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The Festival's roster of speakers, moderators, and other participants:

Jad Abumrad

Radio Journalist

Jad Abumrad is an award-winning radio journalist who has produced documentaries for a variety of local and national public radio programs including, On the Media, PRI's Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen, Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and WNYC's 24 Hours at the Edge of Ground Zero. He is co-host with Robert Krulwich on WNYC’s popular show Radio Lab. read more

Abyssinian Baptist Church Choir

The Abyssinian Baptist Church Choir is the resident choir of one of the most prominent African-American institutions in America. The Church, an iconic champion of spiritual empowerment, social justice and reform, is currently celebrating its bicentennial anniversary, Abyssinian 200: True to Our God, True to our Native Land. read more

Lorenzo Albacete

Roman-Catholic Priest

Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete is a Roman Catholic priest, theologian, physicist and author. A frequent contributor to The New York Times, he is one of the leaders in the United States for the international Catholic movement Communion and Liberation and is on the Board of Advisors of the Crossroads Cultural Center. read more

David Albert


Physicist-turned-philosopher David Albert is world renowned for his insights into the thorny philosophical questions raised by quantum mechanics. He is the Frederick E. Woodbridge Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. read more

Alan Alda

Actor, Writer & Director

Alan Alda is a six-time Emmy Award–winning actor, writer, and director. He has interviewed hundreds of scientists from around the world as host of PBS's long-running program Scientific American Frontiers, and received the National Science Board’s Public Service Award for his efforts in broadening the public’s understanding of science. read more

Stephon Alexander

Theoretical Physicist

Theoretical physicist Stephon Alexander explores unresolved questions about the early universe. Also an accomplished jazz musician, Alexander has collaborated with Grammy Award-winning musician Will Calhoun as well as Ronnie Burrage, Brian Eno and Jaron Lanier. He is an assistant professor of physics, astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State University and a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. read more

Nancy C. Andreasen


Neuroscientist Nancy C. Andreasen is well known for her pioneering work using MRI imaging to explore mental illness and the neural bases for artistic creativity and innovation. She is the author of several books including The Creating Brain: The Neuroscience of Genius and is both the Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa and Director of the Iowa Mental Health Clinical Research Center. read more

Misha Angrist

Misha Angrist is a 43-year-old male who is near-sighted and has a family history of heart disease. He has 23 pairs of chromosomes, a wife, and two children. read more

George Annas


George Annas is the author or editor of seventeen books on health law and bioethics and is cofounder of Global Lawyers and Physicians, an organization that promotes human rights and health. He is the Edward R. Utley Professor and Chair of the Department of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights of Boston University School of Public Health. read more

Paula S. Apsell

Senior Executive Producer, NOVA

Apsell heads the flagship PBS science series, NOVA, now in its 35th year.  Under Apsell’s leadership, NOVA has won every major broadcast award and is the most popular science series on television. read more

Dan Ariely

Behavioral Economist

Dan Ariely studies people’s irrational behavior in the marketplace. He is the founder of the Center for Advanced Hindsight, author of the book Predictably Irrational, and the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Behavioral Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. read more

Karole Armitage

Dancer & Choreographer

Karole Armitage is a dancer and choreographer widely known for combining disparate styles and themes with the discipline and techniques of classical ballet. She is the artistic director of Armitage Gone! Dance, a company based in New York City. read more

Nina Azari


Nina Azari specializes in cognitive neuroscience and the psychology of religion. She uses traditional psychological methods as well as cutting-edge medical imaging technology to explore religious experiences, consciousness, belief and perception in her subjects. Azari is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. read more

Mia Barron


Mia Barron is a theater, film and television actress. Her stage credits include Springtime for Henry and Heartbreak House, She Stoops to Comedy and Hedda Gabler. She was recently in 27 Dresses with Katherine Heigl, and also has a recurring role as the voice of Molotov in the cartoon network’s The Venture Brothers. read more

Eben Bayer

Environmental Entrepreneur

As the son of a Vermont farmer, Eben Bayer has an acute sense of the stakes in the race for environmentally sustainable technologies. Bayer is a cofounder of Ecovative Design, the Oxford International Business Plan Competition-winning green startup, where he is developing sustainable building materials and packaging products. read more

Arthur Benjamin

Mathematician & Magician

Arthur Benjamin is a mathematician and magician whose performances of numerical wizardry have entertained and amazed audiences worldwide. The author of several books including Secrets of Mental Math, Benjamin was named "America's Best Math Whiz" by Reader's Digest. He is a Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California. read more

