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May 29th, 2012
11:13 AM ET

Getting your 'geek' on with the World Science Festival – physicist Brian Greene on the importance of making science 'cool'

The World Science Festival takes place in New York City this year from May 30th to June 3rd. The festival's goal is to bring together the world’s top scientists and artists to make science more exciting and accessible to the public.

Brian Greene, professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, and his wife Tracy Day, a former tv producer, co-founded the festival five years ago "to shift the place of science in culture," he tells Soledad on "Starting Point."

"It is now at the outskirts. We want to shift it to the cultural center. We want it to be seen the way we look at music, and art, and film, and dance and theater; as something that is indispensable to a full and rich life," he says.

The festival is made up of 50 events that depict science as an adventure, bringing to life the kind of material "that can make your heart pound." This year, John Lithgow narrates the story of "Icharus at the Edge of Time." The event is about a boy that goes to the edge of a black hole. Through an intricate orchestral score by Philip Glass and an animated film, kids and adults learn about the general theory of relativity.

The first four festivals attracted over half a million visitors, and millions more have viewed the programs online. The excitement surrounding the event lines up with Greene's expectations. "We get emails and responses from people that come to the festival that say, 'you have given science back to me,'" Greene says. "When I was in school the teacher made it so boring that I didn't want to have anything to do with it. Now 20, 30 years later, adults are saying 'wow this is what science is!'"

Find out more: World Science Festival homepage

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