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Science & Story: The Art of Communicating Science Across All Media

Thursday, June 2, 2011
9:00 am - 4:30 pm

Science grapples with some of the most abstract of ideas, and bringing its drama to life for a broad audience is a significant—and vital—cultural challenge. In an all-day, multisession program, the World Science Festival will explore the communication of science—on the page, on the screen, and on the stage—illuminating the process of translating science to story. Some of the foremost interpreters of science for the general public—including scientists with literary sensibilities, journalists, authors, bloggers, composers, actors, filmmakers, and dramatists—will discuss how their narrative crafts are helping to shift science to its rightful place at the cultural center.

Presented in collaboration with the Paley Center for Media. 


Bill WeirJournalist

Bill Weir is an award-winning broadcast journalist, anchor and special correspondent for CNN. With a focus on our connected planet, he created and hosted The Wonder List with Bill Weir.

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Alan AldaActor, Author, Director

Alan Alda, a seven-time Emmy® Award winner, played Hawkeye Pierce and wrote many of the episodes on the classic TV series M*A*S*H. He has starred in, written, and directed many films, and was nominated for an Academy Award for his role in The Aviator.

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Natalie AngierAuthor

Natalie Angier is a Pulitzer-prize winning science columnist for The New York Times and the author of Woman: An Intimate Geography—a finalist for the National Book Award—and The Canon: A Whirligig Tour through the Beautiful Basics of Science, among other books. She has also written for Smithsonian, The Atlantic, National Geographic, The American Scholar, Wired, Geo, Slate, and many other publications.

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Emily BellJournalist

Emily Bell is the director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism and a professor of professional practice at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She was director of digital content for Britain’s Guardian News and Media from 2006 to 2010. Previous to that post, Bell was editor-in-chief of Guardian Unlimited from 2001 to 2006.

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Deborah BlumAuthor

Deborah Blum is a Pulitzer-prize winning science writer and the author of five books, most recently the best-selling tale of murder and forensic detection in 1920s New York, The Poisoner’s Handbook. She writes Poison Pen, a monthly blog on environmental chemistry, for The New York Times, and is a staff science blogger for Wired.

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Timothy FerrisAuthor

Timothy Ferris is the author of a dozen books (most recently The Science of Liberty), plus 200 articles and essays, and three documentary films—The Creation of the Universe, Life Beyond Earth, and Seeing in the Dark—seen by over 20 million viewers

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Brian GreenePhysicist, Author

Brian Greene is a professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, and is recognized for a number of groundbreaking discoveries in his field of superstring theory. His books, The Elegant Universe, The Fabric of the Cosmos, and The Hidden Reality, have collectively spent 65 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list.

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Seth MnookinAuthor

Seth Mnookin’s most recent book, The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear, uses a combination of investigative reporting, intellectual and scientific history, and sociological analysis to explore the controversies over vaccines and their rumored connection to developmental disorders. The New York Times said it was “just what the public needs…a tour-de-force.”

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Siddhartha MukherjeePhysician, Author

Siddhartha Mukherjee is a cancer physician and researcher. He is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a staff physician at Columbia University Medical Center. A former Rhodes Scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, and Harvard Medical School.

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Steven PinkerExperimental Psychologist, Psycholinguist, Author

Steven Pinker is an experimental psychologist who conducts research in visual cognition, psycholinguistics, and social relations. Currently Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard, he has won numerous prizes for his research, teaching, and books.

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Louie PsihoyosDocumentary Filmmaker, Photographer

Louie Psihoyos (rhymes with Sequoias) has been widely regarded as one of the top photographers in the world. He was hired directly out of college to shoot for National Geographic and created images for the yellow-bordered magazine for 18 years.

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Andrew RevkinEnvironmental Journalist, Author

Andrew Revkin is one of America’s most honored and experienced journalists and authors focused on environmental and human sustainability. He recently joined the staff of the National Geographic Society as strategic adviser for environmental and science journalism.

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Simon SinghAuthor, Science Journalist, Producer

Simon Singh’s documentary about Fermat’s Last Theorem was the winner of a BAFTA in the UK and was nominated for an EMMY. His publication on the same subject, Fermat’s Enigma, is the first book about mathematics to become a number one bestseller in the UK and has since been translated into 30 languages.

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Howard SwartzExecutive Producer at NOVA

As Executive Producer of the PBS science series, NOVA, now in its 38th season, Howard Swartz manages all phases of production, from development through the creative execution of NOVA programs.

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James WatsonMolecular Biologist, Geneticist, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine

In 1953, while at Cambridge University, James D. Watson and Francis Crick successfully proposed the double helical structure for DNA.

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Jonathan WeinerAuthor

Jonathan Weiner’s books have won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and many other honors. While working on His Brother’s Keeper, he was writer-in-residence at Rockefeller University. Now he teaches science writing at Columbia University’s graduate school of journalism, where he is a professor.

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Edward O. WilsonEvolutionary Biologist, 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.

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Carl ZimmerJournalist, Author

Carl Zimmer is an award-winning columnist for the New York Times and the author of 13 books about science. His reporting has earned awards from the National Academies of Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and the Online Journalism Association.

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Bora ZivkovicBlogger

Bora Zivkovic is the blog editor at Scientific American magazine. Born in Belgrade, Serbia (then Yugoslavia) he majored in biochemistry and molecular biology in high school, trained horses, and studied veterinary medicine at University of Belgrade. Upon arrival in the United States, Zivkovic did research on circadian rhythms in Japanese quail at North Carolina State University.

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