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Past Events

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
6:30 pm - 11:00 pm
Sunday, June 5, 2011
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Sunday, June 5, 2011
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday, June 4, 2011
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday, June 4, 2011
11:00 am - 1:30 pm
Saturday, June 4, 2011
12:15 pm - 1:15 pm
Saturday, June 4, 2011
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
Saturday, June 4, 2011
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Saturday, June 4, 2011
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Saturday, June 4, 2011
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Saturday, June 4, 2011
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Saturday, June 4, 2011
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
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The World Science Festival’s Fifth Anniversary Gala Celebration brings together leaders in science, theatre, music, art, education and business for an evening that celebrates both the content and the culture of science, while raising essential support for the Festival’s mission and programs. A “Performing Arts Salute to Science,” the program will be hosted by Alan Alda and feature violinist Joshua Bell, physicist Brian Greene, TONY award-winning performer James Naughton, Emmy award-winning actress Debra Monk and other Broadway luminaries – Todd Ellison, Rose Hemmingway, Paige Faure, Eryn Murman, Abbey O’Brien, David Hibbard, Drew Gehling – as well as the mesmerizing dancer-illusionists of MOMIX.

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ModeratorGarrick Utley

When Antoine Lavoisier, the father of modern chemistry, was beheaded during the French Revolution, he left behind a widow whom history has overlooked. Two Nobel prize-winning scientists and an art historian share a passion for a beguiling portrait of the Lavoisiers by Jacques-Louis David, painted just 6 years before the famed chemist was led to the guillotine. They’re not alone in this passion; the work now presides over a gallery at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. What is it about this depiction of the Lavoisiers that captures the imagination of both scientists and art lovers? A conversation among two esteemed scientists, both savvy politicians, and an art historian from the Met. The three explored their infatuation with this portrait and revealed all that is hinted at on the canvas—and all that is not. Presented in collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

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The Washington Square Park area was transformed into a science wonderland when the World Science Festival Youth and Family Street Fair returned to New York City on Sunday, June 5, 2011. This year’s extravaganza featured a non-stop program of interactive exhibits, experiments, games, and shows designed to entertain and inspire.

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Adventures await! Choose your own adventure on Governors Island and learn to see the world as scientists do! This rich outdoor environment presents a rare opportunity for urban explorers to discover the science all around us—from New York’s underwater world and its oyster population, to the unique cosmopolitan critters and plants beneath our feet, to our planet’s favorite star, the Sun. Join scientists and experts from a wide variety of scientific disciplines for a day of exploration that starts with a free ferry ride and ends in a world of wonder.  

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Folksinger Pete Seeger founded Clearwater over 40 years ago to teach people about the ecology and special heritage of the Hudson River. Join Clearwater educators to raise the sails on the schooner Mystic Whaler, set your course using charts and compass, and set off to to explore the Hudson as a citizen scientist. Identify the amazing variety of fish and invertebrates living beneath the waves; sample plankton; perform basic water quality tests; and learn about environmental issues impacting this important ecosystem. Enjoy sailing on-board a tall ship, sing some traditional sea songs, and enjoy a day of science on the Harbor that you’ll never forget. As part of the World Science Festival’s all-day Science on Site on Governors Island.

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ParticipantsArthur Benjamin

This exclusive event followed the main Mathemagician program. A workshop in which the Mathemagician divulged some of his amazing mental-math secrets, the Apprentice was a rare opportunity to get one-on-one instruction form the legendary math whizz.

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We are our memories, but can they be tampered with? Erased? What are the ethical considerations? Whether enhancing memory for an aging population or inhibiting memories that prevent function, new drugs bring new possibilities for abuse and misuse. Even in their most welcome applications, these drugs raise profound questions about the relationship between the subjective experience of memory and the true nature of what we remember. Some of the advanced topics which the conversation may explore include: Latest progress in memory research, including the enzyme PKMzeta and memory “erasure,” infusion of the protein synthesis inhibitor anisomycin, problems of animal models in memory research, and therapeutic implications inherent in these discoveries. World Science Festival Salons are an opportunity for in-depth conversations with world-leading scientists, extending the discussion of the Festival’s flagship public programs at a level appropriate for graduate students, postdocs, faculty and particularly well-informed members of the general public. Related flagship program: The Unbearable Lightness of Memory This program is a part of The Big, the Small, and the Complex, a Series made possible with the support of The Kavli Prize. 

