PARTICIPANTS: David Rothenberg, John Cooley, Ronald Hoy, Marlene Zuk
PROGRAM DATE: Saturday, June 1, 2013

After 17 years underground, cicadas throughout the Northeast are emerging in time for the 2013 World Science Festival to sing, mate and die. Amid a buzzing, whirring chorus, we examine the extraordinary mating rituals of these and other six-legged creatures to find out what their songs are saying, why they’re saying it, and how this knowledge is impacting our understanding of communication, behavior, and the ecosystem. The conversation is punctuated by a musical performance between the bugs and their human collaborators. Ticket price includes one All-Garden Pass for the day to The New York Botanical Garden, granting access to exhibitions and programs including Wild Medicine: Healing Plants Around the World, The Edible Garden, and Science Open House behind-the-scenes tours (first come, first served).

Presented in collaboration with The New York Botanical Garden.

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News Correspondent, Anchor

Dan Harris was named co-anchor of ABC News’ weekend edition of Good Morning America in October 2010. Additionally, Harris is a New York-based correspondent for ABC News’ broadcasts and platforms, including World News with Diane Sawyer, Good Morning America, Nightline, ABC News Digital, and ABC News Radio.

Harris joined ABC News in March 2000 and has covered many of the biggest stories in recent years. He has reported from such diverse datelines as Ground Zero, Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Korea, Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank. He has also spent many months in Iraq–both before and after the U.S.-led invasion. Domestically, Harris has led ABC News’ coverage of faith, with a particular focus on the evangelical movement. He scored one of the first interviews with former pastor Ted Haggard after his sex and drugs scandal. Harris also has a longstanding interest in indie rock and has started a weekly music show, Amplified, on ABC News NOW and

Harris has been honored several times for his journalistic contributions. He received a Murrow Award for his reporting on a young Iraqi man who received the necessary help to move to America, and in 2009 won an Emmy Award for his Nightline report “How to Buy a Child in Ten Hours.”


Philosopher, Musician, Author

Musician and philosopher, David Rothenberg, is the author of Survival of the Beautiful: Art, Science, and Evolution, Bug Music, and a CD of the same name featuring music made out of encounters with the entomological world. In 2006, his book Why Birds Sing was turned into a feature-length TV documentary by the BBC. Rothenberg has also written Sudden Music, Blue Cliff Record, Hand’s End, and Always the Mountains. His articles have appeared in Parabola, Orion, The Nation, Wired, Dwell, Kyoto Journal, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, and Sierra, and his writings have appeared in at least eleven languages. His book Thousand Mile Song, about making music with whales, is currently being developed into a feature documentary entitled Whalestock.

As a musician, Rothenberg has performed and recorded with Jan Bang, Scanner, Glen Velez, Karl Berger, Peter Gabriel, Ray Phiri, and the Karnataka College of Percussion. His latest major label music CD, One Dark Night I Left My Silent House, a duet with pianist Marilyn Crispell, came out on ECM in 2010. Rothenberg is a professor of philosophy and music at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Environmental Scientist

John Cooley grew up fascinated by the natural world in general and cicadas in particular. He spent a number of years studying flies in high alpine meadows of Colorado and exploring the mountains of the Front Range. As a doctoral student, Cooley was the co-discoverer of a previously unknown female signal in periodical cicadas, and that discovery also helped lead Cooley and his colleagues to find a previously unknown cryptic periodical cicada species. Cooley has traveled extensively in North America, New Zealand, and Australia, and he has taught at Yale University, Ohio State University, University of Connecticut, and University of Rhode Island. Cooley is currently teaching and conducting research at University of Connecticut, where he leads a project to use data from citizen scientists to guide species distribution mapping efforts. Because several degrees is never enough, Cooley is also an M.B.A. candidate working to bridge scientific and economic discussions of resource use and sustainability.

Professor, Neurobiologist

Ronald Hoy is the David and Dorothy Merksamer Professor in biology at Cornell University. Besides teaching at Cornell, he has taught neuroscience and behavior at Cold Spring Harbor Labs and at the marine biological laboratory in Woods Hole, where he was a director of the neural systems and behavior course and, later, director of the Grass Foundation summer fellows program.

Hoy’s research has been funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) for 30 consecutive years. He served on the NIDCD study section from 1991 to 1995, and he now serves on NIDCD’s Executive Council. He has received RCDA and Career Scientist awards and has had research grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Keck Foundation, and the National Science Foundation. He also actively promotes public awareness in science through his membership on the administrative boards of the Grass Foundation and the Cornell laboratory of ornithology.

Author, Biologist, Professor

Marlene Zuk is a biologist and writer who is interested in sex, evolution, and behavior. She is especially interested in the ways that parasites and disease influence those issues. Her current research focuses on rapid evolution and mating behavior in field crickets that live in Hawaii, though most of the work, alas, takes place in the laboratory. More generally, she is interested in the ways that people use animal behavior to think about human behavior, and vice versa. This means that she gets asked a lot of interesting questions from the general public, ranging from whether adultery or homosexuality are natural, to why people’s pets do the things they do. Her quick answer is “Yes, although it also depends on what you mean by ‘natural,’ and I have no idea.”