Steven Benner

Synthetic Biologist

Steven Benner is one of the pioneers of synthetic biology, which seeks to create artificial living systems. He is a Distinguished Fellow at the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution in Gainesville, Florida and a founder of the Westheimer Institute for Science. read more

Bill Blakemore
ABC News Correspondent

Journalist Bill Blakemore has been with ABC News since 1970. He was ABC's Vatican correspondent throughout the papacy of John Paul II, and was ABC's Rome Bureau Chief for six years. Blakemore has covered major events worldwide including 12 wars and conflict zones. He currently spearheads ABC News‚ coverage of global warming and climate change. read more

Paul Bloom


Psychologist Paul Bloom explores how children and adults understand the physical and social world, with special focus on morality, religion, fiction, and art. A professor of psychology at Yale University, he has written for Nature, Science, The New York Times, the Guardian, and the Atlantic. read more

Cynthia Breazeal


Cynthia Breazeal is an associate professor of media arts and sciences and the director of the personal robots group at the Media Lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. She is an expert on the interaction between people and sociable robots. read more

Blaine Brownell


Blaine Brownell is an architect with expertise in how revolutionary eco-materials have the potential to facilitate sustainable building and design. He is a Visiting Professor in Sustainability at the University of Michigan as well as founder and director of the design/materials research firm, Transstudio. read more

Kate Burton


Kate Burton is a Tony and Emmy Award-nominated actress. Currently on Broadway in the hit musical Spring Awakening, her other stage and screen credits include Hedda Gabler, The Elephant Man, The First Wives Club and The Ice Storm. Her television work includes recurring roles on The West Wing and Grey’s Anatomy. read more

Robert Butler

Gerontologist & Psychiatrist
Pulitzer Prize in Letters (General Non-Fiction)

Robert Butler is a pioneer in gerontology — the study of aging and its biological, psychological, and social implications. His book, Why Survive? Being Old in America, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1976. Butler is director and CEO of the U.S. branch of the International Longevity Center in New York City. read more

Calvin O. Butts, III

Pastor, The Abyssinian Baptist Church

The Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts, III, is Pastor of the nationally-renowned Abyssinian Baptist Church, President of SUNY College at Old Westbury, and chairman of the Abyssinian Development Corporation. Under his leadership, the Church leads crucial community development and social justice initiatives in Harlem. read more

Majora Carter

Urban Revitalization Strategist

Majora Carter is a leading environmentalist whose rallying cry is “Green the Ghetto.” A 2005 MacArthur fellow, she is the founder of Sustainable South Bronx, a community-based organization that is spearheading efforts to revitalize disadvantaged neighborhoods in New York City and beyond. read more

Patricia Churchland


Neuroethicist Patricia Churchland explores the complex philosophical and ethical impact that the rapidly expanding field of neuroscience has on society. She is the President's Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego, and an adjunct professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla. read more

Francis Collins

Geneticist & Physician

Francis Collins led the Human Genome Project, which was first to sequence all of the information encoded in human DNA. His research focuses on the relationship between genetic variation and diseases. He is the Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health. read more

Brian Cox

Physicist & Science Communicator

Brian Cox is a physicist and BBC television and radio presenter who appears in programs such as In Einstein’s Shadow, Bitesize and Horizon. read more

Tom Crawford

Co-founder, Altheus
Managing Partner, High Performance Associates

Tom Crawford, former Director of Coaching for the United States Olympic Committee and former Senior Director of the National Institute for Fitness and Sport, is an expert on human performance in sports. Throughout his career, he has helped top athletes perform at the highest possible level. read more

Antonio Damasio

Neuroscientist & Neurologist

Antonio Damasio is a leading neuroscientist and neurologist who studies the neural basis of emotions, memory, language and consciousness. He is Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience and Director of the Brain and Creativity Institute, all at the University of Southern California. He is also Adjunct Professor at the Salk Institute. The recipient of numerous awards, he is also the author of Descartes' Error, The Feeling of What Happens, and Looking for Spinoza. read more

Gordon Davidson


Gordon Davidson is a Tony Award-winning theater director. He was artistic director of the renowned Center Theater Group in Los Angeles for more than thirty years. His credits include Broadway productions of Children of a Lesser God and The Shadow Box. read more

Paul Davies

Theoretical Physicist & Astrobiologist

Paul Davies is a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astrobiologist, and author of numerous books about science for a general audience. His research ranges from the origin of the universe to the origin of life. Davies is the director of the BEYOND Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at Arizona State University. read more

Eric DeCamps


Eric DeCamps has been a serious student of the art of magic for over 30 years. He is the recipient of the Gold Medal of Excellence for Close-up Magic from The Society of American Magicians; only the second magician in the 106 year history of the organization to receive this prestigious award. read more