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ModeratorJoe Levy

What makes us dance? Why do we sing the blues? Could there be a formula for the perfect hit? Whether it’s a pop song or country ballad, musicians and record producers want to capture listeners; individual styles may vary but they’re all searching for just the right lyric, melody, or seductive guitar chord. A few manage to turn out hit after hit – “hooking” our brains with irresistible beats. These songs become part of our collective identity. Years may pass, but as we all know, a song has the power to rekindle memories and emotions long forgotten. Can science illuminate why we respond the way we do? As part of the BIORHYTHM: Music and the Body exhibit. Note that the gallery and installations are open to the public 12 noon to 6 PM. BIORHYTHM at the Eyebeam Art + Technology Center is made possible through the generous support of Imagine Ireland, an initiative of Culture Ireland, and the Cordover Family Foundation. BIORHYTHM is created by Science Gallery and Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.

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ParticipantsArthur Benjamin

Join us for a truly amazing presentation of mental mathematical gymnastics that will seemingly turn math into magic. We watched as mathemagician and math whiz Arthur Benjamin “out-calculated” an electronic calculator and figured out the weekday of any date in history with lightning-fast speed. We discovered the fun side of math that’s sometimes easy to forget when doing your homework, and met a surprising young guest who just might be a worthy mathemagical opponent. The Mathemagician event was followed by Mathemagician’s Apprentice, a workshop in which Benjamin divulged some of his amazing mental-math secrets. For ages 10 and up.

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ParticipantsSteven Weinberg

Each generation benefits from the insights and discoveries of those who came before. “If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants,” wrote Isaac Newton. In a new annual series, World Science Festival audiences are invited to stand on the shoulders of modern-day giants. For this year’s inaugural address, “The future of Big Science,” Nobel laureate and physicist Steven Weinberg considers the future of fundamental physics, especially as funding for basic research is reduced. Weinberg will explore physics’ small origins, starting with the discovery of the atomic nucleus 100 years ago by a single scientist, and moving to the present-day, when collaborations involve hundreds of researchers and billions of dollars. What has motivated this growth spurt? What results has it yielded? And what would we stand to lose if Big Science were to suffer? Weinberg, one of the most revered voices in science, offers a distinguished vantage point for this crucial discussion.

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ModeratorFaith Salie

In recent years, machines have grown increasingly capable of listening, communicating, and learning—transforming the way they collaborate with us, and significantly impacting our economy, health, and daily routines. Who, or what, are these thinking machines? As we teach them to become more sophisticated, how will they complement our lives? What will separate their ways of thinking from ours? And what happens when these machines understand data, concepts, and behaviors too big or impenetrable for humans to grasp? We were joined by IBM’s WATSON, the computer Jeopardy! champion, along with leading roboticists and computer scientists, to explore the thinking machines of today and the possibilities to come in the not-too-distant future.

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ModeratorJuju Chang

What does fear smell like? Love? Can we use scent to control behavior? Do humans really sense pheromones? What if you could diagnose diseases just by smelling them? And exactly how does our brain convert floating organic molecules into chemical signals that our brain processes as odor? Over hundreds of thousands of years, our ancestors learned to encode specific scents with information that saved their lives. Many species still depend heavily on smell for their daily survival. Described as “the most direct pathway to the brain,” olfaction is subconscious, pre-cognitive, and emotional. We were joined by neuroscientists, chemists, artists, and radical scent designers for a “scent interactive” discussion about the fascinating science of smell and how it offers a powerful window into our brains, behaviors, emotions, and communication.

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