2017 World Science Festival

The World Science Festival announces complete programming for their 10th anniversary from May 30 to June 4, 2017

2017 World Science Festival

Brooklyn Heights
DUMBO
Beyond South Brooklyn

The World Science Festival announces complete programming for their 10th anniversary from May 30 to June 4, 2017, which will bring science across the five boroughs of New York City, including the crossroads of the world, Times Square, and several amazing events centered in Brooklyn.

On June 3, Brooklyn Bridge Park will host the Festival favorite Saturday Night Lights: Stargazing in Brooklyn Bridge Park, with Bill Nye the Science Guy and Pilobolus. Step up to a telescope for an up-close look at the moon, Jupiter, and beyond. Back on Earth, the one-and-only Bill Nye the Science Guy is on site for a Q&A session and book signing. Then, take part in UP! Umbrella Project, a participatory experience created by Pilobolus in collaboration with MIT Distributed Robotics. Armed with an LED-lighted umbrella, create your own exploding stars and a total eclipse, along with physicists and astronomers in a larger-than-life celebration of our universe. Astronauts Yvonne Cagle and Leland Melvin will also be on hand for space exploration and autograph signing.

During the day, board the Mystic Whaler, a reproduction of a late 19th century coastal cargo schooner, for a family-friendly tour of New York Harbor departing from Pier 5 in the park. At 11am, participants can cast a net into the harbor to catch all kinds of organisms to study how they impact the ecosystem. Biologist Roy Arezzo is on deck to provide an up-close encounter with the oysters that play an essential role in filtering our harbors and creating an environment that continues to sustain life. On the 3pm Sail, work side-by-side with conservation scientist Eleanor Sterling and biologist Eugenia Naro-Maciel to experiment with turtle tagging equipment, examine artifacts, and trace the DNA of underwater creatures. Participants will learn how warming waters are impacting sea turtles, other ocean animals, and the underwater world around us. At 7pm, fishery scientist Sean Dixon will be on board for an exciting exploration of historical overfishing, its impact on our waters, and how sustainable practices can restore local fisheries.

With more than 50 events from May 30 – June 4, 2017, the Festival will be anchored in Times Square, significantly furthering its mission to engage a broad general public. Many events are free. Ticketed events can be purchased by clicking here

At a time when science is at the heart of pressing policy debates, the Festival will provide an unparalleled opportunity to engage with revolutionary discoveries, the thinkers behind them, and their wide-ranging political and cultural implications. The programming includes world-class performing arts productions, lively debates, lectures, intimate discussions, and interactive demonstrations for both kids and adults.

The World Science Festival is the brainchild of Brian Greene, a distinguished physicist, best-selling author, and one of the world’s foremost science communicators, and Tracy Day, a four-time National Emmy Award-winning producer who brought historic events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of apartheid in South Africa to television audiences. Joined by Alan Alda, who continues to be a close collaborator each year, they launched the Festival in 2008, motivated by the realization that New York, a city teeming with unique opportunities for enrichment, had no festival introducing the general public to the great minds pushing the frontiers of understanding. The New York Times has hailed the Festival as a “new cultural institution.”

A Festival highlight brings together Alan Alda and Tina Fey for a conversation about the art and science of communication entitled If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face?, on June 1 at the New-York Historical Society.

“When we started the World Science Festival a decade ago, we conceived it as a way of introducing the diverse worlds of science to a broad audience—to take science out of scholarly journals and into the cultural mainstream,” said Tracy Day, Co-Founder and CEO of the World Science Festival. “Now, more than ever, it is critical that the general public recognize how vital science is to our collective future.”

Brian Greene, Co-Founder of the World Science Festival and Chairman of the Science Festival Foundation, said, “The World Science Festival is part of a movement emphasizing that science is not just a subject in school, it’s a perspective on the world. Science is our most powerful tool for revealing the deep truths of reality, and the Festival is dedicated to making those truths understandable, accessible, and widely available.”

The 2017 World Science Festival will launch with Time, Creativity, and the Cosmos, the latest in a series of original multimedia works produced by the Festival, on May 30 at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Acclaimed physicist and World Science Festival Co-Founder Brian Greene will tell a cosmic journey that wends its way from the Big Bang to the end of time, celebrating the human spirit of exploration, creativity and discovery. The production, co-created by Greene and the innovative dance troupe Pilobolus, will feature an eclectic, star-studded lineup of artists including famed violinist Joshua Bell; David Draiman, lead singer of the iconic hard rock band Disturbed; opera star Renée Fleming; inventive dance troupe Pilobolus; and the string trio Time for Three; among others.

Between May 31 and June 3, the Festival presents Science in the Square, a program of activities, demonstrations, and installations that educate, entertain, amaze, and inspire. From June 1 - 3, the centerpiece will be Holoscenes, an epic performance-installation that connects everyday actions to climate change. Created by the artist Lars Jan and Early Morning Opera, and born out of the widely-shared concern that rising seas, melting glaciers, intensifying floods, and extended droughts will be defining issues of the 21st century, Holoscenes takes place in a twelve-ton glass aquarium that, over the course of five hours each day, periodically floods and drains, requiring a rotating cast of performers to continually respond to changing water levels. This spectacular and haunting work of public art is co-presented by the Festival and Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance.