Daniel Dennett


Daniel Dennett is a philosopher who studies mind and consciousness through the lens of evolutionary biology and cognitive science. Author of several bestselling books including Darwin’s Dangerous Idea and Consciousness Explained, he is the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy and Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. read more

Dickson Despommier

Medical Ecologist

Dickson Despommier is a pioneering researcher in the development of urban vertical farm skyscrapers for food production. He is a professor of public health and microbiology in environmental health sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. read more

Peter Diaczuk

Forensic Scientist

Peter Diaczuk is a leading authority in forensics and an expert witness on firearms, trace evidence, and crime scene reconstruction. He has performed research on topics as diverse as underwater fingerprints, blood spatter patterns from gunshot wounds, and bullets ricochetting from different surfaces. He is Director of Forensic Science Training at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. read more

Josh Dorfman

Environmental Entrepreneur

Environmental entrepreneur Josh Dorfman contends that individuals can make a positive impact on the environment through their consumer choices. He is the author of The Lazy Environmentalist and was host of the Sirius Satellite Radio show of the same name. Dorfman is the founder and CEO of Vivavi, named by Inc. Magazine as one of the top 50 companies driving today’s green revolution. read more

David Eagleman


David Eagleman studies the human perception of time as well as synesthesia, a condition in which stimulation to one sense triggers an involuntary response in others. A psychologist and biomedical engineer, he is Director of the Laboratory for Perception and Action and an assistant professor of neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine. read more

Sylvia Earle


Sylvia Earle is an oceanographer, marine botanist, ecologist, and writer. The National Geographic Society's explorer-in-residence since 1998, she tirelessly works for the preservation and exploration of the world's marine ecosystems. She has led more than 50 expeditions and spent more than 6,500 hours of her life underwater. read more

Nathan Englander


Nathan Englander's story collection, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges became an international bestseller, earning him both the PEN/Faulkner Malamud Award and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2000. His first novel, The Ministry of Special Cases, was published in Spring 2007. read more

James P. Evans

Physician & Geneticist

Physician and geneticist James Evans uses family history and genetic testing to evaluate and counsel patients about their risk for cancer. His research explores how genetics influences an individual’s response to medication. He is a professor of medicine and the director of Clinical Cancer Genetics and The Bryson Program in Human Genetics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. read more

Mark Oliver Everett

Singer & Songwriter

Mark Oliver Everett is the lead singer, songwriter, guitarist, keyboardist, and creative force behind the independent rock band, Eels. He is the son of Hugh Everett III, the physicist who proposed the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. read more

Ira Flatow

Radio & Television Journalist

Ira Flatow is an award-winning radio and television journalist, who has been interviewing top scientists and researchers for over thirty-five years. He is the host of National Public Radio’s Science Friday and is the author of several acclaimed science books. read more

Alan J. Friedman

Science & Museum Consultant

Alan Friedman is a consultant in the areas of museum development and science communication. He has consulted for over sixty institutions around the world. From 1984 to 2006, Friedman was the Director and CEO of the New York Hall of Science. He is co-author of the book, Einstein as Myth and Muse. read more

Peter Galison

Science Historian

Peter Galison is a leading science historian whose research explores the interaction of experimentation, instrumentation and theory in physics. An author, film producer and MacArthur Award-winner, he is the Joseph Pellegrino University Professor in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. read more

Jim Gates

Theoretical Physicist

Jim Gates is known for his pioneering work in particle physics seeking a unified description of all physics. A committed researcher and educator, he is the Toll Physics Professor and director of the Center for String and Particle Theory at the University of Maryland. read more

Robert Goodman

Executive Dean, Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences
Executive Director, Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station

A plant biologist and virologist by training, Robert Goodman is a world authority on soil microorganisms and plant disease. His recent research explores the diversity of microorganisms in soil, and their resistance to cultivation. read more

Brian Greene

Festival Co-founder
Chairman, Science Festival Foundation

Brian Greene, whose books The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos each spent six months on the New York Times bestseller list, has been described by the Washington Post as “the single best explainer of abstruse ideas in the world today.” He is professor of physics and of mathematics at Columbia University, and was host of the Peabody- and Emmy award-winning NOVA adaptation of The Elegant Universe. read more

Saul Griffith

Entrepreneur, Inventor, & Writer

Saul Griffith is the President and Chief Scientist at Makani Power, a company that is seeking to harness clean energy from high-altitude wind. He is a 2007 MacArthur Award-winning inventor, entrepreneur and writer. read more

