Established 15 years ago by astronomer Garik Israelian and astronomer/guitarist Brian May, the Starmus Festival has grown into one of the premier science gatherings in the world. Named for a combination of stars and music, the gathering brings together several thousand people every couple of years to hear lectures from the world’s leading researchers and astronaut-explorers, to peer into the wonders of the cosmos, and celebrate our time together as humans with art and music, notably high-level rock ‘n‘ roll.
The most recent Starmus Festival occurred in 2022 in Yerevan, Armenia, and drew a crowd of more than 5,000 for the principal events. Starmus is unique in that attendees can hear and interact with great authorities close up, and get to see them in once-in-a-lifetime, shared moments. More than 50 speakers graced the stages in Armenia, and performers included founder Brian May, who also was a founder of the rock band Queen, and a cast of notable others. The event lasted nearly a week and featured amazing field trips to see historical and cultural sights, a star party, an astroimaging school, and much more. For many, it changed the way they see the cosmos and relate to others on Earth.
The next Starmus Festival will again offer an overwhelming array of talented speakers, musical acts, and much more. It will take place in Bratislava, Slovakia, May 12–17, 2024, and is cosponsored by media partner Astronomy Magazine and principally sponsored by ESET, a Slovakian software and technology company. Once again, there will be nothing else like it in the world. And for those who may not know about Slovakia, Bratislava is easy to get to — within a half hour’s drive of Vienna, Austria, a major destination with an easy-access airport.
Once again, the program will include more than five days of incredible talks, with greater than 50 speakers. To name just a few, they will include Garik Israelian, Brian May, Jane Goodall, Kip Thorne, Brian Greene, Tony Fadell, David Eicher, Katharine Hayhoe, Jill Tarter, Charlie Duke, Chris Hadfield, Michel Mayor, Adam Riess, Lisa Kaltenegger, Chris Rapley, Patrick Michel, Garrett Reisman, Donna Strickland, and Emmanuelle Charpentier. These and others who will be present represent an all-star cast of Nobel Prize laureates, important astronauts, and leading authorities in their many fields of science.
Past Festivals have occurred in the Canary Islands, Norway, Switzerland, and of course Armenia. Bratislava is an amazing city that feels small and clean and well-organized and easy to get around in. It will offer yet another ideal setting for Starmus.
Starmus is governed by an Advisory Board, who assist Garik Israelian and Brian May. In addition to those two, the board consists of Richard Dawkins, Emmanuelle Charpentier, Jane Goodall, Peter Gabriel, Jill Tarter, Tony Fadell, and David Eicher.
We have a great deal planned for Bratislava. The theme is The Future of Our Home Planet — life on Earth, climate, the environment, cyberattacks, the promise and danger of artificial intelligence, and technology’s solutions and dangers.
We will premiere the film Starmus Armenia 2022, produced by Garik Israelian and Brian May, associate producer David Eicher, and created by Todd Miller (creator of films including Apollo 11).
Additionally, the prestigious Stephen Hawking Award and the accompany ceremony recognize great efforts in popularizing science and the spreading of knowledge in the world.
An astroimaging school sharing techniques of how to capture your own images of planets, stars, and galaxies, overseen by Michael Bakich, and with talks by Damian Peach, Chris Schur, and Martin Ratcliffe.
A star party produced by Scott Roberts of Explore Scientific, to be held at Devin Castle, a neolithic site with castle ruins dating to the 13th Century.
In addition to the many talks, concerts will include performances by Queen’s Brian May, our good friend and superb keyboardist Rick Wakeman, and a special opening performance by the great wizard of electronic music, Jean-Michel Jarre.
The cost of the Festival is minimal, to enable a large number of people the chance to come. For complete and updated info on the Festival, see starmus.com.
I will be there, speaking and hosting, and helping with the star party and the astroimaging school. I hope to see you there!