Hello, World Science Festival 2010

You may have noticed things look a little different around here.

We’ve gussied up for the 2010 iteration of our flagship festival, which officially went on sale last week. There are still a few bugs we’re ironing out on the site (please bear with us!) and a couple of exciting programs yet to be announced, but the important thing is that tickets are now on sale. And if previous years are any indication (2008 and 2009), you may want to hurry to reserve your seats. Tickets tend to sell out very quickly.

There’s a LOT to be excited about this year. Let's see, where to begin...

Legendary artificial intelligence visionary, Marvin Minsky, joins a mathematician, astrobiologist, and philosopher in exploring the edges of human understanding. Minksy also features in a unique program with the “world’s most wired composer” and “Hyperinstruments” (of Guitar Hero fame) inventor, Tod Machover. Inside the immersive dome of the Hayden Planetarium, they will offer a sneak peak at Machover’s ambitious new opera, Death and the Powers: a groundbreaking transhumanist tale from MIT’s Media Lab that employs specially designed technology, including a chorus of robots.

Oliver Sacks and Chuck Close trade poignant stories about living with the bizarre disorder known as face blindness. Antonio Damasio and Marc Hauser tease apart the evolution and cultural significance of violence. And Oscar-winning filmmaker Charlie Kaufman takes on consciousness.

The Festival brings the James Webb Space Telescope—the powerful successor to the famed Hubble Space Telescope—to the streets of NYC. An 80-foot-long full-scale model of the telescope will be unveiled at Battery Park on Tuesday, June 1, and on public display until Sunday, June 6, from 11 am - 6 pm daily. And don’t miss our cosmic star-gazing party at the base of this massive telescope on Friday night, June 4: From the City to the Stars. Bring your telescope if you have one, or just yourself, and prepare for a mind-melting date with the Universe among Nobel laureates, leading scientists, amateur astronomers, and live music.

Our own Brian Greene explores the universe’s mysteriously hidden corners with other renowned theoretical physicists, and accompaniment from the Escher String Quartet. While Alan Alda hosts a cadre of vanguard physicist busy rewriting the rules of reality.

And much, much more.

The whole thing kicks off in style with a very special Gala Benefit honoring the world-renowned Stephen Hawking (you know, that physicist Stephen Colbert recently called an, ahem “a-hole,” but behind the satire is obviously smitten over). Of course, in reality, Hawking is an extraordinary mind, providing the most revolutionary insights into the nature of the cosmos since Albert Einstein. The Opening Night Gala also features the world premier of Brian Greene and David Henry Hwang’s multimedia orchestral performance of Icarus at the Edge of Time, which includes an original score by Philip Glass and visual artistry from AL and AL.

Watch this space as we roll out the relaunch of the WSF Blog. We’ve lined up some of our favorite bloggers, writers, and journalists (including Carl Zimmer and physicist Chad Orzel, and others) to riff on many of the themes from this year’s Festival in the run-up to, during, and after the big weekend. Plus, our own producers will be adding insight into many of their programs from the series. There will also be important updates and announcements about the Festival. As always stay informed by being our BFFs on Facebook, sign up for email updates, and follow us on Twitter.

The World Science Festival is a nonprofit organization that brings together preeminent figures in science, policy, industry, and the arts for a series of live events that engage and inspire the public. The 2010 Festival takes place in the streets, museums, and theaters throughout New York City on June 2-6, and features brilliant and creative minds such as Stephen Hawking, Oliver Sacks, John Holdren, Charlie Kaufman, Jill Tarter, Yo-Yo Ma, Chuck Close, John Mather, Francis Collins, Sir Paul Nurse, and many others. The Festival has garnered a live audience of over 300,000, more than two-million on-line views, and has been covered by local, national, and international media, including The Washington Post, Newsweek, The Wall St. Journal, NPR, BBC World Service, ABC’s World News Tonight, Good Morning America, and Nightline. In its summary review of the inaugural 2008 Festival, the New York Times called the Festival “a new cultural institution.”

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Hello Sciblings,

Good to be here. Looking forward to your feedback, comments, flames, and hifives. Have a look at the 2010 programs (there are a bunch of them!). We have some exciting behind-the-scenes teasers planned here. Let us know if there is anything in particular you'd like to get more info on or see spotlighted here.

Our own Brian Greene explores the universeâs mysteriously hidden corners with other renowned theoretical physicists, and accompaniment from the Escher String Quartet