Heidi Hammel

Co-Director, Research & Senior Research Scientist, Space Science Institute

Heidi Hammel is a planetary scientist at the Space Science Institute in Boulder and is a devoted educator with a particular interest in bringing science to children and young people. She is a recipient of the Sagan Medal awarded by the American Astronomical Society for outstanding communication to the general public. read more

Jonathan Harris

Artist & Designer

Award-winning artist Jonathan Harris combines elements of computer science, anthropology, visual art and storytelling to explore and explain the human world. His work has been exhibited at Le Centre Pompidou and the Museum of Modern Art. read more

Eric Haseltine


A managing partner at the consulting firm, Haseltine Partners, Eric Haseltine is a neuroscientist who has applied new discoveries about the human brain in fields as diverse as aerospace technology, virtual reality, special effects, journalism, entertainment and, most recently, national security and intelligence. read more

Marc Hauser

Evolutionary Biologist & Psychologist

Marc Hauser is an evolutionary biologist and psychologist, and the author of Moral Minds: How Nature Designed Our Universal Sense of Right and Wrong. He is the director of the Cognitive Evolution Laboratory and the co-director of the Mind, Brain, and Behavior Program, both at Harvard University. read more

Lucy Hawking

Journalist & Author

Lucy Hawking is a journalist and the author of several novels. With her father, the physicist Stephen Hawking, she has written George's Secret Key to the Universe, a children's adventure featuring the mysteries of physics, science and the Universe. read more

Peter Head

Director and Head of Global Planning, Arup

Peter Head is an expert on the sustainable development of cities and the project leader for China’s first eco-city, Dongtan. An award-winning structural engineer, he is the director of Global Planning at Arup, the worldwide engineering, design, and consulting firm. Head was recently named one of "50 global green heroes who could save the planet" by The Guardian newspaper. read more

John Hockenberry


John Hockenberry is an award-winning journalist with twenty-five years experience in radio, broadcast television and print. He is co-host of WNYC and PRI's The Takeaway with John Hockenberry and Adaora Udoji, host on The DNA Files, and a contributor to The Infinite Mind. He is also a Distinguished Fellow at the MIT Media Lab. read more

Pierre C. Hohenberg


Physicist Pierre C. Hohenberg is interested in questions about the structure of matter under extreme conditions. A recipient of the Max Planck Medal of the German Physical Society and the Lars Onsager Prize of the American Physical Society, Hohenberg is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences and is Senior Vice Provost for Research at NYU. read more

Walter Isaacson

President and CEO, Aspen Institute

Walter Isaacson is the President and CEO of the Aspen Institute. He has been the Chairman and CEO of CNN and the editor of Time Magazine. He is the author of Einstein: His Life and Universe, as well as biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Henry Kissinger. read more

Shirley Ann Jackson

President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Physicist Shirley Ann Jackson has devoted over a decade to science public policy, serving from 1995 to 1999, at the behest of President Clinton, as Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She was recently selected to receive the 2007 Vannevar Bush Award from the National Science Board for her lifetime of contributions in science, education and public policy. Jackson is president of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. read more

Mary Lou Jepsen

Optical Scientist, Engineer & Physicist

As lead innovator of "One Laptop Per Child", Mary Lou Jepsen created the world's most inexpensive, low-power laptop, enabling its distribution to children in developing countries. Her company, Pixel Qi aims to revolutionize the electronics industry with a new generation of screens. In May 2008 Time Magazine named her one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. read more

Mitchell Joachim

Architect & Urban Designer

Mitchell Joachim is an architect and urban designer as well as a partner in Terreform, a New York–based organization for philanthropic architecture and ecological design. His design of a compact, stackable “city car,” developed with the MIT Smart Cities Group, won the 2007 Time Magazine Best Invention of the Year. read more

Bill T. Jones

Dancer & Choreographer

Bill T. Jones, a Tony Award-winning choreographer and dancer, has changed the face of American dance. He has infused issues of identity, form and social commentary into hundreds of award winning shows worldwide. Jones is the artistic director and co-founder of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in New York City. read more

Michio Kaku

Theoretical Physicist

Michio Kaku is a theoretical physicist, best-selling author, and host of the nationally syndicated radio shows, Science Fantastic and Explorations in Science. He is the Henry Semat Professor of Theoretical Physics, at the City University of New York. read more

Sandra Kaufmann


Sandra Kaufmann choreographs for concert dance, video, musical and theatrical productions. She has taught throughout the US and abroad and has served on the faculty of Barnard College, NYU, University of Chicago and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. Currently Sandra is the Director of Dance at Loyola University Chicago. read more