This year, the Festival will also recognize the achievements of women in science. On June 1 at Ace Hotel’s Liberty Hall, actress Mayim Bialik (“The Big Bang Theory”) hosts Nevertheless, She Persisted in which some of the most accomplished female scientists—Sarah Demers, Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Diana Reiss, Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, and Maryam Zaringhalam—will tell their stories of trial and triumph. Broadcast journalist Lynn Sherr will moderate Hidden Figures No More! Heroines of Space Science Past, Present, and Future, a discussion featuring scientists and astronauts who shattered the glass ceiling that constrained women in the field, including Yvonne Cagle, Cassie Kloberdanz Lee, Lesa Roe, and Ellen Stofan. The event takes place June 2 at NYU Global Center’s Grand Hall.

Highlighting the winners of the 2017 Flame Challenge, which judges scientists on how well they can communicate familiar yet complex concepts to an 11-year-old, Alan Alda will host an hour-long program on June 3, with interactive demonstrations, in which he and a team of experts will reveal how our bodies use energy and how we will power the world in the future.

2017 WORLD SCIENCE FESTIVAL PROGRAMMING

Many events will stream live at http://www.worldsciencefestival.com/live

Time, Creativity, and The Cosmos
Featuring Joshua Bell, David Draiman, Renée Fleming, Brian Greene, Pilobolus, Time for Three
May 30 at 7pm
Jazz at Lincoln Center, Frederick P. Rose Hall  (10 Columbus Circle)

The tenth anniversary World Science Festival opens with a new work celebrating the human spirit of exploration, discovery, and creativity. Told by acclaimed physicist Brian Greene as a cosmic journey that wends its way from the Big Bang to the end of time, the evening features an exceptional and eclectic group of performances including famed violinist Joshua Bell, David Draiman of the iconic hard rock band Disturbed, renowned opera star Renée Fleming, the innovative dance troupe Pilobolus, and the string trio Time for Three. The evening is a celebration of science and art examining our collective longing to transcend the boundaries of space and time.

She Runs the Lab
Participants: Zsuzsa Marka, Michelle VanTieghem, Chelsea Harmon, Daphna Shohamy, Virginia Cornish, Summer Ash, Mande Holford, Jill Bargonetti, Frida Kleiman, Shahana Mahajan, Angelique Corthals, Linda Rourke, Jane Carlton, Christine Vogel, Mahal Lab, Chiye Aoki, Catalina Villamil, and Daniela Buccella
May 31, June 1, June 4; various times
Columbia University, New York University, City University of New York, Hunter College: Invitation only

What better way to inspire the next generation of women scientists than to meet working scientists, tour their labs, and learn about their paths to exciting careers? Women in labs studying anthropology, neural science, physics, and more open their doors to NYC high school girls at universities throughout the city. Students have the rare opportunity to interact with prominent scientists, experiment with state-of-the-art equipment, and gain insight into the steps they can take now to prepare for successful future in science.

The House of Tomorrow: Buckminster Fuller and the Science of Substantial Design
Moderator: John Hockenberry; Participants: Eben Bayer, Ellen Burstyn, Peter Livolsi, Kate Orff
May 31 at 7pm
Redstone Theater, Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Ave, Queens, NY)

R. Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller captured the world’s imagination with designs like the geodesic dome, but perhaps his greatest contribution was the way he thought. As a “design scientist,” he sought innovation that benefits the greatest number of people using the least amount of resources. Today’s disruptive designers are guided by the same principles, uniting science and design for a sustainable future. Join Academy Award-winner Ellen Burstyn, a friend of Bucky’s, for a special advance screening of her new film The House of Tomorrow (also starring Nick Offerman, Asa Butterfield, Alex Wolff, Maude Apatow, and Michaela Watkins), which tells Bucky’s incredible story through two rebel teens trying to become punk gods. Following the film, moderator John Hockenberry, Ms. Burstyn, director Peter Livolsi, and winners of the prestigious “Buckminster Challenge” will discuss how Bucky’s limitless thinking is just what we need today.

The House of Tomorrow is a recipient of the 2015 Tribeca Film Institute Sloan Grant. This program is co-presented with the Museum of the Moving Image and Sloan Science & Film. Supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation as part of its Public Understanding of Science and Technology Program.

Computational Creativity: AI and the Art of Ingenuity
Moderator: John Schaefer; Participants: Sougwen Chung, Jesse Engel, Peter Ulric Tse, Lav Varshney
May 31 at 8pm
NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (566 LaGuardia Pl.)

Today, there are robots that make art, move like dancers, tell stories, and even help human chefs devise unique recipes. But is there ingenuity in silicon? Can computers be creative? A rare treat for the senses, this thought-provoking event brings together artists and computer scientists who are creating original works with the help of artificially intelligent machines. Joined by leading experts in psychology and neuroscience, they will explore the roots of creativity in humans and computers, what artificial creativity reveals about human imagination, and the future of hybrid systems that build on the capabilities of both.

Science in the Square
May 31 - June 3
Times Square (7th Ave. and 47th St.): FREE

The World Science Festival brings science to the crossroads of the world, Times Square. The Festival will descend on Times Square with free activities, demonstrations, and installations that will give the public a greater understanding and appreciation of our ever-changing planet—and our relationship to it. Capping a pioneering decade of communicating scientific ideas in creative, novel, and impactful ways that make science accessible and visceral, the Festival’s presence in Times Square dramatically advances its mission by bringing the world of science to visitors from across New York City and around the globe.

