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Home > Press > New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Open World Science Festival at Columbia University on May 28


"World Class Science by and for the People of New York City"

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to Open World Science Festival at Columbia University on May 28

New York, NY | Posted on May 27th, 2008

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will open the first annual World Science Festival (, an unprecedented celebration of scientific discovery, with a speech - "World Class Science By and For the People of New York City" - at Columbia University's Low Memorial Library at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 28.

The Mayor's keynote remarks will kickoff the Festival's opening event, the World Science Summit, at which more than 125 leaders from science, business, government, media, and academia will explore how today's scientific discoveries will shape tomorrow's world. By highlighting the strength of scientific discovery and education taking place in New York, the Mayor will underscore the city's status as a global research center and the contributions basic science will make to the city's economic engine in years to come.

Organized by Columbia University and the Festival, with the participation of the Aspen Institute, the invitation-only Summit will feature Nobel Laureates David Baltimore, Steven Chu, David Gross, Dudley Herschbach, Leon Lederman, Horst Stormer, F. Sherwood Rowland, Harold Varmus, and Carl Wieman interacting with business leaders, policy makers, other academics, and creative artists to discuss the many ways in which science acts as a key player in global affairs.

The public programming of the World Science Festival begins on Thursday, May 29 and runs through June 1, and includes 40 separate events at more than 22 venues throughout New York City. The Festival seeks to transform the public perception of science by producing high caliber programs that make science exciting, accessible, compelling, and inspirational.

"The 21st century will be shaped by science," said Brian Greene, Co-Founder of the World Science Festival and Professor of Physics and Mathematics at Columbia University. "From the enormous challenges we face and opportunities we have available, science will be the critical driver. To make informed decisions, we need a general public that's not put off by science - rather, the public needs to be excited by science and prepared to engage with its implications for the future. Through the World Science Festival, New York can help lead the way in sparking a new public attitude toward science."

The Summit will convene on May 28th at 8:15 a.m. with remarks by Brian Greene, who will be joined by six-time Emmy Award-winning actor Alan Alda.

Following the Mayor's remarks at 8:30 a.m., the Summit will feature the announcement of the recipients of the inaugural Kavli Prizes - million dollar awards in the fields of nanoscience, neuroscience, and astrophysics.

The announcement will be simulcast from Oslo, Norway by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters at 9 a.m. in New York City and 3 p.m. in Oslo. Attending the event in New York will be Fred Kavli, founder and chairman of The Kavli Foundation, and Reidun Sirevåg, Secretary General of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in Oslo.

A press teleconference with Mr. Kavli, selection committee chairpersons, and available prize recipients will be held at Columbia's Low Library at 10am, following the announcement of the winners and a panel discussion.

Other highlights of the Summit include:

"The Big, The Small and The Complex," a conversation at the frontiers of science with Nobel Prize-winning physicists Horst Stormer and David Gross and top scientists Michael Turner of the University of Chicago and Joseph LeDoux of New York University. Moderated by six-time Emmy Award-winning actor Alan Alda.

"Radical Science for a Warming Planet," an examination of models of ecological sustainability, including the creation of carbon-neutral cities, synthetic plants designed to transform sunlight into energy, and skyscrapers which are actually farms capable of feeding a metropolis. With Nobel Laureate Steven Chu along with public health expert Dickson Despommier of Columbia University and urban designer Peter Head of Arup. Moderated by Walter Isaacson, President & CEO of the Aspen Institute.

"Science - The New Foreign Policy," an exploration of the means by which international scientific collaboration, competition, and interaction might lead to solutions for some of the world's most vexing problems, including food shortages, pandemics, and surging demand for energy. Participants include Harold Varmus, Nobel Laureate in medicine and President of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; David Baltimore, Nobel Laureate in medicine and president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; Nina Federoff, Science and Technology Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of State; and F. Sherwood Rowland, Nobel Laureate in chemistry and professor at the University of California at Irvine. Moderated by Emmy Award-winning journalist Charlie Rose.

"Building a Better Brain," focusing on how brain-machine interface and deep brain stimulation are leading to novel methods of repairing and boosting brain function as well as treating brain injuries and disease. The panel features leading neuroscientists John Donoghue of Brown University, Andrew Schwartz of the University of Pittsburgh, and Nicholas Schiff and Joseph Jack Fins of Weill Cornell Medical College. Moderated by Elizabeth Vargas, Co-Anchor, ABC News 20/20.

"It is clear that the future of society and of our planet is inextricably linked with our continued ability to make pioneering breakthroughs in basic and applied science," said Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger. "We are proud to be among the academic partners of the World Science Festival and a host to its World Science Summit event. But more importantly, we are committed to using this platform as one more way of fulfilling our ongoing mission of providing a global center of award-winning medical and scientific research that advances human understanding and enhances all of our lives."


About World Science Festival
The first annual World Science Festival will take place in New York City from May 28-June 1, 2008. The festival is a production of the Science Festival Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in New York City co-founded by Brian Greene and Tracy Day. On the Web:

About the Kavli Prizes

Additional information about the Kavli Prizes can be found at or at

The World Science Summit is supported by Credit Suisse and The Kavli Foundation.

The World Science Festival has been made possible with the generous support of The Simons Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, John Templeton Foundation, and the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Foundation.

The World Science Festival gratefully acknowledges the support of its Principal Sponsor, Credit Suisse; its Major Sponsor, Con Edison; and its Media Partners, ABC News, Scientific American, Scholastic, and Science Channel.

Major program funding has been provided by the Rockefeller Foundation NYC Cultural Innovation Fund and The Kavli Foundation. Additional program funding has been provided by the William A. Haseltine Foundation for Medical Sciences and the Arts, The Week magazine, NYSERDA, WABC-TV, WNYC, and The Dana Foundation.

Special thanks to Walt Disney Imagineering, NOVA, NOVA scienceNOW, Ryan Partnership, and the Boston Consulting Group. Research Foundation of CUNY/GrantsPlus is the official Administrative Partner of the World Science Festival.

To obtain access to the World Science Summit or to World Science Festival events, please RSVP as soon as possible by calling 212-843-9227 or e-mailing

For more information, please click here


Rubenstein Associates, Inc.
Adam Pockriss, 212-843-8286

World Science Festival
Ben Austin, 646-200-8819
Mobile: 917-686-3979
Vice President Marketing & Communications

Columbia University
David Poratta, 212-854-6581

The Kavli Foundation
Jim Cohen, 805-616-7988

Copyright © Business Wire 2008

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