David Keith

Canada Research Chair in Energy and the Environment, and Director, ISEEE
Energy and Environmental Systems Group, University of Calgary

A leading thinker on geoengineering and a prize-winning physicist, David Keith works at the interface between climate science, energy technology and public policy. He is particularly interested in finding viable ways to capture and store CO2 including the direct capture of CO2 from the atmosphere. read more

M. Glen Kertz

Plant Physiologist

Plant physiologist and inventor M. Glen Kertz has been a global leader in the fields of molecular genetics, plant tissue and cell culture for over 35 years. He is president and director of research and development for Valcent Products Inc., a company aiming to bring to market algae-to-biofuel technology. read more

Helge Kragh

Science Historian

Helge Kragh is a leading science historian whose research focuses on the history of cosmology. He is the author of several books including, Cosmology and Controversy and Conceptions of the Cosmos. Kragh is a professor in the History of Science Department at the University of Aarhus in Denmark. read more

Bernie Krause


Bernie Krause is a bioacoustician — an expert on the sounds of nature — who has traveled the world recording and archiving the sounds of endangered creatures and environments. He is President and CEO of Wild Sanctuary, Inc., one of the world’s largest archives of natural sounds. read more

Lawrence Krauss


Lawrence Krauss is a theoretical physicist and best-selling author whose research focuses on the origin and evolution of the universe. He has written several general level science books, including The Physics of Star Trek, and is a frequent editorialist in magazines and newspapers. Krauss is the Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics at Case Western Reserve University. read more

Robert Krulwich

Radio & Television Journalist

Robert Krulwich is an award-winning radio and television journalist who has been called ‘the most inventive network reporter in television’ by TV Guide. He is an ABC News correspondent, NPR science correspondent, and co-host of WNYC's science documentary program, Radio Lab. read more

Steve Kurtz


Steven Kurtz is co-founder of the multi award-winning art and theater collective, Critical Art Ensemble, an organization that performs and exhibits art about information, communications, and bio-technologies. He is also a Professor of Visual Studies at SUNY at Buffalo. read more

Ray Kurzweil

Inventor, Entrepreneur & Futurist

Ray Kurzweil is an inventor, entrepreneur, and futurist. In several books for a general audience he has laid out his vision of a merger of man and machine that he contends will shape the future of humankind. read more

Anthony LaPaglia


Anthony LaPaglia is a Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actor. His Broadway credits include The Rose Tattoo and A View From the Bridge, for which he won a Tony Award. He is currently starring as FBI Missing Persons investigator Jack Malone in CBS's popular television crime drama, "Without a Trace". read more

Richard Leakey

Paleontologist, Conservationist, & Politician

Paleontologist Richard Leakey’s discoveries have helped shape our understanding of human origins. He is a committed conservationist and staunch advocate for the protection of Kenyan wildlife. A former director of Kenya’s Wildlife Service, he is the author of several books including The Sixth Extinction. read more

Leon Lederman


Leon Lederman is the Director Emeritus of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, Pritzker Professor of Science at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, and a recipient of the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physics. He is also the author of several popular books, including The God Particle and Symmetry and the Beautiful Universe. read more

Jonah Lehrer

Science Writer

Jonah Lehrer is an editor-at-large for Seed Magazine and has written articles for Nature, New Scientist, and the MIT Technology Review. A neuroscientist by training, he is also the author of Proust was a Neuroscientist. read more

Jay Lemery

Emergency Physician

Emergency physician and avid outdoorsman, Jay Lemery is an authority on the effects of wilderness exposure on the human body. He is known for research on treatments for conditions resulting from high altitude climbing, natural and environmental disasters, and the exposure to other extreme environments. He is an assistant professor and the director of wilderness and environmental medicine at Weill-Cornell Medical College as well as an assistant professor at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. read more

Janna Levin


Janna Levin is a physicist and award-winning author. Her research explores the limits of mathematics and whether this will prevent us from ever finding a theory of everything. In 2007, she won a PEN/Bingham Fellowship for her novel A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines. Levin is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Barnard College of Columbia University. read more

Lukas Ligeti


Lukas Ligeti is a composer whose works combine downtown New York experimentalism with contemporary classical music, jazz, electronica, and world music. read more

Alan Lightman

Author & Astrophysicist
Adjunct Professor of Humanities, MIT

Alan Lightman's novel Einstein's Dreams was an international bestseller and has been translated into thirty languages. Both a distinguished physicist and an accomplished novelist, Lightman was the first professor at MIT to receive a joint appointment in the sciences and the humanities. read more

