The four honorees in 2016 will be:
- Architect Frank Gehry
- Paleontologist Jack Horner
- Harvard Psychology Professor Ellen Langer
- Astrophysicist Kip Thorne
Often called “the most important architect of our age,” Frank Gehry is responsible for changing the face of 21st-century architecture, executing seemingly impossible sculptural designs all over the world.
The first female professor to gain tenure in Harvard University’s storied Psychology Department, Dr. Ellen Langer has moved the mind-body connection out of Zen meditation caves and into the bright light of scientific scrutiny and everyday life.
Astrophysicist Kip Thorne co-founded the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Project, which made one of the most fundamental scientific discoveries of our time earlier this year: the first direct observation of gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of spacetime predicted by Einstein a century ago but undetected until now.
“Our four 2016 Genius Award winners are singularly brilliant men and women,” said Paul Hoffman, President and CEO of Liberty Science Center. “These out-of-the-box geniuses deserve to be honored in an out-of-the-box way.”
Messrs. Gehry and Horner, and Drs. Langer and Thorne will join previous honorees Sir Richard Branson, Garry Kasparov, Jane Goodall, Oliver Sacks, Temple Grandin, Dean Kamen, Sylvia Earle, Craig Venter, Cori Bargmann, Ernő Rubik, Jeff Bezos, Vint Cerf, and Jill Tarter in LSC’s Genius Gallery, a permanent, interactive display recently debuted at the Center.
The Center’s Magician-in-Residence, world-renowned endurance artist and illusionist David Blaine, will serve as the evening’s featured performer. Special guest Fabiano Caruana, who at 23 years old is the third-highest rated chess player in the world and the strongest American player in history, serves as LSC’s Visiting Grandmaster and Ambassador for the Center’s scholastic Chess Works! program.
The Genius Gala, beginning at 6pm, brings together seven hundred movers and shakers from the NY/NJ metropolitan area and is unlike any other fundraising event. Plans for surprises for this year’s attendees are underway.
Genius Gala 4.0 highlights included musical performances by NASA astronauts Chris Hadfield and Cady Coleman, together with renowned violinist Charles Yang; selfie-sticks replaced by drones on the red carpet for “dronie” photos; mingling with R2-D2 during the cocktail hour; an “Inside the Actors Studio”-style conversation between Mr. Hoffman and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos; and an on-stage math quiz with Baltimore Ravens guard and mathematician John Urschel.
The creative black-tie event is being led by a veritable “Who’s Who” of area and national business leaders and philanthropists. Corporate Chairs are Steve Howe, Americas Managing Partner, EY, and Brent Saunders, CEO, Allergan.
Co-chairs are: David Barry, President and CEO, Ironstate Development Company; Benjamin Bronfman, Partner, Global Thermostat; Jennifer A. Chalsty, Director, Advisory Council, James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute, Johns Hopkins University; Kevin Cummings, President and Chief Executive Officer, Investors Bank; Michael J. DeMarco, President and Chief Operating Officer, Mack-Cali Realty Corporation; Phil Di Iorio, CEO, Global Wealth Management, JPMorgan Private Bank; Robert J. Hariri, MD, PhD, Chairman and Founder, Celgene Cellular Therapeutics; Carl R. Kuehner III, Chief Executive Officer, Building and Land Technology; Ralph LaRossa, President and Chief Operating Officer, Public Service Electric & Gas Company; Robert A. Marino, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey; Barry H. Ostrowsky, President and Chief Executive Officer, Barnabas Health; John Overdeck, Co-Chairman and Co-Founder, Two Sigma; Laura Bilodeau Overdeck, Founder and President, Bedtime Math; Carlos Rodriguez, President and Chief Executive Officer, Automatic Data Processing, Inc.; and Josh S. Weston, Honorary Chairman, Automatic Data Processing, Inc.
The honorees and performers have generously volunteered their time and talents in support of the not-for-profit Science Center’s mission to expose learners of all ages to the power, promise, and pure fun of science and technology. No honorariums or appearance fees are paid. All Gala proceeds benefit LSC’s exhibitions and programs, particularly the science-education programs that LSC does for 91,000 “at-risk” children.
Ticket prices start at $1,250 per guest with options for table sponsorship from $12,500 to $100,000. For more details, please visit lsc.org/gala.
About the Honorees
- Frank Gehry’s groundbreaking work has earned architecture’s most significant awards, including the Pritzker Prize, the National Medal of Arts, and the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal. His notable projects include: Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao; Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles; Eight Spruce Street Residential Tower in New York City; Battersea Power Station Development in London; and Facebook Campuses in New York City, Seattle, London, and Dublin. Born in Toronto, Gehry received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Southern California and studied city planning at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
- Paleontologist Jack Horner and his co-workers discovered the first evidence of parental care in dinosaurs, extensive nesting grounds, evidence of gigantic dinosaur herds, and the world’s first dinosaur embryos. More recently, Horner has undertaken a developmental biology project to retroengineer a dinosaur from a living bird. He was technical advisor to Steven Spielberg on the Jurassic Park movies and is now Curator of Paleontology at the Museum of the Rockies and Regents Professor of Paleontology at Montana State University in Bozeman. In 1986, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. He lectures on dinosaurs, evolution, and dyslexia.
- Ellen Langer, PhD, has been described as the “mother of mindfulness” and has written extensively on the illusion of control, aging, stress, decision-making, and health, including her best-selling books Mindfulness and The Power of Mindful Learning. Dr. Langer is a social psychologist and the first female professor to gain tenure in the Psychology Department at Harvard University. Among other honors, she is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and three Distinguished Scientist Awards, the World Congress Award, and the Staats Award for Unifying Psychology. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- Astrophysicist Kip Thorne’s research has focused on Einstein’s general theory of relativity, relativistic stars, black holes, and especially gravitational waves. He was cofounder (with Rainer Weiss and Ronald W.P. Drever) of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Project, which made the first direct observation of gravitational waves. Thorne received his Bachelor of Science from Caltech and his PhD from Princeton University. He held successive physics professorships at Caltech from 1967 to 2009. Thorne has won numerous international academic honors for his work. In recent years, he coauthored the original treatment and is an executive producer of Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film Interstellar. His current research is on the nonlinear dynamics of curved spacetime.
About Liberty Science Center
Liberty Science Center (LSC.org) is a 300,000-square-foot not-for-profit learning center located in Liberty State Park on the Jersey City bank of the Hudson near the Statue of Liberty.
Dedicated to bringing the power, promise, and pure fun of science to people of all ages, Liberty Science Center houses 12 museum exhibition halls, a live animal collection with 110 species, giant aquariums, a 3D theater, the world’s largest IMAX Dome Theater, live simulcast surgeries, a tornado-force wind simulator, K-12 classrooms and labs, and teacher-development programs.
More than half a million students, teachers, and parents visit the Science Center each year, and tens of thousands more participate in the Center’s offsite and online programs. LSC is the most visited cultural institution in New Jersey with 600,000 visitors annually and the largest interactive science center in the NYC-NJ metropolitan area.