The tenth anniversary of the World Science Festival will descend on Times Square, UK on May 30-June 4 and will culminate its groundbreaking first decade by bringing science to the crossroads of the world.
At a time when science is at the heart of numerous 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 10th annual World Science Festival will launch with Time, Creativity, and the Cosmos, the latest in a series of original multimedia works produced by the Festival, May 30 at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Acclaimed physicist and World Science Festival Co-Founder Brian Greene tells a cosmic journey that wends its way from the Big Bang to the end of time. The production features an eclectic, star-studded lineup of artists including famed violinist Joshua Bell, opera star Renée Fleming, and the innovative dance troupe Pilobolus, among others. Written by Greene and directed by John Christian Plummer (Awakening the Mind: A Celebration of the Life and Work of Oliver Sacks, Netflix’s “Granite Flats”), Time, Creativity, and the Cosmos celebrates the human spirit of exploration and discovery and examines our collective longing to transcend the boundaries of space and time through science and art.
For the first time, the Festival will be anchored in Times Square, substantially furthering its mission to engage a broad general public.
During three action-packed days (June 1-3), the Festival will descend on Times Square (with the largest footprint in Times Square’s northern triangle) with activities, demonstrations, and installations that educate, entertain, amaze, and inspire. The centerpiece will be Holoscenes, an epic performance-installation that connects everyday actions to climate change.
Created by the artist Lars Jan, and 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, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance.
During the Festival week, Main Stage lectures and discussions will take place in a variety of New York venues, and will feature renowned scientists, philosophers, historians, authors, journalists, and other luminaries addressing timely topics including science, truth, and insight in an era of alternative facts; the impact of genomic engineering on evolution; the continuing evolution of quantum physics; neuroscience and the roots of cooperative behavior; the controversial creative capacities of computers; the deepest scientific and philosophical puzzles of cosmology; the promise of nanotechnology to meet exploding energy demands; and the Human Connectome Project’s exciting potential to inform clinical practice and illuminate the nature of consciousness.
Additional outdoor programming will include the Festival favorite Saturday Night Lights: Stargazing at Brooklyn Bridge Park, with astrophysicist and author Mario Livio and Pilobolus; a catch-and-release fish count in the waters surrounding New York City; and family-friendly Scientific Sails in New York Harbor, all on June 3.
The Great Fish Count and Scientific Sails are just two of many events for kids and their parents. Also on June 3, actor, author, science popularizer, and World Science Festival board member Alan Alda will host an hour-long program 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. The event will also highlight the winners of the 2017 Flame Challenge, which requires scientists to communicate familiar yet complex concepts in a way that is understandable to an 11-year-old. On June 4, this year’s interactive performance of Cool Jobs, hosted by Science Bob, will give young audiences the opportunity to meet some of this country’s greatest science teachers. In a range of hands-on apprentice programs on June 3 & 4, children and adults alike will learn about chemistry in baking, microbiology, urban farming, museum architecture, astronomy, zoology, urban archaeology, civil engineering, and rodentology.
Additional Festival highlights include a trivia night, Mummy Knows Best, at the American Museum of Natural History, hosted by author, comedian, and “CBS Sunday Morning” contributor Faith Salie, on June 2.
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 City, a place 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 hailed the inaugural Festival as a “new cultural institution.”
“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.”