Five Science Facts That Will Blow Your Mind at the 2011 World Science Festival

For the next five days, New Yorkers will be learning about science not from a PowerPoint presentation but by watching it firsthand.

The World Science Festival is taking over New York City from June 1 to 5, bringing together scientists, celebrities, researchers and more to discuss the fascinating world of science. Celebrating its fourth year, the fledgling festival has turned into a seasoned veteran, attracting over 185,000 attendants last year, and the festival creators expect the numbers to be even more impressive this year.

The main goal of the festival: to highlight a topic that creators feel hasn't been given proper credit in both the media and mainstream society.

“We realized that science is not presented to a general audience in a way that is truly reflective of the astonishing content,” Tracy Day, co-founder of the World Science Festival, told “Usually science is kind of siloed. It’s kind of over there somewhere and the general audience never actually sees it."

"We realized this was an incredible opportunity to take science out of that siloed existence and bring it to the center of popular culture.”

The World Science Festival promises a number of mind blowing revelations. Just consider these ideas, among the many to be presented over the next few days:

*   The first person who will live 1,000 years has already been born;

*   Our daily physical realities are merely holographic projections formed by light passing through a thin surface layer that surrounds the universe;

*   Doctors will soon be able to diagnose diseases simply by smelling them;

*   As depicted in the film, “The Matrix,” the workings of the universe may be simulations from a super-advanced computer that runs our daily lives like so much software;

*   thinking machines will take over the comprehension of data, concepts, and behaviors that are too big for human minds.

A major component of the festival is the way in which the events and exhibits are being presented. In an attempt to blend scientific concepts with the art of performance and storytelling, festival creators have staged most WSF events in theaters across New York City. And Day says that audience members will be nothing short of blown away by what they experience.

“We don’t do these programs in lecture halls. We don’t do them in a didactic fashion,” Day told “You know, that excitement one feels when you’re going to a performance arts play or musical performance. You feel that here, but the content is intellectual.”

One of the biggest performances is the inaugural gala at Alice Tulley Hall in Lincoln Center that kicks off the festival Wednesday night. Day and the other festival creators reached out to prominent people in the performing arts in order to help “tell the story” behind the science.

The gala will feature a staged reading of a play written by Alan Alda about the life of Marie Curie. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Liev Schrieber, and Allison Janney are just some of the few performers who will take part in the reading.

The rest of the week includes various out-of-this-world events, anywhere from a magician who can outpace a calculator to a stargazing event on the Brooklyn Bridge.

But first and foremost, Day and others are looking to make the topics enjoyable -- and in no way intimidating.

“We aren’t into curriculum. That’s not what we do,” Day told “We’re trying to expose people in a different way. Moving science out of the fringe to right smack in the middle of popular culture for people of all ages.”