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World Science Festival 2017

Tuesday, May 30, 2017
7:00 pm - 8:15 pm
Tuesday, May 30, 2017
7:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Wednesday, May 31, 2017
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Thursday, June 1, 2017 - Saturday, June 3, 2017
Thursday, June 1, 2017
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Friday, June 2, 2017
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Friday, June 2, 2017
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Friday, June 2, 2017
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Friday, June 2, 2017
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Saturday, June 3, 2017
9:30 am - 10:30 am
Saturday, June 3, 2017
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Saturday, June 3, 2017
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Saturday, June 3, 2017
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Saturday, June 3, 2017
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Saturday, June 3, 2017
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Saturday, June 3, 2017
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Saturday, June 3, 2017
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Saturday, June 3, 2017
3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Saturday, June 3, 2017
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Saturday, June 3, 2017
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Saturday, June 3, 2017
7:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Saturday, June 3, 2017
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Saturday, June 3, 2017
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Sunday, June 4, 2017
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Sunday, June 4, 2017
11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Sunday, June 4, 2017
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Sunday, June 4, 2017
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm
Sunday, June 4, 2017
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Sunday, June 4, 2017
5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

The tenth World Science Festival opens with a new work celebrating the human spirit of exploration, discovery, and creativity. Told by acclaimed physicist Brian Greene as a cosmic journey that wends its way from the Big Bang to the end of time, the evening features an exceptional and eclectic group of performers including famed violinist Joshua Bell, renowned opera star Renée Fleming, the innovative dance troupe Pilobolus, among others. The evening is a celebration of science and art examining our collective longing to transcend the boundaries of space and time.

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Celebrating the tenth anniversary of the World Science Festival, the 2017 Gala commences with the Festival’s Opening Night premiere of Time, Creativity, and the Cosmos, featuring Renée Fleming, Joshua Bell, Brian Greene, and the dance innovators Pilobolus. Following the performance, Gala guests will enjoy a seated dinner and after-party festivities offering science-inspired delicacies, molecular mixology and out-of-this-world desserts.

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ModeratorJohn Schaefer

Today, there are robots that make art, move like dancers, tell stories, and even help human chefs devise unique recipes. But is there ingenuity in silico? Can computers be creative? A rare treat for the senses, this thought-provoking event brings together artists and computer scientists who are creating original works with the help of artificially intelligent machines. Joined by leading experts in psychology and neuroscience, they’ll explore the roots of creativity in humans and computers, what artificial creativity reveals about human imagination, and the future of hybrid systems that build on the capabilities of both.

The Big Ideas Series is supported in part by the John Templeton Foundation.

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The World Science Festival brings science to the crossroads of the world. During three action-packed days (June 1-3), the Festival will descend on Times Square with activities, demonstrations, and installations that educate, entertain, amaze, and inspire, while giving the public a greater understanding and appreciation of our ever-changing planet — and our relationship to it.

The centerpiece will be Holoscenes, an epic performance-installation that viscerally connects everyday actions to climate change. Created by the artist Lars Jan, and born out of the widely-shared concern that the worldwide impact of water — from rising seas, melting glaciers, intensifying floods, and extended droughts — will be a defining issue of the 21st century, Holoscenes takes place in a twelve ton glass aquarium which, over the course of five hours each day, periodically floods and drains, requiring a rotating cast of performers to continually respond to changing water levels.

Holoscenes was created by Lars Jan and Early Morning Opera. It is co-presented by World Science Festival and Times Square Arts, and was originally produced by MAPP International Productions.

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Synthetic blood mass-produced to meet supply shortages. Livers and kidneys “bioprinted” on demand. Missing fingers and toes re-grown with a jolt of bioelectricity. Regenerative medicine promises to do more than just treat disease, injuries, or congenital conditions. It holds the potential to rejuvenate, heal, or completely replace damaged tissue and organs. If successful, regenerative medicine will have immense impact on how we care for the injured, sick, and aging — and how we think about death. This program will explore mind-boggling medical advances as well as the societal and economic implications of a future in which everybody may truly be forever young.

The Big Ideas Series is supported in part by the John Templeton Foundation.

