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Toil and Trouble: Stories of Experiments Gone Wrong

Thursday, May 29, 2008
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Throwing a uniquely personal and intimate spotlight on their relationship with science, renowned researchers, writers, and artists, including Sam Shepard, Jim Gates, Nathan Englander, Lucy Hawking, and Michael Turner, took to the stage to tell stories about heroic failures, miscalculations and experiments — scientific and otherwise — gone wrong.

This captivating evening of live stories was presented in partnership with New York’s extraordinary storytelling collective, The Moth. In keeping with Moth traditions, each story must be true, must be told live, and must be told in ten minutes.


Jim GatesPhysicist

Sylvester James (Jim) Gates, Jr. is currently the John S. Toll Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland-College Park. In spring of 2009 he was appointed to serve on President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the Maryland State Board of Education.

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Lucy HawkingJournalist, Author

Lucy Hawking is a journalist, and the author of several novels. With her father, the physicist Stephen Hawking, she has written George’s Secret Key to the Universe, a children’s adventure featuring the mysteries of physics, science and the Universe.

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Nathan EnglanderAuthor

Nathan Englander’s story collection, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges became an international bestseller, earning him both the PEN/Faulkner Malamud Award and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2000. His first novel, The Ministry of Special Cases, was published in 2007.

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Sam ShepardActor, Pulitzer Prize Winner for Drama

Sam Shepard is an Oscar-nominated actor, screenwriter, director, and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright. His best-known works include Buried Child, Curse of the Starving Class, and True West. He has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1986.

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Michael TurnerTheoretical Astrophysicist, Cosmologist

Theoretical astrophysicist Michael S. Turner is a recognized figure in pioneering the interdisciplinary field of particle astrophysics and cosmology, for which he shared the 2010 Dannie Heineman Prize. In collaboration with Edward Kolb, he initiated the Fermilab astrophysics program.

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