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WORLD SCIENCE FESTIVAL This year's Festival has been re-imagined as a year-long series of signature explorations
featuring world-leading thinkers, artists, and innovators discussing cutting edge ideas, recent discoveries, and future opportunities.

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The use of language is extraordinarily commonplace, but its origins remain a mystery and have been the subject of heated debate among linguists for the better part of a century. Is the ability to understand and use language genetically encoded in humans—the result of an accident that took place relatively recently in evolutionary terms? Is it a tool of thought, for which the ability to communicate with others is a felicitous by-product? Or is it a human invention—such as the internet, or the telephone—developed by our ancestors as they realized that there were benefits to cooperating with one another? In this program, four outstanding scientists grapple with those questions from four entirely different perspectives.

The Big Ideas Series is supported by the John Templeton Foundation.

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Recent Programs

Premiered Thursday, August 19, 2021
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Premiered Thursday, August 5, 2021
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Upcoming Programs

What Is a Face?
Redefining Impossible
Relating to Robots
Can a Creation Be Creative?
Emergence and Entanglement
Seeking Immortaility
What is Real, What is a Copy?
The Illusion of Self
Seeking Eureka
Is Beauty Truth?
The Deep
The Brain-Gut Connection
Reading, Writing, and Technology
Quantum Reality
Math and Origami
Lucid Dreaming
Knowledge vs Wisdom
The Cosmic Web
Home Alone
Genes and Gender
Fooling the Eye. Revealing the Truth
Faith and Empiricism
Enhanced Humans
Dethroning DNA
Defining Life
Closing Quantum Loopholes
Can a Computer be a Physicist?
Beyond Deep Learning
Cosmological Controversy
All You Need Is Oxytocin

*Programs are subject to change.

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