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Unwrap an evening of mystery and celebrate the American Museum of Natural History’s newest temporary exhibition—Mummies. Join comedian and journalist Faith Salie under the blue whale to unearth rare facts and show off your smarts in a pub-style quiz format. Tackle trivia questions and physical challenges with a drink in hand. And if things get too tough, you might even get an assist from a team of top scientists! Program includes one free drink and special private access to the special exhibition Mummies. Special exhibit access is available to ticket holders one hour prior to the program (6:00-7:00pm).

Presented in collaboration with The American Museum of Natural History. 
Mummies was developed by The Field Museum, Chicago.
Image © 2015 The Field Museum, A115218d_027A, photographer John Weinstein

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Cooking isn’t magic—it’s science! Boiling water for your favorite angel hair pasta? This is merely molecules bouncing around. What about slightly burnt toast with your morning coffee? It’s simply organic compounds in your whole wheat bread being converted to carbon. Whether at breakfast, lunch or dinner, chemistry is always at work. While Serious Eats‘ J. Kenji López-Alt (author of the James Beard Award-winning cookbook The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science) and Popular Science‘s Editor-in-Chief Joe Brown will demonstrate scientifically-based techniques you can take back to your own kitchen. In the meantime, sip some Sauver-private label wine and taste the results of these edible experiments.

This program is presented in collaboration with Popular Science and Saveur.

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ModeratorBrian Greene

Ninety years after the historic double-slit experiment, the quantum revolution shows no sign of slowing. Join a vibrant conversation with renowned leaders in theoretical physics, quantum computation and philosophical foundations, focused on how quantum physics continues to impact understanding on issues profound and practical, from the edge of black holes and the fibers of spacetime to teleportation and the future of computers.

The Big Ideas Series is supported in part by the John Templeton Foundation.

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ModeratorJohn Donvan

We humans work together on enormous scales, build complex tools as large as cities, and create social networks that span the globe. What is the key to this innately social profile? How did it evolve? This program will examine the development of the human brain — and the brains of other animals — asking how neurons and synapses orchestrate communal behavior and guide group interactions, demonstrating how our social nature is key to our humanity.

The Big Ideas Series is supported in part by the John Templeton Foundation.

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Love isn’t the secret behind grandma’s apple pie; it’s chemistry! Bring your passion for pastries and step into the kitchen at Four & Twenty Blackbirds Bakery in Gowanus, Brooklyn with NYU chemistry professor Danielle Vellucci. Through starch, acid, and heat experiments, discover what causes the ideal flakey crust, creates the most scrumptious filling, and makes the perfect pie. This is a student-only program for kids currently enrolled in the 4th grade – 8th grade. Parents/Guardians should drop off their children for this event.

Supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.

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The human body, the depths of the ocean, and just about every surface imaginable is home to a hidden world of microscopic organisms. Uncover this invisible universe — and how it affects our everyday life — with professor of microbiology, Jessica Joyner, at Brooklyn College. With a microscope as your exploratory tool, examine cells and discover how researchers find small solutions to some of our planet’s biggest problems. This is a student-only program for kids currently enrolled in the 4th grade – 8th grade. Parents/Guardians should drop off their children for this event.

Supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.

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MentorYemi Amu

Forget the pitchfork and the fishing rod…we’re farming in NYC! Join Yemi Amu, co-founder of OKO Farms in Bushwick, Brooklyn, to learn how to raise fish and grow plants in the same environment. Plant your own seedlings, feed some fish, and tour a farm like no other. Build your own mini aquaponic system and conduct experiments to convert fish waste into nutrients for plants — just like our oceans do naturally every day. This is a student-only program for kids currently enrolled in the 4th grade – 8th grade. Parents/Guardians should drop off their children for this event.

Supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.

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What kind of New York City will we leave for the next generation? A lot of it has to do with the design of our parks: how they protect the city from environmental challenges, provide recreation, and offer health benefits to those in an urban environment. Architect Kubi Ackerman of the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) is imagining endless possibilities for our future parks, and invites you to do the same. After a walk through Central Park to study the natural environment, explore the MCNY’s Future City Lab to create your own sustainable park. This is a student-only program for kids currently enrolled in the 4th grade – 8th grade. Parents/Guardians should drop off their children for this event.

Supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.

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From Lemon Creek in Staten Island to the shores of the Bronx River, New York’s waterways are teeming with life — and it’s up to you to find it! Led by top marine scientists and biologists in 17 sites across New York’s five boroughs, Westchester, and New Jersey, the Great Fish Count gives attendees of all ages the chance to strap on a pair of waders, cast a net, and discover the underwater world in their own backyard.

Produced in partnership with the Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.

Illustrations by Jonathan Allen. 

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Is there another Planet Earth? Scratch that. Is there even another planet that has life on it? Science says there’s a good chance. In this program, astronomer Jacqueline Faherty of the American Museum of Natural History reveals the different signals exoplanet hunters are using to better understand worlds beyond our own. Take a look through our astronomical backyard and explore the data to find hints of another Earth-like planet. This is a student-only program for kids currently enrolled in the 4th grade – 8th grade. Parents/Guardians should drop off their children for this event.

Supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.

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Science CaptainRoy Arezzo

Raise the sails, trawl for fish, and explore the biodiversity of New York City’s waterways aboard the Mystic Whaler, a reproduction of a late 19th-century coastal cargo schooner. In this family-friendly tour of New York Harbor, biologist Roy Arezzo is on deck to provide an up-close encounter with the oysters that filter our harbors and sustain life in our local waterways. Join him in an exploration of the incredible underwater world in our backyard.

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ModeratorJim Holt

Physicists and cosmologists are closing in on how the universe operates at its very core. But even with powerful telescopes and particle accelerators pushed to their limits, experimenters struggle to keep up as theoreticians march forward, leaving grand theories untested. Is our universe unique or one of many? Was there a before the Big Bang? Why is there something rather than nothing? Some argue that if these deep questions can’t be answered empirically, they’re not relevant to science. Are they right? Join world-leading cosmologists, philosophers and physicists as they tackle the profound questions of existence.

The Big Ideas Series is supported in part by the John Templeton Foundation.

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Science CaptainEleanor Sterling

Raise the sails aboard the Mystic Whaler, a reproduction of a late 19th-century coastal cargo schooner for a scientific exploration of turtle conservation. Work side-by-side with conservation scientist Eleanor Sterling to experiment with turtle tagging equipment, examine artifacts, and trace the DNA of underwater creatures. In this family-friendly tour of New York Harbor, you’ll learn how warming waters are impacting sea turtles, other ocean animals, and the underwater world around us.

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ModeratorAlan Alda

Alan Alda has issued this year’s challenge to the world’s top scientists: What is energy? In an action-packed hour of interactive demonstrations, Alan and a team of experts invite the audience to explore how our bodies use energy, the impact of natural resources, and how we’re going to power the world in the future. The program also highlights the winners of the 2017 Flame Challenge, in which video and written explanations of energy were judged for clarity’s sake…by 20,000 eleven year-olds.

This program is in association with the Flame Challenge, an annual contest held by The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University.

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ParticipantsCaleb Harper, Joe Brown

Self-described “nerd farmer,” Caleb Harper, and his team at MIT have created a greenhouse with a brain: these “Food Computers” are enclosed, managed containers that allow you to create the perfect conditions for healthy crops.  The fish-tank-sized farming computer allows Harper to simulate any environment within its glass walls, from ideal tomato-growing weather to the predicted climate and atmospheric conditions of New York in the year 2117. Want to grow a flawless Mexican strawberry in New Jersey?  No problem. Professor Harper and Joe Brown, Editor-in-Chief of Popular Science, demonstrate how this amazing machine came to exist, and how it can be used in our kitchens, schools, and farms going forward.  So grab a seat, pour yourself a glass of wine, and get ready to taste the future.

This program is presented in collaboration with Popular Science and Saveur.

