Events covered a wide variety of scientific topics, and combined talks, demonstrations, video presentations and panel discussions. A number of events addressed "big questions". For example, a roster of scientists including physicist William Phillips, philosopher Patricia Churchland, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, philosopher Daniel Dennett, cognitive scientist Marvin Minsky, and cancer researcher Harold Varmus, debated "What It Means to Be Human" in a panel discussion moderated by Charlie Rose. A recurring theme was the wider implications of scientific results, as exemplified by a discussion on the promises and consequences of personal genomics involving biochemist Paul Nurse, sociologist Nikolas Rose, and human genome project leader Francis Collins. A number of events explored the interface between science and the arts; for instance, a panel including psychologist Nancy C. Andreasen, choreographer and dancer Bill T. Jones, and actor and writer Michael York focused on the scientific study of creativity. Other audiences saw physicists Lawrence Krauss and radio host Ira Flatow presenting modern cosmology, paleontologist Richard Leakey exploring the sixth extinction, and chemist F. Sherwood Rowland and Rensselaer Polytechnic president Shirley Ann Jackson discussing new ways of satisfying humanity's energy needs. A number of events were co-productions with the festival's partners, such as a discussion between Robert Krulwich and neurologist and author Oliver Sacks on perception, held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and musician Mark Oliver Everett's exploration of the scientific legacy of his father, Hugh Everett, at the Museum of Modern Art.
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