Starmus: The Most Affordable Major Science Festival in the World

Posted by David Eicher
on Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The fourth Starmus Festival will take place in Trondheim, Norway, next month.

I recently heard someone say they thought the Starmus Festival, one of the world’s greatest science gatherings, was an expensive and elite event. “Huh?,” I thought. Several major science festivals cost several thousands of dollars or euros to attend. Such is not the case with Starmus: in fact, the whole idea with Starmus is to minimize the costs and allow, as easily as possible, mingling and chatting with some of the great minds of our time.

The Starmus Festival will take place for the fourth time next month, in Trondheim, Norway. The dates for Starmus IV: Life and the Universe are June 18–23. You can see the full lineup at the Starmus website: starmus.com.

Once again, I will be proud to attend and participate in Starmus. And the experience this year will be incredible: the roster includes Stephen Hawking, Buzz Aldrin, Charlie Duke, Harrison Schmitt, and 10 Nobel Prize laureates from the sciences: Edvard Moser, Adam Riess, Chris Pissarides, Finn Kydland, George Smoot, May-Britt Moser, Robert Wilson, Stefan W. Hell, Susumu Tonegawa, and Torsten Wiesel.

Not enough for ya? How about adding filmmaker Oliver Stone, journalist Larry King, and economist Jeffrey Sachs? Brian Eno? Neil deGrasse Tyson? Martin Rees?

What about if we added Michel Mayor, Lisa Randall, Jill Tarter, Emmanuelle Charpentier, Brian Greene, Skype cofounder Jaan Tallinn, Eugene Kaspersky, Brian Cox, and Alexei Leonov? Alan Stern, Katharine Hayhoe, Sara Seager, Nathalie Cabrol, Priyamvada Natarajan, Sandra Magnus, Lynn Rothschild, David Zambuka, Anthony Giddens, Nancy Knowlton, Nick Lane, John Delaney, and Paul Hebert?

How about still more: a Sonic Universe Concert powered by musicians Steve Vai, Nuno Bettencourt, Grace Potter, and Devin Townsend?

And yet the cost for this incredible week, which leaves the mind absolutely spinning, is a mere 850 Euro (~$950 USD)? And 350 Euro (~$390 USD) for students? (And prior to February, for the first few months of sales, the prices were 700 Euro (~$780 USD) and 300 Euro (~$335 USD) for students.)

Family tickets to an NFL game will cost in that range, for three hours of fun.

Some other large science conferences cost more than five times as much.

And the cost of getting to Norway from pretty much anywhere is far more reasonable than you might expect. The beautiful hotels in Trondheim are available for very reasonable amounts.

For many people I’ve talked to at and following Starmus, the Festival has “changed their lives.”

It makes me shudder to think of someone saying that a several hundred dollar fee for this mind-blowing kind of week, which is completely unique, is “elite.” 

It is, in fact, the exact opposite. Starmus is for everyone, and those who have been to the Festival know that.

See you there.

— D. 

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