A free concert, a theatrical production broadcast and an “evening in the stars” are among the events scheduled for June 5-6 at the University of Mississippi in observance of the World Science Festival. The festival itself, the third of its kind, takes place in New York City, and Oxford is the only offsite festival location. A satellite feed will enable participants here to join the celebration of science in New York.
The UM-Oxford portion of the festival is sponsored by the UM Museum & Historic Houses, Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Gertrude Castellow Ford Center for the Performing Arts and the Department of Physics and Astronomy. All events are free and open to the public.
“The World Science Festival, an unprecedented annual tribute to imagination, ingenuity and inventiveness, takes science out of the laboratory and into the streets, theaters, museums and public halls of New York City, making the esoteric understandable and the familiar fascinating,” according to the worldsciencefestival.com website. “Our mission is to cultivate and sustain a general public informed by the content of science, inspired by its wonder, convinced of its value and prepared to engage with its implications for the future.”
The local festival begins Saturday (June 5) with an exhibition of the Millington-Barnard Collection of Scientific Instruments at the University Museum, Fifth Street and University Avenue. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.
“Our purpose at the University of Mississippi is to relate the excitement and activity of the World Science Festival production in New York City,” said William Pittman Andrews, museum director. “The University Museum is thrilled to participate in an event that explores the intersection of science and art, and expresses the human, cultural response to big questions. For the museum, this is a great opportunity to appeal to a new audience.”
Festival activities Sunday (June 6) include a satellite broadcast of “Icarus at the Edge of Time.” The theatrical production airs at 5 p.m. in Fulton Chapel, followed by a celebration at 6 p.m.
“‘Icarus at the Edge of Time’ was written by Brian Greene and composed by Philip Glass,” said Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, dean of the Barksdale Honors College. “It is the story of a young man who strays too close to a black hole.”
A Summer Sunset Series concert featuring the Mississippians Jazz Combo begins at 7 p.m. in the Grove.
“The Mississippians Jazz Combo is a septet comprised of UM students and faculty members,” said Norman Easterbrook, director of the Ford Center. “The group will perform jazz standards and original compositions in a variety of styles and dedicate their songs to the World Science Festival. For hot jazz on a cool night in the Grove, bring a picnic, blanket and chairs to relax with friends and neighbors.”
“An Evening in the Stars” closes the festival. Viewing of the constellations begins at sunset (approximately 8:30 p.m.) at Kennon Observatory.
“Saturn will be up, and colorful double stars,” said Tibor Torma, assistant professor of physics and astronomy and observatory director. “If the stadium lights are off, we should see some star clusters and nebulae. There are plans to do a physics demonstration, as well.”
For assistance related to a disability or for more information about World Science Festival events at UM, call Pittman at 662-915-7073, Gonzalez at 662-915-7294, Easterbrook at 662-915-2787 or Torma at 662-915-5627. For more information about the New York event, go to http://www.worldsciencefestival.com