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Krauss brings Hawking, artistic icons to ASU for science and culture festival

March 09, 2011

Stephen Hawking, Werner Herzog, Anthony Grayling, Liz Lerman and Jean Auel will be among the celebrities and scientists at Arizona State University April 7-11 for a science and culture festival.

“The festival itself involves music, film and dance as well as other exciting events that involve lectures and panel discussions on topics to be touched on during the festival,” said Lawrence Krauss, founding director of the ASU Origins Project, which is organizing the festival.

“The ASU Origins Project focuses on fundamental questions that humans ask about themselves as we are trying to understand our place in the cosmos. This is precisely where science and culture merge,” said Krauss, a theoretical physicist and cosmologist who teaches in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the Department of Physics in ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“Science forces us to reassess our place in the cosmos, but so does good art, music, literature. So what better way to bring them together to celebrate these wonderful aspects of being human, in the context of Origins? And as everything the ASU Origins Project has attempted, we want to do it in an unprecedented and exciting fashion,” Krauss said.

The events, which are open to the public, will be at various locations on ASU’s Tempe campus, including ASU Gammage, and at the Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway. While many of the events are free, others, including a production of Gustav Holst’s masterpiece, “The Planets,” at which Stephen Hawking is scheduled to appear, and the screening of Werner Herzog’s new 3-D movie, are ticketed and have a fee attached.

Information about the festival schedule of events and the ASU Origins Project is available at

The schedule for the events includes:

Opening Panel

April 8, 3 p.m., Neeb Hall, ASU Tempe campus
Features Lawrence Krauss, ASU professor; Werner Herzog, German filmmaker; Liz Lerman, award-winning choreographer; Kimberly Marshall, director of ASU School of Music; and others.
Free and open to the public. More info at

NPR Science Friday

April 8, TBD between noon and 2 p.m., radio broadcast on NPR local station KJZZ Ira Flatow, host of the popular public radio show “Science Friday” will discuss the dynamic between science and culture with participants in the ASU Origin Project Science and Culture Festival. More info at

Werner Herzog Mini-Film Festival

April 6 at 5:30 p.m., April 7 at 4:30 p.m., GIOS 101, ASU Tempe campus
Short film series and guest lecture features two documentary films by renowned German filmmaker Werner Herzog: “Grizzly Man” on April 6 and “Encounters at the End of the World” on April 7.
Free and open to the public.

Origins: Causation and Boundaries Symposium

April 7-8, various times, West Hall, Room 135, ASU Tempe campus.
Sponsored by ASU’s Institute for Humanities Research, the symposium engages humanities scholars in addressing and analyzing the role of humanities in illuminating human origins.
Free and open to the public. More info at

“Dear Aliens” Contest Award Ceremony with Lucy Hawking and Paul Davies

April 9, 1 p.m., Design Center North, Room 60 (CDN 60), ASU Tempe campus
This contest encourages K-12 students in Maricopa County to think how they would respond if aliens contacted us. Winning entries will be broadcast into space at the ceremony.
Free and open to the public. More info at

Gustav Holst’s “The Planets” with special lecture by Stephen Hawking

April 9, 7 p.m., ASU Gammage
Gustav Holst’s masterpiece, “The Planets,” performed by the ASU Symphony Orchestra and Women’s Chorus. The performance is a spectacular, multi-media event with breathtaking images from NASA, narration by Lawrence Krauss and special lecture by eminent physicist Stephen Hawking.
Tickets are $25-120; $15 in the balcony with valid ASU SunCard or ASU Student ID. Tickets go on sale March 8 at ASU Gammage, 480-965-3434, or More info at

Secular Sermon with AC Grayling and post-event book signing

April 10, 10:30 a.m., Tempe Center for the Arts
Noted British philosopher, AC Grayling, will discuss his book “The Good Book: A Humanist Bible.”
Free and open to the public. More info at

A Conversation with Jean Auel and post-event book signing

April 10, 1 p.m. Tempe Center for the Arts
Jean Auel, author of “The Clan of the Cave Bear” and popular Earth’s Children series will speak with ASU journalism professor Ed Sylvester about how science informs and shapes her writing.
Free and open to the public. More info at

Cave of Forgotten Dreams

April 10, 3 p.m., Tempe Center for the Arts
Acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog screens and discusses his new 3-D film “Cave of Forgotten Dreams.” The film explores the earliest known images produced by humans. Access to the Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc caves of southern France where the images reside has been extremely restricted to protect the images from overexposure and damage.
Tickets are $30; $25 with valid ASU SunCard. Tickets are on sale at the Tempe Center for the Arts, 480-350-2822. More info at

The Matter of Origins

April 11, 7 p.m., ASU Gammage
MacArthur “genius” Fellowship recipient Liz Lerman follows her 2006 Gammage performance “Ferocious Beauty: The Genome” with a new work, “The Matter of Origins.” Sometimes we discover truth through science, imagine it through art or discern it by faith. With Lerman, we seem to touch all three. What was the beginning of the universe? What was the beginning of the paper clip, the pencil, the handshake, the kiss, the Pledge of Allegiance? Some questions are huge. Some are small. “The Matter of Origins” is a performance, a conversation, a floor show, a quiz show and a chance to meet big minds. It's a dance to watch and a dance to learn.
Tickets are $20; $10 for students with ID. Tickets are on sale at ASU Gammage, 480-965-3434,