Among the highlights is Holoscenes, a large-scale performance-installation taking place from June 1 - 3, created by artist Lars Jan and his company Early Morning Opera, that examines humankind’s relationship to water and illustrates the connection between our everyday actions and climate change. Born out of the widely-shared concern that the worldwide impact of water—from rising seas, melting glaciers, intensifying floods, and extended droughts—will be a defining issue of the 21st century, Holoscenes takes place in a twelve-ton glass aquarium that, over the course of five hours each day, periodically floods and drains, requiring a rotating cast of performers to continually respond to changing water levels. This spectacular work of public art is co-presented by the Festival and Times Square Arts, and was originally produced by MAPP International Productions.

Exploring Hyperspace: A Virtual Reality Experience
VR Host: Brian Greene
June 1 at 2pm
Invitation-Only

During this invitation-only event, a global audience of students and lifelong learners from more than a dozen countries—from Brazil to Israel Canada to South Africa—will participate in a live interactive virtual reality lecture exploring such topics as extra dimensions, the unified theory of physics, and the multiverse. The VR audience will engage in the social experience of a worldwide virtual classroom while creating and handling higher dimensional objects that stretch the bounds of what’s possible in a real environment.

The original VR broadcasting is presented in collaboration with Abelana VR Productions and thirteen international VR centers and theaters. Venue support is provided by Jump Into The Light.

Salon: Evolution Beyond Earth
Moderator: Stuart Firestein; Participants: Chris Mason, Caleb Scharf, Ting Wu, and Others
June 1 at 6pm
NYU Global Center, Grand Hall (238 Thompson Street, 5th Floor)

Thanks to evolution, your body is exquisitely adapted to survive on Earth—and, as far as we know, nowhere else. But while humanity’s past is firmly grounded on our home planet, the humans of the future may live on the moon, Mars, or interstellar ships bound for distant worlds. To prepare for this cosmic migration, today’s scientists are exploring how living in space affects the human body—right down to DNA—and whether we might tweak our own genome to enhance our ability to live beyond Earth. Come explore the biological future of humanity, as a new era of evolution beckons.

Forever Young: The Promise of Human Regeneration
Moderator: Emily Senay; Participants: Dany Spencer Adams, Anthony Atala, Stephen Badylak, Doris Taylor                              
June 1 at 8pm
Gerald W. Lynch Theater, John Jay College (524 W. 59th St.)

Synthetic blood mass-produced to meet supply shortages. Livers and kidneys “bioprinted” on demand. Missing fingers and toes re-grown with a jolt of bioelectricity. Regenerative medicine promises to do more than just treat disease, injuries, or congenital conditions. It holds the potential to rejuvenate, heal, or completely replace damaged tissue and organs. If successful, regenerative medicine will have an immense impact on how we care for the injured, sick, and aging—and how we think about death. This program will explore mind-boggling medical advances as well as the societal and economic implications of a future in which everybody may truly be forever young.

The Evolution of Evolution: Are We the Masters of Our Fate?
Moderator: John Hockenberry; Participants: Hank Greely, Sam Sternberg, Ian Tattersall, Sarah Tishkoff
June 1 at 8pm
NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (566 LaGuardia Pl.)

It’s a profound question facing modern humans: Are we still subject to natural selection? After hundreds of years of scientific progress, many of the pressures that control evolution—predators and disease—are decreasing. At the same time, technology capable of engineering the genome is in our hands. Are we undergoing a new form of evolution in which artificial changes are faster and more radical than those produced by the natural world? Should we control our own genetic material? Where will these changes lead us? Renowned geneticists, paleoanthropologists, and biologists consider our genetic future as evolution evolves.

If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look On My Face?: Alan and Tina on the Art of Communicating
Participants: Alan Alda and Tina Fey
June 1 at 8pm
New-York Historical Society (170 Central Park W.)

For more than a decade, Alan Alda has been successfully working with scientists to greatly sharpen their ability to communicate with each other and with the general public. The approach? Getting researchers, from quantum physicists to molecular biologists to nanotechnologists, to drop the jargon and pick up improvisational theatre. Join us for a wild ride as two comedic heroes explore the power of theatre, satire, humor and empathy to reshape the fine art of communication.

Nevertheless, She Persisted: A Spotlight on Women in Science
Host: Mayim Bialik; Participants: Sarah Demers, Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Diana Reiss, Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, Maryam Zaringhalam
June 1 at 8:30pm
Liberty Hall at Ace Hotel (20 W. 29th St.)

Strip away the trimmings of a traditional science presentation, add cocktails, and you have the WSF Spotlight. An intimate, cabaret-style setting provides an unobstructed glimpse into the minds of some of the more intrepid scientists who happen to be women. What does it take to do the work they do? Come hear stories of trial and triumph at a science happy hour featuring one-of-a-kind talks that promise to entertain, engage, and enlighten. Admission includes one complimentary drink.

World Science U for a Day
Participants: George F. R. Ellis, Alan Guth, Gerard ‘t Hooft, Veronika Hubeny, Andrei Linde, Mark Van Raamsdonk, Matias Zaldarriaga
June 2 at 8am
Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium, Simons Foundation (160 5th Ave.)
Application Only


We are providing a limited number of exclusive, complimentary seats to the taping of master classes that will subsequently be presented on the World Science U digital platform. Immerse yourself in an intense and intimate day with some of the foremost experts in physics and cosmology. This event offers science enthusiasts a curated curriculum that goes beyond a popular-level presentation.

