Friday, May 1, 2015

Smithsonian Magazine Announces 2015 "The Future is Here" Festival

From our friends at Smithsonian Magazine...

Third Annual “Future is Here” Event Takes Place May 14-17, 2015 in Washington D.C.

Presenting sponsor is Lockheed Martin

Smithsonian magazine is proud to present the third annual The Future is Here Festival, a four-day event highlighting some of the most advanced thinking in science, technology and engineering from an array of experts, visionaries and noted science-lovers including Dr. Oliver Sacks via a special video presentation with filmmaker and writer Ric Burns, Walter Isaacson, explorer and filmmaker Céline Cousteau, IBM’s Watson, Dr. Craig Venter via exclusive video, “Internet of Things” inventor Kevin Ashton, Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, and top Smithsonian scientists.

The climax of The Future is Here Festival, which takes place May 14-17, will be Saturday afternoon with the first major public demonstration of the hoverboard, inspired by “Back to the Future.” (Fittingly, 2015 is the year in the future in the prescient Michael J. Fox movie.)

This year the festival, themed “The Future of You,” will provide attendees with a dynamic exploration of the future of the brain, body, life, and planet. Smithsonian’s May “Future” issue, which hits newsstands April 28th, will bring the innovation and excitement of the Future is Here festival to readers around the world.

Festival events kick off the evening of Thursday, May 14, with a Screening of “Back to the Future” at the Warner Bros. Theater followed by Q&A with Lee Leshen, documentary filmmaker of “Back In Time” about the making of Back to the Future, featuring exclusive clips from the documentary due out in July, and interviews with Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Bob Zemeckis, etc. On Friday, May 15th, Smithsonian will host a private VIP cocktail reception at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) and Planetarium film and discussion about what we have learned about Mars through recent missions with Jim Zimbelman, planetary geologist at NASM.

On Saturday, May 16th, the festival will feature speakers and presentations at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center providing an eye-opening look into the near and far future. The audience will be engaged with a live display of IBM’s Watson, Lockheed Martin’s Exoskeleton, a rocket-like aerodynamically curved car from Elio motors and demonstration of the world’s first Hoverboard.

On the final day, the festival will be the site of the Nerd Nite Global Conference, the annual summit of the 80-city organization devoted to science and alcohol. The festival will culminate Sunday evening with a screening of “2001: A Space Odyssey” at the E Street Cinema, followed by an exclusive Q&A with original star, Keir Dullea.

The Future is Here Festival represents an unparalleled opportunity to engage with some of the brightest minds in science and technology,” says Stephen Giannetti, Chief Revenue Officer of Smithsonian Enterprises. “Each year attendees come away awestruck at the incredible predictions, experiments, research, and theories which provide a window into our future.”

The Future is Here convenes some of the world's most thought-provoking and entertaining experts, including:

•  Walter Isaacson - President & CEO of the Aspen Institute

•  Kevin Ashton - Inventor of the “Internet of Things”

•  Greg and Jill Henderson - Co-Founders of the Hendo Hoverboard

•  Ric Burns - Filmmaker and Writer

•  Dr. Oliver Sacks - Professor of neurology at NYU School of Medicine, via exclusive video

•  Dr. Marc Teerlink - MBA/MBI, Chief Business Strategist, IBM Watson Group

•  Dr. Thomas Insel - Director of the National Institute of Mental Health

•  Cole Bolton - Editor in Chief, The Onion

•  Dr. Craig Venter biochemist known for being one of the first to sequence the human genome, via exclusive video

•  Céline S. Cousteau - Founder & Executive Director, CauseCentric Productions

•  Marc Goodman - Author of New York Times Best Seller “Future Crimes”

•  Dr. Eric Green - Director, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health

•  Dr. Matt Walker - Professor of Psychology, UC Berkeley

•  David Keith - Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics and Professor of Public Policy (HKS)

•  W. John Kress, Ph.D. - Interim Under Secretary for Science, Distinguished Scientist, and Curator of Botany, Smithsonian Institution

•  Nancy Knowlton - Sant Chair for Marine Science at Smithsonian

•  Mick Ebeling - Not Impossible Labs Founder/CEO and David Putrino – Chief Mad Scientist, Not Impossible Labs

•  Rebecca Saxe - Associate Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, MIT

•  Nina Tandon - EpiBone co-founder, CEO

•  Scott Wing - Curator of Fossil Plants at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

•  Juan Enriquez - Managing Director, Excel Venture Management

"We're living in a world changing faster than ever before," said Smithsonian magazine Editor in Chief, Michael Caruso. "One of the biggest questions on people’s minds is how these external changes are impacting us; our bodies, minds, and how we live and interact in this uncharted territory. The Future is Here Festival brings together some of the foremost experts in their respective fields, questioning, exploring, and shaping our future. These four days will be thought-provoking, challenging, enlightening, and immensely entertaining.”

In addition to presenting sponsor Lockheed Martin, and official travel sponsor United
Eco-Skies, festival collaborators include Nerd Nite, the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination, Smithsonian Grand Challenges Consortia, and the Smithsonian Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit

About Smithsonian Media:
Smithsonian Media comprises of its flagship publication, Smithsonian magazine, as well as Air & Space, Smithsonian Books, and the Smithsonian Media Digital Network. In addition, Smithsonian Media overseas the Smithsonian Institution’s minority interest in the Smithsonian Channel, a joint venture between the Smithsonian Institution and CBS/Showtime. Smithsonian Media is a division of Smithsonian Enterprises, the revenue-generating business unit of the Smithsonian Institution. The Smithsonian Institution is the world's largest museum and research complex consisting of 19 museums and galleries, the National Zoological Park and nine research facilities. Approximately 30 million people from around the world visit the museums annually.