Snapshots of geniuses
Scientists from across the country traveled to the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey to be honored at the fifth annual Genius Gala. There, they met inflatable dinosaurs, photo-taking drones and listened to remarkable musical performances.
"I feel like a fraud, I'm not a genius," said honoree Kip Thorne, an astrophysicist and black-hole researcher. "But I happen to be associated with a number of people who really are."
T. rex sighting
Kip Thorne (middle) shows a T-shirt to Paul Hoffman (right), president and CEO of the Liberty Science Center. Thorne acted as a scientific advisor for the 2014 movie "Interstellar." Moreover, in September 2015, he and his colleagues discovered evidence of gravitational waves that came from two black holes colliding far away, using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO).
"In the movie 'Interstellar,' actor Matthew McConaughey goes into the fifth dimension," Thorne said after receiving the genius award. "What you see here is a computer simulation of what this would have looked like if you were in the fifth dimension looking in our universe with colliding black holes."
He added that the "red splash" that was made when the two black holes collided "created a star … in the fabric of space and time."
Jennifer Chalsty (left), on the Liberty Science Center Board of Trustees, watches from the side.
World-renowned pianist Peter Dugan (left) and violinist Charles Yang (right) played "The House Of The Rising Sun" at the Genius Gala.
Baltimore Ravens football player and mathematician John Urschel (right) played a game of speed chess with U.S. national chess champion Fabiano Caruana (left). Urschel put up a good fight, but Caruana won the match.
Architect Frank Gehry spoke about his past at the Genius Gala. When asked about the obstacles he faced getting into the field, Gehry said, "Oy vey."
"I arrived in L.A., California, at 17 years old. My father had lost whatever he had and we were very poor, and I became a truck driver. I'd only go to night school, and I took a class in ceramics. I wasn't very good at it. But the teacher was building a house by a famous architect at the time, and he had a hunch."
The teacher took Gehry to the site. "I must have seemed fascinated, and my ceramics teacher enrolled me in architecture classes. I did great, and they skipped me to the second year. So, I didn't do it by myself," Gehry said.
Benjamin Bronfman, an entrepreneur, environmentalist and a Grammy-nominated musician, played an electric guitar at the Genius Gala.
'Mother of Mindfulness'
Ellen Langer, known as the "mother of mindfulness," received a genius award. Langer, a social psychologist at Harvard University, has written about the illusion of control, mindful aging, stress, decision-making and health.