Doug Liman

Film Director & Producer

Doug Liman is an American film director and producer, whose credits include The Bourne Identity (2002), The Bourne Supremacy (2004), and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). read more

Marilyn Maye


Marilyn Maye is an award-winning, renowned jazz singer who has been named an Official Jazz Legend by the American Jazz Museum. She has been onstage with many of the greatest jazz performers, including Count Basie, Charlie "Bird" Parker, and Big Joe Turner. read more

Gavin McIntyre

Environmental Entrepreneur

A cofounder of Ecovative Design, Gavin McIntyre is an avid backpacker with an intense interest in preserving the natural world. Under McIntyre's direction, Ecovative garnered a grant from the New York State Energy and Development Authority to fund the testing of its flagship product, Greensulate™ organic insulation. read more

Christopher McKay

Planetary Scientist

Christopher McKay is a planetary scientist at NASA Ames Research Center and a co-investigator for NASA's Phoenix Mars Mission, scheduled to land on Mars in May 2008. In addition to studying the atmospheres and environments of far-away planets , he uses Earth's extreme environments such as the Antarctic, Siberia and the Canadian Arctic in order to learn about possibilities for human habitation of other planets and to plan for future manned missions to Mars and the Moon. read more

Jon Meacham

Author and Journalist

Jon Meacham is the managing editor of Newsweek magazine, a bestselling author, and a commentator on politics, history, and faith in America. His books include Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship and American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation. read more

Dan Nocera


Chemist Dan Nocera is developing ways to derive clean renewable solar energy by replicating basic chemical reactions similar to those used by plants in the process of photosynthesis. A vocal advocate of solar power, he is the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy and a professor of chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. read more

Paul Nurse

President, The Rockefeller University
Nobel Laureate, Medicine

Nobel Prize-winner Paul Nurse is President of Rockefeller University, where he also continues to do research in cell biology. He is the former Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK and the recipient of many awards. In 1999, he was knighted in Great Britain for his contributions to cancer research. read more

Lyman Page


Physicist Lyman Page measures and observes cosmic radiation left over from the Big Bang to better understand the very early universe and how it has since evolved. He is the Henry DeWolf Smyth Professor of Physics at Princeton University. read more

SuChin Pak

MTV News Correspondent

MTV News correspondent SuChin Pak, began her television career as host of the PBS Science program Newton's Apple. She has hosted the MTV Video Music Awards, the Movie Awards, and the documentary series My Life Translated. She will host The G-Word on Discovery’s forthcoming eco-lifestyle network, Planet Green. read more

William Phillips

Distinguished University Professor, University of Maryland
Leader, Laser Cooling and Trapping Group, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Nobel Laureate, Physics

Nobel Prize-winning physicist William Phillips is a professor at the University of Maryland and leads the Laser Cooling and Trapping Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. His research on manipulating atoms with laser light has led to more accurate atomic clocks and a more fundamental understanding of light-matter interactions. read more

Pioneers - Student Interviewers

High school students

Tim Chang, Michael Kaplan, Rachel “Roxy” Lachhman, Rosa Pena, Paula Santos-Shevett, and Dennis Wynn are New York City high school students with a passion for science. read more

Peter Pringle


Peter Pringle is author of The Murder of Nikolai Vavilov and co-author of nine previous books. His book, Food Inc., traced the history of biotech agriculture. The former Moscow bureau chief for The Independent, he has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New Republic and The Nation. read more

Vilayanur Ramachandran


V.S. Ramachandran investigates the nature of self and human consciousness. His work spans the causes and effects of synesthesia and phantom limb pain to questions about visual perception and the brain. He is Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego. read more

Renee Reijo Pera

Embryonic-Stem-Cell Biologist

Reijo Pera is a professor and the Director of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Education Center at Stanford University. Her research is aimed at understanding the developmental genetics of human germ cell formation and differentiation. Her early work resulted in identification of one of the first genes specifically implicated in human germ cell development. Subsequently her laboratory has established techniques for differentiation of human embryonic stem cells to germ cells and genetic manipulation of the pathways.  read more

Andrew Revkin

New York Times Reporter

A prize-winning journalist and author, Andrew Revkin has been a reporter for the New York Times since 1995, mainly covering environmental issues in their social and political context. His blog, Dot Earth, engages the public in a discussion of strategies for balancing human activity with the planet's limited resources. He has written books on the Amazon, Arctic, and global warming. read more

