Columbia Faculty Join Co-founder Brian Greene as Participants in the 2013 World Science Festival

May 10, 2013Bookmark and Share
World Science Festival

The World Science Festival, cofounded by Brian Greene, professor of mathematics and physics, returns to New York City May 29 – June 2 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 2013 Program Calendar.

The World Science Festival invites the Columbia community to attend these exciting programs and save 15% on tickets. Please visit for more information or to buy tickets. Enter promotion code 15COLDISC at the prompt to receive the discount.

May 29
Spooky Action: The Drama of Quantum Mechanics
Time: 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM 
Location: The New Victory Theater
Contact: For more information, click here.
Columbia Faculty: Brian Greene, professor of mathematics and physics
In 1935, Albert Einstein and two colleagues 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 instead that it exposed a major deficiency in the quantum theory. But decades later, experiments established this unsettling concept correct, upending conventional notions of reality. This program, back by popular demand, takes the audience on a journey that brings this insight and the remarkable history of reality-bending quantum mechanics vividly to life.
May 30
The Taste of Science
Time: 7:00 PM – 10:30 PM 
Location: Astor Center
Contact: For more information, click here.
Columbia Faculty: Stuart Firestein, professor and department chair of biological sciences
Part cocktail dinatoire, part science lab, this multi-course tasting program will bring together leaders in culinary innovation and scientists of varied disciplines, who will showcase the potential of their collaboration through food. The World Science Festival is excited to present “The Taste of Science,” an extraordinary evening of conversation, scientific discovery and gastronomic adventure. Expect scintillating science, the best in modern experimental cuisine, stimulating company and a few surprises.
May 31
Measuring Consciousness
Time: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM 
Location: NYU Lipton Hall, D'Agostino Hall
Contact: For more information, click here.
Columbia Faculty: Rafael Yuste, Professor of Biological Sciences and Neuroscience
Philosophers remain puzzled over the meaning of consciousness, but now scientists are asking another question: How do you measure it? In this salon, we reveal the techniques and technologies that scientists are developing to peer inside the human brain and eavesdrop on neurons.
June 1
Mapping the Brain: A Grand Challenge
Time: 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM 
Location: NYU Lipton Hall, D’Agostino Hall
Contact: For more information, click here.
Columbia Faculty: Rafael Yuste, Professor of Biological Sciences and Neuroscience
Join leading neuroscientists, psychologists, philosophers, biologists, and computer scientists in a discussion on the colossal challenges that must be overcome to understand, record, and analyze our neural wetware. What will it take to understand the human brain? President Obama’s new BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative aims to provide an unprecedented window into the internal life of the brain, which could lead to revolutionary changes in science, medicine, and technology.
June 1
Brains on Trial
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM 
Location: The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College
Contact: For more information, click here.
Columbia Faculty: Jed S. Rakoff, adjunct professor of law
What if we could peer into a brain and see guilt or innocence? Brain scanning technology is trying to break its way into the courtroom, but can we—and should we—determine criminal fate based on high-tech images of the brain? Join a distinguished group of neuroscientists and legal experts who will debate how and if neuroscience should inform our laws and how we treat criminals. This program is based on a two-part PBS special, “Brains on Trial with Alan Alda,” scheduled for broadcast on Sept. 11 and 18 at 10 PM, supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
June 1
Destiny and DNA: Our Pliable Genome
Time: 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM 
Location: NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts
Contact: For more information, click here.
Columbia Faculty: Frances Champagne, associate professor of psychology
When we’re born, our genes click on and whir away to produce our personalities, diseases and physical appearances. Or do they? Research has now revealed that genes can turn on and off; they can be expressed for years and then silenced, or never even used. And what controls them? Scientists have recently discovered our epigenome, biological markers along our DNA that regulate gene expression in response to features like age or environment, and which can influence the traits we pass onto our children. Join a glimpse of the future with scientists at the forefront of the emerging field of epigenetics as they reveal the role our genetic markers play in steering our biological destiny.
June 2
Street Fair
Time: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM 
Location: Washington Square Park
Contact: For more information, click here.
Columbia Presenters: Nicole Davi, postdoctoral research fellow, Lamont-Doherty; Margie Turrin, education coordinator, Lamont-Doherty; Linda Williams, graduate student in cellular, molecular and biophysical studies, working with Columbia University Neuroscience Outreach
Roll up your sleeves and get ready to dig into science through all-new interactive exhibits, games, shows and performances at the 6th Annual Ultimate Science Street Fair. Aspiring scientists of all ages investigate in “Science Circles” of biology, climate change, energy, math & technology, chemistry and more. You’ll even get to become a Scientist’s Apprentice by logging experiences throughout the day.
Join Nobel laureates, scientists, researchers and figures from sports and entertainment to illuminate the amazing science that lies behind virtually every aspect of modern life. Start your full day of fun and inspiration by producing energy through a soccer ball, planting a garden that grows up...and in water, compare a walrus tooth to a warthog tooth, and even learn how to code your own computer game. Not enough? Learn how to pollinate insects in a grease-powered bus, become a real crime scene investigator, extract DNA from a banana and learn how your brain works. That’s just some of the great science you’ll experience, along with the American Museum of Natural History, Hudson River Museum, Carmelo the Science Fellow, The New York Botanical Garden, Solar One, International Flavors & Fragrances...and YOU!
June 2
Sunday at the Met: Art and the Mind
Time: 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM 
Location: Grace Rainey Rodgers Auditorium, The MET
Contact: For more information, click here.
Columbia Faculty: David Freedberg, professor of history of art and director for The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America
What happens in our brains when we see artwork that we find beautiful? Why do we react this way, and what does it mean? Scientists in the emerging field of neuroaesthetics are probing what it is about art that moves us, using technologies that allow us to study the brain’s response in astounding detail. Their insights are providing us with a new way to look at art and the mind. This World Science Festival program brings together leading researchers in the field of neuroaesthetics, along with the dynamic painter and sculptor, Matthew Ritchie, to explore the power of visual art and the biology behind it. Presented in collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
June 2
What is Time?
Time: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM 
Location: NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts
Contact: For more information, click here.
Columbia Faculty: Alexandra Horowitz, adjunct professor of psychology, Barnard
What Is Time? When you’re having fun, time flies, but when you’re bored, time moves like molasses. Do animals experience time like we do? How about time travel? Is it possible? What did Einstein figure out about time? Experts on physics, psychology and animal cognition take a crack at answering these complex questions with the help of actor and science lover Alan Alda and an audience full of curious kids like you. This event is in association with the Flame Challenge, an annual contest held by Alda and Stony Brook University’s Center for Communicating Science. The winner of the 2013 Flame Challenge, “What is Time?” will be announced at the end of the program.