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New York Hosts A World Science Festival


New York is playing host to the World Science Festival, May 28 to June 1. The large scale celebration is an effort to highlight the role of science in everyday life. From VOA's New York Bureau, Kate Miller reports on a project that aims to introduce the excitement of a mysterious world to mainstream America.

Science is a subject some adults have avoided since their school days, when they thought of the subject as dull or intimidating. But these beliefs are something that the World Science Festival is eager to erase. Physicist Brian Greene, the co-founder of the festival, is determined to put science in a new and different light.

"We have multi-media elements in many of these programs. We have brought together visuals, we've brought together music, dance pieces in some of these as well, in order to create a real - I like to think of it as a full-body - experience of science," he said.

Science festivals have been a popular part of the European learning experience for years, but that's not the case in the United States. Green is hoping this festival will change all that.

"For instance, there's a dance performance that's going to interpret features of quantum mechanics and quantum gravity. So you go to this performance if you like dance, you're entertained and then there's a conversation afterward between the choreographer, the composer and a scientist to really show three different ways of interpreting some cutting edge science," he said.

The innovative programs, designed to surprise, engage and inspire, are wide-ranging. Intriguing topics include the wonderful weirdness of the quantum world, radical designs for urban dwelling, and will robots be your friends? One eager participant is award winning actor Alan Alda. Alda, who hosted a television science series for many years, has made a public service announcement for the fair.

"Catch the excitement of science from Nobel Prize winners, get thrilled by music, film, theater and dance, inspired by science. And Saturday, May 31, catch a free fun science street fair for kids. Tickets online at World Science Festival dot com. Fascination with science is contagious, catch it."

Greene says there is bound to be something for everyone, from the youngest to the oldest. "We're doing the science of sports. So that kids can see the science behind baseball and basketball and skateboarding and so forth. Disney is coming, the Disney imaginers are coming to show the science behind things like robotics and pyrotechnics and virtual reality and animation," he said.

Greene hopes that New York City will have a yearly festival, with cities worldwide joining in. "This kind of event can help focus attention on the power and wonder and beauty of science and in that way really change how people think about science and their willingness to interact with it," he said.