Pioneers in Science: Jane Lubchenco
Moderator: Danielle Dana; Participants: Jane Lubchenco
June 2 at 9:30am
Invite Only: Online Participation

The World Science Festival’s Pioneers in Science program gives high school students from around the globe rare and intimate access to some of the world’s most renowned scientists in a town hall style discussion. Join us to meet marine ecologist Professor Jane Lubchenco, U.S. Science Envoy for the Oceans, former Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, and former Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Pioneers in Science: Aprille J. Ericsson
Moderator: Danielle Dana; Participants: Aprille J. Ericsson
June 2 at 11:45am
Invite Only: Online Participation

The World Science Festival’s Pioneers in Science program gives high school students from around the globe rare and intimate access to some of the world’s most renowned scientists in a town hall style discussion. Join us to meet NASA aerospace engineer Aprille J. Ericsson, a pioneer in the development of crucial instruments for the James Webb Space Telescope, ICESat, and other missions that monitor the earth, help discover new planets, and search for our origins.

Salon: Engineering Immortality?
Moderator: Amy Harmon; Participants: Joseph J. Fins, Jamie Metzl, Doris Taylor, and James Kirkland
June 2 at 5:30pm
NYU Global Center, Grand Hall (238 Thompson Street, 5th Floor)

Humans are living longer than ever before: In just a century, American life expectancy has gone from 47 to 79. Today’s scientists are growing hearts in the lab, creating organs with 3D bio-printers, and eliminating cells that shorten life. Will this new technology yield another dramatic increase in life expectancy? Join us for a unique and vibrant discussion that will reveal exciting work that may give birth to the first true millennial, and to debate the social, economic, and environmental ramifications of an immortal society.

Mummy Knows Best: Trivia Night at the Museum
Moderator: Faith Salie
June 2 at 6pm
American Museum of Natural History (Central Park West & 79th St.)

Unwrap an evening of mystery and celebrate the American Museum of Natural History’s newest temporary exhibition, Mummies. Join comedian and journalist Faith Salie under the blue whale to unearth rare facts and show off your smarts in a pub-style quiz format. Tackle trivia questions and physical challenges with a drink in hand. And if things get too tough, you might even get an assist from a team of top scientists.

This program includes one free drink and special private access to the Mummies exhibition. Special exhibit access is available to ticket-holders at 6pm, one hour prior to the 7pm Trivia event.

Better Cooking Through Chemistry
Participants: Joe Brown, J. Kenji López-Alt
June 2 at 7:30pm
Saveur Test Kitchen (15 E. 32nd St.)

Cooking isn’t magic—it’s science! Boiling water for your favorite angel hair pasta? This is merely molecules bouncing around. What about slightly burnt toast with your morning coffee? It’s simply organic compounds in your whole wheat bread being converted to carbon. Whether at breakfast, lunch or dinner, chemistry is always at work. Serious Eats’ J. Kenji López-Alt, author of the James Beard Award-winning cookbook The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science, and Popular Science Editor-in-Chief Joe Brown will demonstrate science-based techniques you can take back to your own kitchen. In the meantime, sip some Sauver private label wine and taste the results of these edible experiments.

Quantum Reality: Space, Time, and Entanglement
Moderator: Brian Greene; Participants: Mark Van Raamsdonk, Gerard ‘t Hooft, David Wallace, K. Birgitta Whaley
June 2 at 8pm
NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (566 LaGuardia Place)

Ninety years after the historic double-slit experiment, the quantum revolution shows no sign of slowing. Join a vibrant conversation with renowned leaders in theoretical physics, quantum computation, and philosophical foundations, focused on how quantum physics continues to impact understanding on issues profound and practical, from the edge of black holes and the fibers of spacetime to teleportation and the future of computers.

The Social Synapse: Neuroscience and the Roots of Human Connections
Moderator: John Donvan; Participants: Louise Barrett, Agustín Fuentes, Kevin Laland, Kevin Ochsner, Dietrich Stout
June 2 at 8pm
Gerald W. Lynch Theater, John Jay College (524 W. 59th St.)

We humans work together on enormous scales, build complex tools as large as cities, and create social networks that span the globe. What is the key to this innately social profile? How did it evolve? This program will examine the development of the human brain—and the brains of other animals—asking how neurons and synapses orchestrate communal behavior and guide group interactions, demonstrating how our social nature is key to our humanity.

Hidden Figures No More! Heroines of Space Science Past, Present, and Future
Moderator: Lynn Sherr; Participants: Yvonne Cagle, Cassie Kloberdanz Lee, Lesa Roe, Ellen Stofan
June 2 at 8pm
NYU Global Center, Grand Hall (238 Thompson Street, 5th Floor)

Hidden Figures revealed hidden heroines in the history of space science. Through their curiosity, tenacity, and courage, these women helped send rockets into space and solve the mysteries of planets, stars, galaxies, and beyond. Join this exciting conversation with scientists, astronauts, and other luminaries who broke down barriers in a male-dominated discipline, as they reflect on the many pivotal but unsung figures of space science, assess the cutting-edge of space exploration initiatives across the globe, and envision the essential role for women in the coming era of discovery.

