World Science Festival

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World Science Festival
WSF logo 300.jpg
The festival's logo
GenreScience festival
Location(s)New York City, New York
CountryUnited States
Inaugurated2008 (2008)
Patron(s)Founding benefactors: Simons Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the John Templeton Foundation
SponsorWorld Science Foundation

The World Science Festival is an annual science festival produced by the World Science Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization headquartered in New York City.[1] There is also an Asia-Pacific event, held in Brisbane, Australia.

The foundation's mission is to cultivate a general public informed by science, inspired by its wonder, convinced of its value, and prepared to engage with its implications for the future.


The festival was founded and created by Brian Greene, professor of mathematics and physics at Columbia University and author of several science books (including The Elegant Universe, and The Hidden Reality); and Tracy Day, a four-time National News Emmy Award-winning journalist, who has produced live and documentary programming for the nation's preeminent television news divisions. Greene now serves as chairman of the World Science Foundation, and Day is chief executive of the World Science Festival.[2]

The festival's events are rooted in science, but also conform to the production standards of professional television and live theatrical events. The founding benefactors were the Simons Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the John Templeton Foundation.[3]

Board of directors[edit]

The founding benefactors were the Simons Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the John Templeton Foundation.[4]

Inaugural festival[edit]

The inaugural festival took place from May 28 to June 1, 2008, at 22 venues throughout New York City. Hailed a "new cultural institution" by The New York Times, the festival included 46 events, a street fair and, on its first day, the one-day World Science Summit at Columbia University. Of the 150+ participants, speakers and performers were 11 Nobel Prize winners. Venues included the American Museum of Natural History, Abyssinian Baptist Church, and New York University's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts at Gould Plaza. Total audience numbered more than 120,000.[5]

World Science Festival venues[edit]

Audience preparing to watch "Deep Field: The Impossible Magnitude of our Universe" by Eric Whitacre in Brooklyn Bridge Park

New York City[edit]

Over the past 10 festivals, the festival has drawn more over two million visitors, with millions more viewing programs online. Programs include discussions, debates, theatrical works, interactive explorations, musical performances, intimate salons, and major outdoor experiences in parks, museums, galleries and performing arts venues across New York City. A full program list can be found on the festival's official website created in 2004.


Since 2016, an additional event has been held each year in Brisbane, Australia. It is organised by Queensland Museum Network, which has the exclusive licence in the Asia Pacific region from 2016 to 2021.[6]

Past participants[edit]

Past participants have included:

Nobel Laureates

The following Nobel Laureates have participated:

The full list of participants can be found on the festival's official website.


The World Science Festival maintains educational programs for students and adults all over the globe in many scientific disciplines.

Scholars have the rare chance to engage with Nobel Laureates, Breakthrough Prize recipients, and other cutting-edge researchers who serve as WSS professors.

World Science Scholars[edit]

The prestigious World Science Scholars program allows "high school students with extraordinary mathematical talent to be guided by world-renowned scientists and to connect with an elite group of global peers both online and in-person." Scholars collaborate with one another to work on projects, labs, exercises, and discussions in topics such as particle physics, computational thinking, astrobiology, and string theory. The free two-year program is funded by the John Templeton Foundation. Previous World Science Scholars faculty have included Brian Greene, Mandë Holford, Miguel Nicolelis, Stephen Wolfram, Cumrun Vafa, and Suzana Herculano-Houzel.[7]

World Science U[edit]

World Science U allows all types of people, from high schoolers to adults, to engage in scientific education with researchers and educators.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Non-profit status and chairman position from the foundation's 990-EZ form for 2006, accessible online via "GuideStar". GuideStar USA, Inc. 2008. Retrieved June 8, 2008.. Current board of directors from World Science Festival (April 2008). "Board of directors". Science Festival Foundation. Archived from the original on June 7, 2008. Retrieved June 8, 2008.
  2. ^ Cf. Musser, George (April 25, 2008). "A Science Fête Project: A Q&A with Brian Greene". Scientific American. Retrieved November 24, 2008.
  3. ^ [1].
  4. ^ "Sponsors and Partners – World Science Festival – June 1–5, 2016 – New York City". World Science Festival – June 1–5, 2016 – New York City. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  5. ^ – Venues and event numbers: Overbye, Dennis (June 3, 2008). "An Overflowing Five-Day Banquet of Science and Its Meanings". The New York Times. Retrieved June 5, 2008.
    – Summit: Timmer, John (May 28, 2008). "First Kavli Prize Winners in New Fields of Science Announced". Ars Technica. Retrieved June 5, 2008.
    – Attendance: Souccar, Miriam (June 6, 2008). "City's Science Festival Attracts Record Numbers". Crain's New York Business. Retrieved June 8, 2008.
  6. ^ "About the World Science Festival Brisbane". Retrieved March 2, 2018.
  7. ^ "World Science Scholars". World Science Festival. Retrieved June 13, 2021.
  8. ^ "World Science U". World Science U. Retrieved June 13, 2021.

External links[edit]