Starmus Festival announced for summer 2016 in Tenerife

Posted by David Eicher
on Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Brian May, Garik Israelian, Stephen Hawking, and Carlos Alonso announce Starmus 3, set for summer 2016, in the Canary Islands, London, April 28, 2015. // Credit: Robin Rees
This morning in London, Garik Israelian, Brian May, Stephen Hawking, and Carlos Alonso announced the next Starmus Festival, which will take place June 27–July 2, 2016, in Tenerife and La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain.

The conference will pay tribute to Stephen Hawking, with the theme being “Beyond the Horizon — Tribute to Stephen Hawking.” Among the speakers lined up thus far are Neil deGrasse Tyson, Chris Hadfield, Martin Rees, Adam Riess, Rusty Schweickart, Eric Betzig, Neil Turok, and Kip Thorne.

A press release follows . . .

Starmus Festival III to pay tribute to Stephen Hawking and attract greatest minds in science and space to Tenerife

April 28, 2015 – It was announced today at the Royal Astronomical Society that Tenerife will host the Starmus Festival for the third time. Due to take place on the island June 27-July 2, 2016, the event will bring together the world’s leading space travelers, stargazers, and astrophysicists for an interactive extravaganza, inviting the general public to discover the wonders of the cosmos through science, art, and music.

Under the theme “Beyond the Horizon – Tribute to Stephen Hawking,” the 2016 event will take inspiration from the legendary man himself and the notion that nothing is impossible. A comprehensive program of events will include lectures from keynote speakers, round-table discussions, exclusive music performances, creative arts exhibitions, and visits to local observatories.

“Astro-fans” will be delighted to learn that next year’s lineup of keynote speakers will include theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, Starmus Festival founder and leading astrophysicist Garik Israelian, and musician and astronomer
Brian May. These big names will be joined by a lineup of the world’s leading scientists, astronauts, and Nobel Prize winners, including:

•    Neil deGrasse Tyson – Astrophysicist and science communicator
•    Eric Betzig – Physicist and 2014 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry for "the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy”
•    Chris Hadfield – Astronaut and first Canadian commander of the International Space Station (2015)
•    Harry Kroto – English chemist and 1996 Nobel Prize winner in chemistry
•    Martin Rees – Astronomer Royal, professor of cosmology and astrophysics at the University of Cambridge.
•    Adam Riess – Astronomer, physicist and Nobel Prize winner in physics in 2011, who led a study for the High-z team who provided the first published evidence that the expansion of the universe was accelerating and filled with dark energy
•    Russell Schweickart  –  Astronaut and scientist, ex-NASA Apollo astronaut and logged over 4,000 hours of flight time for the U.S. Air Force
•    Neil Turok – Scientist and professor of physics and co-author of the popular science book Endless Universe: Beyond the Big Bang
•    Kip Thorne – Astrophysicist who has forged a career in writing and movies – his latest project was Interstellar (2014), directed by Christopher Nolan

Discussions will focus on pushing the boundaries of science and touching on subjects such as the blurring relationship between science and science fiction and how technology will affect the future of humanity.

The Starmus Festival is supported by the Tenerife Island Government and is the brainchild of Garik Israelian, an astrophysicist researcher at the IAC. He sits on a scientific advisory board, which includes Stephen Hawking, Brian May, legendary Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, who became the first human to make a “space walk” back in 1965, and British ethologist and scientist Richard Dawkins. Israelian says, “Our aim is to make Starmus Festival a global brand that is recognized not just within academic circles but that inspires and captures the imagination of the wider general public who have an interest in space, stargazing, science, art, music, and sci-fi. Following the success of Starmus II, which was the most ambitious all-star festival in science, we are excited to be taking Starmus III to the next level. We are delighted that Tenerife will once again be hosting the festival as there really is no better setting to appreciate firsthand the wonders of the skies and learn about what is beyond the horizon.”

One of the main social highlights planned is the “Teide Starmus Party,” a magical evening of stargazing in the company of professional astronomers and live music performances, set within the lunar-like landscape of Teide National Park and under the canopy of the Milky Way. The Teide National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is one of the world’s best stargazing locations because of its clear dark skies, high altitude, and low pollution and is recognized as a “Starlight Tourist Destination.” The party last year provided such creative inspiration that one of Europe’s most interesting alt/rock bands NOSOUND launched a live CD and DVD called Teide 2390, which was recorded at the Teide Observatory in Tenerife during their performance.

Carlos Alonso, president of the Tenerife Island Government, says, “Following the success of last year’s festival and a growing interest in stargazing as a popular excursion in Tenerife, we are delighted to host this prestigious event and hope the gathering of these great minds in one of the world’s stargazing capitals will inspire travel to and exploration of our wonderful island.”

The full program and delegate package costs are still to be confirmed. For more information on Starmus 2014 please visit

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