This project will pilot a Life in the Cosmos Science Series and Digital Hub for the annual Smithsonian The Future is Here Festival in May 2016. This year's festival theme will be “Science Meets Science Fiction.” The premise is that we now live in the world that science fiction writers have been creating for the last century, a world where everything seems possible and there are amazing discoveries, inventions and ideas happening all around us. The Festival offers an inspiring look at the future, revealing the nature of dialogue and discovery on the current scientific frontier, and exploring what is in store for us and our children. The Life in the Cosmos Series aims to transform public perceptions of science, illuminate critical personal issues informed by science, and enhance the public discourse around our common search for a deeper understanding of our place in the future. For the past three years, the festival has been fully subscribed and received widespread attention. Now is the ideal time to build on that success by expanding the audience and content through the addition of this new program.
The pilot focused series of talks and a digital hub under the rubric, “Think Big!” will be focused on Life in the Cosmos in general and more specifically on the subtopics of Dark Energy and Dark Matter; fine tuning the Anthropic Principle; and the search for Intelligent Life in the Universe. Scientists, scholars, practitioners, and philosophers will tackle cutting-edge research and innovations to articulate how life’s future in the universe will impact humankind. Through the combination of platforms, the series will engage participants with the subject matter for the short term, through the live event and the long term with a digital hub accessible throughout the year. The goal is to deepen public understanding of science and technology, and its impact on humanity and our world.