The 2014 World Science Festival, which ran from May 28-June 1, delivered more than 70 science-packed events for science enthusiasts of all ages. World-renowned scientists delved into the most cutting-edge theories and research on everything from quantum mechanics to genetic therapy to the search for alien life, NASA astronauts taught us what it’s like to work in space, robots played soccer, and science was celebrated in many ways by hundreds of thousands of attendees.
Join top science authors for coffee and conversation throughout the day, shop our carefully curated selection of science books for sale, and have your books signed by participating authors.
Those who register for the World Science Festival’s free events will receive early notification of special events and be entered for a chance to win a science gift packet.
What should we be worried about? That is the question John Brockman, founding editor of the celebrated science website Edge, posed in 2013 to our planet’s most influential minds. Six leading scientists share their worries and discuss their own recent books.
Host: John Brockman, What Should We Be Worried About?: Real Scenarios That Keep Scientists Up at Night
Helen Fisher, Why Him? Why Her?: How to Find and Keep Lasting Love
Amanda Gefter, Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn: A Father, a Daughter, the Meaning of Nothing, and the Beginning of Everything
Seth Lloyd, Programming the Universe: A Quantum Computer Scientist Takes on the Cosmos
Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined
Max Tegmark, Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality
Neuroscientists are still trying to unravel the mystery that is the human brain: Dean Buonomano studies the causes and consequences of the brain’s flaws. David Eagleman explores the subconscious parts of the brain. And Jennifer Ouellette investigates what about our brains distinguishes us as individuals. Join these authors of three recent books about the unsolved mysteries of the three pounds of matter that sits between our ears.
Dean Buonomano, Brain Bugs: How the Brain’s Flaws Shape Our Lives
David Eagleman, Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
Jennifer Ouellette, Me, Myself, and Why: Searching for the Science of Self
Go behind the scenes with authors of brand-new books making headlines right now. Longtime former ABC News correspondent Lynn Sherr hosts and discusses her new biography of astronaut Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space. The New York Times’ Nicholas Wade discusses his controversial bestseller on race and genetics. Physicist Katherine Freese shares her quest to understand what the universe is made of. And mathematician Edward Frenkel reveals his passion for how mathematics unites humans across cultures, continents and centuries.
Host: Lynn Sherr, Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space
Katherine Freese, The Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter (Science Essentials)
Edward Frenkel, Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality
Nicholas Wade, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History
A.J. Jacobs is the author of four New York Times bestsellers about self-experimentation, including Drop Dead Healthy, The Year of Living Biblically, My Life as an Experiment and The Know-It-All. He is the editor at large at Esquire magazine and a correspondent for NPR. He has written extensively about brain science, psychology and behavioral economics, and his articles have appeared in The New York Times, Wired and New York magazine. He has also given two TED talks about health and psychology. His next book is about his quest to build a family tree of the entire human race and hold the biggest family reunion in history.
John Brockman is a cultural impresario whose career has encompassed the avant-garde art world, science, books, software, and the Internet. In the 1960s he coined the word “intermedia” and pioneered “intermedia kinetic environments” in art, theatre, and commerce, while also consulting for clients such as General Electric, Columbia Pictures, Scott Paper, The Pentagon, and the White House.
In 1973, he formed Brockman, Inc., the international literary and software agency specializing in serious nonfiction. He is the founder of the nonprofit Edge Foundation, Inc. and editor of Edge (www.edge.org), the highly acclaimed website devoted to discussions of cutting edge science and then this turned black brilliant thinkers, the leaders of what he has termed “the third culture”. His books include: By the Late John Brockman, Digerati, and The Third Culture.
Seth Lloyd is currently the professor of quantum-mechanical engineering at MIT and the director of the W.M. Keck Center for Extreme Quantum Information Theory. Working with a variety of groups to construct and operate quantum computers and quantum communication systems, Lloyd is the first person to develop a realizable model for quantum computation. His research focuses on the role of information in complex systems and the quantum mechanics of living systems (known as `quantum life’), economics, and cosmology. Lloyd is the author of over a hundred scientific papers, including the publication Programming the Universe.
Amanda Gefter is a physics and cosmology writer and a consultant for New Scientist magazine, where she formerly served as books and arts editor and founded CultureLab. Her writing has been featured in New Scientist, Scientific American, Sky and Telescope, Astronomy.com, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Gefter studied the history and philosophy of science at the London School of Economics and was a 2012–13 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Gefter is the author of Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn.
Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist and one of the world’s foremost writers on language, mind, and human nature. Currently Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, Pinker has also taught at Stanford and MIT. His research has won prizes from the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, and the APA. He has received eight honorary doctorates, multiple teaching awards, and numerous prizes for his books The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, and The Better Angels of Our Nature. He is Chair of the American Heritage Dictionary Usage Panel, and writes for The New York Times, Time, and The New Republic. He has been named Humanist of the Year, Prospect magazine’s “The World’s Top 100 Public Intellectuals,” Foreign Policy’s “100 Global Thinkers,” and Time’s “The 100 Most Influential People in the World Today.”
