2013 Opening & Closing Night Events

Tickets are now on sale for the Opening and Closing Night events of the 2013 Seattle Science Festival. Presenting some of the greatest scientific and creative minds of our time, these programs weave together science, art and philosophy for two inspiring, thought-provoking and engaging evenings.

Tickets: $15 Students; $30 General; $60 Premium. A special Opening Night VIP package, $125, includes Premium seating and an invitation to an exclusive VIP cocktail reception with the speakers and performers.

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Did you attend the Seattle Science Festival Opening Night event -- Beyond Infinity? The Search for Understanding at the Limits of Space & Time? If you did, please take a moment to tell us what you thought of the evening's program. Just fill out this short survey. Thank you.

Opening Night

Beyond Infinity? The Search for Understanding at the Limits of Space & Time
June 6, 2013, 8 p.m. at Seattle's Paramount Theatre - VIP Reception:  6:30 p.m.
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Closing Night

Our 11th Hour: Straight Talk on Climate Change from People Who Know
June 15, 2013, 7:30 p.m. at Seattle Repertory Theatre
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Opening Night

Beyond Infinity? The Search for Understanding at the Limits of Space & Time
June 6, 2013, 8 p.m. at Seattle's Paramount Theatre
VIP Reception: 6:30 p.m.

Current advances in theoretical physics are blurring the boundaries between science and philosophy. How can we comprehend, much less determine, the size or age of the universe, when doing so requires us to consider quantities either unimaginably huge or impossibly tiny? What are the origins of the universe, and what are its implications for time travel? This spectacular event will feature presentations by three of the nation's greatest physicists, Brian Greene, Sean Carroll and Adam Frank, and the West Coast premiere of Icarus at the Edge of Time with live narration by Kal Penn and music by Philip Glass, performed by the Garfield Orchestra under the direction of Marcus Tsutakawa. This fantastic event will be emceed by journalist Jennifer Ouellette, who writes the popular Cocktail Party Physics blog for Scientific American.

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Current advances in theoretical physics are blurring the boundaries between science and philosophy. How can we comprehend, much less determine, the size or age of the universe, when doing so requires us to consider quantities either unimaginably huge or impossibly tiny? What are the origins of the universe, and what are its implications for time travel? This spectacular event will feature presentations by three of the nation's greatest physicists and the performance of a multi-media work accompanied a live orchestral performance of an original score by Philip Glass.

Brian GreeneDr. Brian Greene is recognized for a number of groundbreaking discoveries in the field of superstring theory. His books, The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos, inspired the Washington Post to call him the "single best explainer of abstruse ideas in the world today." His most recent book, The Hidden Reality, explores whether ours is the only universe. Greene is co-director of Columbia's Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics and the co-Founder of New York's World Science Festival.

sean carrollDr. Sean Carroll's research focuses on theoretical physics and cosmology, especially the origin and constituents of the universe. Carroll is the author of From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time and Spacetime and Geometry: An Introduction to General Relativity as well as the forthcoming The Particle at the End of the Universe. He has appeared on TV shows such as The Colbert Report and Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman and frequently serves as a science consultant for film and television.

Adam FrankDr. Adam Frank's research on computational astrophysics focuses on star formation and stellar evolution. His popular writing concentrates on issues of science in its cultural context and the role of technology in the human experience of time. He is a co-founder of NPR's 13.7 Cosmos and Culture blog. He also wrote About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang, exploring how the texture of our lives changes along with our understanding of the universe's origin.

This event will feature the west coast premiere of Icarus at the Edge of Time, a stunning multimedia performance about a boy who challenges the formidable power of a black hole. Based on a book by Brian Greene, directed by British filmmakers Al + Al with a script adapted by Greene and Tony award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang, the piece features an original orchestral score by Philip Glass that will be performed by the Garfield Orchestra under the direction of Marcus Tsutakawa. Actor and STEM supporter Kal Penn will provide live narration, weaving together the visual and musical elements, taking the audience on an amazing journey at the limits of space and time.

