The World Science Festival, cofounded by Brian Greene , professor of mathematics and physics, returns to New York City May 30 – June 3 offering a dynamic set of lectures and programs that bring cutting-edge science to a broader audience. The world’s leading scientific minds will be joined by renowned artists and influential thinkers for a celebration of science through discourse and debate, dance and theater, film, music, and the visual arts. A number of events including Columbia faculty are highlighted below. For a complete program, visit the 2012 Program Calendar.
The World Science Festival invites the Columbia community to attend these exciting programs and save 15% on tickets. Please visit www.worldsciencefestival.com or to buy tickets. Enter promotion code 15COL at the prompt to receive the discount.
Icarus at the Edge of Time is the story of a courageous boy who challenges the awesome might of a black hole. This stunning, full-orchestral work with animated film and live narrator brings a powerful modern twist to a classic myth, taking audiences of all ages on a whirlwind voyage through space and time, to the very edge of understanding. Featuring an original orchestral score by Philip Glass, performed by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, conducted by Brad Lubman, film by Al + Al, and narration written by Brian Greene and David Henry Hwang. Open to the public.
Columbia Faculty: Thomas Jessell , Claire Tow Professor in the Department of Neuroscience and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Columbia University, co-director of the Columbia/Kavli Institute for Brain Science.
Winners of the 2012 prestigious $1 million Kavli Prizes will be announced live via satellite from the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in Oslo. On-site opening remarks will be given by John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, followed by ABC News anchor Elizabeth Vargas and leading researchers exploring the next wave of opportunities in the Kavli prize areas: astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience. Live webcast begins 8:15 AM. By Invitation Only.
Columbia Faculty: Mark Wigley , Dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
Great artists shape new realities by challenging conventional world views and pushing society to see possibility in unlikely places. That paradigm springs to life on top of the Metropolitan Art Museum, where Argentinian-born artist Tomás Saraceno debuts his new utopian installation, Cloud Cities , a towering constellation of interconnected pods that draws its inspiration from the geometry of bubbles, the flight of balloons, the patterns of the cosmos and the intricacies of spider webs. Navigate your way through the structure’s maze of mirrors and webs before joining the artist and renowned scientists and architects for a conversation that brings the intersection of science and art to the foreground, and explores radical new habitats for 21st-century living.
Presented with New York’s innovative storytelling collective, The Moth, esteemed scientists, writers and artists tell on-stage stories about their personal relationship with science. In keeping with Moth tradition, each story must be true and told within ten minutes, without notes. The result is a poignant, hilarious, and enjoyably unpredictable evening that’s sure to intrigue and surely hard to forget. Presented in collaboration with The Moth.
Columbia Faculty: George Bonanno , Professor of clinical psychology at the Teachers College of Columbia University
Car accidents. Suicide bombers. Earthquakes. Death of a spouse. Why do some people bounce back from traumatic events while others do not? Is there a biological profile of resiliency? Can science, with the jab of a needle or huff of an aerosol, help reduce post-stress trauma? Can, and should, we train people to be more resilient? Leading thinkers from around the world explore these and other questions about the science of human resiliency.
Cosmology is the one field in which researchers can—literally—witness the past. The cosmic background radiation, ancient light streaming toward us since the Big Bang, provides a pristine window onto the birth and evolution of the universe. Join Nobel Laureate John Mather and other leading scientists as they take us ever closer to answering one of the deepest questions: how did the universe begin? Open to the public.
Join us for the world premiere of The Creator , a beautiful and surreal short-form film by award-winning British filmmakers Al+Al, which follows sentient computers from the future on a mystical odyssey to discover their creator: legendary computer scientist Alan Turing. Marking the centenary of Turing’s birth, The Creator will launch a wide-ranging conversation among leading computer scientists and physicists about the promise and perils of artificial intelligence, as we take a personal look at the remarkable and tragic life of this computer visionary.
Columbia Faculty: Oliver Sacks , professor of neurology and psychiatry and Columbia’s first University Artist
A composer finds freedom from Tourette’s through music; an amnesiac remembers distant memories when he hears the Grateful Dead; a patient with Parkinson’s listens to her favorite tunes and regains the ability to walk without tremors. What is it about music that can transport us to the past, reawaken distant emotions, and even heal some neurological disorders? Join renowned neurologist and best-selling author Oliver Sacks and pioneering music therapists as they use intimate portraits of patients profoundly transformed by music to explore the neural mechanisms behind music’s healing powers, and discuss possible implications for the treatment of Alzheimer’s, aphasia and other neurological impairments.
Columbia Faculty: Eitan Grinspun , Professor of Computer Science and Dickson Despommier , Professor of Public Health in Environmental Health Sciences
The World Science Festival’s Innovation Square transforms a picturesque quad in downtown Brooklyn into a technophile’s adventureland, teeming with future-shaping innovations from all over the world. Watch the first public demonstration of quantum levitation; climb walls with superhero-worthy gecko gloves; play with the world’s lightest material. It’s an unforgettable afternoon of amazing demos, challenges, and interactive fun, suitable for tech enthusiasts of all ages. Free Admittance.
In 1935, Albert Einstein published a landmark paper revealing that quantum mechanics allows widely separated objects to influence one another, even though nothing travels between them. Einstein called it spooky and rejected the idea, arguing that it exposed a major deficiency in the quantum theory. But, decades later, experiments proved the unsettling concept correct. Join Brian Greene on a journey that brings this insight and the remarkable history of reality-bending quantum mechanics vividly to life.
Leading researchers have called this the ‘Decade of Dark Matter,’—the era in which data finally establish the identity of the universe’s unseen matter. As results are released, what will they tell us about our current theoretical models, and the properties of dark matter? What are the plans for new detection experiments? And if no dark matter is found, what then? Are there plans for more refined experiments? Will attention turn to maverick theories that seek to explain observations without invoking dark matter? Some of the advanced topics to be explored may include: Annual modulation signals for dark matter; reconciling the CoGeNT, DAMA, CDMS and XENON experiments; the ICECUBE and DEEPCORE experiments; possible connections between dark matter and dark energy; modified gravity approaches.
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