The Great Fish Count
June 3, 9am
Various Locations: FREE

From Lemon Creek in Staten Island to the shores of the Bronx River, New York’s waterways are teeming with life—and it’s up to you to find it! Led by top marine scientists and biologists in 17 sites across New York’s five boroughs and New Jersey, the Great Fish Count gives attendees of all ages the chance to strap on a pair of waders, cast a net, and discover the underwater world in their own backyard.

Chemistry Baker’s Apprentice
Scientific Mentor: Danielle Vellucci
June 3 at 9:30am
Four & Twenty Blackbirds Bakery (597 Sackett St., ​​Brooklyn)

Love isn’t the secret behind grandma’s apple pie—it’s chemistry! Bring your passion for pastries and step into the kitchen at Four & Twenty Blackbirds Bakery with NYU chemistry professor Danielle Vellucci. Through starch, acid, and heat experiments, discover what causes the ideal flakey crust, creates the most scrumptious filling, and makes the perfect pie.

Microbiologist’s Apprentice
Scientific Mentor: Jessica Joyner
June 3 at 10am
Brooklyn College, Old Ingersoll Building, Room 3239 (2900 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn)

The human body, the depths of the ocean, and just about every surface imaginable is home to a hidden world of microscopic organisms. Uncover this invisible universe—and how it affects our everyday life—with Brooklyn College microbiology professor Jessica Joyner. With a microscope as your exploratory tool, examine cells and discover how researchers find small solutions to some of our planet’s biggest problems.

Urban Farmer’s Apprentice
Scientific Mentor: Yemi Amu
June 3 at 10am
Oko Farms (104 Moore St., Brooklyn)

Forget the pitchfork and the fishing rod...we’re farming in New York City! Join Yemi Amu, co-founder of Oko Farms, to learn how to raise fish and grow plants in the same environment. Plant your own seedlings, feed some fish, and tour a farm like no other. Build your own mini aquaponic system and conduct experiments to convert fish waste into nutrients for plants—just like our oceans do naturally every day.

Museum Architect’s Apprentice
Scientific Mentor: Kubi Ackerman
June 3 at 10am
Museum of the City of New York (1220 5th Ave.)

What kind of New York City will we leave for the next generation? A lot of it has to do with the design of our parks: how they protect the city from environmental challenges, provide recreation, and offer health benefits to those in an urban environment. Architect Kubi Ackerman of the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) is imagining endless possibilities for our future parks, and invites you to do the same. After a walk through Central Park to study the natural environment, explore the MCNY’s Future City Lab to create your own sustainable park.

Salon: The Qubit Revolution
Moderator: George Musser; Participants: Jerry Chow, Julia Kempe, Seth Lloyd, Kathy-Anne Soderberg
June 3 at 11am
NYU Global Center, Grand Hall (238 Thompson Street, 5th Floor)

One of the strangest features of quantum mechanics is also potentially its most useful: entanglement. By harnessing the ability for two particles to be intimately intertwined across great distances, researchers are working to create technologies that even Einstein could not imagine, from quantum computers that can run millions of calculations in parallel, to new forms of cryptography that may be impossible to crack. Join us as we explore the coming age of quantum technology, which promises to bring with it a far deeper understanding of fundamental physics.

Astronomer’s Apprentice
Scientific Mentor: Jackie Faherty
June 3 at 11am
NYU Kimmel Center, Classroom 808 (60 Washington Square S.)

Is there another Planet Earth? Scratch that—is there even another planet that has life on it? Science says there’s a good chance. In this program, astronomer Jacqueline Faherty of the American Museum of Natural History reveals the different signals exoplanet hunters are using to better understand worlds beyond our own. Take a look through our own astronomical backyard and explore the data to find hints of another Earth-like planet.

Scientific Sails
Science Captains: Roy Arezzo, Eugenia (Genia) Naro-Maciel, Eleanor Sterling, Sean Dixon
June 3 at 11am, 3pm, and 7pm
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 5

Raise the sails, trawl for fish, and join us for a family-friendly tour of New York Harbor aboard the Mystic Whaler, a reproduction of a late 19th century coastal cargo schooner. At 11am, participants can cast a net into the harbor to catch all kinds of organisms to study how they impact the ecosystem. Biologist Roy Arezzo is on deck to provide an up-close encounter with the oysters that play an essential role in filtering our harbors and creating an environment that continues to sustain life. On the 3pm Sail, work side-by-side with conservation scientist Eleanor Sterling and biologist Eugenia Naro-Maciel to experiment with turtle tagging equipment, examine artifacts, and trace the DNA of underwater creatures. Participants will learn how warming waters are impacting sea turtles, other ocean animals, and the underwater world around us. At 7pm, fishery scientist Sean Dixon will be on board for an exciting exploration of historical overfishing, its impact on our waters, and how sustainable practices can restore local fisheries.

On the Shoulders of Giants
Participants: Sylvia Earle
June 3 at 1pm
Gerald D. Fischbach Auditorium, Simons Foundation (160 5th Ave.): Invitation Only

Acknowledging the scientists who blazed intellectual trails before him, Isaac Newton wrote, “If I have seen a little further it was by standing on the shoulders of giants.” In this special annual series, we invite our audience to stand on the shoulders of a modern-day giant. This year, we are honored to present an address by “Her Deepness,” oceanographer Sylvia Earle. The former chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Earle has led over 100 deep-sea expeditions—including the first group of women aquanauts in 1970 as part of the Tektite Project —and logged over 7,000 hours underwater. In order to combat increasing threats to our global ecosystems posed by rising tides and ocean heating, Sylvia Earle is dedicated to creating a worldwide network of locations both in the ocean and on land designed to preserve the life forms that protect our earth.

