The Urban Scientist

New York City Science Events Week of October 17th

Scientists take on the arts this week in a full-on smackdown

October 16, 2010
A physicist navigates the universe of dating. [Image Credit: Ben Lillie]

Events this week threaten to dismantle the notion of an abyss between art and science, described in  C.P. Snow’s “Two Cultures.” Fifty years after he published his warning that the two disciplines had grown callously distant from one another, the estranged partners have made up, at least for now. It’s a science-art love fest this week.

First, theoretical particle physicist Ben Lillie debuts his one-man show entitled “Elliptical Orbits.” And no, it’s not a lecture on astronomy:

“Understanding people: hard. Understanding cosmology: easy. Ben Lillie attempts to navigate the world of dating, with an eye to the large scale structure of The Universe.”

See Lillie Sunday, October 17th at the Magnet Theater (254 West 29th). It’s only $5, and it starts at 6:30 p.m.

For the rest of the week, you might want to clear your entire schedule to attend the Imagine Science Films festival:

Sunday, 2 pm, “Science for Nanos,” at New York Hall of Science. It’s free!

Monday, 8 pm, “Avant-Garde Science,” in collaboration with the Secret Science Club at the Bell House in Brooklyn. Also Free!

Wednesday, 7 pm, “Viva La Evolucion,” at the CUNY Graduate Center. Yes, Free.

Thursday, 7 pm, “The Beginning of Time,” at Tribeca Cinemas in Manhattan. A mere $8.

Friday, 7 pm, “Animal Kingdom,” at Tribeca Cinemas. $15. Totally worth it because you get to see Isabella Rosselini’s amazing “Green Porno” series.

If you want to take a break from movies, here are your other options:


A Tear at the Edge of Creation with astronomy professor Marcel Gleiser at the American Museum of Natural History. Gleiser discusses the intersection of science and religion, arguing that “the belief in a final theory is rooted in monotheistic religious tradition.” 7:30 p.m., $15.


NYC Science Outreach Roundtable: High school and middle school teachers discuss the challenges of teaching science. New York Academy of Sciences, 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. It is currently full but you can get on the wait list.

Amateur Astronomer’s Association observes stars at High Line Park starting at dusk.


Experience the Story Collider with co-host physicists Ben Lillie and Brian Wecht. This month’s theme is Gravity:

“Gravity is inescapable. From scaling a mountain to forming galaxies to watching a family heirloom shatter on the ground, it is a central aspect of all of our lives, but we routinely take it for granted. And just when you’re forced to step back and think about it, it turns out you were facing away from the edge of a cliff.”

At Pacific Standard in Park Slope, Brooklyn, at 8:00 p.m.


Lyceum Society: Pain and Placebos hosted by the New York Academy of Sciences at the President’s Penthouse at New York University (off Washington Square Park). 11:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Learn about the man who discovered Tyrannousaurus Rex, Barnum Brown, arguably “the greatest fossil hunter of the 20th century.” 7:00 p.m., $15, at the American Museum of Natural History.


5th Annual Machine Learning Symposium at the New York Academy of Sciences. All day event.

Saturday and Sunday

The USA Science and Engineering Festival is happening on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.  A bit of a trip from NYC, but for die-hard enthusiasts, it may be worth it.

About the Author

Olivia Koski

Olivia Koski was born in the desert and raised in the mountains. After studying physics in college, she earned a living manipulating light for an aerospace company. She abandoned saguaros, pine trees and lasers for the skyscrapers of New York City, where she is studying the fine art of manipulating words, sound and images as a journalist. Visit her website at or follow her on Twitter at


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