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New York Academy of Sciences Launches "Provocative Thinkers in Science" Series

The Academy's Science & the City program brings cutting-edge topics to public audiences this fall.

Published August 31, 2009

NEW YORK—The ever-popular Science & the City public lecture series hosted by the New York Academy of Sciences announces its Fall 2009 lecture series: "Provocative Thinkers in Science." The series of five evening events, to be held on weeknights this September through December, will bring world-renowned scientists to explain cutting-edge topics in science to a lay public audience.

"Now in its third season, the Science & the City event series serves the Academy's mission to promote the understanding of science in society," says Adrienne Burke, Executive Editor of Science & the City. "This fall our audiences will have the chance to engage with some of the most fascinating minds in research and learn about science that is changing the world, and our understanding of it."

World-renowned cognitive neuroscientist Elkhonon Goldberg kicks off the series by presenting paradigm-shifting material from his latest book, The New Executive Brain: Frontal Lobes in a Complex World, which explores how the brain engages in complex decision making; how it deals with novelty and ambiguity; and how it addresses moral choices. Goldberg, a student of the late, great Russian neuropsychologist, Alexander Luria, is Clinical Professor of Neurology at the New York University School of Medicine. He is recognized as an expert on aging and cognition, attention deficit disorder, memory impairment, and cognitive enhancement.

Aubrey de Grey courts controversy with his proposition that aging will soon be eradicated as a cause of death. A theoretical gerontologist trained as a bioinformaticist at University of Cambridge, de Grey is the Chief Scientific Officer of SENS Foundation and has appeared on The Colbert Report, 60 Minutes, and as a TED speaker. He will explain his mitochondrial free-radical theory of aging and tell why he believes that regenerative medicine will soon succeed in halting the human aging process.

Known as the world’s most outspoken critic of creationism and as a vocal atheist, the evolutionary biologist and author Richard Dawkins will introduce his new book, Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution at the Academy in October. Dawkins is author of The Selfish Gene, The God Delusion, and The Blind Watchmaker, and was previously Professor for Public Understanding of Science at Oxford.

In a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the publication of the most provocative book of its time, Darwin's Origin of Species, three leading researchers in distinct disciplines will explain how Darwin's theories informed their own groundbreaking work. Nobel Laureate and neurobiologist Gerald Edelman will share new research on evolution and the brain; renowned and distinguished psychologist Paul Ekman will describe Darwin's views and his own research into evolution and human compassion; and biological anthropologist Terrence Deacon will discuss the evolution of language and cognition. Deacon's 1997 book, The Symbolic Species: The Coevolution of Language and the Brain is known as a seminal text in the field of evolutionary cognition.

Finally, chemical biologist George Whitesides and scientific artist Felice Frankel, both pioneers of their fields at Harvard University, will debut their new publication No Small Matter: Science on the Nanoscale, an art-science book presenting mind-boggling images and explanations from the nanotechnology frontier, the invisibly small revolution that is remaking the world.

Science & the City events are held in the evenings in the Academy's conference center on the 40th floor of 7 World Trade Center. Wine and cheese receptions and book-signings take place following each lecture. Event dates are:

  • Elkhonon Goldberg, September 14
  • Aubrey de Grey, September 22
  • Richard Dawkins, October 19
  • Paul Ekman, Gerald Edelman, & Terrence Deacon, November 24
  • George Whitesides & Felice Frankel, December 7

For more information or to register to attend, please visit:

Tickets: $15 for Academy Members, $20 for students, $25 for general public

Special limited time offer for nonmembers:
Register for the entire series and get a free Academy membership – a value of more than $100 – and member discounts on all Spring 2010 Science & the City events.

Contact: Adrienne Burke,, 212.298.8655