica, and how those same tools and measurements can be used to gauge the health of the Hudson River.


Night Lights, Big City: Stargazing

PARTICIPANTS: Blanca Li, Mario Livio, Lee M. Morin, Irene Pease, Emily L. Rice, Nicole Stott, Alex Young

A night of stargazing and music that celebrated the dance of the planets. Guests met astronomers and astronauts, and experienced the lights of our universe.

This event is sponsored by Celestron.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

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The Ultimate Science Street Fair

From deep space to the brain‘s inner recesses, World Science Festival 2015 turned Washington Square Park into an outdoor lab celebrating the fascinating science that shapes our lives. It was a full day of hands-on activities, interactive experiments, installations, and demonstrations. Guests met scientists and astronauts, and enjoyed live performances. Kids got to run through our Mars rover obstacle course, learn how scientists search for life on other planets, and suit up and train like an astronaut while suspended in the air.


NASA Orbit Pavilion

This massive, interactive art installation featured a captivating soundscape to represent the 19 Earth Science satellites that monitor our planet’s ever-changing pulse from their unique vantage points. In addition to the sonic interpretations of this group of satellites orbiting Earth, visitors were able to view our planet through 3-D programs, and conduct hands-on activities with NASA scientists. Created by NASA in collaboration with STUDIOKCA and Shane Myrbeck.


Science and Storytime

PARTICIPANTS: Clayton Anderson, Artie Bennett, Deborah Heiligman, “Science Bob” Pflugfelder

A special science book event just for kids. New and favorite authors shared their stories and signed books.


What Is Sleep?

MODERATOR: Alan Alda
PARTICIPANTS: Mary Carskadon, Paul Shaw, Robert Stickgold, Matthew Wilson

What is sleep? Why do we dream? And what goes on in sleeping brains—from the tiny fruit fly’s to ours? In this program, Alan Alda talks with top sleep researchers and also highlights the winners of the 2015 Flame Challenge, in which video and written explanations of sleep were judged by 20,000 eleven year-olds.