Known as “Mad Max” for his unorthodox ideas and passion for adventure, Max Tegmark’s scientific interests range from precision cosmology to the ultimate nature of reality. He is author or coauthor of more than two hundred technical papers, twelve of which have been cited more than five hundred times. He has been featured in dozens of science documentaries, and his work with the SDSS collaboration on galaxy clustering shared the first prize in Science magazine’s “Breakthrough of the Year: 2003.” He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a physics professor at MIT.
Helen Fisher is a biological anthropologist at Rutgers University. She studies the evolution, brain systems (fMRI) and biological patterns of romantic love, mate choice, marriage, gender differences, personality, and the biology of leadership styles. She has written five internationally best selling books, including Why Him? Why Her?, Why We Love, and Anatomy of Love. She is currently the chief scientific advisor to Match.com and subsidiary, Chemistry.com, where she designed the Chemistry.com questionnaire now taken by 13 million people in 40 countries. She lectures worldwide, including lectures at the World Economic Forum (Davos), 2012 international meeting of the G-20, National Academy of Sciences, The Economist, TED, United Nations, Smithsonian Institution, Salk Institute and Harvard Medical School. She publishes widely in academic journals and appears regularly on TV, radio, and print media.
Dean Buonomano is a leading expert on how the brain tells time. His research also focuses on neurocomputation, and the neural basis of learning and memory. A professor of neurobiology and psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, Dean is the author of the book Brain Bugs: How the Brain’s Flaws Shape Our Lives. In which he explores the causes and consequences of the brain’s flaws. He is a member of the Brain Research Institute and Integrative Center for Learning and Memory at UCLA.
David Eagleman is a neuroscientist, best-selling author, and Guggenheim Fellow who holds joint appointments in the Departments of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. His areas of research include time perception, vision, and synesthesia—a condition where stimulation of one sense triggers responses in others. He directs the Laboratory for Perception and Action, and is the founder and director of Baylor College of Medicine’s Initiative on Neuroscience and Law. He has written several neuroscience books, including his latest, Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain. His work has also appeared in Discover Magazine, Slate, Wired, and New Scientist.
Jennifer Ouellette is a science writer and the author of four popular science books, most recently Me, Myself and Why: Searching for the Science of Self. Her work has appeared in Discover, Slate, New Scientist, Salon, Smithsonian, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal, and Quanta. She has a blog at Scientific American called Cocktail Party Physics and co-hosts the podcast Virtually Speaking Science with Tom Levenson and Alan Boyle in Second Life. From 2008 to 2010, she was the founding director of the Science & Entertainment Exchange, an initiative of the National Academy of Sciences to foster creative collaborations between scientists and entertainment industry professionals.
Award-winning broadcaster and author Lynn Sherr spent more than thirty years with ABC News, covering everything from women’s issues, social change and scientific explorations to investigative reports, politics and the space program. She was a semifinalist in NASA’s Journalist-in-Space competition, a contest that, she regrets, was terminated before she could fly. Sherr has also anchored and reported for PBS and public radio. Her books include Outside the Box: My Unscripted Life of Love, Loss and Television News; Failure Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words; and the bestselling Tall Blondes: A Book About Giraffes, which was also the subject of a documentary for the PBS Nature program, and the 2012 bestselling book SWIM: Why We Love the Water . Her new book, Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space, will be published June 3, 2014.
Edward Frenkel is a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society, and the winner of the Hermann Weyl Prize in mathematical physics. Frenkel’s recent work has focused on the Langlands Program and dualities in quantum field theory. He has authored three books – including Love and Math, which was named one of the Best Books of 2013 by Amazon and iBooks. He has lectured on his work around the world, and his YouTube videos have garnered more than 2.5 million views combined.
Physicist Katherine Freese works on a wide range of topics in theoretical cosmology and astroparticle physics. A focus of her research has been the attempt to resolve the mystery of the dark matter and dark energy that permeates our universe. She is also working to build a successful model of the early universe immediately after the big bang.
Freese has shown that most of the mass in galaxies does not consist of ordinary stellar material, and has proposed ways to look for alternatives such as supersymmetric particles motivated by particle theory. Currently, there is a great deal of excitement surrounding the possible detections of these particles in a variety of experiments worldwide and in space. Most recently, Freese proposed that Dark Stars powered by dark matter are the first stars to form in the universe.
Freese is the George E. Uhlenbeck Professor of Physics at the University of Michigan and the Associate Director of the Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics.
Nicholas Wade received a B.A. in natural sciences from King’s College, Cambridge. He was deputy editor of Nature magazine in London and then became that journal’s Washington correspondent. He joined Science magazine in Washington as a reporter and later moved to The New York Times, where he has been a science reporter, a science editor, and an editorial writer, concentrating his writing on issues of defense, space, science, medicine, technology, genetics, molecular biology, the environment, and public policy. Wade is the author of A Troublesome Inheritance.