The 2012 World Science Festival took place on May 30-June 3 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 on upcoming programs.


Date: Saturday, June 2, 2012
Time: 1:00 PM-9:00 PM
Venue: NYU Kimmel Center, Commuter Lounge
Participants: Carl Zimmer, Peter Pringle, Lawrence M. Krauss, Edward O. Wilson

Spend a thought-provoking afternoon with four leading science authors as they share insights from their latest books. The conversations will move from the mind-bending physics of nothing to the surprising trend of science-themed tattoos, from the dark secrets of scientific research to the evolutionary mystery of the human condition. Bring your questions, your books, and your tattoos!

Carl Zimmer
1:00 PM
Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed (Sterling, 2011)

In his fascinating investigation of scientists with tattoos, celebrated science writer Carl Zimmer discovers that tattoo artists now receive more requests for winding double-DNA strands than they do for “Mom.” Zimmer, an accidental curator of scholarly science ink, shares his experience reporting on hundreds of brainy tattoos—equations, chemical elements, orbits, molecular structures, and all manner of flora and fauna. Have a science tattoo? Zimmer will give you expert tips on how to photograph it, enhance it or hide it.

Peter Pringle
3:00 PM
Experiment Eleven: Dark Secrets Behind the Discovery of a Wonder Drug (Walker and Company, 2012)

Acclaimed investigative journalist and bestselling author Peter Pringle unravels the dark secrets behind the discovery of one of the most important drugs of the last century—streptomycin, the first antibiotic to successfully treat tuberculosis. Pringle’s spellbinding account of the development of this life-altering wonder drug exposes the role of power, hubris and deceit in the process of medical research. Pringle invites audience members to join him in a spirited debate over the definition of scientific discovery—how do you define it? Who gets the credit?

Lawrence Krauss
5:30 PM
A Universe From Nothing: Why There is Something Rather than Nothing (Free Press, 2012)

In his latest non-fiction science thriller, cosmologist Lawrence Krauss tackles two of the biggest scientific and philosophical questions of our time: How could the universe arise from nothing? And what is nothing, anyway? Join Krauss as he takes us on a journey to the beginning of time, to the beginning of nothing at all, and uses the latest findings in physics to turn these time-worn questions on their head.

E.O. Wilson: A special book signing
8:00 PM
The Social Conquest of Earth (Liveright, 2012)

In his highly anticipated new book, The Social Conquest of Earth, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning biologist E.O. Wilson draws on a lifetime of pioneering research to explain in enthralling, insightful prose the baffling origin of the human condition. How did humans evolve from simple creature to the most dominant species on Earth? What gives cooperative animals like ants, bees and humans an evolutionary advantage? This special book signing offers a rare opportunity to meet one of most influential scientists of our time.

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Science Writer

Award-winning science writer Carl Zimmer explores the frontiers of biology in his writing. His work appears regularly in The New York Times and many magazines, and he is the author of twelve books, including A Planet of Viruses.

Zimmer is a contributing editor and columnist for Discover, and his blog, The Loom, appears on the magazine’s web site. He has won the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Science Journalism Award twice, in 2004 and 2009.


Peter Pringle is author of The Murder of Nikolai Vavilov and co-author of nine previous books. His book, Food Inc., traced the history of biotech agriculture. The former Moscow bureau chief for The Independent, he has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New Republic and The Nation.

Theoretical Physicist, Cosmologist, and Author

Internationally known theoretical physicist and best-selling author Lawrence Krauss has focused his research on the intersection of cosmology and elementary particle physics. Krauss’s work addresses questions about the origin of matter in the universe, Einstein’s theory of general relativity, astrophysics, the future of the universe and the properties and description of the dark energy that is thought to account for most of the universe’s present energy content.

A fervent advocate for science literacy, Krauss has written nine books for a general audience, including the bestseller The Physics of Star Trek, and most recently A Universe from Nothing, which appeared in January of 2012. He was recently awarded the National Science Board’s 2012 Public Service Award for his contributions to public understanding of science. Krauss is Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and Director of the ASU Origins Project at Arizona State University.

Evolutionary Biologist and Author

E.O. Wilson is a life-long explorer of the natural world whose pioneering studies of ants have led to revolutionary insights across a wide range of fields, from evolution to animal and human behavior. A founding father of the environmental movement, Wilson teaches us to understand, protect, and celebrate the earth and has greatly influenced the way scientists and nonscientists view the interwoven complexity and diversity of our planet.

Wilson is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for General Non-Fiction and a winner of the National Medal of Science. He is currently Pellegrino University Research Professor Emeritus and Honorary Curator in Entomology at Harvard University.

Photo credit – Beth Maynor Young