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ParticipantsMario Livio, Pilobolus

Brooklyn Bridge Park lights up the night’s sky with high-tech interactive and stargazing activities. Step up to a telescope for an up-close look at the moon, Jupiter, and beyond. Then, take part in UP! Umbrella Project, a participatory experience created by Pilobolus in collaboration with MIT Distributed Robotics. Armed with an LED-lighted umbrella, create your own exploding stars and constellations, along with physicists and astronomers in a larger-than-life celebration of our universe.

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Science CaptainSean Dixon

Raise the sails (and a glass) as you embark on an excursion aboard the Mystic Whaler, a reproduction of a late 19th-century coastal cargo schooner. Join fisheries scientist Sean Dixon for an exciting exploration of historical overfishing, its impact on our waters, and how sustainable practices can restore local fisheries.

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The biggest challenge of our time, meeting the energy demands of an exploding population on a warming planet, may well be met by manipulating matter on the tiniest of scales — revolutionizing how we power the planet. Join world-class nanoscientists and environmental leaders to explore how the newfound capacity to harness molecules and atoms is accelerating spectacular inventions — including light-weight “wonder materials,” vital energy-storage technologies, and new sources of renewable energy — which promise to redefine the very future of energy.

The Kavli Prize recognizes scientists for their seminal advances in astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience. The series, “The Big, the Small, and the Complex,” is sponsored by The Kavli Foundation and The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

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Construction workers at Washington Square Park recently found two burial vaults from the early 1800s. Now is your chance to uncover New York City history just like scientists do. Join archaeologist Alyssa Loorya to reconstruct artifacts, piece together pottery, and create a map of archaeological sites throughout the city. The program concludes with a walk to the area where the burial vault was discovered at Washington Square Park East. This is a student-only program for kids currently enrolled in the 4th grade – 8th grade. Parents/Guardians should drop off their children for this event.

Supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.

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Building a skyscraper takes more than just an architectural drawing. You have to take into account materials, location, ground structure, and weather. Engineer Erin Styfco leads an exploration of how natural processes — from wind and rain to natural disasters — can affect structures over time. Recreate an earthquake to determine what causes buildings to collapse, and construct your own structure designed to survive the elements. This is a student-only program for kids currently enrolled in the 4th grade – 8th grade. Parents/Guardians should drop off their children for this event.

Supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.

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This program is sold out. Join the waitlist for alerts if tickets become available.

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What do turtles, lizards, and coyotes all have in common? They call the New York City area their home. Join Hofstra University biology professor Russell Burke on a journey to study the behavior of our furry and not so furry neighbors. Participate in a study to learn how scientists capture, mark, and release animals to determine their populations in our backyard. This is a student-only program for kids currently enrolled in the 4th grade – 8th grade. Parents/Guardians should drop off their children for this event.

Supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.

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The World Science Festival’s highly celebrated program, Cool Jobs, is back with an astounding line-up of the coolest science teachers around. Can you break a cinder block on your chest? Dance your way into learning about fossils? Play catch with a robot? These are all things that these people do every day…at work. And all because they know how to make science the most exciting thing around. Come experience their passion during an interactive performance you will not want to miss.

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It’s hard to find a New Yorker who hasn’t encountered a rat. They are notoriously clever and hard to control. Thankfully, the scientists at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene are regularly tracking and developing new ways to control our rodent neighbors. You won’t come face-to-face with any rats at this program, but you’ll join research scientist Caroline Bragdon to examine gadgets, track population growth with interactive maps, and search for signs of rodent activity in the local park. This is a student-only program for kids currently enrolled in the 4th grade – 8th grade. Parents/Guardians should drop off their children for this event.

Supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.

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Imagine navigating the globe with a map that only sketched out the continents. That’s pretty much how neuroscientists have been operating for decades. But one of the most ambitious programs in all of neuroscience, the Human Connectome Project, has just yielded a “network map” that is shedding light on the intricate connectivity in the brain. Join leading neuroscientists and psychologists as they explore how the Connectome promises to revolutionize treatments for psychiatric and neurological disorders while also answering profound questions regarding the electrochemical roots of memory and behavior, the link between experience and perception, and perhaps the very nature of consciousness itself.

The Big Ideas Series is supported in part by the John Templeton Foundation.

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