World Science Festival

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The World Science Festival logo.

The World Science Festival, an annual science festival, is a production of the Science Festival Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in New York City.[1]

The Foundation’s mission is to cultivate a general public informed by science, inspired by its wonder, convinced of its value, and prepared to engage with its implications for the future.

History and background

The World Science Festival was founded and created by Brian Greene, professor of mathematics & physics at Columbia University and author of several science books (including The Elegant Universe, and The Hidden Reality); and Tracy Day, a four-time National News Emmy Award-winning journalist, who has produced live and documentary programming for the nation’s preeminent television news divisions. Greene now serves as Chairman of the Science Festival Foundation, and Day is CEO of the World Science Festival.[2]

The events at the World Science Festival are rooted in science, but also conform to the production standards of professional TV and live theatrical events.

The inaugural World Science Festival took place from May 28 to June 1, 2008, at 22 venues throughout New York City. Hailed a “new cultural institution,” by The New York Times, the Festival included 46 events, a street fair and, on its first day, the one-day World Science Summit at Columbia University. The Festival was attended by 120,000 people.

For Kids

The World Science Festival has special programming for kids and families, including a Street Fair outdoor event at Brooklyn Bridge Park and a Cool Jobs presentation.

Board of Directors

For a list of Sponsors & Partners see the official World Science Festival website.

Past Participants

The list of participants can be found on the official website.

2013 Festival

May 29 – June 2

The 6th annual World Science Festival kicked off with "Spooky Action", a program that brings the remarkable properties and history of reality-bending quantum mechanics vividly to life. Brought back by popular demand, "Spooky Action" featured Brian Greene, Maia Guest, Carl Howell, Michael Roush. Other 2013 highlights included an address by James Watson as part of the festival's series "On the Shoulder's of Giants" and "The Taste of Science", a multi-course tasting program where scientists and chefs pair up to showcase the potential for scientific discovery via gastronomic experimentation.

Over the course of 5 days, more than 200,000 people attended the various 50 programs offered. Programs took place at 28 different locations around New York City.

2012 Festival

May 30-June 3
The 5th Anniversary of the Festival began with the Gala celebration “A performing Arts Salute to Science.” The program featured Alan Alda, Joshua Bell, Todd Ellison, Paige Faure, Drew Gehling, Brian Greene, Rose Hemingway, David Hibbard, MOMIX, Debra Monk, Eryn Murman, James Naughton, Abbey O’Brien, T. Oliver Reid, and Teal Wicks.

During the Festival there were over 50 programs and events with more than 200,000 people attending. Programs included Icarus at the Edge of Time; the announcement of the 2012 Kavli Prizes; the second annual On the Shoulders of Giants address was given by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Edward O. Wilson.

2011 Festival

June 1 - June 5
The opening Festival Gala included a reading of RADIANCE: The Passion of Marie Curie a new play by Alan Alda.

There were over 41 programs and events with 150 participants and speakers during the 5 days of the 2011 Festival. An estimated audience of 197,000 people attended and over 110,000 viewers watched via live online streaming.

2010 Festival

June 2 - June 6
2010 marked the first year of the annual World Science Festival Gala. Stephen W. Hawking was the honoree. Alan Alda, Yo-Yo Ma and John Lithgow were some of the performers at the annual event.

The 40 programs included “Strangers in the Mirror” with artist Chuck Close and neurologist Oliver Sacks discussing their shared condition of prosopagnosia more commonly known as “face blindness.” Over 184,000 people attended the programs at the 2010 Festival.

2009 Festival

June 10 - June 14
In the second year of the Festival, the total audience grew by 40,000 people to over 160,000 attendees. Programming included an original three-dimensional tour of the cosmos at the Hayden Planetarium’s Digital Universe and a second co-production with The Moth story telling series at the Players Club.

2008 Festival

May 29- June 1
The inaugural year of the World Science Festival produced 44 programs and saw a total audience of over 129,000 people. Of the 150+ participants, speakers and performers 11 Nobel Prize winners. Venues included the American Museum of Natural History, Abyssinian Baptist Church, and the NYU Skirball Center. Total audience numbered more than 120,000.[3]


  1. Non-profit status and chairman position from the foundation's 990-EZ form for 2006, accessible online via GuideStar, GuideStar USA, Inc., 2008, retrieved 2008-06-11<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>. Current board of directors from World Science Festival (April 2008), Board of directors, Science Festival Foundation, archived from the original on June 7, 2008, retrieved 2008-06-08<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Cf. Musser, George (April 25, 2008), "A Science Fête Project: A Q&A with Brian Greene", Scientific American, retrieved 2008-11-24<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Venues and event numbers: Overbye, Dennis (June 3, 2008b), "An Overflowing Five-Day Banquet of Science and Its Meanings", New York Times, retrieved 2008-06-05<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>. Summit: Timmer, John (May 28, 2008b), "First Kavli Prize winners in new fields of science announced", Ars Technica, retrieved 2008-06-05<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>. Attendance: Souccar, Miriam (June 6, 2008), "City's Science Festival attracts record numbers", Crain's New York Business, retrieved 2008-06-06<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links