Salon: If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em: The Future of Augmented Intelligence
Participants: Vasant Dhar, Jana Eggers, S. Matthew Liao, John R. Smith
June 3 at 1:30pm
NYU Global Center, Grand Hall (238 Thompson Street, 5th Floor)

Computers are getting smarter and more creative, offering spectacular possibilities to improve the human condition. There’s a call to redefine Artificial Intelligence as Augmented Intelligence, to emphasize the potential of humans working with AI as opposed to being replaced by AI. Join AI experts, data scientists, engineers, and ethicists as they explore how we can work alongside machines, when we should trust machines to make cognitive decisions, and how all of society can benefit from the productive and financial gains promised by advances in AI.

Pondering The Imponderables: The Biggest Questions of Cosmology
Moderator: Jim Holt; Participants: David Albert, George F. R. Ellis, Alan Guth, Veronika Hubeny, Andrei Linde, Barry Loewer
June 3 at 2pm
Gerald W. Lynch Theater, John Jay College (524 W. 59th St.)

Physicists and cosmologists are closing in on how the universe operates at its very core. But even with powerful telescopes and particle accelerators pushed nearly to their limits, experimenters struggle to keep up as theoreticians march forward, leaving grand theories untested. Is our universe unique or one of many? What was there before the Big Bang? Why is there something rather than nothing? Some argue that if these deep questions can’t be confirmed empirically, they’re not relevant to science. Are they right? Join leading cosmologists, philosophers, and physicists as they tackle the profound questions of existence.

Salon: Engineering the Brain: Deploying a New Neural Toolkit
Participants: Elizabeth M C Hillman, Dayu Lin, Conor Liston, Anthony Zador
June 3 at 4pm
NYU Global Center, Grand Hall (238 Thompson Street, 5th Floor)

A new generation of technology is revolutionizing neuroscience, allowing a closer study of the brain than had ever seemed possible. They are hybrid disciplines of optics, genetics, and synthetic biology with the ability to manipulate brain activity, often in real time. Some of these techniques hold promise for the treatment of diseases like depression or schizophrenia through direct stimulation of neural connections. This salon takes a deep dive into the techniques and promise of the neural toolkit that is transforming brain science.

Flame Challenge: What is Energy?
Host: Alan Alda; Participants: Eddie Goldstein, Herman Pontzer, Lynn Trahey
June 3 at 4pm
NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (566 LaGuardia Pl.)

Alan Alda has issued this year’s challenge to the world's top scientists: What is energy? In a thrilling hour of interactive demonstrations, Alda and a team of experts invite the audience to explore how our bodies use energy, the impact of natural resources, and how we’re going to power the world in the future. The program also highlights the winners of the 2017 Flame Challenge, in which video and written explanations of energy were judged for clarity’s sake…by 20,000 eleven year-olds.

This program is in association with the Flame Challenge, an annual contest held by The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University.

The Future of Farming: Programming Perfect Produce
Participants: Joe Brown, Caleb Harper
June 3 at 5:00pm
Saveur Test Kitchen (15 E. 32nd St.)

Self-described “nerd farmer” Caleb Harper and his team at MIT have created a greenhouse with a brain: these “food computers” are enclosed, managed containers that allow you to create the perfect conditions for healthy crops. The fish-tank-sized farming computer allows Harper to simulate any environment within its glass walls, from ideal tomato-growing weather to the predicted climate and atmospheric conditions of New York in the year 2117. Want to grow a flawless Mexican strawberry in New Jersey? No problem. Professor Harper and Joe Brown, Editor-in-Chief of Popular Science, demonstrate how this amazing machine came to exist, and how it can be used in our kitchens, schools, and farms going forward. So grab a seat, pour yourself a glass of wine, and get ready to taste the future.

Salon: Growing Up Digital: Coming of Age in a Virtual World
Participants: Naomi S. Baron, Jan L. Plass, Lauren Sherman, Jennifer M. Zosh
June 3 at 6pm
NYU Global Center, Grand Hall (238 Thompson Street, 5th Floor)

The astonishing pace at which social and digital media have permeated every aspect of life means the upbringing of today’s children is profoundly different than any human has ever experienced. For nearly all of human history, communication and social interaction involved face-to-face contact. Now, screen-based digital devices mediate a substantial array of interactions. What are the consequences of this pervasive digital environment? Will it impact how children learn to read the emotions and behaviors of others? What is the effect on learning and our ability to pass on knowledge? Join experts in the fields of psychology, linguistics, and technology as they grapple with what it means to be a social human in the digital age.

Saturday Night Lights: Stargazing in Brooklyn Bridge Park
Participants: Bill Nye, David Baron, Yvonne Cagle, Jana Grcevich, Mario Livio, Leland Melvin, Gregory Mone, Pilobolus
June 3 at 7pm
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1: FREE

Brooklyn Bridge Park lights up the night’s sky with high-tech interactive and stargazing activities! Step up to a telescope for an up-close look at the moon, Jupiter, and beyond. Back on Earth, the one-and-only Bill Nye the Science Guy is on site for a Q&A session and book signing. Then, take part in UP! Umbrella Project, a participatory experience created by Pilobolus in collaboration with MIT Distributed Robotics. Armed with an LED-lighted umbrella, create your own exploding stars and a total eclipse, along with physicists and astronomers in a larger-than-life celebration of our universe. Astronauts Yvonne Cagle and Leland Melvin will also be on hand for space exploration and autograph signing.

