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DATE: Thursday, May 29, 2014
TIME: 7:30 PM-11:00 PM
VENUE: Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
PARTICIPANTS: Paul Davies, Bobak Ferdowsi, Richard Garriott, John M. Grunsfeld, Mario Livio, Sandra Magnus, Mark M. Weislogel, Ted T. Williams


Join the World Science Festival and the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum for a first of its kind evening that includes a special screening of “Gravity,” under the space shuttle Enterprise, conversations with astronauts, stargazing, a search for exoplanets, after-hours access to the Exploreum Interactive Hall, and more.

Astronomy Night: Stargazing, Star Chats and The Hidden Light – Free
Break out your telescope or come borrow one of ours during a night of urban stargazing. Join leading astronomers, NASA scientists, astronauts and Intrepid Educators to explore the far-flung wonders of the cosmos. Search for supernovae, track asteroids, or just find your new favorite constellation.

International Space Station NASA Mobile Exhibit – Free
You may not be an astronaut, but you can still explore the International Space Station. Step aboard the new NASA Mobile Exhibit, the next best thing to actually floating around the ISS. A rumbling floor shakes you as you lift off on your journey to humanity’s home in orbit. Once you arrive on board, you’ll learn all about this football-field sized laboratory that travels more than 17,000 miles per hour—that’s almost 16 orbits per day. Then let NASA scientists tell you about science experiments happening far above the Earth’s surface—and why they’re important for those of us down here.

Presented in collaboration with NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

The Hidden Light: Searching for Exoplanets – Free
Searching for planets surrounded by stars is like trying to find a firefly in front of a spotlight if it’s in New York and you’re in LA. Stars are big and bright, and the planets are small and dim. Get a taste of what it’s like to be an exoplanet hunter with NASA Jet Propulsion Lab’s interactive game, The Hidden Light. This installation will help you see what is invisible to the naked eye.

Presented in collaboration with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab.

Exploreum – Free
If you’re bringing the whole family, stop by the Exploreum and portable planetarium. Play “space pinball” to learn how orbits and gravitational pull work, feel the sensation of being on water when scrambling into a lifeboat, and climb into an actual Bell 47 helicopter. Find out even more about space at the presentations of “Poof Life in a Vacuum” and “Comet!”

The new NASA Mobile Exhibit will be open to the public at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum: Wednesday, May 28 – Friday, May 30; 10am – 5pm.

Rain or Shine. The Intrepid Museum brings the party inside if the weather is inclement.

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Physicist, Cosmologist, Astrobiologist

Paul Davies is a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astrobiologist, and best-selling author. He is Regents’ Professor at Arizona State University, where he is Director of Beyond: Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science, co-director of the Cosmology Initiative and principal investigator of the Center for the Convergence of Physical Science and Cancer Biology. He previously held academic appointments in the UK and Australia. His research focuses on the “big questions”, from the origin of the universe to the origin of life. His most recent popular book is The Eerie Silence: Are We Alone in the Universe? He has received the Templeton Prize, the Royal Society’s Faraday Prize, the Kelvin Medal of the UK Institute of Physics, the Robinson Cosmology Prize, and many book awards. He is a member of the Order of Australia and a recipient of the Bicentenary Medal of Chile. The asteroid (6870) Pauldavies is named in his honor.


Bobak Ferdowsi, also known as “Mohawk Guy,” is a member of the Engineering Operations Team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He acted as Flight Director during the landing of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity on Gale Crater in 2012. He now serves as Mission Engineer on the Europa Clipper study, a project to further explore Jupiter’s icy moon. His prior positions have included Mission Planner and Integrated Launch and Cruise Verification and Validation Engineer on Mars Science Laboratory, as well as Science Planner on the Cassini mission. Ferdowsi holds a master’s in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT.

