KAUST presents 'TIME'-themed festival of science

The KAUST Winter Enrichment Program, an exciting and immersive annual festival of science, runs from January 13 to 24 on campus. File image.

​What is the science behind the body's biological clock, and what role does it play in food, sleep, stress and how we age—and even maybe how we will be able to rejuvenate? Discover the answers to these questions and more through the KAUST Winter Enrichment Program (WEP), an immersive annual festival of science taking place from January 13 to 24.

Online audiences in the Kingdom and internationally can explore the theme topic of "TIME" by tuning in to the program's keynote lectures and in-depth KAUST Live interviews on Facebook and YouTube.

"Time is perhaps the most universal and unifying aspect of life. The inspiration for this year's festival came from the idea of proposing reflection on how different aspects of what we measure or perceive as time impacts people and how science and culture can help to improve quality of life," stated Valerio Orlando, KAUST professor of bioscience and chair of WEP 2019.

"Visitors can also explore what we call consciousness, the basis of intelligence and representation of reality, the fundamental questions regarding the universe and those global values that we learn from history that make humanity one thing," he added.

WEP will feature 12 keynote lectures by international experts including a Nobel laureate; world-leading experts in sleep, consciousness, nutrition, the universe, dreams, society and history; a McLaren Formula 1 racing driver; and writers, artists, filmmakers, curators and creators. Keynote lectures are complemented by workshops, exhibitions and cutting-edge virtual reality and immersive displays.

Distinguished speakers at WEP 2019 include

  • Dr. Michael Young- Nobel laureate in Physiology or Medicine
  • Lando Norris - Formula 1 driver, McLaren
  • Jonathan Neale - chief operating officer, McLaren
  • Dava Sobel - best-selling author
  • Dr. Priyamvada Natarajan - professor in the Departments of Astronomy and Physics, Yale University
  • Dr. John Ellis - professor of theoretical physics, King's College London
  • Dr. Paolo Sassone-Corsi - director of the Center for Epigenetics and Metabolism, University of California
  • Dr. Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte - director of the Development and Stem Cells Biology Laboratories, Salk Institute
  • Dr. Giulio Tononi - professor and director of the Wisconsin Institute for Sleep and Consciousness
  • Dr. Karen Ashe - director of the N. Bud Grossman Center for Memory Research
  • Dr. David Rooney - former curator of timekeeping at the Royal Observatory Greenwich
  • Noëmi Daucé - chief curator at Louvre Abu Dhabi in charge of Archaeology

"This exciting festival of expansive thinking [that is] coordinated, programmed and produced by our University will bring distinguished keynote speakers, thought leaders, guests, conversations, ideas, inspiration and new knowledge to our students, our faculty and many others throughout Saudi Arabia and internationally," stated KAUST President Dr. Tony Chan.

In the opening keynote lecture, learn how genes control sleep and circadian rhythms from Nobel laureate Michael Young, an American geneticist who contributed to the discovery of mechanisms that regulate biological activity in humans and other organisms.

With John Ellis, professor of theoretical physics at King's College London, ponder questions like: "What are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going?" Guests will approach the topic by studying the fundamental constituents of matter using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, including a LHC interactive tunnel gaming experience in the KAUST University Library that bridges the gap between science education, interactive media and information visualization.

What makes the human aging clock tick and can we turn it back? Can human cells regenerate? Find out from Professor Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, director of the Development and Stem Cells Biology Laboratories at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Hear how McLaren Racing manages the race of innovation from group Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Neale and the high level of skill it takes to compete in the world's most exhilarating sport from F1 driver Lando Norris. Guests can also experience the thrill and time challenges faced by the McLaren pit crew thanks to the "McLaren Garage VR," a fully immersive virtual reality experience.

Throughout the festival of science, KAUST will host visitors from universities, schools and businesses who will experience a variety of academic, cultural, entrepreneurial and recreational events. The festival aims to enrich lives and minds and is for anyone who is seeking inspiration and new discoveries. The Enrichment Programs at KAUST offer distinct opportunities to inspire and broaden the student experience within a vibrant community on the shores of the Red Sea.

Find the full online events listing for Keynote lectures and KAUST Live interviews. Join in the winter festival of science on KAUST FacebookTwitterYouTube and Instagram using #WEP2019.

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