Matthew Ritchie

Painter, Sculptor, Digital Artist

Matthew Ritchie is a painter, sculptor and digital artist. His work combines science, architecture, history, and the dynamics of culture to explore the idea of information, and is featured in the collections of numerous institutions, including MoMA and the Guggenheim Museum. In 2001, Time Magazine listed him as one of its 100 innovators for the new millenium. read more

Charlie Rose


Emmy award winning journalist Charlie Rose has been praised as "one of America's premiere interviewers." He is the host of Charlie Rose, the nightly PBS program that engages America's preeminent thinkers, writers, politicians, athletes, entertainers, business leaders, scientists and other newsmakers. read more

Nikolas Rose


Sociologist Nikolas Rose is interested in how genomics affects personal identity and the social and legal ramifications of studying the human genome. He is the James Martin White Professor of Sociology and the Director of the BIOS Centre for the Study of Bioscience, Biomedicine, Biotechnology and Society at the London School of Economics. read more

F. Sherwood Rowland

Nobel Laureate, Chemistry

F. Sherwood Rowland studies the Earth's atmosphere in remote locations from Alaska to New Zealand, in highly polluted cities, and in areas with special conditions such as burning forests. He is best known for the discovery that chlorofluorocarbons contribute to ozone depletion, which earned him the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He is the Bren Research Professor in Chemistry and Earth System Science at the University of California, Irvine. read more

Vera Rubin


Vera C. Rubin an observational astronomer who is an expert on the motions of gas and stars in galaxies and the motions of galaxies in the universe. She is a senior fellow in the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution of Washington.
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Oliver Sacks

Neurologist and Author

Neurologist Oliver Sacks has spent a lifetime exploring a vast array of human experience – from Tourette's syndrome and autism to phantom limb syndrome and schizophrenia. His many best-selling books include Uncle Tungsten, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and Awakenings, which became an acclaimed film. Sacks is a professor of clinical neurology and clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center. His writings appear regularly in The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. read more

Faith Salie

Radio Host

Faith Salie is an actress, comedian and radio host. She is co-creator and host of Public Radio International's Fair Game, and has appeared in numerous television sitcoms and dramas including Sex and the City and Bravo's Significant Others. Also a television writer, Salie has created pilots for Fox, VH-1, and the Oxygen Network. read more

Laurie Santos

Cognitive psychologist

Laurie Santos is a cognitive psychologist who studies monkeys' capacity for learning and the evolution of the human mind. She is an Associate Professor of Psychology and director of the Comparative Cognition Laboratory at Yale University, and was named one of Popular Science Magazine's "Brilliant 10" for 2007. read more

James Schamus

CEO of Focus Features

James Schamus is an award-winning screenwriter and producer. He is the CEO of Focus Features, whose films have included Brokeback Mountain, Lost in Translation, and Atonement. Schamus is an associate professor of film at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. read more

Ben Schwegler

Chief Scientist, Walt Disney Imagineering R&D

Walt Disney Imagineer Ben Schwegler invents and builds new technologies that make theme parks and resorts the stuff of dreams and adventure. The creator of the Simulation-based Design Group, he is particularly interested in the development of sustainable engineering techniques. He was instrumental in the creation of the most energy efficient theme park ever built as well as a new generation of environmentally-friendly fireworks. read more

Sam Shepard

Winner, Pulitzer Prize for Drama

Sam Shepard is an Oscar-nominated actor, screenwriter, director, and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright. His best-known works include Buried Child, Curse of the Starving Class, and True West. He has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1986, and his plays are performed on and off Broadway, and in regional theaters across America. read more

David Sinclair


David Sinclair’s research focuses upon the search for genes and small molecules capable of slowing the pace of aging in cells and on preventing diseases associated with old age. He is an associate professor of pathology at Harvard Medical School and an associate member of the Harvard-MIT Broad Institute for Bioinformatics. read more

Paul Steinhardt


Paul Steinhardt is a theoretical physicist and one of the architects of the "inflationary model" which says the universe began a rapid, accelerated expansion shortly after the Big Bang. He is the Albert Einstein Professor of Science and professor of theoretical physics at Princeton University. read more

Daniel Sullivan

Tony Award-winning director

Daniel Sullivan is one of New Yorks most prolific directors. He most recently directed the Broadway revival of The Homecoming. He has been nominated for six Tony Awards for Direction of a Play, and won for David Auburn's Proof in 2001. read more

Leonard Susskind


Theoretical physicist Leonard Susskind is one of the discoverers of string theory, a candidate for a theory that unifies all laws of physics. An award-winning author, he is a proponent of the idea that our universe is one of an infinite number. Susskind is the Felix Bloch Professor of Theoretical Physics at Stanford University. read more