Science in a Polarized World: A Global Town Meeting
Moderator: John Donvan; Participants: France Córdova, Brian Greene, Dan Kahan, Paul Nurse
June 3 at 8pm
NYU Skirball Center (566 LaGuardia Place)

Our age is marked by the proliferation of information, and yet we can’t agree. Science is supposed to be neutral, and yet it has generated some of the deepest societal divides. Why? Our response to scientific information depends on psychology, emotion, peer pressure, politics, and cultural influences. How can we navigate these differences and implement smart policy in a contentious society? Join a vibrant and important global discussion examining the interface between the scientific process and the occasionally unscientific public, as we hurtle headlong into an uncertain future.

Much Ado about Nearly Nothing: Nanotech and the Future of Energy
Moderator: Walter Isaacson; Participants: Sanjoy Banerjee, Yury Gogotsi, Patricia Holden, Paul Weiss
June 3 at 8pm
Gerald W. Lynch Theater, John Jay College (524 W. 59th St.)

The biggest challenge of our time, confronting the energy demands of an exploding population on a warming planet, may well be met by manipulating matter on the tiniest of scales—revolutionizing how we power the planet. Join world-class engineers, nanoscientists, and environmental leaders to explore how the capacity to harness molecules and atoms is accelerating spectacular inventions—including light-weight “wonder materials,” vital energy-storage technologies, and new sources of renewable energy—that promise to redefine the very future of energy.

The Kavli Prize recognizes scientists for their seminal advances in astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience. The series, “The Big, the Small, and the Complex,” is sponsored by The Kavli Foundation and The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Ultimate Science Sunday
June 4 at 10am
NYU Kimmel Center (60 Washington Square S.)

Ride a hovercraft, control an underwater rover, and face off with virtual reality dinosaurs. This is Ultimate Science Sunday, an action-packed day of robots, catapults, wind tunnels, telescopes, and so much more. Explore floors of interactive exhibits, demonstrations, and games during this immersive science event that you won’t want to miss. This indoor event, presented by Con Edison, is free and open to all ages.

Science and Storytime
Moderator: Lynn Brunelle; Participants: Lesa Cline-Ransome & James Ransome, Shana Corey, Jessica Garrett, Olivia Koski
June 4 at 10am
NYU Kimmel Center Commuter Lounge (60 Washington Square S.)

Books come to life in this special day-long science and story series. Meet top authors of children’s science books and students as young as eight who have won some of the world’s top awards. Then, have your books signed by participating authors and join students at Ultimate Science Sunday to interact with their projects.

Salon: Nanotechnology’s Promise: A Big Risk in a Small Package?
Moderator: Andrew Revkin; Participants: Vicki Colvin, Patricia Holden, Ponisseril Somasundaran, Paul Weiss
June 4 at 11am
NYU Global Center, Grand Hall (238 Thompson Street, 5th Floor)

Increased standards of living and a global population set to double by 2050 mean skyrocketing demands for energy, resources, and technology. Nanotechnology holds perhaps the biggest promise for finding solutions: From computing, communications, renewable energy and clean water, to medicine, transportation, skincare, sports clothing and food, countless tiny particles, visible only in a microscope, are at work beneath the surface of our daily lives. With so many areas going nano, is it really good for us? Join a group of experts who will explore this emerging area of collaborative research seeking to meet vital challenges while engineering a healthier, safer, and more efficient future.

The Kavli Prize recognizes scientists for their seminal advances in astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience. The series, “The Big, the Small, and the Complex,” is sponsored by The Kavli Foundation and The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Urban Archaeologists Apprentice
Scientific Mentor: Alyssa Loorya
June 4 at 11am
NYU Kimmel Center, Classroom 808 (60 Washington Square S.)

Construction workers at Washington Square Park recently found two burial vaults from the early 1800s. Now is your chance to uncover New York City history just like scientists do. Join archaeologist Alyssa Loorya to reconstruct artifacts, piece together pottery, and create a map of archaeological sites throughout the city. The program concludes with a walk to area where the burial vault was discovered at Washington Square Park East.

Civil Engineer’s Apprentice
Scientific Mentor: Erin Styfco
June 4 at 11:30am
NYU Kimmel Center, Classroom 803 (60 Washington Square S.)

Building a skyscraper takes more than just an architectural drawing. You have to take into account materials, location, ground structure, and weather. Engineer Erin Styfco leads an exploration of how natural processes—from wind and rain to natural disasters—can affect structures over time. Recreate an earthquake to determine what causes buildings to collapse, and construct your own structure designed to survive the elements.

Salon: Testing the Limits of Cosmology
Moderator: Mario Livio; Participants: Nima Arkani-Hamed, France Córdova, Matias Zaldarriaga
June 4 at 1:30pm
NYU Global Center, Grand Hall (238 Thompson Street, 5th Floor)

Leading physicists, astronomers, and astrophysicists discuss how they are pushing the boundaries of scientific imagination to develop experiments that test the seemingly untestable theories of multiverses, eternal inflation, and exotic particles. Join the conversation about their plans to recreate the big bang in particle accelerators here on Earth, as well as their quest to sift through signals from the farthest edges of space for the existence of a multiverse. The stakes are high—as they attempt to answer some of science’s biggest questions, they are testing the limits of experimental and observational science itself.

