The 2009 World Science Festival took place on June 10-June 14 in New York City. We offered a slate of exciting new programs and old favorites this year, all aimed at unlocking the beauty and complexity of science for everyone. Sign up for our newsletter to stay connected and get exclusive interviews, stories, and updates.
The multiverse hypothesis, suggesting that our universe is but one of perhaps infinitely many, speaks to the very nature of reality. Join physicist Brian Greene, cosmologists Alan Guth and Andrei Linde, and philosopher Nick Bostrom as they discuss and debate this controversial implication of forefront research and explore its potential for redefining the cosmic order. Moderated by Robert Krulwich and featuring an original musical interlude, inspired by parallel worlds, by DJ Spooky.
This program is part of The Big Idea Series, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation.
Robert Krulwich has been called “the most inventive network reporter in television” by TV Guide. His specialty is explaining complex subjects, science, technology, and economics, in a style that is clear, compelling, and entertaining. On television he has explored the structure of DNA using a banana; on radio he created an Italian opera, “Ratto Interesso” to explain how the Federal Reserve regulates interest rates; he has pioneered the use of new animation on ABC’s Nightline and World News Tonight. He now reports for National Public Radio. His NPR blog, “Krulwich Wonders”, features drawings, cartoons, and videos that illustrate hard-to-see concepts in science. He is also co-host of the Peabody Award-winning radio series, “Radio Lab”.
For 22 years, Krulwich was a science, economics, general assignment, and foreign correspondent at ABC and CBS News. He has won Emmy awards for a cultural history of Barbie (the world famous doll), and for a Frontline investigation of computers and privacy, a George Polk and Emmy for a look at the Savings & Loan bailout online advertising, and an Essay Prize from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
Alan Guth is a professor of physics at MIT, and world-renowned for his discovery of inflationary cosmology, the dominant cosmological paradigm for over two decades. His current research focuses on developing mathematical tools for quantitatively analyzing inflation’s suggestion that there are an infinite number of universes.
Brian Greene is a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, and is widely recognized for a number of groundbreaking discoveries in superstring theory, including the co-discoveries of mirror symmetry and topology change. His first book for general audiences, The Elegant Universe was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and has sold more than a million copies worldwide. His more recent books, The Fabric of the Cosmos and The Hidden Reality, were both New York Times bestsellers, and inspired the Washington Post to call him “the single best explainer of abstruse concepts in the world today.” Greene’s latest project, World Science U, brings science education online with innovative digital courses available to anyone with an interest in science.
Greene makes frequent media appearances on programs such as Charlie Rose, The Colbert Report and David Letterman. He has hosted two NOVA specials, based on The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos, which were nominated for four Emmy Awards and won a George Foster Peabody Award. Professor Greene is co-director of Columbia’s Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics, and with producer Tracy Day, he is co-founder of the World Science Festival.
Andrei Linde is a professor of physics at Stanford University, one of the authors of the inflationary theory and the theory of inflationary multiverse. He invented the theory of chaotic inflation, which is the most general form of inflationary cosmology. Linde also helped to develop the mechanism of vacuum stabilization in string theory, which helped to incorporate the theory of inflationary multiverse in the context of string theory. He is the author of the books Inflation and Quantum Cosmology and Particle Physics and Inflationary Cosmology. His honors include the Dirac Medal, Peter Gruber Prize, and the Fundamental Physics Prize.
Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid is a composer, multimedia artist and writer. His written work has appeared in The Village Voice, The Source, Artforum and Rapgun among other publications.
Miller’s work as a media artist has appeared in a wide variety of contexts such as the Whitney Biennial; The Venice Biennial for Architecture (2000); the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany; Kunsthalle, Vienna; The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and many other museums and galleries. His work New York Is Now has been exhibited in the Africa Pavilion of the 52 Venice Biennial 2007, and the Miami/Art Basel fair of 2007.
Miller’s first collection of essays, entitled Rhythm Science came out on MIT Press 2004. His book Sound Unbound, an anthology of writings on electronic music and digital media was recently released by MIT Press. Miller’s deep interest in reggae and dub has resulted in a series of compilations, remixes and collections of material from the vaults of the legendary Jamaican label, Trojan Records. Other releases include Optometry (2002), a jazz project featuring some of the best players in the downtown NYC jazz scene, and Dubtometry (2003) featuring Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and Mad Professor. Miller’s latest collaborative release, Drums of Death, features Dave Lombardo of Slayer and Chuck D of Public Enemy among others. He also produced material on Yoko Ono’s new album Yes, I’m a Witch. Miller’s large scale, multimedia performance pieces include “Rebirth of a Nation” (now on DVD), and “Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica”.
Nick Bostrom is a co-founder of the World Transhumanist Association and Director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University. His research areas of interest include artificial intelligence, bio-enhancement, and mind uploading. He devised a thought experiment describing one of the strange philosophical implications of multiverse theories: our universe may be a computer simulation.