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The Enigma of Life: Confronting Marvels at the Edges of Science

Available via


The Enigma of Life: Confronting Marvels at the Edges of Science

Wednesday, February 5, 2020, 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM EST

The New York Academy of Sciences, 7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich St Fl 40, New York

Video of the full event is available on the Nour Foundation's YouTube channel.

Einstein famously claimed that “the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.” This statement suggests that no amount of scientific explanation will suffice to make sense of the bizarre situation of the human mind within the universe. So what is the actual role of awe and wonder within the framework of contemporary science? How, for instance, do awe and wonder inform scientists’ understanding of the phenomena they are researching? What aspects of contemporary science are more likely to elicit wonder, and why? Is science rechanneling our innate thirst for knowledge and understanding toward more concrete and palpable realities, or is it aggravating the tension between truth and meaning by revealing the scope of our ignorance when it comes to probing the ultimate nature of reality?

Physicist Marcelo Gleiser, experimental psychologist Tania Lombrozo, and physician Gavin Francis analyze the impact of awe and wonder on their own work and on the mindsets of their colleagues carrying out cutting-edge scientific research.  

*Reception to follow


This event also will be available via a free Livestream.

This event is part of the series, The Power of Wonder: Modern Marvels in the Age of Science.

Moderated by journalist Steve Paulson, Executive Producer of Wisconsin Public Radio’s To the Best of Our Knowledge, this three-part series at the New York Academy of Sciences brings together leading scientists and thinkers to explore the broader implications of wonder, from its role in inspiring scientific breakthroughs to the many ways in which it connects to aesthetic experience, religious attitudes, and ethical concerns.

To learn more about each lecture and to purchase tickets, click on the links below.



Nonmember Student, Undergrad, Grad, Fellow
Member Student, Post-Doc, Fellow


Steve Paulson
Steve Paulson

To the Best of Our Knowledge, Wisconsin Public Radio, and PRX


Marcelo Gleiser, PhD
Marcelo Gleiser, PhD

Dartmouth College

Tania Lombrozo, PhD
Tania Lombrozo, PhD

Princeton University