A night of stargazing and music that celebrated the dance of the planets. Guests met astronomers and astronauts, and experienced the lights of our universe.
This event is sponsored by Celestron.
Blanca Li, whose ROBOT received its American premiere at BAM’s Howard Gilman Opera House in June 2015, has created music videos for Daft Punk, fashion videos for Beyonce, dances for films by Pedro Amodovar, runway shows for Jean Paul Gaultier, and commissions from the Paris Opera Ballet and Metropolitan Opera. She was born in Granada, Spain where she was en route to becoming a world class gymnast before abandoning the sport to travel to New York City. She then spent the next five years studying at the Martha Graham Dance Center. Li moved back to Europe to found her own contemporary dance company in Paris, which in its 22 years, has performed in over 1,000 venues worldwide. Most recently, Blanca Li directed one of the first immersive dance films for Oculus Rift, which was released in March 2015.
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.”
Lee M. Morin was selected as a NASA astronaut candidate in 1996 and took part in the 13th space mission of the shuttle Atlantis in 2002 as it traveled to the International Space Station. After the Atlantis mission, Morin served in the State Department as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Science, Space, and Health in the Bureau of Oceans, Environment, and Science. He is currently assigned to the Exploration Branch of the Johnson Space Center, where he is working on NASA’s newest spacecraft, the Crew Exploration Vehicle. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematical/electrical science at the University of New Hampshire and went on to earn an MS in biochemistry, a master of public health, and a doctorate of medicine and microbiology. In 1982, he received a direct commission in the Naval Reserve and completed residency training in general surgery before becoming a naval flight surgeon.
Irene Pease has a bachelors degree in physics from the University of Arizona, in Tucson, AZ, where she briefly studied accretion discs around binary pulsars. As Brooklyn’s Friendly Neighborhood Astronomer, she leads astronomy classes indoors and also under the night skies at local parks, and shares her passion with the public using her homemade telescope. Pease currently teaches at York College, develops and performs live presentations in the Hayden Planetarium, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York.
Emily Rice is an assistant professor at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York and a research associate in the astrophysics department of the American Museum of Natural History. She earned her Ph.D. at UCLA studying enigmatic objects called brown dwarfs, which form like stars but then cool and fade to resemble gas giant planets. Rice grew up in Rochester, NY, and studied physics and astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh where she also majored in German, played ice hockey, and hosted a radio show. She has worked at the Davis Planetarium at the Maryland Science Center, the UCLA Planetarium, Griffith Observatory, and the California Science Center.
Astronaut Nicole Stott has worked with NASA over a 28-year career, including 11 years working at the Kennedy Space Center in support of all areas of the Space Shuttle program, helping to prepare space shuttles for launch and safely recover them and their crews after landing. Stott spent two years working at the Johnson Space Center as a Flight Simulation Engineer on the Shuttle Training Aircraft—a modified corporate jet that was used to train astronaut pilots how to fly the space shuttle, and she spent the past 15 years as a NASA astronaut. She is an artist, astronaut, aquanaut, aviator, advocate, and a mom. As an artist, she hopes to share the awesome spaceflight experience she’s had by capturing the beauty of our planet through her own artwork. As an astronaut, Stott was blessed to fly in space twice. On her first mission, she launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on the space shuttle Discovery with the crew of STS-128, spent three months living and working on the ISS as a member of the Expedition 20 and 21 crews where she performed a 6½ hour spacewalk, flew the robotic arm, and conducted scientific research. She then returned to Earth on the space shuttle Atlantis with the crew of STS-129. Her second mission took her back to the ISS as a mission specialist on STS-133, the final flight of the space shuttle Discovery. In preparation for her spaceflights, she traveled the world to train with our ISS partners, and also earned the title aquanaut after spending 18 days living under water in the Aquarius habitat as a member of the NEEMO 9 crew (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations)—the longest underwater mission to date. At an early age, Nicole Stott’s inspiration came from flying small planes with her dad, and from both a mom and dad who never used the word “impossible.” She is an instrument-rated private pilot and an advocate for finding solutions to complex struggles here on Earth via the same model we have successfully used with our international partners to explore space. She is a founding member of the Manna Energy Foundation and Fragile Oasis and she is an active supporter of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) organizations. As a mom, Nicole Stott is thankful that she has been able to share her experiences with her son and is hopeful that he will also follow his dreams.