Zoologist’s Apprentice
Scientific Mentor: Russell Burke
June 4 at 1:30pm
NYU Kimmel Center, Classroom 808 (60 Washington Square S.)

What do turtles, lizards, and coyotes all have in common? They call the New York City area their home. Join Hofstra University biology professor Russell Burke on a journey to study the behavior of our furry and not-so-furry neighbors. Participate in a study to learn how scientists capture, mark, and release animals to determine their populations in our backyard.

Cool Jobs
Host: “Science Bob” Pflugfelder; Participants: Valerie Camille Jones, Tom McFadden, Anoopa Singh, Joshua Winter, Yenmin Young
June 4 at 1:30pm
NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (566 LaGuardia Place)

The World Science Festival’s highly celebrated program Cool Jobs is back with an astounding lineup of the coolest science teachers around. Can you break a cinder block on your chest? Dance your way into learning about fossils? Play catch with a robot? These are all things that these people do every day…at work. And all because they know how to make science the most exciting thing around. Come experience their passion during an interactive performance you will not want to miss.

Rodentologist’s Apprentice
Scientific Mentor: Caroline Bragdon
June 4 at 3:30pm
NYU Kimmel Center, Classroom 808 (60 Washington Square S.)

It’s hard to find a New Yorker who hasn’t encountered a rat. They are notoriously clever and hard to control. Thankfully, the scientists at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene are regularly tracking and developing new ways to control our rodent neighbors. You won’t come face-to-face with any rats at this program, but you’ll join research scientist Caroline Bragdon to examine gadgets, track population growth with interactive maps, and search for signs of rodent activity in the local park.

Salon: Science in the Hands of Scientists: The Meandering Path Toward Truth
Moderator: Carl Zimmer; Participants: Ivan Oransky, Massimo Pigliucci, Mariette DiChristina, And Others
June 4 at 4pm
NYU Global Center, Grand Hall (238 Thompson Street, 5th Floor)

As a discipline, science aspires to be an evidence-based, non-partisan tool for revealing truth. But science is carried out by scientists, human beings like the rest of us, subject to pressures, preconceptions, and biases. What are the external, non-scientific forces that impact scientific research? Does the current research structure—from government and foundation grant making, to peer review and the stiff competition for limited funding—drive focus away from the scientific objective of unbiased exploration? What lessons can we draw from the recent crisis of reproducibility afflicting some research areas? Join an open discussion focused on the myriad factors scientists face in a highly competitive environment as they seek to uphold and advance the ideals of scientific exploration.

Cartographers of The Brain: Mapping the Connectome
Participants: Deanna Barch, David Van Essen, Jeff Lichtman, Nim Tottenham
June 4 at 5pm
NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (566 LaGuardia Pl.)

Imagine navigating the globe with a map that only sketched out the continents. That’s pretty much how neuroscientists have been operating for decades. But one of the most ambitious programs in all of neuroscience, the Human Connectome Project, has just yielded a “network map” that is shedding light on the intricate connectivity in the brain. Join leading neuroscientists and psychologists as they explore how the connectome promises to revolutionize treatments for psychiatric and neurological disorders, answer profound questions regarding the electrochemical roots of memory and behavior, and clarify the link between our upbringing and brain development.

About the World Science Festival

The World Science Festival gathers great minds in science and the arts to produce live and digital content that allows a broad general audience to engage with scientific discoveries. Through discussions, debates, theatrical works, interactive explorations, musical performances, intimate salons, and major outdoor experiences, the Festival takes science out of the laboratory and into the streets, parks, museums, galleries and premier performing arts venues of New York City and beyond.

The Festival has featured Alan Alda, Alec Baldwin, Joshua Bell, Chuck Close, Glenn Close, Sylvia Earle, Philip Glass, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Stephen Hawking, John Hockenberry, Bill T. Jones, Cynthia Nixon, Paul Rudd, Charlie Kaufman, Mary-Claire King, Eric Lander, Richard Leakey, John Lithgow, Yo-Yo Ma, Bobby McFerrin, Oliver Sacks, Liev Schreiber, Anna Deavere Smith, Julie Taymor, E.O. Wilson, and Nobel Laureates David Baltimore, Steven Chu, David Gross, Eric Kandel, Dudley R. Herschbach, Roald Hoffmann, Leon Lederman, Paul Nurse, John C. Mather, Saul Perlmutter, William Phillips, Adam Riess, F. Sherwood Rowland, Horst Störmer, Jack W. Szostak, Gerard ‘t Hooft, Harold Varmus, James Watson, Steven Weinberg, Carl Wieman, and Frank Wilczek, among many other luminaries in science and the arts.

The annual live, week-long New York Festivals, which launched in 2008, have collectively drawn more than a million and a half visitors, and received more than 50 million views online. Ten years into its existence, the World Science Festival continues to grow across New York City and around the world, with original musical and theatrical works touring nationally and internationally; the 2016 launch of the World Science Festival Brisbane, whose second annual installment took place March 22-26, 2017; and City of Science, a series of free interactive exhibits produced by the World Science Festival and presented by Con Edison that traveled to all five boroughs in 2016.