Will robots ever have emotions? What are the limits of artificial intelligence? What is the universe made of? And how did it form?
A select group of six students from New York City public high schools posed these questions and many more when they took the stage to interview groundbreaking robot designer Cynthia Breazeal and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Leon Lederman. These unusually candid, disarming, and revealing conversations engaged two of the best minds in science in a multimedia event that educated, entertained and inspired.
MTV News correspondent SuChin Pak, began her television career as host of the PBS Science program Newton’s Apple. She has hosted the MTV Video Music Awards, the Movie Awards, and the documentary series My Life Translated. She will host The G-Word on Discovery’s forthcoming eco-lifestyle network, Planet Green.
Cynthia Breazeal is an associate professor of media arts and sciences and the director of the personal robots group at the Media Lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. She is an expert on the interaction between people and sociable robots.
Leon Lederman is the Director Emeritus of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, and Pritzker Professor of Science at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago; for his contributions to neutrino physics, he shared the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physics. In the standard model of modern physics, there are only twelve different species of matter particles. During a remarkable career spanning more than four decades, Lederman has played a crucial role in discovering two of these species: the bottom quark (a heavier cousin to the particles of which atomic nuclei are made) and the muon neutrino (an almost massless, ghostly particle which hardly interacts with other matter at all). He was also part of the team that produced the first artificial high-intensity neutrino beam; such beams have since proved a valuable physics tool to study the fundamental properties of matter and its interactions.
A graduate of the City College of New York and Columbia University, as well as the New York City public schools, Lederman, has authored a number of popular books on particle physics, including The God Particle and the recently released Symmetry and the Beautiful Universe.