Kal PennKal Penn is a familiar face in Hollywood and in the White House where he served as Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement to President Obama. Penn is known for his early role of Kumar in the popular Harold and Kumar films, and more recently as Dr. Kutner on TV's House. A serious STEM supporter, Penn now hosts The Big Brain Theory: Pure Genius, a new reality show on the Discovery Channel and spends time off-screen exciting young people about STEM education and career opportunities. (Photo credit: Eric Blackmon)

Watch the trailer for Icarus here:

Journalist Jennifer Ouellette, who writes the popular Cocktail Party Physics blog for Scientific American will be Mistress of Ceremonies for this fantastic event.

A VIP reception with the speakers and performers will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre. VIP Tickets include premium seating for the Opening Night event.

Icarus at the Edge of Time was commissioned and produced by World Science Festival (New York) with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Southbank Centre (London) with the Royal Society. Co-commissioned by Associazione Festival della Scienza with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Glasgow's Concert Halls. Executive Producers: Tracy Day, World Science Festival, New York; Gillian Moore, Southbank Centre, London in collaboration with the Royal Society. ©2010 Dunvagen Music Publishers Inc. Used by permission.

Closing Night

Our 11th Hour: Straight Talk on Climate Change from People Who Know
June 15, 2013, 7:30 p.m. at Seattle Repertory Theatre

Climate change is widely recognized as the major environmental problem facing the planet. Some of the most important issues shaping our collective future hinge on how we address this matter. This thought-provoking event features three TED-style presentations with world-leading experts on climate change, including Dr. Kevin Trenberth, Dr. Richard Alley and New York Times journalist Andrew Revkin, followed by an uplifting 30-minute opera focused on environmental stewardship set in the Pacific Northwest, Heron and the Salmon Girl, performed by Seattle Opera and Seattle Opera's Youth Chorus. Emceed by Pulitzer- and Polk-prize winning environmental journalist, Usha McFarling.

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Learn about the most significant environmental issue facing our planet in this candid conversation encompassing multiple dimensions of this complex and important issue. This event will feature award-winning climate scientists Dr. Kevin Trenberth and Dr. Richard Alley as well as award-winning New York Times journalist Andrew Revkin. Emceed by Pulitzer- and Polk-prize winning environmental journalist, Usha McFarling, these engaging multimedia presentations will explore some of the most pressing and cutting-edge aspects of this topic. We'll cap the evening with an uplifting, 30-minute opera for audiences of all ages focused on environmental stewardship set in the Pacific Northwest, Heron and the Salmon Girl, to be performed by Seattle Opera and Seattle Opera's Youth Chorus.

Richard AlleyDr. Richard Alley, a professor at Pennsylvania State, has been compared to a cross between Woody Allen and Carl Sagan. His book on abrupt climate change, The Two-Mile Time Machine, won the 2001 national Phi Beta Kappa Science Award. Recipient of many top awards for outstanding science communication, he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and hosted the recent PBS miniseries Earth: The Operators' Manual.

Andrew RevkinAndrew Revkin, Senior Fellow for Environmental Understanding at Pace University, writes the award-winning Dot Earth blog for the Op-Ed section of the New York Times. This veteran journalist has covered the assault on the Amazon rain forest, changing conditions around the Arctic and the troubled politics of climate science. He has earned numerous awards for science journalism including the John Chancellor Award for sustained journalistic excellence. In addition, Revkin is the author of a family-friendly book about the impact of climate change on the Arctic, The North Pole Was Here: Puzzles and Perils at the Top of the World.

Kevin TrenberthDr. Kevin Trenberth is a Distinguished Senior Scientist in the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Originally from New Zealand, he was a lead author of the 2001 and 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, and along with Al Gore, shared the Nobel Peace Prize that went to the IPCC in 2007. Trenberth is recipient of numerous other awards including the 2003 Distinguished Achievement Award from the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Heron and the Salmon Girl is the first of three new half-hour operas in the "Our Earth" cycle recently commissioned by Seattle Opera. When salmon fail to return to the sea one spring, animals such as Orca, Heron, and Turtle—and a greedy fisherman—embark on a journey upriver to find the missing fish. In this stirring work, librettist Irene Keliher and composer Eric Banks explore stories of a Pacific Northwest river, including marine life, freshwater ecosystems and forests. Featuring the exquisite, adult voices of Seattle Opera as well as the sweet children's voices of Seattle Opera's Youth Chorus, the performance emphasizes environmental stewardship through the beautiful and moving medium of opera.

Heron and Salmon Girl