New York City science festival to serenade public

Could the World Science Festival planned for the end of May in New York City (re)connect the public with the world around them?

From May 28 through June 1, festival organizers say, the canyons of thecity will be alive with the sound of science. Biologists will discuss the perils and promises of humans’ knowing their own genetic codes. Quantum physicists will debate the nature of reality. Neuroscientists will ponder the mysteries of creativity. The Abyssinian Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir will serenade scientists to demonstrate the effects of music on the brain....

The festival will kick off with a closed one-day gathering at Columbia called the World Science Summit. Modeled after the World Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland, it will consist of about 100 scientists and thinkers, including Nobel laureates and business, academic, cultural and government leaders talking about the impact of cutting-edge science on the world.

Columbia University Physicist Brian Greene, one of the principles behind the event, says that science is often included on the Davos agenda "as a sort of entertainment." In contrast, the festival wants to combine the fun with a larger purpose.

There are so-called signature events, like a discussion of parallel universes and one on the investigation of genius and creativity, aimed at general audiences. Several others are geared toward audiences who may not know that they are interested in science but are hungry for art and culture.

People might "come for the art, but leave with the science," another organizer said.