Space Traveler

In 2008, Richard Garriott , a leading expert on private and commercial space travel, realized a lifelong dream to travel to space when he launched aboard the Russian Soyuz TMA-13 spacecraft to the International Space Station and became the sixth private citizen to fly in Earth’s orbit. In doing so, he became the first second-generation American in space, following the same path of his father Owen Garriott, who completed two space missions in his NASA career. Having caught the space bug as a child from his father, Garriott has held a passion for the space industry and has invested in various related ventures such as the Zero-G Corporation, X-Prize and Spacehab. He is chairman of Space Adventures, Ltd., the world’s premier private space exploration company. He is also on the board of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education.

Earlier in his career, Garriott designed the Ultima role-playing games, one of the most successful computer game series ever. His many awards include Entrepreneur of the Year from Inc. magazine and Computer Gaming World’s 15 Most Influential Industry Players. He is vice president and creative director for the Austin-based games developer and publisher, Portalarium.

Astronaut, Astrophysicist

John M. Grunsfeld was named Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. in January 2012. He previously served as the Deputy Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, managing the science program for the Hubble Space Telescope and the forthcoming James Webb Space Telescope. Grunsfeld’s background includes research in high energy astrophysics, cosmic ray physics and in the emerging field of exoplanet studies with specific interest in future astronomical instrumentation.

Grunsfeld graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in physics. He subsequently earned a master’s degree and, in 1988, a doctorate in physics from the University of Chicago using a cosmic ray experiment on the space shuttle Challenger for his doctoral thesis. From Chicago, he joined the faculty of the California Institute of Technology as a Senior Research Fellow in Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy.

Astrophysicist, Author

Mario Livio is an internationally known astrophysicist, a bestselling author, and a popular speaker. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has published more than 400 scientific papers on topics ranging from dark energy, cosmology, and black holes, to supernova explosions, extrasolar planets, and the emergence of life in the universe. Livio is the author of five popular science books, including The Golden Ratio (for which he received the Peano Prize and the International Pythagoras Prize) and Is God a Mathematician? which inspired the 2015 NOVA program The Great Math Mystery. Livio’s most recent book, Brilliant Blunders, was on The New York Times Best Sellers list and was selected by the Washington Post as one of the “2013 Best Books of the Year.”

Former NASA Astronaut

Sandra H. “Sandy” Magnus is the executive director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the world’s largest aerospace professional society. Born and raised in Belleville, Ill., Magnus attended the Missouri University of Science and Technology, graduating in 1986 with a degree in physics and in 1990 with a master’s degree in electrical engineering. She also holds a Ph.D. from the School of Materials Science and Engineering from Georgia Tech. Magnus was selected to the NASA Astronaut Corps in April, 1996, she flew in space on the STS-112 shuttle mission in 2002, and on the final shuttle flight, STS-135, in 2011. In addition, she flew to the International Space Station on STS-126 in November 2008, served as flight engineer and science officer on Expedition 18, and returned home on STS-119 after four and a half months on board. Following her assignment on Station, she served at NASA Headquarters in the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. Her last duty at NASA, after STS-135, was as the deputy chief of the Astronaut Office. Before joining NASA, Magnus worked for McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company from 1986 to 1991, as a stealth engineer. While at McDonnell Douglas, she worked on internal research and development and on the Navy’s A-12 Attack Aircraft program, studying the effectiveness of radar signature reduction techniques.


Mark Weislogel is a thermal and fluid dynamics researcher specializing in microscale thermal devices and fluids in small, complex geometric shapes. He has 10 years of aerospace experience with NASA, where he worked on microgravity capillary phenomena that played an important role in space flight experiments aboard the Space Shuttle, Russian Mir Space Station, and the International Space Station. He is currently a professor at Portland State University, where he leads a NASA co-sponsored program to send high altitude balloons with instruments to the edge of the atmosphere.

Planetarium Professional

Ted Williams is a planetarium professional who brings stars down to earth. He presents regularly at the Hayden Planetarium and Fels Planetarium, and serves as educator for the Franklin Institute for the Rittenhouse Astronomical Society in Philadelphia. He appeared as a guest speaker on NPR’s Skytour, broadcast live from the Methacton School District where he teaches. He has worked in the Mallon Planetarium at the Arcola Intermediate School for more than 20 years. Williams holds a master’s degree in instructional technology and design from Philadelphia University and has been an observatory operator and earth and space science teacher.