Archive by category | World Science Festival

Interfacing with our machines

John Hockenberry, a journalist and moderator for the Mind and Machine: The Future of Thinking session, started Friday nights even at the WSF by talking about our relationships with machines. He is wheelchair bound as a result of an accident decades ago. But the wheelchair isn’t an impediment, Hockenberry explains, “it’s me!” There is a sense of intimacy with this machine—a sense of it being part of him and his self image.  Read more

World Science Festival: Scientists explore grey matters at The Moth

Cross posted from Nature Medicine’s Spoonful of Medicine blog. What do a Nobel prize-winning physicist, a stem cell scientist and a video game pioneer have in common? They were all onstage at New York University’s Webster Hall on Thursday night to talk about how science impacted their lives — in ways both humorous and poignant — at The Moth, New York’s quirky storytelling venue. Read the rest of the post on the Spoonful blog.  Read more

World Science Festival: Gala of Science

World Science Festival: Gala of Science

There was something for everyone’s taste in the “cool cup of science” — as actor Alan Alda introduced it — that made up the opening gala for this year’s World Science Festival in New York. The evening included an impressive roster of artists, from Yo-Yo Ma to John Lithgow to Kelli O’Hara; and an equally impressive line-up of scientists, including Stephen Hawking, the physicist to whom the evening’s performances paid tribute.  Read more

World Science Festival: Ending how it all began

World Science Festival: Ending how it all began

Posted on behalf of Neda Afsarmanesh And so it ends. The second World Science Festival successfully closed in much the same vein as it began, with a celebration of the work and creativity inspired by E.O.Wilson. At the start of the BioBlitzing session — which was attended by an equal number of excited kids as giddy adults — Mark Moffett (right) declared that “adventure was the process of finding a story.” Apt words proving that Moffett has indeed learned well from Wilson, his old doctorate advisor. While an animated Moffett narrated his adventures, with the help of amazing photographs, it  … Read more

World Science Festival: the street fair

World Science Festival: the street fair

Posted on behalf of Neda Afsarmanesh After a few days of gloom and rain, Sunday was an appropriately gorgeous day in New York City, welcoming families in a street fair to enjoy the last day of the World Science Festival. Washington Square Park and the adjacent streets were packed with all sorts of magic shows, interactive games, educational demonstrations, and of course, Discovery Labs where kids could participate in hands-on science experiments. From what I saw, the kids loved it! Image: A bottle of water, a few tablespoons of oil, red food coloring, and Alka-seltzer and Voila!: nifty little lava  … Read more

World Science Festival: %#&$ traffic!

Posted on behalf of Neda Afsarmanesh In a symposium on traffic, I was mesmerized by what the speakers said about present-day innovations, and about what possibilities are still in store when traffic design and engineering look towards the interactive collaborations of insects and the mathematical basis of our social behavior. It was an entertaining panel with many lessons, including… Insects follow simple rules of science: Iain Couzin talked about how blind army ants quickly travel about without crashing into each other or getting lost (it’s because each one lays a pheromone that others can detect and follow). We are all  … Read more

World Science Festival: Time, the familiar stranger

Posted on behalf of Neda Afsarmanesh “This moment, this now, is a construction. How does the brain bring the past and the future together to create the now?” It was a daunting introduction that moderator Harold Evans put forth at the start of his talk here. I don’t think the question was answered, or that it could even be answered with what we presently (no pun intended) know. I liked the flow of the lecture—it was more relaxed and (for better and worse) followed a non-linear format. Oliver Sacks, true to the great storyteller that he is, related what he  … Read more

World Science Festival: The meaning of free will

Posted on behalf of Richard Van Noorden Two years ago, psychologist Daniel Wegner received surgery to remove a brain tumour. Surgeons drilled into the left side of his skull. Six weeks after the successful operation, he says, he found his right hand moving without him seeming to will it. It did what he wanted – as he would have decided in ordinary circumstances. “But I did not feel I was the author of the movement. I didn’t need to be there for my hand to move; I had lost the feeling that I was doing it.” At an entrancing World  … Read more