Julia Sweeney

Actress & Comedian

Julia Sweeney is an actress and comedian who has been part of the cast of Saturday Night Live and has appeared in feature films such as Pulp Fiction and Clockstoppers. Most recently, she has come to wider attention with her autobiographical monologue, Letting go of God. Due to illness, Julia Sweeney will not be appearing at the 2008 World Science Festival. read more

Latanya Sweeney

Computer Scientist

Computer scientist Latanya Sweeney is interested in the intersection between technology and policy. She has had a major impact on the health care industry and on the creation of systems and legislation that insure patients, privacy rights. She is Director of the Data Privacy Lab and an assistant professor of computer science, technology, and policy at Carnegie Mellon University. read more

Ian Tattersall


Ian Tattersall is a prominent anthropologist whose work focuses on the evolution of humans and other primates. He is a curator for the division of anthropology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and an adjunct professor at Columbia University and the City University of New York. read more

Betsy Taylor

Social Activist

Betsy Taylor is the president of the board of directors of the non-profit organization 1Sky, founded in 2007 to mobilize a grass-roots campaign demanding federal action to reverse climate change. She has spent more than 20 years leading efforts to organize, fund and advise groups devoted to promoting energy conservation and community building. read more

Max Tegmark


Max Tegmark is a leading cosmologist and an ardent proponent of the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. He is a professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. read more

Eugene Thacker


Eugene Thacker is the author of several books and articles that combine philosophy, science and technology, including: Biomedia, The Global Genome, and The Exploit: A Theory of Networks which he co-authored with Alexander Galloway. He has collaborated with art collectives Biotech Hobbyist and the Radical Software Group. read more

David Thoreson

Adventure Sailor & Photographer

David Thoreson is an adventurer, photographer and sailor who has bicycled 10,000 miles around North America; sailed 36,000 miles around the planet; and crossed the Atlantic three times by sail. In the summer of 2007, he completed the Northwest Passage, where he filmed a documentary about the effects of climate change. read more

Giulio Tononi

Psychiatrist & Neuroscientist

Psychiatrist and neuroscientist Giulio Tononi is a world authority on the neurology of sleep and has spent much of his scientific career exploring the biological basis for consciousness. A professor of psychiatry and the Distinguished Chair in Consciousness Science at the University of Wisconsin—Madison, Tononi explores connections between consciousness and personality through the lens of art and philosophy. read more

Edward Toth

Director, Greenbelt Native Plant Center, New York Department of Parks and Recreation

A leading authority on landscape management and plant conservation, Edward Toth is Director of the Greenbelt Native Plant Center, which collects and raises specimens of New York's indigenous flora and maintains a seed bank for preservation of local species. He has written extensively on ecological management of urban natural areas. read more

Maggie Turnbull


Margaret Turnbull leads the science team of the NASA New Worlds Observer mission looking for Earth-like planets and signs of alien life. She is an astrobiologist at the Global Science Institute in Wisconsin. read more

Michael Turner

Chief Scientist, Argonne National Laboratory
Rauner Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago

Michael Turner is a theoretical cosmologist who coined the term dark energy. His research focuses on the earliest moments of creation and he has made seminal contributions to the understanding of inflationary cosmology, particle dark matter, and the theory of the big-bang. read more

Harold Varmus

President & CEO, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Nobel Laureate, Medicine

Harold Varmus is the president and CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. For his research on retroviruses and the genetic basis of cancer, he received the 1989 Nobel Prize in Medicine. read more

Richard Weindruch


Richard Weindruch has devoted decades to exploring extreme low-calorie diets and their promise in delaying aging. He is a professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin, and the director and co-founder of LifeGen Technologies. He is also a scientist with the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. read more

Bill Weir

ABC News Correspondent

Bill Weir is the Emmy award-winning co-anchor of the weekend edition of Good Morning America. His reporting is seen onWorld News with Charles GibsonNightline and 20/20. He has covered major events all over the world including a 2007 Earth Day special with unprecedented underwater reporting from the Great Barrier Reef. read more

Michael York

Actor & Author

Michael York has enjoyed a successful international acting career for over 40 years, creating an impressive body of work on stage, screen, and in the recording studio. As well as lecturing, he is the author of five books, including one on acting Shakespeare. read more

Carl Zimmer

Science writer

Award-winning science writer Carl Zimmer explores the frontiers of biology in his writing. His work appears regularly in the New York Times and many magazines. He is the author, most recently, of Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life. In 2007 he was awarded the National Academies' Science Communication Award. read more

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