7th annual World Science Festival - New York News

7th annual World Science Festival

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Four-year-old Azuka Corona plopped himself down on the floor at the seventh-annual World Science Festival prepared for an afternoon fully booked with just one activity.

"Watching the robots," he said.

Azuka then declined to answer a single other question we asked him, but not out of disrespect or bashfulness. The Swarmbots before him had simply left him starstruck.

"He watches this online, on YouTube all the time," Azuka's mother said, "so being able to be physically present is a third-world fantasy for him."

For adults, the festival's co-founders hoped playing rock-paper-scissors with a robot from Yale's social robotics lab might help to erase bad memories from high school chemistry or college physics.

"So many people, kids and adults, have had a bad experience with science in the classroom," World Science Festival co-founder Brian Greene said.

A professor of physics and mathematics at Columbia University, Greene assembled a park full drones, a basketball-launching robot and a mechanized fish to show thousands of visitors why science mattered---a mission he called vital to the future of mankind.

"If you don't have a public that's engaging with ideas," Greene said, "how do you have a democracy?"

The five-day World Science Festival culminated in a street fair around Washington Square Park, Saturday, where astronaut Michael Hopkins answered questions from those in attendance, confirming what we always suspected about donning that blue NASA flight suit.

"No, it doesn't get old," he said. "It's a very cool job to have."

Telescopes revealed the heavens, simulators simulated and at least one Swarmbot fan got to witness his cold, unfeeling idols in person for the first time.

"It's probably the equivalent of teens looking at Miley Cyrus," Azuka's mom said.

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