Wednesday, April 21, 2010

2010 World Science Festival -- Guess Who is Coming!

I received this past week a lovely letter from Professor Brian Greene and Ms. Tracy Day, the Co-Founders of the World Science Festival (WSF), that takes place in New York City in late Spring. The 2010 WSF will take place June 2-6, 2010, so save the dates!

Last year, I was an invited panelist on Traffic, along with Drs. Iain Couzin and Mitchell Joachim at the 2009 Festival, with Robert Krulwich of NPR and ABC, as our panel moderator. That event, plus numerous others, associated with the WSF, which focuses on bringing the excitement and wonder of science and discoveries to the public, were just fabulous! I blogged about this fascinating festival on this blog. Below is a photo from the Traffic panel.

The letter from Greene and Day (who are husband and wife, by the way, and a terrific team all-around) announced that Dr. Stephen Hawking, the renowned physicist, of Cambridge University in England, will be taking part in the 2010 WSF's Opening Night Gala Performance on Wednesday, June 2, at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall!

Although Dr. Hawking has suffered for years from Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a disease that affects muscle control) for which he uses a wheelchair and speaks through a computer and voice synthesizer, he remains very active professionally and has given talks around the world. I recall him speaking in China a few years back and was so impressed by his stamina and professionalism, despite his disability, that when an opportunity came to me to speak in China, I had to accept. Dr. Hawking is an incredible scientist and role model.

A quote from Professor Hawking's website: Among the most important people to both Stephen and his work are the PhD students that he supervises. This quote really resonates with me!

The Gala Evening at Alice Tully Hall will also feature Alan Alda (a great supporter of this festival and science), Yo-Yo Ma, and Damian Woetzel, among others. It will be the setting for the world premier of Icarus at the Edge of Time, an orchestral work composed by Philip Glass, with libretto by Brian Greene and David Henry Hwang!

I would like to thank the organizers of the WSF and all the supporters for bringing the wonder and pleasures of science to NYC and the world!